Results tagged ‘ Urban Youth Academy ’

Urban Youth Academy Draft Showcase

Yup, it’s that time of year again and I have to say, I’m loving it. Pitchers and catchers are heading to Spring Training facilities and the MLB Draft season is upon us. That means showcases, college seasons starting and, in the near future, the 2010 premier of our Draft Reports. The first set should run in about two weeks and the players in that first edition will be from the group that participated in this past Saturday’s showcase at the Urban Youth Academy. There were a ton of scouts on hand to watch SoCal’s finest among the high school ranks. Plenty of folks have already written about it:

  • There was our story on, penned by Ben Platt, which gives a great overview of what the event is all about
  • Baseball America‘s man on the scene (as he tends to be in Southern California), was Dave Perkin. He filed this report on their Draft blog. (Their early Draft preview stuff is up, too.  You have to be a subscriber, but it’s worth it).
  • Keith Law filed a report as well on the ESPN Draft blog (You have to be an insider. Again, a worthy investment). He ran down some of the top performers at the event.

As for me, you’ll have to wait for the details when the first batch of Draft Reports come outWilson.JPG (complete with video et al, as always). For now, though, I’ve cobbled together this list of players scouts told me stood out at the event. This isn’t ranked, so I’m putting it in alphabetical order instead:

Cody Buckel, RHP — showed a really live arm.
Dylan Covey, RHP — top pitching prospect at event was solid.
Jake Hernandez, C — stood out defensively among the catchers there.
Lonni Kauppila, SS — good defense in infield; quality at-bats at plate.
Chad Lewis, 3B — a couple of base hits in game, good approach at plate
Griffin Murphy, LHP — put himself on map with strong outing
Aaron Sanchez, RHP — projectable righty starting to fill into frame
Vincent Velasquez, INF/RHP — two-way player who showed good velocity and sink on
Austin Wilson, OF (in picture) — toolsy outfielder showed off big power in BP, arm in field
Tony Wolters, INF — high energy infielder stood out
Christian Yelich, 1B — great frame, nice left-handed stroke, could be ready to bust out.

A couple of things to note when reading this or any of the reports on the event. Pitching tends to do better at these things, since pitchers are only going an inning or four batters in one stint. Also, the old adage of pitchers being ahead of hitters at this time of year translates well to this kind of event. As one scout put it, “It’s a lot like Spring Training, but it gives you a snapshot of where kids are.” That scout wanted to be sure not to be too effusive with his praise,adding “You don’t want kids to think this event will make their season. You want them to continue to go out and play hard. You hope their parents, coaches and advisors help keep that in perspective.”

Draft Aft: Weekend preview and stuff

A good friend suggested using “Draft Aft” — borrowing a nautical term — for when I’ve got draft news. I liked it, so I went with it (Besides, I got no other suggestions).

I have to admit I love this time of year. Not because of the weather here in my Pittsburgh home, that’s certainly not it. No, it’s because draft season is really upon us.

If you’re jonesing for some baseball and can’t wait for Spring Training games, you don’t have to. There’s some good amateur baseball to follow, with some top draft prospects in action. Some of it is even on TV.

This weekend, at the Urban Youth Academy in Compton, Calif., there’s the Urbanstephen_strasburg.JPG Invitational. The colleges involved are San Diego State, University of San Diego, Bethune-Cookman and Southern University. Games start Friday, but you’ll want to tune into the MLB Network on Saturday as they’ll broadcast the doubleheader. At 5 p.m. ET, you can watch USD take on Bethune-Cookman. The nightcap is SDSU vs. Southern. If you’re only going to watch one of them, that’s the one to watch because it looks like Stephen Strasburg will be starting for Tony Gwynn’s San Diego State team. Strasburg, in case you don’t know, is generally considered to be the top talent in the 2009 draft class and is a pretty good bet to be the top pick when all is said and done.

In the early game, San Diego sophomore Kyle Blair will start. Blair was a good high school prospect back in 2007 and was selected in the fifth round by the Dodgers that June, but opted to go to school. Throughout this tournament, you’ll also likely get to see how USD right-hander Matt Thomson looks. There’s also RHP AJ Griffin from San Diego and lefty Nate Solow from SDSU. A sleeper to watch is San Diego’s Darrin Campbell, a red-shirted sophomore who is coming off TJ surgery, but has been up to 93 mph at times.

Other college tourneys worth checking on (with draft prospects listed underneath):

Big East-Big Ten Baseball Challenge
Clearwater/St. Petersburg/Bradenton/Dunedin, Fla.

Teams: Michigan, South Florida, Cincinnati, Purdue, Connecticut, Michigan State, Georgetown, Northwestern, Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, West Virginia, Minnesota, Seton Hall, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State, St. John’s… is there anyone NOT playing in this thing?)

Players to watch: Matt Bashore, LHP, Indiana; Sean Black, RHP, Seton Hall; Eric Decker, OF, Minnesota; Josh Phegley, C, Indiana; A.J. Pollock, OF, Notre Dame

Coca-Cola Classic
Mobile, Ala.

Teams: Liberty, Mississippi, Mercer, South Alabama

Players to watch: Aaron Barrett, RHP, Mississippi; Scott Bittle, RHP, Mississippi; Jordan Henry, OF, Mississippi

Grand Canyon Tournament
Phoenix, AZ
Missouri, Nevada, Gonzaga

Players to watch: Trevor Coleman, C, Missouri; Kyle Gibson, RHP, Missouri; Aaron Senne, OF, Missouri

Other odds and ends…

Someone left a comment recently about Austin Maddox, out of Eagle’s View Academy in Jacksonville, Fla. (it looks like they play on Friday, also, in Jacksonville, if you want some HS ball). The comment was:

Where does Austin Maddox from Jacksonville Eagles View rank for this
upcoming draft? Is he likely to be drafted as a catcher or pitcher? Any
info would be appreciated. Thanks!!

Thanks for the question. Obviously, it’s early, but early signs point to Maddox being very highly regarded come June. With a plus arm (one scout said it rated 70 on the scale, 80 being the highest one can get) and legit power, people will be watching his performances. Catching usually gets over-drafted, and there’s not a ton of it in any draft class, particularly legit catchers coming out of high school. If Maddox performs well this spring, it wouldn’t shock me to see him at least be in first-round consideration… as a catcher.

If you’ve got more questions about the draft, or the Minors, don’t hesitate to leave ’em in comments (I’ve got a question from a while back about LHP prospects that I promise to answer soon).

Finally, back a couple of weeks ago, our own Ben Platt covered the high school draft showcase at the Urban Youth Academy. He interviewd 3B prospect Matt Davidson. Been meaning to add it, so you can listen to it here:  020809_matt_davidson.wma 

Alright, kids, that’s it for me. Talk to you soon.

Draft Alert: Showcase at Urban Youth Academy

This is an exciting time, my first official draft-related blog post since the big merger. Draft season is fast approaching. For the third straight season, The Urban Youth Academy Draft Showcase in Compton, Calif., is serving as a kind of kickoff event. Last year’s showcase included 2008 first-rounders like Kyle Skipworth and Aaron Hicks. Other high picks included Tyler Chatwood and Cutter Dykstra. Clearly, this is an event that you don’t want to miss.

This year’s showcase, as always run by the Major League Scouting Bureau, is set for Sunday, Feb. 8. Rosters are still tentative, but it’s already shaping up to have some of the top high school talent in the 2009 draft class on hand.  Using early rankings from our friends at Baseball America and Perfect Game, here’s the best of the 50 or so players tentatively planning to attend the showcase, which in the past has had 150 or so scouts on hand (I’m including the players who’s average ranking between the two is under 100):

Tyler Matzek, RHP: No. 1 among BA’s High School Top 100; No. 3 among PG’s High School Top 500. Average rank: 2
Matt Davidson, 3B: No. 16 on BA; No. 7 on PG. Average rank: 11.5
Jacob Marisnick, OF:
No. 21 on BA; No. 17 on PG. Average rank: 19
Jiovanni Mier, SS:
No. 13 on BA; No. 32 on PG. Average rank: 22.5
Chad Thompson, RHP:
No. 23 on BA; No. 26 on PG. Average rank: 24.5
Tyler Skaggs, LHP:
No. 8 on BA; No. 43 on PG. Average rank: 25.5
Matt Hobgood, RHP:
No. 22 on BA; No. 40 on PG. Average rank: 31
David Nick, 2B: No. 46 on BA; No. 21 on PG. Average rank: 33.5
Brooks Pounders, RHP/1B:
No. 66 on BA; No. 18 on PG. Average rank: 42
Cameron Garfield, C: No. 63 on BA; No. 73 on PG. Average  rank: 69
Jonathan Singleton, 1B: No. 78 on BA; No. 61 on PG. Average rank: 69.5

Others of note:  RHP Justin Bellez was No. 71 on BA and No. 156 on PG for an average rank of 113.5. … C/3B Nolan Arenado was No. 90 on BA and No. 148 on PG for an average rank of 119. … 3B/C Jonathan Meyer didn’t crack BA’s Top 100, but was No. 67 on the PG list. …  OF Jeffrey Gelalich wasn’t on the BA Top 100, but was No. 89 on the PG list. … 13 other players tentatively attending are on PG’s list in the 100-500 range.

I’ll be back with a new set of Top 50 scouting reports later today…

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