Highlights from the Perfect Game World Showcase

Over the weekend, Perfect Game held their World Showcase down in Florida. Over the years, a number of players have come through this event, a sort of kickoff to the new year on the amateur scene. Last year, Carlos Correa helped himself at the World Showcase, and we all know how that turned out.

I spoke to a scout who was in Fort Myers over the weekend to get the low-down on who stood out at the event. He gave his feedback along with the qualification that this is an event VERY early in the process. “It’s like a Spring Training game. When was the last time these kids played in a game?” he said.

He also pointed out that because it’s so early, the top-flight pitchers in the Draft class don’t tend to come anymore. Still, there were a number of pitchers who were 90+, a good sign considering it’s only early January.

The best player of the weekend, hands down, was Oklahoma-area catcher Jon Denney, currently ranked No. 36 on MLB.com’s Top 50 2013 Draft prospects. Especially given the time of year, Denney stood out. He swing the bat very well, showed power in batting practice and also looked good in his two games. He was solid behind the plate, again impressive since it’s not like Denney’s spent time recently in Yukon, Okla. catching top-notch pitching. Denney had looked really good at the Area Code Games, but hadn’t performed quite as well in Jupiter, at Perfect Game’s WWBA World Championship in October. So this was a nice move back in the right direction. He looked like a first-round pick candidate over the weekend.

Two of the top players from Puerto Rico were in attendance as well, though neither seemed to look their best, or as good as they’ve looked in the past. Both are shortstops. Jan Hernandez, from the Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy, and Edwin Diaz, from Ladislao Martinez Otero, were both OK over the weekend. Hernandez is considered the better prospect. He played very well in October and has been on the showcase circuit and is still considered one to watch closely this spring, even if he didn’t do that much to stand out in Ft. Myers.

There were some international players at the event as well and some stood out. The first is LHP Jacob Constante. He’s 6-foot-4, 215 lbs and was 90-93 mph with a solid slider. He’s eligible to sign right now. There were some questions about his age/documentation that teams were looking into (teams always want to be sure on this front now before moving forward), but there was a lot of interest. If he’s legit, he’s going to find a deal somewhere soon.

And there was 3B/1B Rafael Devers. He’s eligible to sign this coming July 2 (the start of the international signing period) and he’s definitely one to watch. He swung the bat very well, showing an ability to drive the ball. And that’s at age 15 against more advanced arms.

Finally, a nod to 2014. There were some underclassman there and it was Nick Gordon who stood out the most. He’s the son of Tom “Flash” Gordon and, obviously, brother of Dee. He, too, is an infielder, but his future is on the mound. He’ll be one to watch in ’14.

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