Offense Comes Alive At Wrigley

Another high school event is in the books as the Under Armour All-America Game was held on Aug. 8 at historic Wrigley Field. This was my second trip to Chicago in less than 12 months, but the last time I was here the temperature never broke 10 degrees. While the beginning of the festivities put on by Baseball Factory were rather soggy, the skies cleared and the temperatures reached the 90s for game time on Saturday afternoon.

Held at Wrigley Field for the second straight year, the Under Armour game brings in some of the nation’s top high school prospects and splits them into two teams, Baseball Factory vs. Team One. Its role is more of an all-star game than a showcase, but there is certainly some high end talent on display.

Baseball Factory won the contest 11-6 after building on a 3-2 lead with five runs in the fifth inning. An MVP is selected for each team and this year’s winners were third baseman Nick Castellanos for Baseball Factory and righthander Jameson Taillon for Team One. We’ll have more on the game later but here are couple of quick notes to pique your interest:

• Taillon, a big, strong righty from The Woodlands (Texas) High, sat 94-95 in his one inning of work with a filthy breaking ball that was in the mid-80s. He also managed to strike out the side which included outfielders Chevez Clarke (Marietta, Ga., HS), Deshun Dixon (Jackson, Miss., HS) and infielder Yordy Cabrera (Lakeland, Fla., HS).

• Castellanos (Archbishop McCarthy HS, Southwest Ranches, Fla.) was the driving force behind Baseball Factory’s win. He went 4-for-4 with four doubles, three RBIs, two runs scored and a walk. He hit the ball to all fields, squared it up and also made a very nice play up the third base line to kick the game off.

• Outfielder Trey Griffin (King HS, Stockbridge, Ga.) tied the game in the fourth when he doubled home Castellanos, but then gave Baseball Factory the lead when he caught catcher Jacob Felts sleeping as he stole home when Felts was lobbing the ball back to the pitcher.

• Though he struck out three times in the game, Cabrera showed his raw power by staying back on a Casey Mulholland curveball and driving it out to left-center for a home run.

• Reggie Golden (Wetumpka, Ala., HS) is another raw, athletic outfielder that has big power but can struggle with pitches away. Well, in his last at-bat he got a fastball in and absolutely crushed it to left-center, just missing leaving the stadium and landing on Waveland Avenue by only a couple of feet.

• Stetson Allie, a third baseman and righthander from St. Edward Prep in Lakewood, Ohio had an impressive BP session and faced Castellanos in the derby finals. He didn’t stand out at the plate in the game and had an error at third, but he did get on the mound where his fastball ranged from 92-97 mph.