Under Armour has announced the date and initial player selections for the 2013 Under Armour All-America Game, powered by Baseball Factory. The game will be played Saturday, Aug. 24, at Chicago's Wrigley Field and it will air live on MLB Network at 2:30 p.m. EST.
Many top prospects have played in the game, including Jameson Taillon, Bubba Starling and Byron Buxton, who were all selected in the top five picks of the draft. Seven players from the 2011 contest were drafted in the first round in the 2012 draft. Brady Aiken, Alex Jackson and Gareth Morgan will become the first players in the game's history to be two-time participants when they take the field this summer.
In addition to playing in the All-America Game, players will participate in other activities as part of a four-day weekend. A formal workout will take place for amateur scouts to watch and the players will receive instruction from major league players while also giving back to the community by helping with a youth clinic for Chicago-area kids. As in previous years, there will be a home run derby with the preliminary rounds taking place after the workout and the finals coming before first pitch at Wrigley.
The Under Armour All-America Game showcases 36 of the best high school players in the country, who are selected by a committee of Baseball Factory scouts. The players will be split into two teams for an American vs. National matchup.
“Every year we scout worldwide to find the best high school players to represent Under Armour and Baseball Factory in the Under Armour All-America Game,” said Steve Bernhardt, Executive Vice President of Baseball Factory and Chairman of the Under Armour All-America Game Selection Committee. “We are thrilled to choose these nine initial players as we begin the process of filling the 2013 roster. An extremely talented group, we expect this class to meet or surpass the success that Under Armour All-Americans have found in previous years.” [...] Continue Reading »
As I mentioned on Twitter late last night, my flight out of Tucson prevented me from talking to the players I wanted yesterday, but here are some final highlights from the Under Armour All-America Preseason Tournament, powered by Baseball Factory:
• While most of the players to watch in this event were underclassmen, there were a few seniors that should be worth watching as we approach the 2013 draft. Righthander Kacy Clemens (Memorial High, Houston) stood out on the first day and a couple lesser-known names had intriguing outings on the second. Nicholas Green, a righthander from Fountain-Fort Carson High (Fountain, Colo.), has a skinny frame at 6-foot-1, 160 pounds. He has a quick, loose arm, a short stride and upright delivery. He sat 86-88 mph early and settled into the mid 80s toward the end of his outing. He has a curveball in the low 70s that has potential, but he needs to command it better. His fastball also gets some good armside sink. [...] Continue Reading »
TUCSON — Many in baseball will argue that there is no offseason, but there certainly are high and low tides. Nearly 400 players from across the country have descended on the Kino Sports Complex in Tucson, Ariz., for the Under Armour All-America Preseason Tournament, powered by Baseball Factory. However, it's January so if you're looking for big velocities on the radar guns or majestic batting practice sessions, you're being unrealistic. Everyone is either coming off another sport's season or simply in the early stages of getting in shape for the spring. This event gives evaluators a glimpse of players that should be followed as the year progresses and a select few will get the opportunity to participate in the Under Armour All-America Game at Wrigley Field in Chicago.
One of the players that is clearly on the radar is Ryan Castellani, a junior righthander from Brophy Prep College Prep in Phoenix, about 120 miles northwest of Tucson. He stands at 6-foot-4, 190 pounds, with long legs and room to add strength. Innings at this event consist of five batters, no matter the outcome, and Castellani pitched two innings for the American team. He threw about 40 pitches and sat 87-88 early before settling into the mid 80s. [...] Continue Reading »
Rich Hofman, a longtime and successful high school coach in Florida, is leaving his post as head coach at Nova Southeastern's University School in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., to be the athletic director and baseball coach at a new charter school in Miami. The school, Sports Leadership and Management Charter High School (SLAM), will open this fall and compete at the 2-A level. SLAM will feature a curriculum that provides students with the basic courses as well as ones that that are related to careers in sports such as physical therapy, sports management, or nutrition.
Hofman passed a milestone last season by claiming his 1,000th career victory. He made a name for himself as the head coach at Miami's Westminster Christian Academy, where he coached Alex Rodriguez and Doug Mientkiewicz and won Baseball America National Championships in 1992 and 1996. Hofman began at Westminster Christian in 1969 and left after the 1998 for Westminster Academy (Ft. Lauderdale). He won state championships in his first two years before moving on to Piper High (Sunrise, Fla.). After two years at Piper he stepped away from coaching. He returned with University in 2010.
USA Baseball has announced Rob Cooper as manager of the 2013 18-and-under National Team, which will compete in the IBAF AAA/18U World Championships at a date and location yet to be determined. Cooper is the head coach at Wright State and previously served on the coaching staff for the 2007 and 2009 Collegiate National Teams.
"I'm extremely honored to be given this opportunity," Cooper said in a release. "One of my career goals was to manage a USA national team and have the chance to play for a gold medal. This is going to be my career highlight and I am very excited about it."
Cooper is set to begin his ninth season leading the Raiders and they are looking to continue their streak of seven consecutive seasons with 30 or more wins while adding to the 261 victories during his tenure. Under his direction, Wright State has won three Horizon League championships and earned a berth in the NCAA tournament in those seasons.
"Rob Cooper's extensive background as a successful college head coach and member of our 2007 and 2009 Collegiate National Teams' coaching staffs makes him a perfect fit to be the field manager for the 2013 18U National Team," team director Brant Ust said. "Additionally, as a coach at last summer's inaugural 17U National Team Development Program, Rob had the opportunity to become familiar with some of the players who will ultimately comprise the Tournament of Stars and 18U National Team player pools. USA Baseball is excited to have Rob as the manager who will guide the 18U National Team in defending the gold at this year's IBAF 18U World Championships."
Team USA's 18U squad won gold at the World Championship last September under the direction of former World Series MVP and current Linfield (Ore.) College head coach Scott Brosius.
The second annual USA Baseball National High School Invitational, presented by Baseball America, is set for March 27-30 and the tournament field is made up of 16 teams from 10 different states. The event will be held at the USA Baseball National Training Complex and is hosted by the Town of Cary with the The Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance partnering as a presenting sponsor too.
Returning from the inaugural event are Mater Dei High (Santa Ana, Calif.) and Harvard-Westlake High (Studio City, Calif.), the two teams from last year's inaugural championship game that was decided in extra innings. Mater Dei trailed 2-1 going into the seventh, but tied it up on a home run and walked off in the eighth to claim the first NHSI title.
Just like last year's event, the outcome will have a strong effect on the national rankings while also providing scouts a look at some top draft prospects in highly competitive scenarios. Nine players from Baseball America's Top 100 High School Prospects will compete, including four in the top 20 and the country's top overall player in outfielder Austin Meadows (Grayson HS, Loganville, Ga.) as well as the top righthander—Jordan Sheffield (No. 7 overall; Tullahoma, Tenn., HS).
Listed in alphabetical order below is the tournament field with a short capsule on each team as well as a list of the top 10 prospects that will be at the event.
Bingham HS, South Jordan, Utah
It’s hard to argue against Bingham’s case as the top program in Utah and the Miners expect to be in the thick of a state championship run yet again. They finished fourth in the state in 2012 with a 24-6 record and first-place finish at the USA Classic in Tennessee. Head coach Joel Sato has been at the helm since 1993 and has a record of 362-162.
“As in past years, we’ll be expecting the remaining senior class to step into leadership and playing roles,” Sato said.
The Miners have 20 state championships in their history, with at least one title in eight different decades. They’re also familiar with venturing outside state lines to play having played in out of state tournaments since 1981—most notably the USA Classic, Hard 9 National Classic in California and Big League Dugout National Invitational in Arizona. Last year’s team boasted righthander Brady Lail, an Arizona commit that signed with the Yankees as a 12th-rounder for $225,000. [...] Continue Reading »
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