June 2014

Tournament of Stars top performers

USA Baseball’s Tournament of Stars is now in the books. The 100+ players who were on hand have now been whittled down to a 44-player 18 and Under Trials roster. From that release:

Out of the 108 athletes that attended the tournament, 34 have been named to the trials roster. Those 34 are joined by ten additional players that were named to trials through the 2013 17U National Team Identification Series and 2013 17U National Team Development Program. Nine alternates were also named to the roster.

The trials take place in Houston Aug. 23-29. The roster gets set at 20 and that team will compete in the 18U COPABE Pan American Championship in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, Sept. 5-14.

Based on conversations I had with numerous scouts, here’s a list of the top performers at the TOS. Players with an asterisk by their names are on the 18U Trial team.

*Daz Cameron, OF, McDonough, Ga.

*Chris Betts, C, Long Beach, Calif.

*Cole McKay, RHP, Spring Branch, Texas

Donnie Everett, RHP, Clarksville, Tenn.

*Kolby Allard, LHP, San Clemente, Calif.

*Xavier Legrant, IF, Charlotte, N.C.

*Reggie Pruitt, OF, Kennesaw, Ga.

*Mitch Hansen, OF, Plano, Texas

*Beau Burrows, RHP, Weatherford, Texas

Chris Chatfield, OF, Riverview, Fla.

Cadyn Grenier, IF, Henderson, Nev.

*Charlie Donovan, IF, Clarendon Hills, Ill.

*Nick Madrigal, IF, Elk Grove, Calif.

 

Others of note: John Aiello, IF, Lansdale, Pa. (alternate on 18U);  Christifer Andritsos, RHP, The Woodlands, Tex.; *Luken Baker, RHP, Spring, Tex.; *Kyle Dean, OF, San Diego, Calif.; *Lucas Herbert, C, San Clemente, Calif.; *Peter Lambert, RHP, San Dimas, Calif.; *Ryan Mountcastle, IF, Winter Springs, Fla.; Chad Smith, OF/LHP, Snelville, Ga.; *Kyle Tucker, OF, Tampa, Fla.

The White Sox and Carlos Rodon

As of this writing, our Draft signing tracker has a total of 26 of the 34 first-round picks from the 2014 Draft as having signed or agreed to terms. We have bonus figures for seven of the top 10 picks.

The top pick still unsigned is Carlos Rodon. The NC State star went to the Chicago White Sox at No. 3. While it’s not surprising he didn’t sign immediately — it’s not uncommon for a player advised by Boras Corp to wait, especially one who was considered a potential No. 1 overall pick — it’s clear the White Sox aren’t thrilled with how things have developed. Or not developed.

 

Assistant general manager Buddy Bell was recently quoted as saying (On CSNChicago.com):

“I’m sort of old school on this, that it is what it is. You want to get started sooner than later. You are losing out. I don’t know if I’m allowed to say this. But I just think the sooner you sign and with his ability and how I see him, this kid is going to be in the big leagues soon. It just seems to me if money is the issue, he’s going to make a helluva lot more getting it started than not. This kid is a tough, big, solid big leaguer. I just hope he gets in going sooner than later.”

Waiting until the July 18 deadline may not seem like the end of the world. He could still get out and pitch for a while — that’s the biggest benefit of the earlier deadline. But the delay in signing has likely cost the southpaw the potential for a big league callup this year. He hasn’t thrown since May 16, so to get him ready for big league action isn’t likely to happen at this point.

Don’t think the White Sox would do it? Remember what they did with Chris Sale. Rodon could have, if he had signed earlier, been shortened up in a bullpen role for the short-term (returning to starting in 2015). There’s little question his fastball-slider combination could get at least lefties out in shorter stints right now at the highest level.

Even if all the White Sox did is offer the slot value bonus of just over $5.7 million, it seems like there’s little wiggle room at this point. The White Sox have signed nine of their 10 picks from the first 10 rounds for a total of $3,402,600. They have saved $385,600 of their overall pool money. Pick value for the No. 3 overall selection was $5,721,500. That means the White Sox could offer Rodon $6,107,100 and not incur any penalty of any sort. They can go over that amount, up to five percent over their total pool of $9,509,700, and they would just have to pay a fine, but not forfeit a pick in the 2015 Draft. That brings the total potential bonus up to around $6.5 million.

In the end, Rodon will likely sign, but it might not be until close to the deadline.

Day 3 at Tournament of Stars

Thursday was the second day of games at USA Baseball’s Tournament of Stars (Friday is reserved for a second workout/evaluation day). Some highlights from yesterday’s games, according to scouts in attendance:

 

Hitters

Xavier Legrant (Phillip O Berry Academy of Tech, NC) homered. He’s been swinging bat well (4-for-9 in 2 games).  The athletic infielder has also shown good defense at second base. He’s got good speed as well (ran a 6.69 60 on Tuesday).

Reggie Pruitt (Kennesaw Mountain HS, GA) continues to impress, especially with his speed. He had stole three bases on Wednesday. On Thursday, he only went 1-for-5, but played a very good center field for the Pride team, the only 2-0 squad in the event. He’s a little raw with the bat, but he has tools to work with there.

Chris Chatfield (Spoto HS, FL) continues to stand out. The outfielder homered on Wednesday and doubled on Thursday. He has the kind of athletic body scouts love and he’s really swinging the bat well.

Daz Cameron (Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy, GA) came in as perhaps the top prospect at TOS and he hasn’t disappointed. He has three hits over two games, including a triple on Thursday, flashing all of the tools that have made him “a guy” from the outset.

Pitchers

Matthew McGarry (Menlo HS, Calif.) went three shutout innings for the Free team on Thursday, allowing just one hit. He was 90-93 mph iwth his fastball and showed glimpses of a good breaking ball and changeup.

Chris Andristsos (The Woodlands, TX) squared off against McGarry, starting for the Stripes. He also went three innings, allowing one run on three hits and two walks while striking out three. He was up to 92 mph with his fastball.

Austin Smith (Park Vista HS, FL) tossed two shutout innings for the Stars on Thursday, allowing two hits and a walk while striking out one. He was also up to 92 mph. His secondary stuff needs work, but at 6-foot-4, 220 pounds, he has the size teams like and is athletic on the mound.

Stephen Kolek (Shepherd HS, TX), the younger brother of No. 2 overall pick Tyler Kolek, is already making a name for himself. He threw two perfect innings for the Pride, striking out two. He doesn’t throw as hard as his brother, but was 88-90 mph (He’s thrown harder in the past) on Thursday. He also showed a good curve/changeup combination, giving him the makings of a very nice three-pitch mix.

Nolan Kingham (Sierra Vista HS, NV), is another younger brother, this time of Pirates prospect Nick Kingham. He actually threw on Wednesday and while he gave up a pair of runs, he was up to 90 mph and at 6-foot-4, 180 lbs, screams projection.

Riley Thompson (Christian Academy of Louisville, KY) gave up three runs in 2 1/3 IP, but he did strike out four on Thursday. He was up to 93 mph with his fastball

 

Day 2 at Tournament of Stars

Games began at the USA Baseball complex in Cary, North Carolina on Wednesday. It makes for a long, and hot (high was 101, folks), day for all involved, but it’s also the chance to see all the players at the Tournament of Stars in game action.

Three games are in the books, all six teams in action, starting at 10 a.m. You can check out all of the boxscores on usabaseball’s TOS schedule page. Mike Persinger’s Day 1 Notebook is a good read as well (check out all the game coverage he provides as well).

Rather than rehash that, I want to use this space to pass along what scouts who were on hand had to say. Here’s a list, not exhaustive by any stretch, of players who stood out (in no particular order):

Donnie Everett — Up to 94-95 mph, showed makings of good secondary stuff. Good arm.

Ryan Mountcastle — He can flat out hit.

John Aiello — Good, aggressive at-bats

DJ Wilson — Good swings, aggressive play, ran well down line. Fits leadoff profile

Beau Burrows — 90-93 mph, impressive arm strength

Trenton Clark — Very good feel to hit, with advanced approach. Good K zone knowledge and made hard contact

Chad Smith — Swing bat well, hit 3B off top of right field wall

Daz Cameron — top of 1st round ability, exciting tools

Chris Chatfield — Good left-handed swing with power

Mitch Hansen — great left-handed swing

Cole McKay — 91-94 mph

 

 

Donnie Everett up to 95-we’ve seen up to 96 in past

 

Cole McKay-91-94

 

Day 1 at Tournament of Stars

The summer showcase circuit is upon us! USA Baseball’s Tournament of Stars kicked off on Tuesday with its Evaluation Day. Games start tomorrow, so today was reserved for workouts. 60-yard dashes, infield/outfield, batting practice, that sort of thing.

Much as I wish I could be in North Carolina for the TOS, I’m not. But I will be talking to people who are there. Not a ton to report from the eval day — there will be more once games get going (keep in mind that USA Baseball uses this to determine their 18 and under National Team). But there was the 60-yard dash times…

Here are the top 10 times overall. A total of 70 players ran it at least once, with most running it twice. There are some repeats — these are just the top 10 times overall:

Name Pos City ST School Time
Blake Perkins OF Litchfield Park AZ Verrado 6.43
Reggie Pruitt OF Kennesaw GA Kennesaw Mountain 6.49
Nick Madrigal IF Elk Grove CA Elk Grove 6.5
Tyler Williams OF Peoria AZ Raymond S. Kellis 6.53
Tyler Williams OF Peoria AZ Raymond S. Kellis 6.57
Reggie Pruitt OF Kennesaw GA Kennesaw Mountain 6.6
Trenton Clark OF Fort Worth TX Richland 6.62
Chad Smith OF Snellville GA South Gwinnett 6.63
Nick Madrigal IF Elk Grove CA Elk Grove 6.63
Nicholas Shumpert IF Lone Tree CO Highlands Ranch 6.66

A couple of other early impressions: Chris Betts and Brandt Stallings did well during BP; Nick Madrigal (listed above) looked sharp in the middle infield and Nick Dalesandro impressed as an OF/C who showed good arm strength and excellent athleticism (he ran a 6.7 in the 60).

More to come.

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