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2018 Perfect Game All-American Classic: Corbin Carroll Excels

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Corbin Carroll (Photo by Bill Mitchell)

SAN DIEGO—The West Coast has bragging rights for the third straight season in regards to the Perfect Game All-American Classic (PGAAC), winning the 2018 edition of the event at Petco Park over the East Squad, 4-2.

Leadoff hitter Corbin Carroll (Wash.) proved to be the perfect spark plug for the West, going 1-for-1 with a triple and two walks. Thanks to his efforts, Carroll, a UCLA commit, was named the game’s MVP.

Being penciled into the order first for the West on Sunday afternoon meant taking the first at-bat of the game against RHP Daniel Espino (Ga.), who is the hardest-throwing pitcher in the 2019 high school class and touched a game-high 99 mph multiple times while sitting in the 96-98 mph range.

Prior to the PGAAC, Espino had thrown six innings without allowing a hit at during several of the summer’s premier showcases, including the Under Armour All-America Game, East Coast Pro and Area Code Games, with eight strikeouts and no walks.

Carroll, who is establishing himself as one of the most polished bats in the 2019 prep class, wasn’t fazed in the slightest. After swinging through a 96 mph fastball, the slick-footed, lefthanded-hitting outfielder barreled a 97-mph fastball out of the hand of Espino—who was named Baseball America’s Pitcher of the Year at the PGAAC awards banquet—and drove the ball to deep centerfield for a leadoff triple. Carroll would eventually score on a passed ball for the first run of the game, before walking in his ensuing two at-bats.

The triple was impressive in its own right, but when taken in context with the opposing pitcher and the sheer velocity of the pitch he managed to barrel, it stands out even more.

Below you can find reports on several of the standout players at the event.

Spencer Jones | LHP/1B | La Costa Canyon HS, Carlsbad, Calif.
Committed: Vanderbilt

One night before the Classic was played, Jones was named the recipient of the MLB/SiriusXM Two-Way Player Award.

The 6-foot-7, 195-pound lefthander showed exactly why he was deserving of that honor Sunday afternoon, working a 1-2-3 frame in the top of the eighth inning on the mound before stepping into the box in the bottom of the eighth, lacing a line drive against a 92 mph fastball for a single and stealing second immediately thereafter.

In spite of his height, Jones shows impressive athleticism, coordination and foot speed that allows him to repeat his delivery on the mound and also be a dangerous offensive player with a bat in hand. Sunday night, Jones worked in the 91-93 mph range with his fastball and struck out a pair of hitters with a downer, 12-to-6 curveball in the 78-80 mph range. He missed with his fastball up in the zone at times, but corrected mid-inning well, and located his curveball effectively.

Jones appeared right at home on both sides of the ball, which was fitting since he attends La Costa Canyon High, which is just 30 miles away from Petco Park.

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Gulf Coast League Top 20 Prospects For 2019

Many of the top draft picks and high-profile international signings who played in the GCL struggled to perform.

Riley Greene | OF | Hagerty HS, Oviedo, Fla.
Committed: Florida

Greene, who was named the Diamond Kinetics Offensive Player of the Year Saturday night, continued his offensive production in big events this summer by doubling in the first inning, giving the East one of the two hits they would tally on the night.

Against RHP Derek Diamond (Calif.), Greene hit a 91 mph fastball on the outer half of the plate, driving a long, deep fly ball to left-center field which carried well and one-hopped the wall, allowing the Florida commit to stroll into second with ease.

While Greene seems to have no issue tallying hits at whatever event he attends, the ability for Greene to hit with authority and for extra bases appears to be a separator; though that’s no surprise for those who paid attention to Greene’s performance at Tournament of Stars, the Under Armour All-America Game or the Area Code Games just a few days ago.

Matthew Allan | RHP | Seminole (Fla.) HS
Committed: Florida

A fellow Gators commit, Allan had perhaps the most dominant outing of any pitcher Sunday, striking out the side in the fifth inning and facing just the three batters he whiffed.

Allan has been a bit erratic in previous events, but he was locked in on this occasion, with excellent stuff, mostly in the way of a fastball in the 93-95 mph range and a hammer curveball that ranged from 77-80 mph with sharp, downward movement and big depth. Allan got just one whiff on the curveball against OF Maurice Hampton Jr. (Tenn.)—who he struck out on a 94-mph fastball—but also used the pitch to lock up INF Cade Doughty (La.) for a called strike three as well.

His third and final strikeout, against INF Gunnar Henderson (Ala.), came on a firm, 89 mph changeup. It was the only changeup Allan threw in this outing, but it was a good one, thrown with conviction and solid fastball arm speed to catch the strong lefthanded hitter out in front.

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