Results tagged ‘ MLB Draft ’
If you haven’t seen the feature on USA Baseball “veteran” (hard to use that term for a teenager) Albert Almora, you can read it here. There’s two minutes of my interview with that. Here’s the entire interview, raw and unedited. I must say that I came away impressed with Almora, not just because of his tools, which are plentiful, but with how he carries himself at such a young age. Tools + makeup generally means a very bright future.
As I sit here in my hotel room in Cary, North Carolina, getting ready to be a part of the broadcast team that will bring you the first-ever USA Baseball Prospect Classic, I can’t help but think, before an inning has ever been played, that this is by far the coolest event no one knows about (at least not yet so much).
For those of you who don’t know what it’s all about, you can read my preview about the two-game event. But, in a nutshell, it’s the Collegiate National Team playing two exhibition games against the 18 and under trial team. And the more I prepare and think about it, I’m getting all geeked out.
Yes, I know, this is a bit of a niche thing. But it’s an ever-growing niche and every year it seems there’s more and more information out there on amateur players/Draft prospects. Will it ever reach the fever pitch of the NFL Draft? Probably not, largely because I don’t see college and high school baseball hitting the popularity levels of college football. But imagine if football had the Army/Under Armour high school all-americans (or whatever they’re called) playing against, or competing with the players in, say, the Senior Bowl. The latter may not have the top college players, but you get the idea.
Well, that’s exactly what this USA Baseball Prospect Classic is. With the exception of some of the college players who went to the Cape Cod League and a few who played deep into the College World Series, so they opted not to come, these two games will put the top 50-60 amateur players — nearly all of whom will be top picks in the 2012 Draft — on one field at one time.
Every year as the Draft comes around, people email, leave comments here, or tweet with questions about the Draft class. Well, you can get started on your 2012 research now with these games. Watch the broadcasts (on MLB Network Saturday and Sunday at noon ET, but they’ll likely be rebroadcast several times), look for stories, follow live scoring on www.usabaseball.com, whatever you have to do. That will give you a big leg up on knowing what’s coming in 2012. As the preview states, if this Classic existed the last few years, it would have had a huge amount of future first-rounders on the field at one one time.
And this is just the first year of this thing, so it’s only going to get better. I only hope that the exposure (both on mlb.com and on MLB Network) will help it grow and more prospects will be drawn to it… perhaps even getting a few more college guys to come here instead of heading to the Cape (love the Cape League, by the way, just saying that the way things are set up now, they could come here, then still have some time in the Cape).
So check it out and become a fan of what USA Baseball is doing here. If you’re a prospect geek — and chances are if you’re looking at my blog, you are — this is a dream event. (And if you’re in Durham, come on by and say hello).
I’ll add some video interviews on here as the weekend progresses.
A story on Yahoo! Sports stated that top high school pitching prospect Dylan Bundy has told some teams — including the Pittsburgh Pirates and Kansas City Royals — not to select him because of concerns those teams would force him to abandon his long-tossing program. You can read Jeff Passan’s story here.
Bundy uses a program where he’ll throw from distances up to 300 feet, something some teams don’t do. A discussion about the success of different throwing programs is a subject for another time. The question now is if Bundy is indeed instructing teams to stay away from him because of this, or any other, issue.
Based on conversations I’ve had with those two teams — picking first and fifth, respectively — this is news to them. The Royals told me that they have not communicated with Bundy regarding this subject in any fashion. The Pirates echoed that, saying they were unaware of any such concerns or demands.
This is not to say that Bundy doesn’t have concerns about continuing his slightly unorthodox workouts. But at least according to the two teams referenced in the story, he has not vocalized it to them. There has been a very big price tag being mentioned with Bundy and there are those who feel that the bonus demands, and maybe this talk about the throwing program, are designed to steer him to a specific club. There’s no buzz about which team that is, but this is bound to get more interesting as we get closer to the Draft.
Well, this could certainly get interesting.
As I wrote earlier today, college basketball recruit Amir Garrett is known mostly for his work on the court and he’s got a commitment to St. John’s to play hoops there.
We might want to hold off for just a minute. Garrett has played some baseball, too, though it had been a while — though he evidently was at Team USA trials last summer, but didn’t make the team. The fact there was some interest in baseball, then, isn’t a huge surprise and he’s been on some teams’ follow lists as a result. Still, he hasn’t been on radar screens much because he’s not on his high school team and hasn’t played in a game (and won’t).
But for the past two months or so, he’s been working with a pitching coach, throwing bullpens and this afternoon (Wednesday), he threw for close to 50 scouts at the College of Southern Nevada’s field, one-time home of super-prospect Bryce Harper.
He’s 6-foot-5 and he’s left-handed. And during his approximately 40-pitch long workout, he was throwing fastballs in the 92-95 mph range, with a report or two of 96 mph. He doesn’t have much in the way of secondary stuff, throwing a couple curveballs and changeups, neither of which really stood out. A cutter might work for him down the line. While he’s obviously very raw on the mound, the athleticism he has on the court showed up on the mound. He may not have had much of an arsenal yet, but he looked fairly effortless in pumping in plus fastballs.
So, what next? There likely will be more bullpen sessions, though one hasn’t been officially set up as of yet. He’s likely to draw more attention whenever that comes. The biggest questions that need to be answered are: Does he really want to play baseball? How much will it take bonus-wise to get him to walk away from St. John’s basketball? And how will teams evaluate just what they have here with a guy just throwing bullpens and not playing in a game situation? There’s no doubt he’s a project, but is he one a team would be willing to take fairly early in the Draft and give him the payday that might be necessary to get him to pitch professionally? Time will tell…
Stay tuned on this one…
Those of you who follow the college hoops scene likely know the name Amir Garrett. He’s a top recruit out of high school who is set to go to St. John’s on a basketball scholarship. In this youtube world, you can find many a clip of him skying, dunking, etc. Here’s one, just for fun (he’s much more than a stunt-dunker, by the way):
So, why am I writing about a basketball recruit? Well, because Amir Garrett used to be a pitcher. And a good one. And left-handed. He hasn’t pitched for a team in a while, but he’s been working with a coach and is back on the mound. I’ve learned that he’s throwing for a number of teams — as many as nine — today in Nevada. He’ll be on the College of Southern Nevada’s field, the one Bryce Harper made his playground a year ago. And teams aren’t just sending in area guys. There will be some higher ups in attendance.
While Garrett is obviously a bit raw, he’s extremely athletic and word was that even though he hadn’t pitched in a while, he was up to 91-92 mph with his fastball. He’d done interviews in the past saying that he’d have to make a decision between basketball and baseball, though it certainly seemed like he was headed down the college hoops path. But there are those close to him who want him to play baseball and it appears he’s at least kicking the tires on that possibility.
I’ll update you with how things went at this workout and will try to find out just how serious this is. An athletic lefty with that kind of life in his arm isn’t always easy to find, so if he throws well today, you’ll likely hear a lot more about him between now and draft day.