Under Armour announced the date and initial players for the 2014 Under Armour All-America Game, powered by Baseball Factory. The seventh annual game will be held at historic Wrigley Field in Chicago on Saturday, Aug. 16. The game will again be aired on MLB Network.
The first Under Armour All-America Game was played in 2008, and five classes have graduated through the draft process. The game has hosted 42 first- or supplemental first-round picks. Of the 171 draft-eligible players in the history of the game, 88 percent (151) have been drafted. Eight first-round picks from the 2013 draft played in the game, which is the highest total to date. Fourteen other players were selected in the top 10 rounds.
Many of the top prospects in baseball have played in the game, including Byron Buxton, Jameson Taillon, Clint Frazier and Kevin Gausman.
Players are selected by a committee of Baseball Factory scouts, who will announce additional players throughout the spring and summer to complete the 36-player roster. Since 2011, the game has also hosted a few players annually from Latin America.
"Our scouting network continues to scour the globe in search of the best high school players to represent Under Armour and Baseball Factory in the Under Armour All-America Game," said Steve Bernhardt, Executive VP at Baseball Factory and Chairman of the Under Armour All-America Game Selection Committee. "We are extremely excited to announce these initial players as we begin the process of selecting the 2014 roster. A talented group of players, we expect this class to continue the tradition of success that Under Armour All-Americans have found in previous years. We try as a committee to do our due diligence and evaluate players properly, and certainly with the way that the game has gained momentum it has helped us to have the option to invite who we want to have them come and perform."
The Under Armour Game is the centerpiece of the four-day event. A workout day will be held prior to the day of the game, allowing scouts to evaluate the players during infield-outfield and batting practice. The workout day will host the initial rounds of the home run derby, with the final rounds occurring in Wrigley Field before the game.
Three of the initial players committed to the Under Armour Game were in attendance for the Under Armour All-America Preseason Tournament in Tucson, Ariz., which was held over the weekend.
Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3b/1b, Concordia Lutheran HS, Tomball, Texas
The 6-foot-1, 207-pound Hayes is a corner infielder with a strong build, instincts for the game and potential with the bat. He has an easy righthanded swing, contact ability and power potential. At the Area Code Games as an underclassman in August, Hayes hit .364/.500/.545 in 14 plate appearances with more walks (three) than strikeouts (two) against older competition. His natural position is third base, where he has good hands and arm strength. Hayes has two-way potential, as he touched the upper 80s with his fastball on Sunday. The Tennessee commit is the son of Charlie Hayes, who had a 14-year major league career as a third baseman.
“Last year I did a tryout but I was young so I didn't think that I was going to make it to the Under Armour Game,” Hayes said. “But I made it a goal for next year and put it on the top of my list. I watched the game on television this year and it looked like so much fun. I know Stone Garrett (a 2013 participant) because I played with him on the Area Code Games team, and he really enjoyed the game.”
Sati Santa Cruz, rhp, Sahuarita (Ariz.) HS
The 6-foot-3, 225-pound Santa Cruz has a large, physical frame and strong build featuring very broad shoulders and a powerful lower half. Santa Cruz, who touched 93 mph last fall, sat 90-91 in the first inning of his outing Saturday with minimal effort in his delivery. His heavy fastball has sink and run from a low three-quarters arm slot and groundball potential. The Arizona commit showed two breaking balls, a 72-74 mph curveball and a slider in the high 70s, and offers a changeup.
“He has the youth, special arm and powerful body that you can envision him throwing 96 or 97 someday,” a scout said.
The powerful Santa Cruz, who was a wrestler until he wanted to focus more time on baseball, is young for his class and also plays basketball.
“I couldn't believe it when I heard I was going to be an Under Armour All-American,” Santa Cruz said. “It is such a blessing. I have not played on a big league field before, so I am tremendously excited.”
Nicholas Shumpert, ss/2b, Highlands Ranch (Colo.) HS
Shumpert is an athletic middle infielder with good instincts and a well-round skill set. He has feel to hit and quick hands at the plate, as well as gap power from his righthanded swing. Shumpert, a veteran of the showcase circuit, was one of the standout defenders of the Area Code Games as an underclassman, making a couple of highlight-reel plays with ease. He has good body control and hands to go with an average arm. The 17-year-old Shumpert is committed to Kentucky, where his father, Terry, attended before becoming a second-round pick and 14-year major league veteran.
“I was very excited because playing in the Under Armour All-America Game is something I have wanted to do since I first heard about the event when I was in eighth grade,” Shumpert said. “It was one of my main goals, and I have watched it the last few years. My friend Justin Williams was in it and this year a lot of my friends from the Marucci Elite team (Monte Harrison, Alex Lange, Greg Deichmann) played in it and they loved it.”
Additional players for the game will likely be released shortly.