The 2012 High School Preview is live on BaseballAmerica.com so now is as good a time as any to look at some interesting tournaments and games for the season. Just like we’ve done the past two seasons, below is a list of events and matchups that should attract plenty of spectators—including amateur scouts.
Some of the games simply feature teams that are among the Preseason Top 50 while others pit top draft prospects against each other. Keep in mind that high school baseball easily succumbs to foul weather and pitching rotations are an inexact science so nothing mentioned below is guaranteed.
Selective Recruiting Invitational, March 12-17
This event will take place at various sites in the Miami area. No. 1 Archbishop McCarthy High (Southwest Ranches, Fla.) and No. 24 Columbus High (Miami) are the only participants ranked in the preseason, but it’s worth keeping an eye on American Heritage High (Plantation, Fla.), Coral Springs (Fla.) High, Mater Academy (Hialeah Gardens, Fla.) and Westminster Christian School (Palmetto Bay, Fla.).
American Heritage figures to make a run at the Top 25 during the course of the season and has a Top 100 High School Prospect in shortstop/righthander Brandon Lopez. Draft prospects in the event include outfielders Lewis Brinson (Coral Springs) and Albert Almora (Mater) and third baseman David Thompson (Westminster Christian).
USA Baseball National High School Invitational, March 28-31
This season will mark the inaugural NHSI, an event that is presented by Baseball America and the Town of Cary and will be played at USA Baseball’s National Training Complex. We will preview this event more as the date gets closer but ranked participants include: No. 2 Bishop Gorman High (Las Vegas), No. 3 Carroll High (Corpus Christi), No. 4 Harvard-Westlake High (Studio City, Calif.), No. 5 Parkview High (Lilburn, Ga.), No. 6 Mater Dei High (Santa Ana, Calif.), No. 8 Oxford (Ala.) High, No. 11 Orange (Calif.) Lutheran High, No. 18 Gulliver Prep (Pinecrest, Fla.), No. 21 Washington High (New York), No. 22 Highlands Ranch (Colo.) High and No. 47 Russell County High (Seale, Ala.).
Anaheim Lions Tournament, March 31-April 4
A mainstay in Southern California, the Anaheim Lions Tournament attracts some of the area’s most competitive programs and even gets some good out-of-state participants as well. This year’s schedule includes two ranked teams with No. 40 Jesuit High (Carmichael, Calif.) and No. 43 North HS, Riverside, Calif. Scouts should flock to this event to see righthanders Shane Watson (Lakewood, Calif.) High and Kieran Lovegrove (Mission Viejo, Calif., High), lefthander Cole Irvin (Servite, Calif., High) and third baseman Trey Williams (Valencia High, Santa Clarita, Calif.).
For a taste of 2013, keep an eye on Campolindo (Moraga, Calif.) and Lakewood. Campolindo already has a handful of Division I signees and could be a Top 25 team next season while Lakewood has junior J.P. Crawford, who has been the starting shortstop since he was a freshman.
Hard 9 National Classic, April 9-12
The National Classic has had several sponsors over the years, but it has always been a marquee event in the spring. No. 7 Spanish Fork (Utah) High and No. 23 James River High (Midlothian, Va.) are the top teams in the event, but face stiff competition. Co-host El Dorado High (Placentia, Calif.) has a very strong middle infield with Chris Rivera and Seve Romo. Both are shortstops by trade and prospects in the 2013 class. El Dorado also has lefthander Kyle Twomey, who is committed to Southern California. Bishop Amat High (La Puente, Calif.) won the event in 2011 and returns to defend its title. Scouts will certainly follow the Lancers’s progress as they evaluate third baseman Rio Ruiz’s status as a top prospect for the 2012 draft. They’ll also get to see lefthander Nathan Kirby (James River) and righthander Kayden Porter (Spanish Fork).
Archbishop McCarthy High @ Columbus High, Feb. 24
The defending national champions start their title defense on top of the rankings, but face a tough schedule that includes No. 24 Columbus. A bonus would be if righthander Nick Travieso takes the hill. A Miami signee, Travieso has a heavy low-90s fastball and is No. 53 on our Top 100 Draft Prospects.
Oxford High vs. Spain Park High, Hoover, Ala., Feb 25
The Yellow Jackets have righthander/first baseman Tucker Simpson and outfielder Matthew Goodson while Spain Park boasts shortstop Mikey White. This is a good early-season matchup for area scouts to see a few guys in one place.
Mater Dei High vs. Bishop Amat High, March 1
Outfielder Ty Moore is Mater Dei’s top prospect for 2012, but the Monarchs also have catcher Jeremy Martinez, who is a top prospect for 2013. This will be a good chance for scouts to see Bishop Amat’s Ruiz go up against a tough opponent.
Gulliver Prep vs. Mater Academy, March 3
The Raiders are ranked and have a few solid draft prospects while Mater Academy has potential first-round pick Albert Almora patrolling center field.
Archbishop McCarthy High vs. Westminster Christian School, March 12
Westminster Christian is known for having a powerful offense so it’ll interesting to see if Travieso or another member of the Mavericks’ pitching staff can silence a potent lineup. It could also be a good test for Westminster Christian third baseman David Thompson.
Parkview High vs. Columbus (Ga.) High @ West Georgia, March 12
Parkview starts the season at No. 5 after winning a 5-A state title in Georgia. Columbus couldn’t quite crack the preseason rankings, but is looking for a third straight 3-A title in the state and always seems to find a way into the Top 25. This team will also get some draft attention with first baseman Matt Olson (Parkview), lefthander/first baseman Kyle Carter (Columbus) and J.T. Riddle, who plays shortstop for Columbus, but projects as a third baseman at the next level.
Mountain Pointe High, Phoenix @ Hamilton High, Chandler, Ariz., March 13
Mountain Pointe begins the season at No. 12 despite losing a good bit of power from its lineup. Hamilton has third baseman Mitch Nay, No. 55 among our early High School Top 100, and could be a factor in the 2013 Top 25—if not sooner.
Jesuit High, Tampa vs. Gulliver Prep, March 17
This contest lived up to expectations last season with Gulliver Prep taking down Jesuit with a walk-off hit in the 10th inning. Jesuit was ranked No. 3 at the time while Gulliver was No. 11. Both teams could be in the top 15 for another showdown in 2012. Righthander Lance McCullers Jr., a potential first-round pick, got the start last season and could be called upon again. However, both teams are loaded with talent so this game is a must-watch no matter who starts.
Oxford High @ Cullman (Ala.) High, March 17
If righthander Keegan Thompson gets the start for Cullman, it will pit a top arm against Simpson and Goodson. Thompson is a 2013 shortstop/righthander and dominated international lineups for Team USA last summer.
Mater Dei High vs./@/vs. Orange Lutheran High, March 19, April 25, 27
These two powerhouses are among the Preseason Top 25 and in the same conference, the Trinity League, and could see each other an additional two times when you factor in the NHSI and postseason.
Calallen High, Corpus Christi vs./@ Moody High, Corpus Christi, March 20, April 14
In 2007 these teams drew 18,000 fans in a three-game playoff series and bested that mark with 25,000 fans attending the 2009 series. Those games were played at Whataburger Field, the home park for the Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks. Neither high school is likely to hold crowds of that size, but expect a large turnout and raucous atmosphere.
Archbishop McCarthy High vs. Jenks (Okla.) High, March 21
Jenks High checked in at No. 32 in the preseason rankings, but also has junior righthander Thomas Hatch. He broke out at the Breakthrough Series last summer and should be an interesting arm to watch for the 2013 draft.
Archbishop McCarthy High vs. Florida Christian School, Miami, March 23
The Patriots are well coached and always present a challenge whether or not they have top-of-the-line prospects. Shortstop Edgar Michaelangeli and outfielder Julian Abreu may only get mild draft attention, but they are both committed to D-I schools and should be very good college players.
Parkview High @/vs. Grayson High, Loganville, Ga., March 23, April 13
Parkview will provide a good challenge for Grayson’s junior class, which has a few D-I signees already including outfielder Austin Meadows. Meadows is among the top prospects for the 2013 draft class, was a big part Team USA’s 16-and-under gold medal in 2011 and recently committed to Clemson.
Gulliver Prep vs. American Heritage @ Florida International, March 24
Just a couple days before they head north to participate in the NHSI, these two Florida powers will face off at FIU.
Archbishop McCarthy High vs. Gulliver Prep, April 13
Gulliver Prep has shortstop Adrian Marin, catcher Chris Chinea and third baseman Eric Neitzel to watch for the draft. The Raiders are also No. 18 in the preseason rankings. This should be one of Florida’s better matchups for the 2012 season.
Parkview High @/vs. Brookwood High, Snellville, Ga., April 14, April 23
This is one of the better rivalries in Georgia and expect to see Brookwood righthander Luke Sims get a shot at the Panthers at least once. Sims is a potential early-round pick in the draft and sits in the low 90s with his fastball. If they advance far enough in the winner’s bracket, these two teams could face off a couple weeks earlier in the NHSI.
Memorial High, Houston vs. The Woodlands (Texas) High, April 14
The Woodlands has had two top arms to watch the past two seasons in righthanders Jameson Taillon and Bryan Brickhouse. The Highlanders don’t have a guy on the same level this season, but have one of the country’s top programs so matching up with No. 13 Memorial should make for a good game.
Gloucester Catholic High, Gloucester City, N.J. vs. Don Bosco Prep, Ramsey, N.J. May 6
This game’s location is to be determined, but has two of the Northeast’s better teams facing off for Garden State bragging rights. Gloucester Catholic has a BA national title in it’s history while Don Bosco finished behind American Heritage in 2008. Scouts may not be jockeying for a spot behind the plate in this one, but there is at least a dozen D-I players between these two teams.
In honor of Jim Callis, we’ll shift to a lightning round to highlight some prospect matchups…
Houston Christian High vs. Ball High, Galveston, Texas @ Lee High, Baytown, Texas, March 1
Righthander Mitchell Traver vs. outfielder Nick Williams
Allatoona High, Ackworth, Ga. vs./@ Ringgold (Ga.) High, March 19, April 13
Righthander Clate Schmidt vs. lefthander Matthew Crownover
Oak Mountain High, Birmingham vs. Spain Park @ Hoover High, March 20
Outfielder David Dahl vs. Edwards
Pace (Fla.) High vs. North Florida Christian, March 23
Shortstop Addison Russell vs. 2014 lefthander Carson Sands
Ayala High, Chino Hills, Calif. @/@/vs. South Hills High, West Covina, Calif., March 23, April 25, 27
Outfielder Vahn Bozoian vs. catcher C.J. Saylor
Mountain Home (Ark.) High @ Jacksonville (Ark.) High, March 27
Righthander Trey Killian vs. outfielder D’vone McClure
Lakewood @/vs. Wilson High, Long Beach, March 30, May 2
Watson and Crawford vs. righthander Chase De Jong
Grayson vs./@ Brookwood, April 4, 25
Meadows vs. Sims
Butler High, Vandalia, Ohio vs. Solon (Ohio) High @ Midland Field, Amelia, Ohio, April 21
Righthander Taylore Cherry vs. Lefthander Matt Smoral
Acadiana High, Lafayette, La. @/vs. Barbe High, Lake Charles, La., April 21, May 3
Catcher Stryker Trahan vs. shortstop Gavin Cecchini
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