LAKELAND, FLA—The second day of action at Joker Marchant Stadium for the East Coast Pro Showcase took place exactly according to the plan. Beginning at 9 a.m., the day was free of interruption and included 12 full hours of baseball. With no rain or sudden power surges, all three games were played on schedule in their entirety. Also, the teams that missed out on taking batting practice and running the 60-yard dash yesterday, were able to do so today.
Billy Hamilton of Taylorsville (Miss.) HS posted the events best time with a 6.53 second dash. Daniel Fields from the University of Detroit (Mich.) Jesuit HS followed closely behind with a time of 6.56 seconds. An interesting time to note is LeVon Washington of Buchholz HS, Gainesville, Fla., registered a time of 6.7 seconds. Washington is thought by many to be the fastest prospect in the 2009 class as he ran a 6.23 60-yard dash at the Perfect Game National Showcase in June. To be fair, Washington’s team ran the 60’s at 9 a.m. this morning when the grass was still wet. If you ask me, this time isn’t indicative of the smooth-running Washington’s actual leg churning ability.
Highlighting the actual games, a few players come to mind as their performances stood out today. In the final game, Bobby Borchering (Bishop Verot HS, Alva, Fla.) displayed a few of his tools that have him considered one of the top prospects in the 2009 class. The scouting report on the 6-foot-4, 200-pound Borchering reads that he is a pro-bodied corner infielder that switch-hits with serious power from both sides and also has a plus-arm in the field. During the evening contest, Borchering was a triple shy of the cycle as he went 3-for-3 with a grand slam. Defensively, while stationed at third base, he made a couple good plays, including one that required a strong throw across the diamond to retire a speedy runner.
Speaking of defense, the afternoon game featured three web gems in the middle of the diamond. The first of which came in the second inning on a ground ball hit in the shortstop hole. Moving to his right, Anthony Gomez (Don Bosco Prep Academy, Nutley, N.J.) backhanded the ball, smoothly gathered his momentum and made a strong throw back across the infield to first base. Gomez has made several good defensive plays at the event.
The other two plays happened within a 10-minute span of each other. In the bottom of the fourth inning, Marcus Stroman from Medford (N.Y.) HS, playing second base, tracked a groundball up the middle, just to the right of the second base bag, making a fully outstretched dive to stop the ball cleanly. He then quickly got to his feet and threw out the batter, Brennan Middleton (Parkview Baptist HS, Baton Rouge, La.), who ran a 4.6 second time from home to first. Ironically enough, Middleton would get his revenge as he made an eerily similar play in the top of the fifth inning. All three plays were big league caliber and drew excited murmurs from the scouts and fans in attendance.
The afternoon game also boasted the days best pitching performance as righthanded starter, David Renfroe (South Panola HS, Batesville, Miss.) pitched four complete innings of nearly perfect baseball. Renfroe retired 12 of the 13 batters he faced with the lone base runner reaching via walk (on a full count). He struck out five during the outing and allowed only one solidly hit ball against him. Renfroe is listed at 6-feet-3, 200-pounds. He is a strong kid with a good arm, hitting 92 mph on the radar gun multiple times. For most of the game, Renfroe’s fastball sat between 90-91 mph with darting life. He also featured a big downer curveball with depth between 73-75 mph that has the makings of a plus-pitch. Renfroe’s third offering is a slider that seems to be a harder thrown version of his curveball as it comes in around 78 mph.
The highest velocity reading from Saturday came from righthander Michael Heller (Cardinal Mooney HS, Bradenton, Fla.) who touched 94 mph once.
The only non-baseball related story from the day was without question the heat. By 10 a.m., the sun was beating down, and it didn’t let up until it was almost time to leave. Sunscreen and multiple bottles of Gatorade (six to be exact) were mandatory.
Tonight, I’m definitely blasting the AC in my hotel room.