JUCO, Puerto Rican players making some noise

The draft is still 116 days away. Despite the fact that high school and Division I teams haven’t started playing yet (with the D-I start date a week from today), players are starting to make some noise.

• Fifty players convened in Compton last weekend for the annual Southern California Invitational showcase. Catcher Cameron Garfield of Murrieta Valley High in Murietta, Calif., stole the show for players in the 2009 class and Austin Wilson looked like a probable first-rounder for next year’s class.

• Whie the D-I baseball season doesn’t kick off until Feb. 20, junior college baseball is already underway. The second-annual JUCO National Classic took place Feb. 6-8 in Marianna, Fla. and featured some of the country’s best junior college programs. The host school, Chipola (Fla.) JC, was ranked No. 2 in the country by the NJCAA and the tournament also featured Walters State (Tenn.) JC (3), San Jacinto (Texas) (5), College of Southern Nevada (16) and St. Petersburg JC (NR). The St. Petersburg Titans will likely move into the rankings after advancing to the final game in the tournament, even though they ultimately lost 3-2 to Chipola—which won all four of their games on the weekend.

CCSN is hosting a tournament of their own, the 10th annual Coyote Classic, Feb. 12-15 that features San Jac, St. Petersburg, Chipola and Fullerton (Calif.) JC. Look for some in-depth JUCO coverage at baseballamerica.com next week.

• It’s a great year for baseball in Puerto Rico. That explains why about 90 scouts, including 22 scouting directors, migrated south in late January for a Puerto Rican baseball showcase. Baseball bloodlines were on display as the game featured Carlos Beltran’s nephew, Reymond Fuentes, Ruben Sierra’s son, Ruben Sierra Jr., Raul Rivera, whose brother, Saul, pitches for the Washington Nationals, and more. Click here for scouting reports on Puerto Rico’s top players.

• Also don’t miss our 2009 College Preview or the result of the Andy Oliver lawsuit.