Taillon, Wolters Shine At Aflac
Harper's three K's stand out in San Diego
SAN DIEGO—For the first time in the series' history, the Aflac All-America Game resulted in a tie between the East and West teams. Neither team could scratch across a winning run and the game was called after 10 innings.
The West got on the board early when middle infielder Tony Wolters and outfielder Josh Sale reached base and eventually scored on a wild pitch. The East cut the lead to 2-1 in the fourth and then took the lead in the eighth after shortstop JaCoby Jones' RBI single and outfielder Michael Arencibia scampered home on a wild pitch.
Wolters, the game's MVP, tied the game 3-3 with a two-out RBI triple. In extra innings, each team started with the bases loaded and one out. Both scratched across one run in the 10th before the game was called.
This year's event was dominated by two distinctly different elite high school baseball prospects: righthander Jameson Taillon and Wolters.
Taillon is a near perfect pitching prospect while Wolters is noticeably unimpressive in build and tools, but inevitably impressive in results. He also received the award for top defensive player at the opening banquet.
Taillon (The Woodlands, Texas, HS) is solidly constructed at 6-foot-7, 230 pounds, and he comfortably draws comparisons to Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg. He easily fires a blistering 93-to-95 mph fastball that peaks at 96. He adds a wicked 82 mph curve and a vicious breaking ball that is already a plus big league pitch.
After registering one strikeout in a quick first inning, Taillon breezed through the second frame, striking out the side while barely breaking a sweat.
"Nooooo contest," a scout said behind home plate.
Wolters (Rancho Buena Vista HS, Vista, Calif.) looks more like the neighborhood paper boy than a top prospect. Charitably listed at 5-foot-10 and 165 pounds, Wolters has a squat build and possesses no standout tools. As an example, he ran the 60-yard dash in a pedestrian 7.15 seconds in the SPARQ testing at the Area Code Games.
Wolters won't hit 500-foot homers, get down the line in 3.9 seconds, or throw a 95 mph heater. As Leo Durocher once said of Eddie Stanky, "All the little (guy) can do is win."
But he is an electric player that makes things happen and has subtle strengths. A lefthanded-hitting middle infielder who profiles as a second baseman in pro ball, Wolters is an intelligent hitter with an advanced approach. He ripped an outside 92 mph fastball to left field for a hit early in the game. In the ninth, Wolters smartly dropped the bat head down to catch up to a low inside pitch, driving it down the right-field line for a triple which tied the score.
"It's almost for the best that we tied," Wolters said. "All of these guys are great players. We're all winners."
Defensively, Wolters reads the ball coming off the bat unusually well, permitting him to add crucial steps to his lateral range. He exhibits quality fielding actions, an accurate arm and the ability to make difficult and routine plays efficiently and without flash.
Aside from the game, players received major league treatment with a lounge at the hotel as well as pro style workouts in the days leading up to the contest. They also took a chance to give back to the community by visiting with cancer patients at Rady Children's Hospital.
"It was a great experience not only to play in the game, but to be able to do something to give back to the community," Wolters added.
For those who watched the game on television, it's important to note that the radar gun readings shown on the broadcast were quicker than the readings obtained by scouts sitting behind home plate. The scoreboard readings were also inconsistent, tending to be rich early in the game and low later on.
With that in mind, several pitchers stood out in the game. They were all righthanders, but that's only because there were no southpaws on the rosters.
Stetson Allie (St. Edward HS, Olmstead Falls, Ohio), a mature-framed righty, comfortably fired a 93-95 mph fastball and added an 85 mph changeuo and sharp 80 mph slider. Allie is a definite candidate to go in the first round in 2010.
Kevin Gausman (Grandview HS, Centennial, Colo.) was an Area Code standout with his tall and highly projectable frame. He showed a 90-95 mph fastball with terrific natural sink.
Dylan Covey (Maranatha HS, Pasadena, Calif.) hails from a tiny private school and has big-time stuff. He mixes a 91-94 mph fastball with an 83 mph slurve, 81 mph change and 77 mph curve effectively. Covey struck out two in his perfect inning of work.
Son of 1987 National League Cy Young award winner Steve Bedrosian, Cameron Bedrosian (East Coweta HS, Senoia, Ga.) is shorter and more compact than his dad. Bedrosian struggled with his command, but still displayed a 92-93 mph fastball, 79 mph change, 75 mph curve and an excellent 88 mph spiltter. Bedrosian ended with a line of one inning pitched, two walks, two strikeouts and two earned runs, but that was more a cause of nerves than pure stuff.
Contributing: Nathan Rode