Baseball America

Everyone Roasts At East Coast


See also: ECPS Top 20 Prospects

WILMINGTON, N.C.–The East
Coast Showcase featured a bevy of the top prospects from the Class of
2007. But not even the 94s and 95s that were flashing on radar guns
could match the heat at UNC Wilmington’s Brooks Field.  

With
temperatures climbing near 99 degrees and heat indices in excess of
105, the four-day showcase wasn’t easy to endure for the players or the
hundreds of scouts and college coaches in attendance. The event, dubbed
the “East Roast Showcase”, has never lived up to that moniker better
than it did this year.

“It’s always hot, but it’s hard to
remember all four days being this intense,” said UNC Wilmington head
coach Mark Scalf, his gray t-shirt drenched with sweat.  

Fortunately,
the talent lived up to expectations, too. An impressive collection of
the nation’s best rising seniors from the eastern half of the country
largely reinforced the perception that this year’s prep class is
potentially one of the of the new millennium.

“It seems like
there’s some good depth in high school and some guys at the top who
have a chance to be front-line major league players,” said a scout with
a National League organization.

The conditions at the East
Coast Showcase took a toll on the position players, as well as the
pitchers, but at week’s end it was the pitching on hand that stood out
the most.

Righthander Michael Main (Deland, Fla. High) entered
the event as the highest ranked player in the class, and he pitched
well in a three-inning outing, but it was clear that he has some
company at the top of the list.  

Righthander Matt Harvey
(Fitch High, Groton, Conn.), was the first pitcher to toe the rubber at
Brooks Field, and he might have been the best. He struck out six in two
innings, sitting near 90 mph, touching 93 mph. The son of a coach,
Harvey’s feel for pitching and secondary stuff are advanced and
refined. He shows an ability to spot his pitches to all four quadrants
of the strike zone, and he overmatched good hitters.

Main was up
to 94 mph, and while his athleticism is superior to Harvey’s, his
delivery isn’t as clean and effortless. Harvey’s fastball command might
be ahead of Main’s as well, as indicated during Main’s outing when he
was touched up for two runs on four hits. He showed deft feel for a
nasty changeup in his second inning, and finished stronger than he
started, leaving for a compelling debate.

“Main had the best
velocity, but is it the best fastball that plays? I wouldn’t say that
without some hesitation,” a scout said. “And Harvey is the same way. I
have seen guys get pretty decent cuts off him. Main threw some good
changeups, so that is going to help his fastball, obviously, but it’s a
good argument: Who pitches with his best fastball?”

Harvey won’t
be the only high school hurler sending scouting directors to the
Northeast next spring. Rick Porcello, a righthander from Seton Hall
Prep (West Orange, N.J.), made his second appearance on a national
stage in less than a week, and was as efficient as any pitcher in
Wilmington. Porcello followed a poor outing at the Cape Cod Classic
four days earlier with two impressive innings. He touched 94 mph and
flashed a 71 mph curve that was among the best at the event.

His
matchup with Derek Dietrich (Saint Ignatius High, Cleveland), who hit a
towering, opposite field home run on the event’s first day, was
memorable. Dietrich fouled off a couple of pitches before Porcello put
him away with a letter-high fastball at 94.

A Canadian righty,
6-foot-7, 225-pound Phillippe Aumont, dovetailed Porcello’s performance
with a dominant one of his own. While his delivery has improved
significantly since the spring, it still requires refinement, but his
command was at least average and his fastball was up to 92.

Lefthanders
Madison Bumgarner (South Caldwell High, Hudson, N.C.) and Jack McGeary
(Latin High, Roxbury, Mass.) also impressed, with Bumgarner matching up
with righthander Jarrod Parker (Norwell, Ind., High) is a showdown of
differing styles.

Parker’s velocity was down from the mid-90s he
flashed earlier in the summer, and he was touched for seven hits in
three innings. He’s lean and athletic, with a good delivery and feel
for his breaking ball and changeup. Bumgarner, 6-foot-5, 220 pounds,
struck out five with a hit in three shutout innings. His delivery and
arm action are exquisite, helping make up for the fact he threw just
one below-average breaking ball in his stint.  

“The one
thing he showed us he could do was pitch off his fastball, and he did
that effectively,” said a crosschecker with a National League club.
“And it looked like if he needed to get some more, he could go get it.

“It’s
so early that he has got to be one of the top guys in the country, at
least the top lefty . . . but eventually he’s going to have to throw (a
usable breaking ball).”

McGeary’s feel for pitching could be the
best in the class. His fastball sits in the mid-80s, but because of his
smooth delivery and athleticism, his upside is apparent.
 
Commitments
to summer league teams precluded three of the top position players from
the East Coast from attending the showcase. Noteworthy was the absence
of outfielders Michael Burgess (Hillsborough High, Tampa) and Jason
Heyward (Henry County High, McDonough, Ga.) and shortstop Justin
Jackson (Roberson High, Asheville, N.C.), leaving the position players
with high-round draft potential thin.

Drew Cumberland (Pace
High, Milton, Fla.), Kentrail Davis (Theodore, Ala., High), Hunter
Morris (Grissom High, Huntsville, Ala.), Danny Rams (Gulliver Prep,
Miami) and John Tolisano (Estero, Fla., High) were among the best
position player prospects on display.

High School | #2007

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