LAKELAND, Fla.—Now in its 31st year of existence, the Florida Diamond Club Showcase displays the Sunshine State’s elite high school talent. Some of the most recent participants include major leaguers Tyler Pastornicky, Casey Kelly, and Todd Redman and a remarkable 54 members of the 2012 draft including first-round selections Mike Zunino, Albert Amora, Nick Travieso, and Brian Johnson.
And while high profile talents like Oscar Mercado, Nick Longhi, Brian Navaretto, Taylor Blatch, and Chris Okey made their presence felt throughout the weekend, a relatively unheralded outfielder stole the show in the showcase’s finale on Sunday afternoon.
Josh Greene, a 5-foot-10, 160 pound Forest High (Ocala, Fla.) product went 2-for-4 with a walk to help his North team defeat the East squad 4-1.
“I don’t go to that many showcases,” said Greene. “This is one of my major showcases. The talent here is amazing.”
Despite not being a regular on the showcase scene, the speedy leadoff hitter felt comfortable enough in to start off Sunday’s game with a bunt for hit attempt.
“I just play my own game,” Greene said. “I don’t try and get big and hit home runs because I know that is not me. I’ll try to get a bunt down and keep in the infield to show off my speed. That is probably what I’m here for.”
Even though Greene’s bunt attempt was fielded cleanly and resulted in a pedestrian looking 2-3 in the scorebook, the lefthanded hitting center fielder turned some heads in the process, as he motored down to first base in just under 3.8 seconds.
After drawing a walk and singling up the middle in his second and third plate appearances, Greene flashed plus-plus speed in his fourth trip to the plate when he legged out an infield hit and turned in a home-first split of 3.95 seconds.
Greene did not get many opportunities to flash the leather on Sunday, as the North pitching staff did a good job of keeping the East hitters off balance, but he impressed those in attendance during Saturday’s contest when he came in the make a diving catch in shallow right center field.
And while Greene is currently committed to play baseball at High Point because of his affection for the coaching staff and his fellow recruits, the Ocala native is looking forward to the draft process next spring.
“I definitely would love to get picked in the draft, for obvious reasons,” Greene said. “I mean if it ends up being in a good round and good money then I would definitely take it. I’m good with (attending) college but I’m also ready to get started playing (professional) baseball right away.”
Greene (along with countless other Florida Diamond Club Showcase participants) will get another chance to perform in front of scouts next week, as he is slated to attend the 2012 WWBA World Championship in Jupiter, Fla.
• A trio of Arlington Country Day HS players continued their solid play on Sunday. Brian Navaretto, a 6-foot-3 220 pound catcher, went 2-for-4 with a ground-rule double. Outfielder Iramis Olivecia went 1-for-2 with two RBIs. Shortstop/third baseman Blake Hennessey was 1-for-4 with a RBI.
• Dane Dunning a righthander out of Clay HS (Green Cove Springs, Fla.) allowed one run over three innings. The Florida commit mixed in a 86-91 mph fastball, 78-80 mph changeup, and 73-78 mph curveball.
• Nick Gordon (Olympia HS, Windermere, Fla.), son of reliever Tom Gordon, went 1-for-3 at the plate and threw one scoreless inning. The class of 2014 SS/RHP featured a 88-91 mph fastball and a mid-70s curveball.
• Catcher Chris Okey (Eustis HS) put on a show during Sunday’s batting practice. The Clemson commit peppered the outfield with line drives and smashed a handful of no-doubt home runs into grassy knoll behind the left field fence.