Growing up in North Carolina's Triangle area, there are three universities to pledge allegiance to—Duke, North Carolina and North Carolina State. Max Schrock, a shortstop at Raleigh's Cardinal Gibbons High, grew up in Chapel Hill, but if he decides not to sign a pro contract out of high school he will leave his stomping grounds and cross the border into South Carolina to don a Gamecocks uniform.
How does a son of Chapel Hill wind up on the other Carolina's campus?
"I wanted to venture out," Schrock said. "I didn't want to go to college and play in my backyard. I grew up wanting to, but South Carolina is the perfect distance from home."
Schrock doesn't jump out physically and the new Collective Bargaining Agreement will likely hinder teams from buying him out of college, but scouts are still dropping in to see him play. Schrock has shown an ability to handle the bat from the left side in the past and plays up the middle—a combination worth monitoring. He sets up with a slightly open stance and has good bat speed, which produces a little bit of pop. Despite being about 5-foot-8 and 180 pounds, Schrock was one of the few players to hit a home run at the East Coast Pro Showcase in Lakeland, Fla., last August.
An average runner with a solid arm, Schrock fits better at second base as a pro, but could handle shortstop in college.
"He's better than what (South Carolina) has right now," an area scout said of Schrock's defense.
There is still plenty of season left, but Schrock's reputation with the bat isn't a secret and opponents are avoiding giving him anything to hit. In a recent tournament game against Durham's Jordan High, Schrock was hit by a pitch and walked in his first two at-bats, then struck out and grounded out in the next two. He expanded the zone as his frustration grew, getting out in front and swinging at balls out of the zone.
"It's really frustrating," Schrock said. "I'm thinking too much. I need to trust my hands and let the ball get deep. I feel all right. I'm just not seeing a lot to hit. I need to stay patient."
Through 15 games, Schrock was hitting .391/.556/.915 with five home runs, 20 runs and 25 RBIs in 46 at-bats.
A couple other players stood out in the Cardinal Gibbons-Jordan game, two of which were underclassmen. Alex Raburn, a medium-framed senior for Jordan, is committed to North Carolina. He bats righthanded and has an aggressive approach to the game. Normally a third baseman, Raburn is currently playing center field, a move necessitated by an injury to Jordan's regular center fielder. His instincts and hustle allow him cover ground in center and he may profile better there. Playing center now helps with his versatility as he'll likely have to play multiple positions during his career at North Carolina.
At shortstop for Jordan is Wood Myers, who shares some similarities with Schrock, though his bat might not be quite as advanced. Myers, a junior, is also committed to North Carolina and swings from the left side. He has a stockier build than Schrock but is about the same height. He has a very open set-up at the plate and shows good strength. He tends to get a little big at the plate and collapses on the back side, but when he's right he can hit hard line drives to all fields. He also profiles as a second baseman down the road.
Raburn moving to the outfield has put Steven Oakley in the spotlight. Just a freshman, Oakley stands out with a great frame as he is about 6-foot-2 or 6-foot-3 and probably weighs around 180 pounds. There is plenty of room for him to add strength as he matures and he also shows a strong arm from third base, but a scout at the game mentioned he was a little erratic during pregame warmups. He struggled early in the season, but has come on strong lately, going 6-for-14 with two doubles and seven RBIs in his last five games. He should be one to watch for the next four years.
Comments will be monitored prior to being added to the site. Comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be rejected. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed.
We have chosen to open up commenting to everyone, so comment away! We want to hear from each and every one of you! Leave a comment.
About This Blog
Syndicate This Blog
Search This Blog