While most sports fans were focused on the Super Bowl yesterday, more than 60 scouts were huddled in a warehouse in McCook, Ill., for the 11th-annual Super 60 Pro Showcase presented by Prep Baseball Report. The event featured 60 of the best players from the Upper Midwest.
"It's kind of a catch-22 for me," an American League area scout said about the event. "It's important to see these guys, to give you a little bit of an idea of who's gone forward, who's gone backwards, that type of stuff . . . but these kids aren't ready. A lot of these kids are still playing other sports and there's an inch of snow still on the ground."
The best player at the event was shortstop Connor Heady from North Oldham High in Goshen, Ky. The Kentucky recruit is a known commodity to scouts, as he was at all the major showcase events this summer and played on Team USA's 18-and-under squad, as well.
Heady, who ranked No. 78 on Baseball America's High School Top 100 list this fall, is an above-average runner and turned in a 6.70 60-yard dash time at the event. While he doesn't have tools that jump out to scouts, he's a solid player across the board who stands out for his instincts and consistency.
"Connor is the same guy he was during the summer," the scout said. "What separates him from some of the other guys is that he's toolsy, but he's also very steady. He's got soft, sure hands and a good, accurate arm. He's got a great feel for the bat head. To me, he looked good. He looked just like he did last summer and he looked like he's on pace for everything in the spring."
The player who made the biggest name for himself at the event was righthander Cory Wilder from Shawnee High in Lima, Ohio.
Wilder's fastball sat in the 92-94 mph range with good downward plane and he flashed a solid breaking ball that showed depth, but still needs better consistency. His delivery was on-line to the plate and he showed a clean arm action and the ability to repeat his mechanics. Wilder, who plays for the Ohio Elite travel team in the summer, didn't make the East Coast Pro or Area Code Games teams. His signability could be a question mark, as he is a very good student and is committed to North Carolina State.
"He was awesome," the scout said. "It was a good day for him, that's for sure. He was kind of a sleeper and then with all those guys there, he kind of jumped out of nowhere and now everybody's talking about him."