GREENSBORO, N.C.—Las Vegas had a banner year for baseball talent in 2010. Bryce Harper was the headliner, destroying junior college competition as a 17-year-old on the way to a National League rookie of the year campaign two years later.
Then there are players currently enjoying success in the minor leagues like Padres righthander Donn Roach and Red Sox righthander Aaron Kurcz (who were both teammates with Harper at Southern Nevada CC), Pirates righthander Nick Kingham and Rangers third baseman Drew Robinson.
Two players—third baseman Kris Bryant and righthander Michael Wagner—are now juniors at San Diego. But what happens in Vegas, sometimes winds up in West Virginia.
Righthander Aaron Blair from Marshall is one of the top righthanders in this year's draft class. How does a high school player from Nevada wind up at a college nearly 2,000 miles from home?
"I went to Jupiter, Florida, my senior year and I played with the Ohio Warhawks," Blair said. "And they saw saw me throw out there. I came on a visit and committed the next day. I had a lot of fun on my recruiting visit. I really liked the coaches and the players I was with. Everything was great."
Blair's emergence at Marshall capped a fine year for the program's pitchers. Athletics righthander Dan Straily led the minor leagues in strikeouts (190) and became the first Marshall pitcher to pitch in the big leagues since Rick Reed in 1988. Other recent picks like Padres righthander Joe Church (17th round, 2012), Rockies lefthander Mike Mason (24th, 2012), Rangers lefthander Greg Williams (12th, 2011) and Blue Jays righthanders Arik Sikula (36th, 2011) Ian Kadish (NDFA, 2011) had solid minor league seasons in 2012.
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Last year against Fresno State, Stanford righthander Mark Appel got the loss, giving up two home runs to Fresno State outfielder Aaron Judge in the process. Appel later beat the Bulldogs in Regionals and carried that success into the 2013 season. On Friday night at home, Appel pitched a complete game while giving up one run on three hits with one walk and 11 strikeouts for the win. On the season, the senior ace is now 1-1, 1.93 with 10 hits, four walks and 14 strikeouts over 14 innings.
Indiana State lefthander Sean Manaea tossed six shutout innings against College of Charleston at a tournament in Auburn, Ala. Manaea allowed just one hit and one walk while striking out 10, but didn't factor in a decision. On the season he is now 0-1, 0.90 with five hits, five walks and 16 strikeouts over 10 innings.
Oklahoma lefthander Dillon Overton continues to dominate. After ranking eighth in the country in strikeouts as a sophomore, Overton is off to a blistering start as a junior. He scattered seven hits over eight shutout innings against Iowa this weekend for a victory in the first game of the 2013 Kleberg Bank College Classic at Whataburger Field in Corpus Christi. Overton did not issue a walk and struck out nine, improving to 3-0, 0.56 on the season with 16 strikeout and one walk over 16 innings. Overton will take on Scott Frazier and Pepperdine at home this Friday.
Appel wasn't the only Pacific 12 pitcher with a stellar outing this weekend. Arizona State righthander Trevor Williams struck out eight over seven shutout innings for the win against Tennessee; Oregon State senior lefthander Matt Boyd struck out nine over 8.1 shutout innings for the win against San Diego State and Washington righthander Austin Voth struck out 14 over 7.2 innings against Lamar. He gave up two runs on five hits for the win.
Mississippi State outfielder Hunter Renfroe had an excellent weekend against Purdue and Samford, going 5-for-10 with a triple and two home runs as the Bulldogs went 4-0 on the weekend in their Diamond Classic tournament to improve to 9-0 on the season. Renfroe is now hitting .393/.471/.750 on the year.
Virginia Tech left fielder Tyler Horan went 6-for-9 on the weekend against Temple, Holy Cross and Delaware. Horan’s six hits included two home runs and the slugger is now hitting .429/.515/.714 on the season. Virginia Tech travels down to Cary, N.C. next weekend for the inaugural Irish Baseball Classic, where the Hokies will take on Rhode Island, Ohio, Notre Dame and Tennessee.
Here are all of the weekend stats for the nation's top draft-eligible college players, listed alphabetically by last name. The stats were collected by CollegeSplits.com. Follow CollegeSplits on Twitter @collegesplits.
Andrew Dunlap from Westbury Christian High in Houston is one of the draft's most fascinating prospects. Read or listen to the interview below to learn about his conversion from catcher to pitcher (and how he recently touched 96 mph), his new training buddy Trevor Bauer and why he won't be playing for his high school team this spring . . .
Welcome everyone to a Baseball America Q&A. I'm Conor Glassey and joining me on the line is Andrew Dunlap. Andrew, thank you for taking the time. How's everything going for you?
Oh, it's going well. I'm just training and working on this pitching thing.
Nice. Well, let's start off talking about Twitter for a minute. Twitter is how I got in touch with you for this interview. What's the story behind your Twitter handle, @DunDeuce?
Haha, oh wow, I did not see this one coming. So, my freshman year of getting hazed in high school, I went to an all-guys Catholic high school where they did a little bit of freshman fun stuff. So everyone would throw out all these nicknames based upon my last name, Dunlap. And so I had pretty much Dun-followed by any other word, expletive, anything you can think of. And one that stuck was DunDeuce. I don't know why, but that's how that came about.
Nice, so you're wearing it proud?
I'm wearing it proud, exactly. Another one that stuck was The Lone Ranger, because I would always stretch by myself and get in trouble a little bit, but that's another story.
Well, it doesn't look like you're super into Twitter, like some of these guys who I see are Tweeting 100 times a day.
No. I don't know. I had one about two years ago and I deleted it because I never used it and then I figured that it'd be good to just get connected again. Although I'm not like a huge social media guy. I mean, I'll get on it and I like to follow people, but I don't really have too much to say.
[...] Continue Reading »
Kentwood High catcher Reese McGuire ($) isn’t Washington’s only marquee talent for the 2013 draft. But that shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. Over the past 10 years, the only states to produce more high school picks from the top three rounds than Washington are California, Florida, Texas, Georgia and Puerto Rico.
Righthander Dustin Driver from Wenatchee (Wash.) High first put his name on the map as a rising junior at the 2011 Area Code Games. With teams hand-picked by scouts, any time an underclassman makes one of the squads, it typically means they’re pretty special. Just consider some of the other rising juniors at the 2011 event and where they wound up on Baseball America’s High School Top 100 rankings more than a year later: outfielder/lefthander Trey Ball (3), shortstop J.P. Crawford (5), first baseman Dominic Smith (6), lefthander Rob Kaminsky (12) and first baseman Rowdy Tellez (16).
Driver checked in at No. 22 thanks to his 6-foot-2, 200-pound frame as well as his fastball that sits in the 90-92 mph range and tops out at 94.
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• Georgia Tech righthander Buck Farmer pitched a beauty against Akron on Friday. The YellowJackets' ace threw eight shutout innings, allowed only four hits (all singles), didn't walk anybody and struck out a career-high 14, as Georgia Tech won, 3-0. Scouts don't love Farmer's arm action and he slipped to the 15th round last year, but is one of the most interesting seniors available for 2013.
• Fresno State outfielder Aaron Judge has some of the loudest raw tools in this year's draft class. But scouts would like to see his raw power translate into more home runs, as he's hit just six over his first two years with Fresno State. Judge got off to a nice start this weekend against UC Santa Barbara by going 5-for-13 with a double, a home run and a stolen base.
• Washington State outfielder/first baseman Jason Monda got off to a hot start in cold weather, though his Cougars weren't as fortunate. Monda, who you can read more about here, went 6-for-14 on the weekend with a home run and a stolen base. The home run already ties his total output from last season. The Cougars scored 19 runs on the weekend, but wound up going 1-2 against Western Carolina.
• Notre Dame third baseman Eric Jagielo helped the Irish get off to a 2-1 start to the season in the Snowbird Tournament in Sarasota, Fla. Notre Dame beat Florida Gulf Coast and Ohio State before losing on Sunday to Mercer. Jagielo anchored the lineup by going 6-for-11 with a double and two home runs.
• Oregon third baseman Ryon Healy went 8-for-12 on the weekend against Hawaii with three doubles, a home run and a stolen base. Healy was a breakout prospect in 2010 when he ranked as the California Collegiate League's No. 1 prospect and hit .312/.378/.419 as a sophomore. The Ducks went 3-0 on the weekend and finish up the series against Hawaii today.
• North Carolina lefthander Kent Emanuel continued to do what he does by throwing a complete-game shutout on Opening Day against Seton Hall. Emanuel gave up four hits, didn't walk anybody and struck out five to notch a 1-0 win for the No. 1 ranked Tar Heels.
• Jacksonville righthander Chris Anderson dominated Radford on Friday, giving up no runs on one hit and one walk over seven innings while recording 13 strikeouts. Even after that sparkling performance on the mound, it still took Jacksonville 11 innings to win, 2-1.
Here are all of the weekend stats for the nation's top draft-eligible college players, listed alphabetically by school. The stats were collected by CollegeSplits.com. Follow CollegeSplits on Twitter @collegesplits.
CULLOWHEE, N.C. — Washington State outfielder/first baseman Jason Monda was born to be a Cougar.
His Washington State roots run deep. Both of his parents attended the university before his father, Greg, spent six years in the minor leagues after the Reds made him their 15th-round pick in 1983.
"Obviously I've been a Coug since day one, so it means a lot to me," Monda said about wearing the crimson and grey. "I'll be a Coug until the day I die and hopefully the Cougar tradition stays in the Monda family for a while."
"His entire family, they all go to Washington State," Washington State head coach Donnie Marbut said with a chuckle. "I think he lives with three cousins and his twin brother (Michael), who is on the team now as a backup catcher for us. Jason's biggest fan is Michael and Michael's biggest fan is Jason, and I think they bring out the best in each other."
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It's a bit of a light year in the Northeast for college pitchers. One of the most exciting draft-eligible arms in the region was on display in Cary, N.C., on Opening Day, so there were about a dozen scouts taking in the 2013 Ron Fraser Classic at the USA Baseball National Training Complex.
Righthander Pat Young from Villanova took the mound against Monmouth to open the season. Young, who stands 6-foot-7 and 208 pounds, gave up three runs on nine hits with a walk and three strikeouts over 5 1/3 innings for a no-decision.
Young sat in the 92-94 mph range and topped out at 95 with some natural sinking action. His 79-81 mph breaking ball is developing right now, but showed signs of becoming an average slider. He only threw a couple changeups during his first outing.
[...] Continue Reading »
RALEIGH — Appalachian State senior Rob Marcello wasn't drafted out of Royal Palm Beach (Fla.) High. He wasn't drafted out of Indian River State (Fla.) JC as a teammate of Padres 2011 first-rounder Cory Spangenberg. And he wasn't drafted as the Mountaineers' Sunday starter last year, after the 6-foot-3, 245-pound lefthander went 6-5, 5.31 with 48 strikeouts and 30 walks over 83 innings.
This year, his role has changed and has boosted his draft stock. Marcello is now in the closer's role, a move that has boosted his fastball into the 91-93 mph range and getting as high as 95.
[...] Continue Reading »
See Also: 2013 HS Games To Watch
The beginning of college baseball season is 111 days before the draft. Those days go quickly for scouting directors and crosscheckers, as they zig-zag across the country trying to see as many key players as possible. With such a limited amount of time before the big day, carefully choosing the best matchup games is important. Here are some of the season’s best college matchups, from a draft perspective, for the 2013 season.
Minnesota at UCLA (Feb. 15)
From a draft perspective, this looks like the best opening day matchup in the country with UCLA righthander Adam Plutko likely facing off against Golden Gophers lefthander Tom Windle.
Stanford at Rice (Feb. 15)
This series has more overall appeal than the one in Westwood. Even with righthander A.J. Vanegas on the shelf after having back surgery, Stanford is loaded with draft talent. This game will feature the top overall draft prospect, righthander Mark Appel (who was born in Houston and has a number of family members who attended Rice) against Rice righthander Austin Kubitza. Kubitza, who went 6-5, 2.69 last season, will have his work cut out for him, as Stanford’s lineup features two first-team All-Americans in outfielder Austin Wilson and first baseman Brian Ragira, along with one of the better college shortstop prospects in Lonnie Kauppila.
[...] Continue Reading »
COMPTON, Calif.—Each February for the better part of the last decade, hordes of scouts have descended upon the MLB Urban Youth Academy in Compton for the MLB Scouting Bureau's Southern California Invitational showcase. The brainchild of longtime Bureau scout Dan Dixon, the showcase brings together the top draft-eligible high school talent in Southern California, drawing many scouting directors, crosscheckers and area scouts.
Nearly all of the region's top players were on hand Saturday, with the notable exception of first baseman/outfielder Dominic Smith, whom one scout called "by far the best guy out here." But most scouts came away with the impression that this SoCal crop features fewer marquee talents than usual.
"There is a lot of depth this year, it's just not depth at the high end," an American League area scout said. "It's depth at the middle to lower end. And a lot of those guys are going to college—they're not going to take 150,000 bucks. So a lot of these kids are good, but are they good enough to go in the top three rounds? Bottom line for me was there was no star power, other than (Carlos) Salazar—that was it."
We surveyed an area scout, a crosschecker and a scouting director to get impressions of the talent assembled in Compton, and the consensus was that Salazar—a righthander from the small town of Kerman, just west of Fresno—and San Diego lefthander Ian Clarkin (Madison High) stood out above the rest of the pack Saturday. [...] Continue Reading »
Lefthander Stephen Tarpley was one of the biggest recruits to wind up on campus last year. After being selected in the eighth round of the 2011 draft by the Indians, Tarpley honored his commitment to Southern California and ranked as the No. 37 college freshman in Baseball America’s 2012 College Preview issue.
The 6-foot-2, 190-pound southpaw pitched well for the Trojans, going 5-3, 3.22 with 67 strikeouts and 29 walks over 78 innings, but returned closer to home to pitch for Scottsdale (Ariz.) CC for the 2013 season. The move to juco ball makes Tarpley eligible for the 2013 draft and he projects as a second- to fourth-round pick.
So far this season, Tarpley has helped the Fighting Artichokes to a 5-0 record by going 1-0, 1.23 with 10 strikeouts and three walks over 7.1 innings.
“The stuff has been really good,” Scottsdale head coach Alex Cherney said. “I was told his fastball was 91-94 (mph) the other day. His command has been OK. It could always get a little bit better, but he’s pitched well so far. Obvioulsy we expect him to get a little bit sharper as the season goes along, especially with his command, but so far he’s been as advertised.”
[...] Continue Reading »
While most sports fans were focused on the Super Bowl yesterday, more than 60 scouts were huddled in a warehouse in McCook, Ill., for the 11th-annual Super 60 Pro Showcase presented by Prep Baseball Report. The event featured 60 of the best players from the Upper Midwest.
“It’s kind of a catch-22 for me,” an American League area scout said about the event. “It’s important to see these guys, to give you a little bit of an idea of who’s gone forward, who’s gone backwards, that type of stuff . . . but these kids aren’t ready. A lot of these kids are still playing other sports and there’s an inch of snow still on the ground.”
The best player at the event was shortstop Connor Heady from North Oldham High in Goshen, Ky. The Kentucky recruit is a known commodity to scouts, as he was at all the major showcase events this summer and played on Team USA’s 18-and-under squad, as well.
Heady, who ranked No. 78 on Baseball America’s High School Top 100 list this fall, is an above-average runner and turned in a 6.70 60-yard dash time at the event. While he doesn’t have tools that jump out to scouts, he’s a solid player across the board who stands out for his instincts and consistency.
“Connor is the same guy he was during the summer,” the scout said. “What separates him from some of the other guys is that he’s toolsy, but he’s also very steady. He’s got soft, sure hands and a good, accurate arm. He’s got a great feel for the bat head. To me, he looked good. He looked just like he did last summer and he looked like he’s on pace for everything in the spring.”
The player who made the biggest name for himself at the event was righthander Cory Wilder from Shawnee High in Lima, Ohio.
[...] Continue Reading »
Since the 2012 high school season began, something was off about shortstop Andy McGuire (Madison High, Vienna, Va.). He knew it, his coach knew it and others familiar with his ability knew it. For months, McGuire couldn't figure out why he wasn't firing on all cylinders, and the answer finally came right before he was to report to Southern California with Team USA. A partial tear of his labrum and bone spurs in his left hip was limiting McGuire's mobility. After winning a gold medal in Korea at the IBAF 18U World Championship, he had surgery to fix the tear on Sept. 19.
"I had to play without really telling anyone something was going on," he said. "I wasn't really sure what to tell them because I didn't know exactly what it was, but I knew it was throwing me off because my feet weren't working as quickly."
McGuire described it as discomfort rather than pain and saw an orthopedic doctor in March, but X-rays and an MRI didn't reveal anything so he took a few days off to see if the discomfort would subside. It came and went so he played through it and his on-field performance suffered.
"That was tough, not performing to the best of my ability after working really hard in the offseason," McGuire said. "That was more of a confidence and mental thing that I as struggling with." [...] Continue Reading »
From Sept. 20-24, 2013, the Toronto Blue Jays will host a 12-team tournament at Rogers Centre that will feature the top college eligible players from Canada. There is no age restriction to play, but the players must be eligible to play in college.
“The creation of Tournament 12 is a first for amateur baseball in Canada," Blue Jays seior vice president of business operations Stephen Brooks said in a release. "It is an opportunity to showcase the elite baseball talent that exists in our country. If, through this tournament, we help provide the opportunity for Canada’s best to further their education through baseball or pursue their professional aspirations, then the efforts of all involved have been well worth it.”
Each team will be made up of 22 players and four coaches with rosters being selected by the Blue Jays scouting department. The teams will represent the Canadian provinces with three from Ontario, two each from British Columbia, Quebec and Alberta, one from the maritime provinces and one combining Manitoba and Saskatchewan. The 12th team will be a scout team with players from all provinces.
Canada typically has a couple travel teams that make it to showcases throughout the summer and fall, but scouts mostly keep their eye on the Canadian Junior National team. This should give professional organizations and colleges not only an extra look at the top players, but a chance to see players that might normally fly under the radar.
This year's High School Top 100 list stands out for a few reasons . . .
While the top of this year's draft doesn't compare to the premium talent available from the high school ranks in 2012, there is some interesting depth and it's clear that the strength's of his year's high school class are two positions teams can seemingly never get enough of: catchers and lefthanded pitchers.
The Top 100 list features nine true catchers, two players who may remain behind the plate, but probably fit better at first base in Zack Collins from American Heritage High in Plantation, Fla., and Corey Simpson from Sweeny (Texas) High and two players in California—Dom Nunez from Elk Grove High in Sacramento and Chris Rivera from El Dorado High in Placentia, Calif., who have intrigued scouts in brief looks behind the plate. [...] Continue Reading »
All nine free agents who received qualifying offers that would yield compensation for their former clubs rejected those deals by today’s 5 p.m. ET deadline. In order to receive compensation, teams had to tender the player a one-year contract equivalent to the average of the top 125 major league salaries ($13.3 million this year) by 5 p.m. ET on Nov. 2.
For Red Sox DH David Ortiz, the decision to decline the offer was a formality, because he signed a two-year, $26 million contract on Monday. If the other eight players change addresses, their new club will lose its first-round pick (unless it falls among the top 10 choices, in which case it gives up a second-rounder) and their old team will get a choice at the end of the first round.
Those compensation choices will come in reverse order of the 2012 major league standings. The Yankees have three compensation free agents, which means they could have a record four first-round selections if they all leave New York. If the Yankees have multiple comp picks, they would come in succession.
The eight potential compensation free agents, listed in the order in which their former clubs’ draft picks would fall at the end of the first round:
Cardinals: Kyle Lohse, rhp
Rays: B.J. Upton, of
Rangers: Josh Hamilton, of
Braves: Michael Bourn, of
Yankees: Hiroki Kuroda, rhp; Rafael Soriano, rhp; Nick Swisher, of
Nationals: Adam LaRoche, 1b
COMPTON, Calif.—El Camino JC, the site of the MLB Urban Youth Academy, played host to the 2012 Jesse Flores Memorial All-Star Game on a beautiful Sunday afternoon in Southern California. In what has become an annual event, the game is presented by the Professional Baseball Scouts of Southern California (PBSSC) and is designed to honor the late Jesse Flores as well as showcase the top high school amateur talent in Southern California. Flores, the first Mexican national to play in the major leagues, had a long, successful scouting career with the Twins, signing more than 70 major leaguers, including Bert Blyleven, Rick Dempsey, and Craig Nettles
The day kicked off in typical showcase format with batting practice and infield/outfield in the morning culminating in an afternoon 11-inning offensive affair with the North edging out the South 7-6. Overall, the position players outperformed the pitchers from a prospect standpoint, as the event was lacking the elite arms that SoCal typically produces.
The most impressive of the position players was Lakewood (Calif.) High shortstop J.P. Crawford. The 6-foot-2 180-pound Southern California commit is a four-year starter for the same powerhouse program that produced top catching prospect Travis d’Arnaud and Phillies 2012 supplemental first-rounder Shane Watson. Offensively, the lefthanded-hitting Crawford utilizes an open stance with his hands held high that bears a striking resemblance to that of Dodgers outfielder Carl Crawford, a distant cousin of J.P. Although he does not possess the present strength that Carl does, J.P. has strong barrel awareness and the ability to lace line drives to the gaps. He shows good weight transfer and potential for more pop but must continue to keep his lower half in sync.
With the glove, Crawford is a premium quick-twitch athlete who projects to play the position long term. While he is not a burner, Crawford is a plus runner with enough range and the fluid actions to handle the position. He did a good job of coming through the ball and getting his feet in position to allow his soft hands and plus arm to work seamlessly.
Scouts are plenty familiar with Crawford, a showcase veteran. But on Sunday, he flashed a tool scouts have long been looking for: power.
Here are a few videos taken at the World Wood Bat Association's World Championship in Jupiter, Fla., last week.
Rowdy Tellez, 1b, Elk Grove (Calif.) HS
Tellez was mentioned in a few blog posts during the event because he mashed. Over his six games at the event, Tellez went 5-for-12 with three doubles and a triple. He drew nine walks and did not strike out at all.
JUPITER, Fla. — Three middle infielders helped themselves out this week at Perfect Game's World Wood Bat Championship and all three have relatives to look up to as players.
Edwin Diaz, ss, Martinez HS, Vega Alta, P.R.
For the second-straight year, there's a prospect in Puerto Rico named Edwin Diaz. Last year's version was a lanky fireballer, but this year it's a slick-fielding shortstop with a father by the same name who spent 13 years in professional baseball, including a couple cups of coffee in the big leagues with the Diamondbacks in 1998 and 1999.
Diaz attends the same high school as his father—a second-round pick in 1993 by the Rangers—and the school also produced the Molina brothers. He has a lean, wiry build at 6-foot-2 and 175 pounds. He's a righthanded hitter with some bat speed and a gap-to-gap approach.
Playing for the Texas Sun Devils, Diaz went 3-for-12 over four games with a double and a stolen base.
[...] Continue Reading »
JUPITER, Fla. — Mother Nature made it a challenge, but another World Wood Bat Championship has concluded with East Cobb Baseball claiming an 8-2 victory over Chet Lemon's Juice in the event's championship game Monday afternoon.
East Cobb collected nine hits to score its eight runs and got four innings of one-hit baseball from Wesley Jones (Redan HS, Stone Mountain, Ga.). He allowed two runs (one earned), walked two and struck out three. His fastball sat in the 86-89 mph range and he mixed in a sharp 77-79 mph curveball.
Jones is primarily a shortstop and hasn't been pitched in a while, but he earned MVP honors after going 11-for-21 (.524) with four doubles and 10 RBIs in eight games. He walked twice and didn't strike out during the five-day tournament. Jones was surprised he got the start on the mound in the championship, but said he was ready for anything this week.
"I prepared for this and I felt like I had a shot," Jones said. "It's been really fun. There's a lot of talent out here." [...] Continue Reading »
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