2018 Under Armour All-America Game Workout Standouts
CHICAGO — A day before the 2018 Under Armour All-America Game takes place, scouts and evaluators from major league teams got a chance to watch the field of 2019 draft prospects go through a pro-style workout.
Pitchers had to take a back seat on this clear and sunny afternoon, as position players took reps defensively and hit a round of batting practice. After that, a pair of North Florida infielders battled for the Under Armour All-America Home Run Derby Championship, with Rece Hinds topping Tyler Callihan, 7-6, in the final round.
Rece Hinds | INF | Niceville (Fla.) HS
Committed: Louisiana State
Hinds put on the most electric hitting performance of any player, hitting towering fly balls and screaming line drives around the diamond with ease, in the home run derby and in his batting practice rounds. If he isn’t already the consensus top power hitter in the 2019 MLB Draft class, the North Florida slugger made a loud argument Thursday afternoon.
Hinds has exceptionally quick hands and a large, muscular frame that allows him to generate 70-grade raw power —or more. Defensively, Hinds has an easy plus arm from the left side of the infield, and while he might not stick at shortstop, has the tools to become an above-average defender at third with continued work.
Below you can see a few of his cuts from batting practice, and you can watch his home run derby performance in the video above.
Erik Rivera | OF | Puerto Rico Baseball Academy
Committed: Florida International
After a down year for Puerto Rico in the 2018 draft, a number of players from the island are making a name for themselves this summer, including Dilan Rosario-Otero last month at USA Baseball’s Tournament of Stars. Where Rosario-Otero stood out for his defensive potential and in-game hitting potential, Rivera flashed loud tools with his arm strength from the outfield and raw power at the plate.
A two-way player as a lefthander on the mound who can sit in the low 90s, Rivera has obvious arm strength from the outfield as well, though there is some cleaning up that likely needs to be done with his footwork to improve his accuracy and help him throw from a consistent release point.
At the plate, scouts were impressed with Rivera's raw power that comes thanks to a muscular, 6-foot-2, 200-pound frame with plenty of strength and a fluid lefthanded swing.
Bobby Witt Jr. | SS | Colleyville (Texas) Heritage HS
The top-rated high school player in the class, Witt entered the Under Armour All-America Game on the heels of his victory at the junior home run derby during the MLB All-Star Game. During Thursday's workout, multiple evaluators called the Oklahoma commit the best player of the group thanks to his tools and skill on both sides of the ball.
Defensively, Witt is fluid with the glove and more than capable of making plays to his left and right, while throwing accurately and with ease from multiple arm slots. His hands are quick and sure, and while he doesn't appear to let loose with 100 percent effort on every throw, the ball comes out of his hand well. His feeds to second base are quick and accurate even while moving away from the bag and without setting his feet.
At the plate, Witt showed impact to all fields and hit one home run to straightaway center on a low line. It's a simple swing from the righthanded side, but there is more power there than you might expect given his 6-foot-1, 185-pound frame, thanks to his feel for the barrel and lightning-quick hands.
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Notable standouts that should give a good overview of the top high school players to watch for next year's draft.
Ethan Hearn | C | Mobile (Ala.) Christian HS
Committed: Mississippi State
Multiple scouts and evaluators pointed to Hearn as a player who stood out among the field Thursday afternoon, thanks to an impressive round of BP from the left side and a strong arm from behind the plate.
Hearn, a product out of Alabama, is a 5-foot-11, 195-pound backstop with a clean bat path, developing power and regular hard contact. He's made improvements recently with his defensive work behind the dish and has a strong arm that is currently his best defensive tool. Behind the dish Thursday, Hearn struggled initially to sync up his footwork on throws down to second base, but he made an adjustment and looked significantly better throwing down to the bag in the latter half of his defensive round.
The Mississippi State commit has a chance to be an impressive offensive-oriented backstop and will be one of the catchers in the 2019 class to keep an eye on throughout the summer and during the showcase Friday.
Armani Sanchez | SS | Reagan HS, San Antonio
A slick-fielding shortstop out of Texas, Sanchez showed off some impressive defensive tools Thursday afternoon. Sanchez showed active footwork at the position and did a nice job getting around balls in the hole and positioning himself for an easy throw to first, and was also able to get completely around a ball to his right and forehand it with good tempo. He has soft, sure hands to his backhand, forehand and on slow rollers in front of him — barehanding a slow-roller with confidence on his final ground ball. Sanchez was also quick around the bag at second base.
His arm could use more strength down the road, but with a 6-foot-2, 168-pound frame that has plenty of room to add more muscle, he could add arm strength as he continues to develop and his actions and the quickness of his exchange should help his arm play up either way.
Offensively, Sanchez showed limited power with the bat, but has quick hands and a simple, level bat path that produced solid contact during BP.
Carter Young | INF | Selah (Wash.) HS
Young's defensive ability stood out most to scouts and evaluators in attendance Thursday, adding to the strength of the high school class at middle infield positions. Young throws with some effort, but has impressive arm strength and made accurate throws from a variety of positions on the infield. What was particular impressive with his defensive round was the ease in which Young throws while off-balance, with excellent body control and balance from a multitude of arm slots.
Young has the ability to play any infield position and has caught in the past as well, though he says he prefers shortstop and should have a chance to stick at the position at the next level.
Tyler Callihan | 3B | Providence HS, Jacksonville
Committed: South Carolina
One of the better hitters in the 2019 class, Callihan has a whippy swing with a solid bat path and plus raw power to the pull side. He routinely takes impressive batting practices and has a knack for finding the barrel and launching deep, towering fly balls to the pull side.
Callihan starts with a slightly open setup and has a medium leg kick to initiate his swing, with a slight drop in his handset, but has no issues getting on line to the ball with impressive bat speed and hip rotation.
His defensive home will be the biggest question for scouts to figure out throughout the draft cycle, and he took balls at the hot corner Thursday afternoon. He's got enough arm strength for the position, but will need to continue working on his glove work and off-balance throws.