Scouts shift to St. Pete
By Allan Simpson
More than 100 of the nation's top rising high school seniors will be in attendance at the three-day event, including Florida outfielder Lastings Milledge, the top-rated prospect in next year's draft class.
The 2001 Tropicana showcase featured 11 of the 16 high school players who were selected this year in the first round, including Florida righthander Zack Greinke, Texas lefthander Scott Kazmir and Virginia shortstop B.J. Upton. Among the top 25 rising high school seniors identified by Prospects Plus, at least 16 and as many 18 will be in attendance this weekend.
"The talent we've lined up promises to be every bit as good as the talent we had here last year," said Perfect Game USA director Jerry Ford. "Outside of a couple of players from California and a couple of others who were committed to other tournaments this weekend, we've pretty much got the cream of the crop here."
The players will showcase their individual tools in the traditional workout portion of the showcase on Friday, then they will play simulated games the remainder of the weekend.
Besides Milledge, other top prospects in attendance are:
Righthander Chad Billingsley of Defiance, Ohio, the nation's No. 4 prospect.
Righthanders Cain Byrd (Shreveport), Jordan Mayer (Alexandria) and Xavier Paul (New Orleans), who headline an exceptional crop of Louisiana prospects (both college and high school) for the 2003 draft.
Jordan Saltalamacchia (West Palm Beach, Fla.), the nation's top catching prospect, and Philip Stringer (Spring, Texas), the nation's top shortstop prospect.
Many of the same top players will gather in Marietta, Ga., from July 9-14 at the Perfect Game/Baseball America World Wood Bat Championship Senior Division World Series. The inaugural tournament will feature 42 of the nation's top 18-and-under summer league teams.
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