Catching my breath, plus catching up on a showcase

It’s an exciting time around these parts. As you’ve all figured out, Jim Callis (@jimcallismlb) is working with us now at MLB.com and we’re already cranking out some pretty neat content together. If you haven’t seen it, we’ve written the first two in what I hope is a long-running series: Pipeline Perspectives.

We’ve had two entries so far, where Mr. Callis and I have taken sides on two pennant race-related questions.

Question 1: Which pitching prospect will have the biggest impact in playoff races down the stretch? I went with Michael Wacha. Jim took Sonny Gray.

Question 2: Which position prospect will have the biggest impact in playoff races down the stretch? I took Billy Hamilton. Jim went with Xander Bogaerts.

Pipeline Perspectives is going to be a regular feature, so if you have ideas for issues/questions Jim and I can tackle, send them to pipeline@mlb.com. That’s also the email address to send in questions for the Pipeline Inbox, a weekly mailbag Jim and I will be doing.

So lots of good content is on its way, with ways for you to participate as well.

Now on to the final showcase of the summer…

Honestly, I thought it was all over. But there’s a new event in town, the Metropolitan Baseball Classic, hosted by the Mets (it was a brainchild of Mets scouting director Tommy Tanous), with the championship game held at Citi Field. The event was a little under-the-radar, with the U.S. Open capturing the attention of most in Queens during that time. But the talent was far from unknown and the event provided a really good last summer look at some top high school prospects for the 2014 Draft before a little time off before the Perfect Game World Wood Bat Association Championship in Jupiter, Florida in October.

There was a good amount of talent at the event. The list below isn’t ranked — it’s alphabetical — but it’s a pretty good representation of the top performers in New York last week, with the team they played with at the tournament listed (and home state in parentheses):

Spencer Adams- 6’5, 190, RHP; Team Elite (Georgia). Tall and strong, three pitch mix (fastball, slider, changeup) should allow him to start long term. Pitched very well in the championship game and should have more in the tank velocity-wise (he was 90-91 mph in the title game)

Seth Beer 6’3, 185, OF; Marucci Elite. (2016 grad; Georgia) Yes, he’s a couple of years away, but evidently he kind of came out of nowhere to put on a show. Will only get stronger and already has good line drive power to both sides of the field.

Blake Bivens 6’2, 200, RHP; EvoShield Canes (Virginia). Strong and sturdy right-hander. Fastball was up to 91 mph with good movement. Good feel for big curve ball and facing changeup.

Isan Diaz- 5’10, 175, SS; Northeast Mets (Massachusetts). Interesting middle infielder who has the chance to hit and might add some power. Reminded one scout a bit of Robinson Cano in terms of his set-up at the plate.

Elijah Dilday- 6’2, 190, OF; St. Louis Mets (Missouri).  Surprising power, good, quick stroke, squared the ball up often. Has good frame to add strength.

Joseph Gatto- 6’5, 215, RHP; Northeast Mets (New Jersey). Fastball was 88-92 mph here, but has been very busy this summer. May have been a bit tired, but still showed why he’s one of the better high school pitching prospects for next year. Good frame, with room to fill out.

Michael Gettys 6’1, 200, OF; Team Elite (Georgia). Great tools across the board. Great bat speed, plus runner. Was a catalyst for Team Elite, which won the tournament.

Grant Hockin 6’3, 195, RHP; EvoShield Canes (California). Athletic and strong with good three-pitch mix. Was up to 92 mph, good plane and easy arm action. Breaking ball could be plus down the road and has good feel for changeup.

Alex Lange 6’3, 215, RHP; Marucci Elite (Missouri). Big arm strrength, strong body. Was throwing in the low 90s with an outstanding slider.

Jesse Lapore 6’4, 185, RHP; Orlando Scorpions (Florida). Projectable, now up to 91 mph with fastball, can throw downhill. Shows some ability to spin a curve. Was around the strike zone with most of his pitches.

Jon Littell 6’4, 190, OF; St. Louis Mets (Oklahoma). Big and strong, physical frame. Runs well for his size. He has some strength in his swing, but also some length.

Drew Lugbauer 6’3, 210, C; Northeast Mets (New York). Left-handed hitting catcher with power. Big and strong, good arm strength, other parts of his defense are developing.
Troy Stokes Jr 5’10, 185, CF; EvoShield Canes (Maryland). Top of the order type with good speed. Should be able to stay in center. Quick swing with some gap power. Hit tool needs to develop, but could be good table-setter.

Zach Sullivan 6’2, 175, CF; Northeast Mets (New York). Lean athlete with room to add strength. Gotten better over the summer. Excellent speed, can cover a lot of ground in the outfield. There’s strength and bat speed to work with. Tools are there, but they’re a bit raw.

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