Second City Stars

Under Armour All-America game preview




CHICAGO—The first annual Under Armour All-American High School Gaseball Game will make its grand entrance into the summer showcase scene on Sunday in one of Major League Baseball's most endeared ballparks. Formerly held in Wareham, Mass. and known as the Cape Cod Classic, Baseball Factory and Team One have teamed up with a major sponsor to bring 36 of the nation's top rising high school seniors together to play in an All-Star game at Wrigley Field in Chicago. The game is slated to be played at 2:35 EST and will be aired nationally on ESPNU.

The talent at the game on Sunday is an exciting group of 36 players that will undoubtedly impact the 2009 draft in the early rounds. The prospects will be split into two teams—Team One and Baseball Factory—not based on geographical location. Names amongst the rosters are BA's number one prospect from the PG National Showcase, USA Baseball's Tournament of Stars and the Aflac All-American Game lefthanded pitcher Tyler Matzek (Capistrano Valley HS, Mission Viejo, Calif.), BA's No. 1 overall position player prospect center fielder Donovan Tate (Cartersville (Ga.) HS), BA's No. 1 pitching prospect from the East Coast Pro Showcase righthander Zack Wheeler (East Paulding HS, Dallas, Ga.), BA's No. 1 hitting prospect from the Area Code Games outfielder Jacob Marisnick (Riverside (Calif.) Poly HS) and MVP of the Aflac All-American Game outfielder Brian Goodwin (Rocky Mount (N.C.) HS). 

Here is an in-depth guide for what else to watch for on Sunday afternoon:

Watch out Waveland

Bobby Borchering (Bishop Verot HS, Alva, Fla.) was the most powerful hitter at the East Coast Pro Showcase and has the best chance of going deep in the game Sunday. He is a 6-feet-4, 187-pound switch-hitting corner infielder with pop from both sides of the plate and will be playing on the Baseball Factory team.  Cade Kreuter (Hart HS, Newhall, Calif.) also packs some serious raw power and will suit up for the Team One squad. Kreuter is an imposing physical specimen at 6-feet-5, 185-pounds and batting righthanded, uses the leverage from his long limbs to drive balls long and far.

Running Like the Wind-y City


The aforementioned Goodwin and Tate have serious game changing speed as they both run the 60-yard dash in under 6.6 seconds. A lefthanded hitter, Goodwin was clocked at 3.94 seconds from home to first base and Tate 4.15 seconds. Both players are capable of stealing bases on command and also use their speed to track down fly balls in center field. Goodwin will play for the Baseball Factory team and Tate the Team One squad.

Defense on Display

Two of the nation's top defensive shortstops will be on display in Chicago in Deven Marrero (American Heritage HS, Davie, Fla.) and Stephen Perez (Gulliver Prep HS, Miami, Fla.). Marrero is a close relative of the Nationals 2006 first round pick Chris Marrero and started at shortstop for BA's 2008 national high school champions American Heritage HS. Perez was the best consensus best defender at the East Coast Pro Showcase and, like Marrero, combines smooth actions and a strong arm to make tough plays look easy at the one of the game's most premium positions. Also, have your kids keep on eye on catcher Max Stassi (Yuba City (Calif.) HS) from the Baseball Factory team. A third-generation backstop, Stassi puts on a defensive clinic game in and game out. 

Gun Show

Also at the catching position, you'll find the game's most impressive throwing arm in Austin Maddox (Eagle's View Academy, Jacksonvile, Fla.), playing for Team One. Also a pitcher and seen up to 94 mph off the mound, Maddox slings balls around the infield in a manner that makes even the fastest basestealers nervous. Opposing Maddox on the Baseball Factory team will be fellow two-way prospect Mychal Givens (Plant HS, Tampa). Givens has been clocked up to 97 mph off the mound—arm strength that comes in handy when he's not pitching but playing shortstop. Borchering and Tate are also blessed with above-average major league arm strength.

Athletes A-plenty

Tate, Goodwin and Givens are the easy answers in this category. Tate might be the best athlete in the country and is a legitimate two-sport prospect, excelling in both baseball and football. You'll also find another gifted athlete playing in the Baseball Factory outfield. Jacob Morris (Coppell (Texas) HS) is physical specimen with a combination of speed, strength and agility. Also a standout high school football player, Morris took up switch-hitting just over a year ago.

MVP Prediction

Tate and Givens are capable of affecting the game in almost every aspect and are the front-runners for the honor. However, Borchering being a legitimate home run threat makes him a logical candidate. Last but not least, Goodwin must be mentioned here as it would be silly to leave him out after his performance at the Aflac All-American Game.

Dominance on the Mound

Top Righthanders: Jacob Turner (Westminster Christian Academy, St. Charles, Missou.) has been the top righthander all summer and has even drawn steep comparisons to a young John Smoltz. He may have a ways to go to reach that level of performance, but Turner does have a full arsenal of plus-pitches, including a fastball up to 94 mph and a hard slider in the low-80s. He is tall and strong, possessing the perfect pitcher's frame at 6-feet-4, 220-pounds. While Turner pitches for the Team One squad, Wheeler will be oppose him and pitch for Baseball Factory. Listed at 6-feet-4, 170-pounds, Wheeler is tall, projectable and powerful on the mound. His fastball can get up to 94 mph and is complemented by an upper-70s slider.

Top Lefthanders: Matthew Purke (Klein HS, Spring, Texas) and Matzek are both very polished pitchers with low-90s fastballs, above-average breaking balls and advanced pitchability. Purke's low three-quarters arm slot is especially tough on lefthanded hitters and Matzek's mechanics are already professional. Currently, they are the favorites to be the first two high school pitchers drafted in 2009.