A second round of eight players were announced for the Under Armour All-American Game, powered by Baseball Factory, after the initial 10 were announced in January.
The seventh annual game will be held at Wrigley Field on Saturday, Aug. 16 at 8:05 p.m. EST. This is the first time the game will be played at night. MLB Network will air the game nationally beginning at 9 p.m. EST.
The 36-player roster is selected by a committee of Baseball Factory scouts, chaired by Steve Bernhardt, Executive VP of Baseball at Baseball Factory. Since 2011, the game has also hosted a few players annually from Latin America. The committee will announce additional 18 players throughout the spring and summer to complete roster.
The Under Armour Game has a strong track record of hosting the top players from a draft perspective. Since 2008, 42 first or supplemental first-round picks have played in the game. 2014 will provide a plentiful crop, as many of the potential first-round picks for next month played in the game, including shortstop Nick Gordon, catcher Alex Jackson, shortstop Jacob Gatewood, outfielder Monte Harrison, lefthander Brady Aiken, righthanders Tyler Kolek, Touki Toussaint and Grant Holmes.
This group of eight players is highlighted by a quintet of hard-throwing pitchers, including three lefthanders.
Chris Betts, c, Wilson High, Long Beach, Calif.
Betts has a priority profile as a lefthanded-hitting catcher. He was a hitting standout last summer at the Area Code Games, held across the street from his high school, when he went 4-for-9 with two singles, two doubles and two walks against one strikeout as a 16-year-old. The Tennessee commit has a chance to hit with a line-drive swing path and ability to hit the ball to all fields. His hit tool is presently ahead of his power, but evaluators believe power will come down the road. He has an arm that is at least average and gives him a chance to stick behind the plate. Speed is not a big part of the 6-foot-1, 205-pound Betts’ game, but he does possess present strength and physicality. Betts comes from a powerhouse program that has produced Aaron Hicks, Chase DeJong and Sean Burroughs.
Kyle Dean, of, Poway (Calif.) High
A San Diego commit, Dean is a righthanded-hitting outfielder with a well-rounded skill set. The 6-foot-2, 205-pound Dean has an athletic build with some present strength and room to add more. He has a solid line-drive stroke and a chance to hit. Dean, an Area Code Games participant as an underclassman, is an above-average runner in the 60-yard dash and is a better runner underway. His arm has a chance to be average and play in right field.
Juan Hillman, lhp, Olympia High, Orlando, Fla.
Hillman is next in the pipeline of talent at Olympia High, which produced a pair of supplemental first-round picks in 2012 (righthander Walker Weickel and outfielder Jesse Winker) and another 2012 draftee that received third-round money (outfielder Connor Lien). The school that produced Mariners shortstop Brad Miller will have its first ever first-round pick this year in shortstop Nick Gordon. The lean 6-foot-2, 175-pound Hillman is a quick-armed, athletic lefthander with pitchability and stuff. His fastball sits 88-90, touching 92, his curveball shows the makings of an above-average offering with considerable depth and his changeup is a viable third offering. Hillman has walked only 5.7 percent of hitters faced this season, a testament to his strike-throwing ability. The Central Florida commit is young for the class and will turn 18 right before the draft.
Justin Hooper, lhp, De La Salle High, Concord, Calif.
Hooper comes from an athletic powerhouse that produces professional athletes in many sports including running back Maurice Jones-Drew, guards Jon and Brent Barry and catcher John Baker. He has a body scouts can dream on, at a loose, lean and athletic 6-foot-6, 220 pounds with a quick arm. Hooper starred at the Area Code Games as an underclassman, striking out three without allowing a walk or hit in two innings pitched. His fastball ranged from 88-92 in Long Beach and has taken a significant step forward this spring, sitting 91-94 at times. The uncommitted Hooper’s top secondary offering is his curveball with hard two-plane break.
Anthony Molina, rhp, Somerset Academy, Pembroke Pines, Fla.
Molina, currently a sophomore who will be a rising junior at the UA Game, will be just the eighth underclassman to attend the event. Only three of the underclassmen have been draft eligible, and two went in the first round, while Jackson and Aiken will likely earn that distinction next month. Molina has shown prodigious arm strength for his age. In the fall, Molina touched 93 mph and sat 90, per TrackMan. The 16-year-old has reportedly touched 96 this spring and has fastball life. His top secondary pitch is a curveball that shows considerable potential and tight rotation. Molina has a projectable build at 6-foot-5, 185 pounds and is committed to Miami.
Austin Riley, rhp/if, DeSoto Central High, Southaven, Miss.
Riley is a headlining prospect on a DeSoto team that has been nationally ranked this season and has a 2014 draft prospect in outfielder Clay Casey. He is a strongly built 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds and has drawn comparisons to 2009 Mississippi product David Renfroe (Red Sox; third round) for his athleticism, arm strength and two-way ability. Riley, an East Coast Pro participant as an underclassman, has been 88-91 at times this spring and 90-93 on his best days. He has a curveball that could be an average offering to go with athleticism and strike-throwing ability. Riley has shown potential as a corner infielder with power at the plate.
Thomas Szapucki, lhp, Dwyer High, West Palm Beach
Florida has a depth of prospects for the 2014 draft and 2015 should be no different, with Szapucki as one of the headliners. A 6-foot-2, 190-pound Florida commit, Szapucki has shown considerable arm strength from the left side, touching 94 mph in the fall. His velocity has ranged from 88-91 to 90-93 this spring from a low three-quarters arm slot that produces fastball life. According to evaluators, his delivery works easily and he can feel for spinning a breaking ball. Throwing strikes consistently will be a key for Szapucki and evaluators said he has thrown more strikes this spring.
Kyle Tucker, of, Plant High, Tampa
The younger brother of former Florida Gator and current Astros farmhand Preston Tucker, Kyle’s carrying tool is his lefthanded bat. Tucker has drawn rave reviews as a pure hitter from the left side of the plate with strong bat-to-ball skills. He also has a chance to hit for at least average power, and his combination of power and hitting skills have allowed him to hit more than twice as many home runs (nine) as strikeouts (four) in 104 plate appearances this season. Tucker is a long-striding, gliding runner who plays center field presently and evaluators laud his defensive instincts. Evaluators say the game comes easy to Tucker and he has a chance for five tools to be at least average. The 6-foot-3, 175-pound Florida commit has a frame that will accommodate additional strength gains.