June 2012

USA Baseball’s Prospect Classic

I’m heading to North Carolina in the morning to cover USA Baseball‘s Prospect Classic, which will put most of the top high school and college players for the Draft class of 2013 on one field. You can find all the info you need on the event right here, but Games 1 and 2 will be at Durham Bulls Athletic Park on Friday and Saturday at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m., respectively. Friday’s game is part of a doubleheader, with the Bulls hosting the Syracuse Chiefs right after. The first two games will feature two squads that mix the 18 and under national trials team with the collegiate team. Game 3 is on Monday, at the USA Baseball complex in Cary, with Game 4 back in Durham (7 p.m. and 6 p.m. starts there). Those two contests will pit a pared-down 18U team against the collegiate team. Games 1 and 2 can be seen on MLB Network on delay, on July 2 and 3 at 11 a.m. ET each day. Game 4 will be streamed on USA Baseball.com and MLB.com. I’ll try to hop on here each day with some news and notes, along with regular written content I’ll be providing (in addition to teaming with Pete McCarthy and Chris Burke on the broadcast team).

Be sure to check out Twitter as well as @USABaseball will surely be active. There’s a hashtag — #prospectclassic — and you can even follow the tweets from the 18U (@USABaseball18U) and College (@USABaseballCNT) National Teams.

The Amazing Billy Hamilton

Plenty will be written about Reds prospect Billy Hamilton, now and in the future. He is, after all, heading to the All-Star Futures Game, where he’ll be able to show off his speed on a national stage. The crazy thing is, there’s a good chance he’ll have over 100 stolen bases before he gets to Kansas City.

Heading into tonight (June 28), Hamilton had 94 stolen bases. That’s right, 94. He’d been caught 19 times. That’s a success rate of 83.2 percent. He’s gone 21-for-24 in last 10 games and has 37 steals in June.

Not that perspective is needed, considering when he topped 100 steals in 2011 at the end of the year, it was such a huge deal because it hadn’t been done in a while. Now he’s going to get there by the All-Star break? Insane.

To provide some perspective anyway, the Miami Marlins currently lead the Majors in stolen bases for a team… with 67 steals. In 2011, 10 MLB teams had as many or fewer steals for the entire year as Hamilton currently has in 2012.

Currently, the top 4 basestealers in MLB combined have 89 steals. In the Minors, Deline DeShields Jr. has 54 steals in 61 attempts, which normally would attract a good amount of attention. However, the Astros’ prospect, while in 2nd place in the Minors, is 40 behind Hamilton.

Rickey Henderson stole 130 bases in 1982, the modern-day record. In 1887, Hugh Nicol stole 138 as part of the, you guessed it, Cincinnati Red Stockings. If Hamilton wants to set his sights on some Minor League marks, Vince Coleman stole 145 bases in the South Atlantic League in 1983 and Donell Nixon had 144 in the California League (Hamilton’s current circuit), also in 1983 (boy that must’ve been a fun race to watch).

 

Perfect Game National Showcase standouts

Players (and scouts) are already on to the next event, the Tournament of Stars, USA Baseball’s fantastic event that will lead up to the Prospect Classic (games being broadcast by Pete McCarthy and yours truly!), but those games don’t start until tomorrow. So this seemed like an opportune time to talk about who scouts felt stood out at this year’s Perfect Game National Showcase at the Metrodome.

This isn’t a ranking — I’ll list hitters and pitchers separately in alphabetical order. If I put a (TOS) next to their name, that means that they’ve gone on to Cary, North Carolina for the Tournament of Stars. From that large group, the US 18U national team will be formed and many of these players will be in that Prospect Classic, which will be streamed on MLB.com and the first two games of which will be on MLB Network via tape delay.

Hitters

  • Cavan Biggio, 3B/2B, St. Thomas HS, Texas (TOS)
  • Nick Ciuffo, C, Lexington HS, SC (TOS)
  • Zack Collins, C, American Heritage HS, Fla. (TOS)
  • John Paul Crawford, SS, Lakewood HS, Calif.
  • Clint Frazier, 3B, Loganville HS, Ga.
  • Jan Hernandez, SS, Carlos Beltran Academy, PR
  • Hunter Hope, 3B, W.T. Dwyer HS, Fla.
  • Jeremy Martinez, C, Mater Dei HS, Calif. (TOS)
  • Reese McGuire, C, Kentwood HS, Wash. (TOS)
  • Austin Meadows, OF, Grayson HS, Ga.
  • Chris Okey, C, Eustis HS,  Fla. (TOS)
  • Christopher Rivera, SS,  El Dorado HS, Calif. (TOS)
  • Dominic Smith 1B Serra HS,  Calif.
  • Rowdy Tellez, 1B, Elk Grove HS, Calif.

Pitchers

  • Cheyne Bickel, RHP, Dwyer HS, Fla. (TOS)
  • Taylor Blatch, RHP, Jensen Beach HS, Fla.
  • Stephen Gonsalves, LHP, Cathedral Catholic HS, Calif. (TOS)
  • Trevin Haseltine, RHP, Will C Wood HS, Calif.
  • Clinton Hollon, RHP, Wood Ford County HS, Kent.
  • Robert Kaminsky, LHP, St. Joseph Regional HS, NJ (TOS)
  • John Kilichowski, LHP, Tampa Jesuit HS, Fla. (TOS)
  • Brett Morales, RHP, King HS, Fla.
  • Chris Oakley, RHP, St. Augustine Prep, NJ (TOS)
  • Jonah Wesely, LHP, Tracy HS, Calif.

As one scout put it to me: “It’s not a great group, but it will probably look better by the end of the summer. It usually does.”

So stay tuned for updates from the Tournament of Stars, Prospect Classic, East Coast Showcase, PG All-American Classic and the UnderArmour All-American Game on these high schoolers. Those wanting info on the college set, there’ll be some from the Prospect Classic as well as the Cape Cod League

Prospect Transaction wire, June 12-19

Here’s the latest in prospect movement of guys found on team’s Top 20s over on Prospect Watch.

Alex Castellanos (LAD, No. 13): Returned to Triple-A Albuquerque on June 12.

Matt Den Dekker (NYM, No. 15): Promoted to Triple-A Buffalo on June 12.

Jeimer Candelario (CHC, No. 14): Joined the Boise Hawks on June 12.

Zack Cox (STL, No. 6): Returned from the DL after a concussion.

Marco Hernandez (CHC, No. 16): Promoted to the Boise Hawks from extended spring camp on June 12.

Kole Calhoun (LAA, No. 13): Returned to Triple-A Salt Lake on June 13, after 12 at-bats in a Major League callup.

Hector Gomez (COL, No. 16): Began a rehab assignment on June 13 after a groin injury.

Jimmy Nelson (MIL, No. 8): Promoted to Double-A Huntsville on June 13.

Stephen Pryor (SEA, No. 9): Strained his left groin and was placed on the disabled list on June 13.

Matt Purke (WSH, No. 4): Placed on the disabled list on June 13.

Erasmo Ramirez (SEA, No. 12): Called up to the Mariners for the second time this year on June 13, but then returned to Triple-A Tacoma.

Eddie Rosario (MIN, No. 3): Hit in the face by a line drive on June 12, and will miss 6 weeks with a fracture.

Austin Wates (HOU, No. 13): Placed on the disabled with a quadriceps injury on June 13.

Marcus Semien (CWS, No. 9): Sidelined by a hamstring injury on June 14.

Jarrett Parker (SF, No. 19): Placed on the disabled list as a precaution, after being hit in the head by a pitch.

Neftali Soto (CIN, No. 6): Placed on the disabled list on June 12 with lower back spasms.

Juan Rodriguez (LAD, No. 11): Joined Class A Great Lakes on June 14.

Kevan Smith (CWS, No. 12): Returned to action on June 14 after a week on the DL

Forrest Snow (SEA, No. 14): Demoted to Double-A Jackson on June 14 after struggling early in the season.

Tyler Thornburg (MIL, No. 4): Suspended for three days for brawling, but was promoted to Triple-A shortly after his return.

Scott Barnes (CLE, No. 4): Returned to Triple-A Columbus on June 15 after two weeks in the big leagues.

Leonys Martin (TEX, No. 4): Called up to the big leagues on June 15.

Liam Hendriks (MIN, No. 7): Returned to the big leagues on June 16.

Casey Crosby (DET, No. 4): Returned to Triple-A Toledo.

Justin Grimm (TEX, No. 20): Called up to the Major League club on June 16.

Ehire Adrianza (SF, No. 8): Placed on the disabled list on June 16, with a left thumb injury.

Kyle McPherson (PIT, No. 10): Made his first 2012 start with Double-A Altoona on June 16, after  shoulder inflammation.

Chih-Hsien Chiang (SEA, No. 19): Designated for assignment on June 16.

Taylor Jordan (WHS, No. 18): Began a rehab assignment in mid-June.

Billy Bullock (ATL No. 17): Promoted to Triple-A Gwinnett.

Matthew West (TEX, No. 17): Rejoined High A Myrtle Beach on June 17.

Eury Perez (WSH, No. 6): Placed on the disabled list with an oblique injury in mid June.

Oswaldo Arcia (MIN, No. 4): Promoted to Double-A New Britain on June 17.

 

First day at Perfect Game National Showcase

The Perfect Game National Showcase, held in Minneapolis (The Metrodome is still being used for baseball!), is the kick off for a slew of summer showcases, leagues and events for scouts to get a start on the talent that the Draft class of 2013 has to offer. So while the 2012 draftees appear to be signing quickly, scouts are already out working on next year. No rest for the weary. Here’s a schedule of events that will all be heavily attended by scouts this summer:

June 14-18: Perfect Game National Showcase, Minneapolis, Minn.
June 14-Aug. 7: Cape Cod League
June 20-24: USA Baseball Tournament of Stars, Cary, N.C.
June 29-July 3: USA Baseball Prospect Classic, Durham, N.C.
Aug. 1-4: East Coast Pro Showcase, Syracuse, N.Y.
Aug. 5-10: Area Code Games, Long Beach, Calif.
Aug. 12: Perfect Game All-American Classic, San Diego
Aug. 18: Under Armour All-American Game, Chicago

Speaking to a scout who was in Minneapolis, I got the lowdown on who stood out on Day 1. He wasn’t overwhelmed with the talent on hand, though more top players were expected to arrive today. Still, here were the players who made a first-day impression:

Best batting practice power: Justin Williams, 3B/OF, Terrebonne HS,  Houma, La.

Fastest runner: Carlos Williams, OF, Covington HS, Tenn.

Top velocity (92 mph): Robert Tyler, RHP, Crisp Count HS, Cordele, Ga.; Bryce Welborn, Northland Christian HS, The Woodlands, Texas; Mark Ecker, RHP, Sandra Day O’Connor HS, Helotes, Texas

Best pitching performance: Austin Sexton, RHP, Sparkman HS, Madison, Ala.

Best hitting performance: Dalton Dulin, SS, Memphis University School, Tenn.

Mariners keep going with Pike signing

Yesterday, the Mariners announced the signing of 25 Draft picks, most notably second-round selection Joe DeCarlo. On Wednesday, it was learned they’ve also signed the player they took with their Compensation B (between rounds 3 and 4) pick, high schooler Tyler Pike.

Pike will receive $850,000, above the assigned value for the pick, which was $370,800.

It is not the first player to get above the assigned value from the Mariners thus far. DeCarlo signed for $1.3 million (assigned value: $806,000). Fifth-rounder Chris Taylor signed for $500,000 (assigned value: $264,500). And Timmy Lopes got $550,000 in the sixth round (assigned value: $198,100), showing that it is possible to be aggressive in this new system.

They are currently over their pool ($1.42 million over) when adding up the assigned values for all signed picks, but they still haven’t signed first-rounder Mike Zunino, third-rounder Edwin Diaz and eighth-rounder Nick Halamandaris. The combined assigned values for those three picks is $5,825,500. The Mariners currently have $5,253,200 left after the Pike signing. It’s easy to do the math — look for some value to be found in that trio and for the Mariners not to incur any penalties for going over.

 

Courtney Hawkins, White Sox set to agree

Courtney Hawkins, the No. 13 overall pick in this year’s Draft, will be in Chicago on Monday and officially sign with the White Sox. His bonus will be for $2.475 million, the assigned value for the pick.

Hawkins was the No. 12 player on MLB.com’s Top 100 Draft Prospects list heading into the Draft. The Texas high schooler has as much raw power as anyone in the class and also hit the low 90s from the mound. His future, though, will be as a power-hitting outfielder. His calling card right now might be his backflipping ability, but the bat will take over soon.

Travieso and Reds agree on deal

Nick Travieso, the No. 14 overall pick in this year’s Draft, will officially sign with the Reds on Wednesday.

The Florida high school right-hander, who was ranked No. 32 on MLB.com’s Draft Top 100 prior to the Draft, will sign for $2 million. That is below the assigned value for the pick, $2.375 million.

The Reds also agreed with second-round pick Tanner Rahier, the SoCal high school shortstop who was No. 37 on the Draft Top 100. He will get a bonus of $649,700, the assigned value for the No. 78 overall pick in the Draft.

 

 

New prospects transaction wire

Forgive the brief transaction hiatus. That whole Draft thing kind of got in the way (I hope to have some Draft-related posts this week). Here are the latest moves in the Minors involving the prospects found on Prospect Watch. My thanks for producer extraordinaire Chris Barth for putting this together.

  • Brandon Jacobs (BOS, No. 7): Returned to High A Salem after time on the disabled list with a left hand contusion.
  • Oscar Tejeda (BOS, No. 14): He returned to action in early June.
  • Chris Reed (LAD, No. 5): Promoted to Double-A Chattanooga.
  • Jack Marder (SEA, No. 16): Placed on the DL on June 3.
  • Tyrell Jenkins (STL, No. 5): Placed on the DL due to fatigue and soreness.
  • Chris Withrow (LAD, No. 7): Placed on the DL for the second time this season, with a strained lower back.
  • Tony Sanchez (PIT, No. 7): Promoted to Triple-A Indianapolis.
  • Zack Cox (STL, No. 6): Placed on the DL with a concussion.
  • Scott Van Slyke (LAD, No. 18): Returned to Minor Leagues when Juan Rivera rejoined the Dodgers.
  • Shawn Tolleson (LAD, No. 9): Called up to the Major Leagues for the first time.
  • Oliver Drake (BAL, No. 18) Placed on the DL with shoulder soreness.
  • Nick Castellanos (DET, No. 2) Promoted to Double-A Erie.
  • Chris Marrero (WAS, No. 9) Began a rehab stint after starting the season on the DL with a torn hamstring.
  • Cole McCurry (BAL, No. 20) Promoted to Double-A Bowie.
  • Will Smith (KC, No. 14) Returned to Triple-A after three big league starts.
  • Joey Terdoslavich (ATL, No. 7) Demoted to Double-A after struggling with Triple-A Gwinnett.
  • Tyler Moore (WAS, No. 13): Called up to the Majors for the second time this season.
  • Rob Brantly (DET, No. 15): Promoted to Triple-A Toledo.
  • Bobby Bundy (BAL, No. 9): Returned to Double-A Bowie after being placed on the DL with an ankle sprain in May.
  • James McCann (DET, No. 19): Promoted to Double-A Erie.
  • Jose Ortega (DET, No. 9): Got his first taste of the big leagues when he was called up to the Tigers. Returned to Triple-A Toledo a few days later.
  • Kevan Smith (CWS, No. 14): Placed on the DL.
  • Mike Wright (BAL, No. 19): Placed on the DL with a hamstring injury.
  • Leonys Martin (TEX, No. 4): Returned to Triple-A Round Rock after a DL stint due to a torn ligament in his left thumb.
  • Francisco Martinez (SEA, No. 6): Placed on the DL with a left hamstring strain.
  • Roman Mendez (TEX, No. 5): Placed on the DL.
  • Tanner Scheppers (TEX, No. 9): Called up to the Major Leagues for the first time.
  • Dan Jennings (MIA, No. 20): Returned to Triple-A New Orleans after nearly two weeks in the big leagues.
  • Khris Davis (MIL, No. 13): Briefly rejoined the Huntsville Stars, but returned to the DL on June 9.
  • Donnie Joseph (CIN, No. 7): Promoted to Triple-A Louisville.
  • Cole McCurry (BAL, No. 20): Promoted to Double-A Bowie.
  • David Holmberg (ARI, No. 7): Promoted to Double-A Mobile.
  • Julio Teheran (ATL, No. 1): Made a spot start for the Braves, before returning to the Minors.
  • Ben Wells (CHC, No. 12): Placed on the DL with a right elbow strain.
  • Jorge Alfaro (TEX, No. 6): Returned to action with Class A Hickory after his second trip to the DL with a strained hamstring.
  • Brad Boxberger (SD, No. 10): Made his Major League debut on June 10, pitching a scoreless inning against the Brewers.
  • Joe Kelly (STL, No. 11): Made his Major League debut on June 10, in a start against the Indians.
  • Domingo Santana (HOU, No. 9): Placed on the disabled list with a hamstring injury, but returned to the High A Jethawks on June 10.
  • Keenyn Walker (CWS, No. 6): Placed on the disabled list.

Draft tidbits

As many of you have hopefully noticed, my latest mock draft went live this morning.

Obviously, things are changing, or at least rumors are flying. I will try, time permitting to do one last run-through of the first round, at least in list form.

For now, here’s what’s being thrown about:

  • It’s very, very quiet in Houston these days, with other teams not even hearing from the team picking No. 1 overall.
  • Royals at No. 5 is first place things could start diverging. They could go with Max Fried or even Carlos Correa. If they go with Fried, the Pirates could go with OF David Dahl, the Marlins would go Andrew Heaney.
  • If Max Fried is there, the Marlins are likely to take him.
  • Rumors about the Pirates still run from Fried to Deven Marrero to the aforementioned Dahl
  • Lucas Giolito remains a huge wild card. There’s been a lot of conjecture about him going somewhere in the middle of the first round, but I don’t have a firm feel from anyone where he’s going to go. One team that picks in the middle of the round said that Giolito priced himself out from their slot. The assigned values on picks 11-20 start at $2.625 million for No. 11 and go down to $1.85 million at No. 20. So someone would have to get creative.

More as time allows

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