Results tagged ‘ East Coast 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.
While there are less than two weeks until the 2009 Draft signing deadline — and there are 20 unsigned first-rounders — serious work is already being done for the 2010 Draft. The summer showcase circuit is in full swing and the 2009 East Coast Showcase
was one of the first — and biggest. Held from Aug. 1-4, rest assured
there were several players at this event for high schoolers who’ll be
high draft picks next June.
Don’t believe me? How about these alumni from the 2008 East Coast
Showcase who were taken in this year’s Draft, with draft spot in
Zack Wheeler, RHP (No. 6 overall, Giants)
Bobby Borchering, 3B (No. 16 overall, Diamondbacks)
Mike Trout, OF (No. 25 overall, Angels)
LeVon Washington, 2B (No. 30, Rays)
And that’s just the first rounders; there were also two second-rounders
and three third- rounders who attended last year’s event. So knowing
who stood out at the recently completed ’09 version is a good head
start to knowing who the top prep picks will be next June.
I spoke with some scouts who were in attendance and here’s who they felt stood out in Lakeland, Fla.:
Stetson Allie, RHP/3B: One scout called him a freak. He’s been
around the showcase circuit for a while and is strong, physical young
man who can throw hard on the mound and hit the ball far from the
plate. On the mound, he’s touched 100 mph and threw 92-97 mph in the
Showcase. He’s got a slider he throws in the 88-91 mph range. He’s got
below-average command and some would rather let him hit first. He’s got
big, legit raw power.
Eric Arce, C/1B, Lakeland HS: The best hitter at the event, a
left-handed bat who was the most mature hitter there. He’s got a loose,
easy stroke and a professional approach at the plate. He’s got good raw
power and uses the entire field. He had lit it up at East Cobb and
has kept going. His arm is fringe average behind plate and can play a
decent first base. Right now, he’s a bat without a position.
Cam Bedrosian, RHP, East Coweta HS, Ga.: He looks a lot like
his dad, former big leaguer Steve. And he’s got the same aggressive
demeanor on the mound. He fills the strike zone with 92-95 mph
fastballs and a nice short breaking ball, thrown 77-79 mph.
Yordy Cabrera, SS, Lakeland HS: He’s physically impressive and
looks like a big-leaguer now. He’s got potential for all five tools. A
plus arm with a chance to stay at shortstop. Lots of strength with the
bat to work with. He’s got good bat speed and makes hard contact. He’s
got good actions, footwork at shortstop and runs well for his size.
Chevez Clarke, OF/INF, Marietta HS, Ga.: As toolsy as they
come, all the physical tools to be a star. He plays a very easy center
field with a good arm and above-average speed. He didn’t hit well in
the Showcase, but when he’s on, he’s exciting to watch with a very high
AJ Cole, RHP, Oviedo HS, Fla.: He’s got a power arm with average to plus breaking ball, up to 96.
Easy, no effort. A little Porcello like in body type. Clue up there,
Delino DeShields, INF/OF, Woodward HS, Ga.: Another exciting
toolsy player, much like his dad was in the big leagues. He’s kind of a
more physical and right-handed hitting version of Juan Pierre. He plays
center when he plays the outfield and that might be the best place for
him. He ran a 6.48 in the 60, to give you an idea of his speed.
Manny Machado, SS, Miami Brito HS: He may have played himself
into being a top first rounder at this showcase. He’s silky smooth and
does everything easy. He’s got a plus arm at short with good hands and
actions. He’s got a smooth, easy stroke at the plate and the ball just
jumps off his bat. He’s an average runner, but is better underway.
DeAndre Smelter, RHP, Tatnall HS, Ga.: He throws 92-95 mph with a quick arm. He’s got a good breaking ball (75-77 mph). Another power arm, kind of like a
more physical Edwin Jackson at this age. The ball jumps out of his hand and is very heavy when it crosses the plate.
Karsten Whitson, RHP, Chipley HS, Fla: He wasn’t at his best at
the Showcase, where he was up to 92 mph, but he’s been seen as high as
96 mph. The ball jumps out of his hand and he’s got a good hard
curve/slider that he throws 78-81 mph. He’s big and projectable and
repeats his delivery well, allowing him to throw strikes and keep the
ball down in the zone.
Bobby Wahl, RHP, West Springfield HS., Va.: He’s got a little more
pitchability than the other arms on this list, but that doesn’t mean he
doesn’ thave stuff. He was still up to 92-93 mph and with a projectable
frame, there might be more in the tank. He’s got a good breaking ball
and mixes his pitches well, throwing everything for strikes.
There you have it. Store these names in the back of your head for next
June. It will be interesting to see who continues to excel during the