Blue Jays first-round righthander Marcus Stroman coined a term this spring: “Height Doesn’t Measure Heart.”
Ro Coleman knows all about that. For Coleman, the size that matters is not how tall he stands. That must be a relief, since according to his own admission, he tops out at just 65 inches. He’s always been the smallest kid on the team.
What matters the most is just how big his heart is.
It might sound cliché to talk about the smallest player having the biggest heart, but for anyone watching the June 23 game at USA Baseball’s Tournament of Stars between Coleman’s RBI team and the Babe Ruth squad that took them on, nothing could have been truer.
In the top of the 10th inning, RBI had taken a one-run advantage over its opponents. As the players took the field to defend their lead, with runners on first and second because of the international tie-breaker rule, Coleman called his teammates in to discuss the situation at hand and give them a boost of confidence.
The second baseman’s team rallied around him. He impressed the rest of his infield, the crowd, his coach and everyone watching with his motivational skills and his inspiring attitude.
“That was big for him to come up and lead like that,” RBI coach Ernie Radcliffe said. “He’s been like that all his life; a leader. He’s the smallest guy on the team but he has the biggest heart. His leadership skills and qualities are impeccable.”
[...] Continue Reading »
After the Tournament of Stars, USA Baseball announced its first round of cuts for its 18-and-under program. The following 40 players will be evaluated during a trials period that includes two games of the Prospect Classic in which they will be mixed with players from the Collegiate National Team. After those two games, the 18U roster will be cut down to 28 and there will be two games of 18U vs. College.
Willie Abreu, of, Mater Academy, Hialeah, Fla.
Abreu played next to Albert Almora in the outfield last season as has a much more physical build at 6-foot-2 and 195 pounds. He has a lot of strength in his lefthanded swing and showed the ability to catch up to velocity. Abreu will likely be limited to a corner outfield spot, but showed above-average speed in the 60-yard dash (6.79 seconds) and average arm strength. Abreu was a member of the 2011 16-and-under team and is committed to Miami.
Pete Alonso, 1b, Plant HS, Tampa
Alonso, a Florida recruit, has a lot of strength in his 6-foot-3, 212-pound build. He showed he can drive the ball to the opposite field and also showed a strong arm. With his size, Alonso doesn’t get out of the box well, but is a fringe-average runner underway.
Christian Arroyo, ss, Hernando HS, Brooksville, Fla.
Another Florida recruit, Arroyo has an average build at 6 feet and 180 pounds. He has a nice, compact swing and a quick bat. Arroyo played good defense at the event and posted an average run time, clocking in at 6.87 seconds in the 60-yard dash.
Cavan Biggio, 3b, St. Thomas HS, Houston
The son of seven-time all-star Craig Biggio, Cavan is a little bigger than his father at 6-foot-1 and 180 pounds. He also hits from the left side of the plate, where he shows a sweet swing, a keen understanding of the strike zone and some power potential. Cavan profiles best at third base, but also shows the ability to handle second or a corner outfield spot. [...] Continue Reading »
Last summer, Keegan Thompson was a key component of Team USA's 16-and-under gold medal win in the IBAF World Championships in Lagos De Moreno, Mexico. He pitched 14 innings and went 2-0, 1.29 with 18 strikeouts while surrendering just six hits. He made only two appearances in the tournament, but his second was simply dominant. In the gold medal game, he threw a complete game and held Cuba to four hits while walking one and striking out 12. Given his achievement, it's easy to see why he isn't worried about pressure at the Tournament of Stars this summer.
"Last year was kind of hard," Thompson said. "I had a lot of pressure on me because I wanted to make it. This year, I'm a little more settled down and not as nervous as last year."
Thompson pitched a week ago so he had to wait until Saturday to make his first appearance of the event. In three innings of work he allowed one run on three hits. He also walked one and struck out four. He surrendered a leadoff hit to second baseman Nico Giarratano, but it was a bloop single over the shortstop that came off the handle. Thompson proceeded to strike out the side and had a perfect second inning when he induced two groundouts and struck out his fourth batter. He walked one and allowed two hits in the third. A two-out single brought in a run, but Thompson then finished the inning by getting first baseman Zack Collins to fly out. [...] Continue Reading »
The second day of USA Baseball's Tournament of Stars featured some solid pitching and mixed in with some known quantities was Kyle Serrano, the son of Tennessee head coach Dave Serrano. A 6-foot-1, 190-pound righthander, the younger Serrano started the day's final game for NABF—opposite of Chris Oakley, a 6-foot-8, 220-pound righty from New Jersey.
Serrano showed solid arm strength, sitting 88-90 mph and flashed a good changeup in the high 70s with fade. He threw 55 pitches in 2 2/3 innings, allowing two runs on two hits and two walks while striking out two.
"I definitely need to work on staying on top of my pitches," Serrano said. "I'm going to compete as hard as I can on the field. I'm not afraid when I go out there. I work really hard after starts so I can be at my best when I go out there." [...] Continue Reading »
Minnesota will never be confused for a baseball hotbed, but after having a second-round pitcher last year in righthander Mitch Brown from Century High in Rochester, the state looks like it will produce another high pick next June.
Outfielder Ryan Boldt from Red Wing (Minn.) High has been impressive so far on the showcase circuit. Last week at the Perfect Game National Showcase, Boldt showed above-average speed and a sweet lefthanded swing with good bat speed.
Playing in the Metrodome was a thrill for Boldt, who has lived in Minnesota his entire life and roots for the Twins.
"When I found out the Perfect Game National was there, I got pretty excited," Boldt said. "I grew up going to Twins games and they've got their new stadium now. I've only been to it once, but hopefully this year by the end of it I'll go to a couple more games."
Now, Boldt is playing in USA Baseball's Tournament of Stars for the PONY team. The Nebraska recruit got things off to a good start on the first day of the event, by smoking a double into the left-center gap as Cornhuskers head coach Darin Erstad watched from the stands.
[...] Continue Reading »
By John Sandberg
With two state titles already under their belts, it would have been easy for Georgia signee Kyle Carter and his Columbus (Ga.) High teammates to relax in their senior season. Considering that a handful of them were already signed on to play at Division I schools next year, one might expect this team to lack a sense of urgency. As head coach Bobby Howard explained though, that was never really an option.
“The expectations were high,” Howard said. “We were trying to just keep them grounded and challenge them with a really tough schedule and they responded.”
That they did. The Blue Devils finished the season 33-4 en route to a third consecutive Georgia 3-A state championship and No. 2 ranking in the Baseball America/National High School Baseball Coaches Association poll.
Carter added that staying motivated and maintaining that hunger was never an issue for the Blue Devils.
“It was just kind of natural for that team,” Carter said. [...] Continue Reading »
USA Baseball announced Tuesday that its 15-and-under team will not participate in the inaugural 15U World Championships in Chihuahua, Mexico. The decision was made after after discussions with the International Baseball Federation, Mexico's local organizing committee for the event and Major League Baseball's security advisers. The increasing violence in Mexico has led the state department to discourage travel to the region.
Despite not participating in the event, the 15U program will still have workouts and games this summer. A roster of 40 players will travel to Cary, N.C. on August 4. During their week at the National Training Complex, the players will be evaluated by the National Team staff and a 20-man roster will be selected. That team will then travel to the Dominican Republic to play a four-game series against top unsigned prospects from a new league formed by MLB.
The 15U head coach this summer is Tom Meusborn of Chatsworth (Calif.) High. Meusborn won back-to-back Baseball America national championships with Chatsworth in 2003-2004 and had two first-round picks in 2007 in Mike Moustakas (Royals) and Matt Dominguez (Marlins). He was an assistant coach on the 16U National Team that won a gold medal in 2011.
While others were catching an NCAA Regional in the Triangle or working on more draft stuff, I decided to venture over to the home of the Carolina Mudcats to take in Game 1 of the North Carolina 3-A State Championship Series. Pikeville's Aycock High was taking on Weddington High of Matthews and 2013 lefthander Alex Bostic (Weddington) was the starter. Weddington has four players committed to play college baseball that will return next season, including Bostic (Clemson), so this was a chance to see one of the state's top teams and players.
Weddington won 5-3, leaving the Warriors just one game shy of a state title. They scored two in the third inning on a pair of doubles and three more in the fourth with a triple, single and sacrifice fly.
The main attraction was Bostic. He's tall and lean with broad shoulders. He pitches from a high three-quarter arm slot and sat 87-89 mph with his fastball and touched 90. He threw a breaking ball that seemed to shift between a curveball and hard slurve. He didn't always spin either enough, but when he did the curve had some depth to it while the slurve was sharper with a little more tilt. He pitches with a fast tempo and tends to spin off toward third base, which may have been factors in his poor command.
Bostic left the game in the seventh inning with no outs and the bases loaded. The runners ended up scoring and he finished with a line of six innings pitched, two hits, three runs, eight walks and eight strikeouts. In fairness, a double surrendered by reliever David Pope, should have been a sacrifice fly at worst as the left fielder seemed to have lost the ball and then took a very poor route.
In the first inning, Bostic looked amped up as he was rushing his delivery and missing the zone. He surrendered a leadoff walk, sacrifice bunt and stolen base, but escaped the inning unscathed when first baseman Jeremy Schellhorn turned a nifty double play by snaring a hard grounder, stepping on first and throwing home to cut down the runner trying to score.
After that, Bostic went into cruise control for two innings and struck out five consecutive batters, but stumbled in the fourth. He walked the bases loaded, but still escaped with no hits or runs by striking a batter out on a 3-2 breaking ball. He struck out two more in the fifth before experiencing more trouble in the sixth.
"He's got a real good fastball," Weddington head coach Travis Poole said. "I just think he lost his command today and that got him in some trouble. I looked up at one point and they had the bases loaded and hadn't had a hit yet. When he commands the zone, which he normally does, he's pretty good. He's a special kid to have on your team."
Bostic didn't give up hit until the first batter of the sixth inning. Aycock junior outfielder Adam Pate, who is verbally committed to North Carolina, smacked a single to right and advanced to third when the ball got past right fielder Sean Collins. Bostic got two infield outs before walking the bases loaded again, but induced a fly ball to escape once again.
"Some of the pitches I just didn't have a feel for toward the end," Bostic said. "I started leaving everything up and the front side was getting down. I got behind on too many batters and walked way too many people. I just have to slow down and think about what I'm doing wrong, fix my mechanics, work on it when I'm warming up."
After allowing a single and two walks in the top of the seventh, Weddington went to the bullpen. Bostic's runners scored, but the Warriors held on to take Game 1 of the series.
Weddington will be interesting to watch in 2013 with the returning starters and Bostic as the ace, but Collins should garner some attention as well. He is a sophomore committed to Virginia with a very projectable frame. He stands about 6-foot-4 now with lanky limbs, but he has big feet so he figures to fill out with more strength as he matures. He didn't do anything specific in this game that jumped, but just seeing him physically and factoring in his age, makes him worth following.
CONTRIBUTING: Clint Longenecker
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