On Tuesday, players from the East, Southeast, and parts of the Midwest will come together for the 2017 East Coast Pro. Formerly known as the East Coast Pro Showcase, the event no longer uses the word "showcase" because what ECP is goes beyond what an ordinary showcase entails.
In a showcase, individual players will arrive when it's their turn to play and move on to the next event. At East Coast Pro, all the players spend the week with each other, staying in the same hotels with their teammates as scouts supervise them. Pitchers don't pop in for a day and then take off; even when they're only scheduled to throw once, pitchers stick around for the duration of the event, embracing a team-first culture and simulating what it's like to play professional baseball.
Players are divided into six teams, with each team representing a particular area of the country. Scouts from each area volunteer to organize and coach the teams.
The event is completely run by scouts, with Giants crosschecker John Castleberry leading the charge. Lori Bridges, Sean Gibbs and Rich Sparks each play a key role in organizing the event. East Coast Pro changes venues every few years, but it's always held at the very end of July or the very beginning of August. It's in Tampa again this year, taking place at Steinbrenner Field, the Yankees' spring training home.
Because the teams at ECP are put together by scouts, the event's alumni list is extensive. The rosters at this year's event are loaded with potential future top draft picks.
In the 2017 draft, three of the top 10 picks—MacKenzie Gore (No. 3), Pavin Smith (No. 7), and Jordon Adell (No. 10)—and nine of the top 30 picks were ECP alumni. The event's alumni list includes stars such as Mike Trout and Carlos Correa, as well as premier prospects such as Brendan Rogers and Kyle Tucker.
As the list of star alumni grows, so too does the crowd and the cache of the event. Nearly 500 scouts will attend ECP this year, and the event is sponsored by Adidas, Marucci, and Spalding.
Each team is loaded with top prospects for the 2018 draft. Here's a quick look at each team.
Blue Jays—South Florida and Puerto Rico
The Jays' infield will be particularly strong, with Nander De Sedas, Blaze Alexander, Xavier Edwards, and Raynel Delgado all showing intriguing tools and the potential to stay in the middle of the infield.
Indians—North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Delaware
It'll be hard for the Carolinas to live up to the strength of the 2017 class, but the Indians do have a handful of intriguing, projectable pitchers in Owen White, Justin Jarvis, and Daniel Lloyd.
Marlins—Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi
2018 is shaping up to be a particularly strong year in the Deep South, especially on the mound. The Marlins will be tough to score on with J.T. Ginn, Jaden Hill, Sam Knowlton, Garrett Wade, and Landon Marceaux on the pitching staff.
Orioles—Georgia and North Florida
The Peach State has a historically strong group for the 2018 draft, headlined by catchers Will Banfield and Anthony Seigler, righthanders Ethan Hankins, Kumar Rocker and Cole Wilcox, and lefthander Luke Bartnicki. The Orioles have tooled-up prospects all over the field, and a few pure hitters who could assert themselves as draft prospects this week.
Rangers—New England, New York, New Jersey, Eastern Pennsylvania, Eastern Canada
The Northeast squad has a handful of promising power arms in righthanders Lenny Torres Jr., Tyler Ras, and Ryan Cusick, with lefthanders Brandon Neeck and Steven Hajjar also showing plenty of upside. The Rangers' biggest strength, however, may be their lefthanded bats in the middle of the order—Nick Decker, Grant Lavigne, and Charles Mack all have power.
Royals—Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan, Indiana, Tennessee, Western Pennsylvania
It's a strong year in the Midwest, and the Royals could surprise some people this week. They're strong on the mound with Ryan Weathers, Austin Becker, Jack Perkins and Ethan Smith. The Royals will also do some damage offensively; Bryce Bush has some of the best pure bat speed in the class, and he'll team up with dangerous hitters Nick Schnell, Ryder Green, Miko Rodriguez, Nick Northcut, Tim Borden, Jared Poland, and John Malcom, among others.