First day at the East Coast Pro Showcase
It’s been a long couple of days, what with the trade deadine, the trip down to Lakeland, the heat (not complaining, just saying) and a whole lot of hours spent at Joker Marchant Stadium.
Why cover the East Coast Showcase, you ask? You’re not alone. Here’s really all you need to know: In the 2011 Draft, 19 players taken in the top two rounds played in last year’s East Coast Showcase. And that’s not an aberration, that’s be the norm. Make sense now? OK, let’s move on.
I covered this event for one day last year; I’m here for three this time around, allowing me tog et a better feel for the top players in the high school class (alas, I will not be making it to the Area Code Games), which come right after this. Having covered the USA Baseball Prospect Classic last month, though, I felt I was a lot more familiar with many of the players here than I was a year ago.
A quick primer: There are six teams here, arranged geographically (the team from Florida, by the way, is ridiculously stacked). For each of the four days, every team plays one game. Today, before each of the three games, all players ran 60-yard dashes before heading to batting practice and then their game.
Here are some early thoughts.
Best 60s (the players who clocked in with the fastest 60-yd times):
D.J. Davis, OF, Stone HS, Mass. — 6.38
Fernelys Sanchez, OF, George Washington HS, NY — 6.47
Rhett Wiseman, OF, Buckingham Browne & Nichols, Mass — 6.51
Edward Sappelt, Southern Alliance HS. NC — 6.58
Lewis Brinson, OF, Coral Springs HS, Fla. — 6.60
Richie Martin, SS, Bloomingdale HS, Fla. — 6.64
Adrian Marin, SS, Gulliver Prep — 6.65
Sam Gillikin, Hoover HS, Ala. — 6.65
David Dahl, Oak Mountain HS, Ala. — 6.67
Matthew Goodson, OF, Oxford HS — Ala. — 6.67
After that, it was BP and game-time. No one had a better first day than Albert Almora (perhaps you’ll remember him from the feature I did on him from USA Baseball land?). He homered on the first pitch he saw, then added a second homer to give the Rockies (that’s the aforementioned Florida team).
One of the best things about this event is that inevitably, players are “found” here. Obviously, these are known players in their respective regions, but players will often get on the national map with a strong performance. Lewis Brinson could be a guy like that, from that very deep Florida class. First, he ran a 6.6-60, impressive for a 6-foot-4 player. Then he put on an absolute show during BP, depositing several blasts on the berm beyond the left-field wall. One scout mentioned that he might be more of a workout player right now, but the raw tools are undeniable and worth watching over the next few days and beyond.
1B Matt Olson (Parkview HS, Ga.) also put on a BP display, then showed he can handle serious velocity by hitting some serious fastballs for a pair of doubles.
Other hitters who made a good early impression: Byron Buxton, OF, Appling County HS, Ga.; Vincent Jackson, OF, Luella HS, Ga.; Rock Rucker, OF, Redan HS, Ga.; Cam Gibson (Kirk’s son), Grosse Pointe South HS, Mich.; Brett Sunde, C, Madison Heights Bishop Foley, Mich.; Justin Alleman, 3B, Holt HS, Mich. (he’s also 88-92 mph off the mound); Jamie Jarmon, OF, Indianriver HS, DE; Corey Seager, INF, Northwest Cabarrus HS, NC; Addison Russell, SS/3B, Pace HS, Fla..
Many of the top-notch arms are going later (Wednesday is a particularly exciting day to come) in the event, but just like with the hitters, there were a couple of guys who really impressed. Ty Buttrey, out of Providence HS in North Carolina, was lights out, up to 94 mph and sitting comfortably in the 91-92 mph range. He broke a few bats as well. Sean McLaughlin (Northview HS, Ga.) popped a 96 on the gun and was 92-94 in his one inning. And Nick Travieso on that Rockies club touched 95 mph during his outing as well.
Obviously, this is far from complete, being that it was just one day and I didn’t get the chance to talk over every player with scouts. I hope to have more over the next couple.