Results tagged ‘ USA Baseball ’

5 from MLB.com Top 50 to attend NHSI

The participating teams for USA Baseball’s second annual National High School Invitational were announced today. It was a fantastic event that we covered fully in 2012, with stories, video and game broadcasts (some of which can be viewed in archive). The 2012 champions, Mater Dei, will be returning. Here’s the field:

Bingham High School (South Jordan, Utah)
Cathedral Catholic High School (San Diego)
Christian Brothers High School (Memphis, Tenn.)
Eustis High School (Eustis, Fla.)
Florida Christian School (Miami)
Grayson High School (Loganville, Ga.)
Hamilton High School (Chandler, Ariz.)
Harvard-Westlake School (Studio City, Calif.)
Jenks High School (Jenks, Okla.)
Lexington High School (Lexington, S.C.)
Mater Dei High School (Santa Ana, Calif.)
Milton High School (Milton, Ga.)
T.C. Roberson High School (Asheville, N.C.)
The Woodlands High School (The Woodlands, Texas)
Tullahoma High School (Tullahoma, Tenn.)
Venice High School (Venice, Fla.)

From the group of 16 schools, there are five members on MLB.com’s early 2013 Draft Top 50 Prospects list. They are:

3 Austin Meadows, OF, Grayson
12 Stephen Gonsalves, LHP, Cathedral Catholic
30 Chris Okey, C, Eustis
41 Nick Ciuffo, C, Lexington
50 Jeremy Martinez, C, Mater Dei

There are a number of other exciting high school prospects who will attend, many of whom will likely land on MLB.com’s Top 100 overall list in the spring. Some other “names to know” who will be in Durham, NC, March 27-30 for the tournament:

Jordan Sheffield, RHP, Tullahoma
Nick Longhi, OF, Venice
Ryan McMahon, 3B, Mater Dei

Looking forward to checking out this tournament for the second straight year.

Top performers at Prospect Classic

Quick turnaround for us here at B3. Home quickly from North Carolina, turn around and head to Kansas City for the All-Star Game festivities (In B3 land, that’s the Futures Game and then that other stuff on Monday and Tuesday).

But I wanted to take a quick minute to provide a top prospects kind of list from the recently completed Prospect Classic, run by USA Baseball. The four-game event was extremely well attended by scouts, with a good amount of high-end talent from the high school and college ranks on the same field at the same time.

Overall, the scouting community has not been overwhelmed to date about the Class of 2013. That’s not to say there’s no talent or that some guys haven’t performed, but the overall evaluation of the group this summer has been so-so, at best. After talking with a few scouts, here are some of the better performers from the Prospect Classic, broken into college and high school groups.

Also, for your reading pleasure, there are features on Arkansas right-hander Ryne Stanek and Mater Dei high school catcher Jeremy Martinez.

College

Kris Bryant, 3B, San Diego
Marco Gonzales, LHP/1B, Gonzaga
D.J. Peterson, 1B/OF, New Mexico
Ryne Stanek, RHP, Arkansas
Trea Turner, 2B, NC State (2014)
Bobby Wahl, RHP, Mississippi State

High School

Willie Abreu, OF, Hialeah, Fla.
Cavan Biggio, IF/OF, Houston, Texas
Stephen Gonsalves, LHP, San Marcos, Calif.
Robert Kaminsky, LHP, Englewood Cliffs, N.J.
Christian Martinek, LHP, Portland, Ore. (2014)

USA Baseball cut day

After the first two games of USA Baseball’s Prospect Classic, it was time for the 18 and under team to make cuts. There were 40 high schoolers in attendance and the roster needed to be cut down to 28. Those 28 will play in games three and four of the Classic on Monday and Tuesday against the Collegiate National Team.

In case you missed it, here’s my feature on Jeremy Martinez, who did make the cut.

There were some tough choices to make, to be sure. The depth in catching alone was something that had to give. USA Baseball opted to take three backstops with them to the next step of the process — Martinez, Reese McGuire and Chris Okey. Here’s the 28-man roster:

Abreu William OF
Arroyo Christian IF
Biggio Cavan IF/OF
Boldt Ryan OF
Brigman Bryson IF/OF
Davis Kevin RHP
Gonsalves Stephen LHP
Gordon Nick RHP
Heady Connor IF/RHP
Kaminsky Robert LHP
Kilichowski John LHP
Martinek Christian LHP
Martinez Jeremy C
McGuire Andy IF
McGuire Reese C
Nunez Dom IF
Okey Chris C
Olson Ryan RHP
Roth Billy RHP
Sands Carson LHP
Shore Logan IF/RHP
Sternagel John IF
Taccolini Dominic RHP
Thompson Keegan RHP
Unroe Riley OF
Varga Cameron RHP
Ward Drew IF
Williams Garrett LHP

Brigman, Gordon (Tom’s son, Dee’s brother), Martinek, Sands, Varga and Ward are all Class of 2014 guys.

In case you were curious, here’s the dozen who are no longer on the roster:

Pete Alonso
Ryan Castellini
Nick Ciuffo
Ian Clarkin
Rob Coleman
Nico Giarratano
Hunter Green
Anfernee Grier
Ryder Jones
Timmy Richards
Kyle Serrano
Eugene Vazquez

It’s quite an accomplishment to have made it this far, given that the Tournament of Stars began with 144 players here to be evaluated.

There’s still one more cut to go. The final roster that goes to Seoul for the IBAF Junior 18U World Championships will have just 20 players on it. So eight more from the 28 won’t make the trip. Glad I’m not the one who has to make that decision.

USA Baseball’s Prospect Classic

I’m heading to North Carolina in the morning to cover USA Baseball‘s Prospect Classic, which will put most of the top high school and college players for the Draft class of 2013 on one field. You can find all the info you need on the event right here, but Games 1 and 2 will be at Durham Bulls Athletic Park on Friday and Saturday at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m., respectively. Friday’s game is part of a doubleheader, with the Bulls hosting the Syracuse Chiefs right after. The first two games will feature two squads that mix the 18 and under national trials team with the collegiate team. Game 3 is on Monday, at the USA Baseball complex in Cary, with Game 4 back in Durham (7 p.m. and 6 p.m. starts there). Those two contests will pit a pared-down 18U team against the collegiate team. Games 1 and 2 can be seen on MLB Network on delay, on July 2 and 3 at 11 a.m. ET each day. Game 4 will be streamed on USA Baseball.com and MLB.com. I’ll try to hop on here each day with some news and notes, along with regular written content I’ll be providing (in addition to teaming with Pete McCarthy and Chris Burke on the broadcast team).

Be sure to check out Twitter as well as @USABaseball will surely be active. There’s a hashtag — #prospectclassic — and you can even follow the tweets from the 18U (@USABaseball18U) and College (@USABaseballCNT) National Teams.

A pitching renaissance in the postseason

It’s nothing new to rave about young pitching, but watching the Division Series this year, I couldn’t help but be struck, not just by how many young pitchers are on playoff rosters, but by the important roles they’ve been giving. The results may be uneven, but it’s amazing how often teams are putting the ball in the hands of some fairly inexperienced hurlers, confident that they are the best options at the time.

By now, I’ve written enough about Matt Moore to be the official spokesman of his fan club. But he’s Exhibit A, right? A top prospect who started in Double-A, got a September callup and not only won Game 1 of the ALDS, but threw three more relief innings in Game 4. Of course, he wasn’t alone on that Tampa staff. Jeremy Hellickson, the potential AL Rookie of the Year, started Game 4.

Game 5 between the Yankees and Tigers is tonight. New York’s best (only?) option: Ivan Nova, the right-hander who might give Hellickson a pretty good contest in ROY voting. Mind you, this is a guy who got sent down earlier this year. He’s been nothing short of sensational since his return, of course, and won Game 1  once it resumed post-suspension.

In last night’s Brewers-Diamondbacks game, Arizona brought Jarrod Parker into the game in the sixth inning with a 7-3 lead. Yes, he gave up two hits, a walk and a run, but the fact Parker is even on the postseason roster is somewhat amazing. He is, after all, in his first season following Tommy John surgery. After shaking off the rust in the first half, he was tremendous in the second, helping Mobile win the Double-A Southern League title. He got a late September callup and appeared in one game, a very solid start. With his relief outing in Game 4, that brings his career total of games out of the bullpen to… let’s see here… one.

There’s more… Bryan Shaw joins Parker in that Arizona bullpen with 33 Major League games under his belt and has been perfect in three NLDS appearances. Rookie Al Albuquerque has become an important part of the Tigers bullpen and appeared in two games against the Yankees.

Obviously, I think it’s fantastic and a further sign of where the game is these days. Even the teams with deep pockets have to rely on young pitching, developing their own.

Meanwhile, in Panama…

After dropping their first game, Team USA has won two in a row against Chinese Taipei and Japan. Through three games, few have been more impressive than Pirates middle infield prospect Jordy Mercer, who’s now 5-for-12 with three extra-base hits and five RBIs.

Our friends from the Top 50, Brett Jackson and Travis d’Arnaud, continue to do well (the team is hitting .309 overall). Jackson is 4-for-12 and d’Arnaud is 3-for-8 with three doubles. A somewhat forgotten prospect, A.J Pollock of the Diamondbacks, is 3-for-9 with a homer.

And, finally, the AFL. There was more offense yesterday, shockingly. There’s now been 76 runs scored in five total games. That’s 15.2 runs per game, if you’re keeping score at home. As friend and colleague Kevin Goldstein pointed out via Twitter (@Kevin_Goldstein) recently, the AFL averaged 5.8 runs per game in 2010. So, to summarize: They are a tad ahead of pace so far this year.

Let the games begin!

That might seem like a strange sentiment, given the Division Series in Major League Baseball are well underway, but I’m referring to games of another sort, in a variety of arenas (well, ballparks, but you know what I mean).

The first, of course, is the Arizona Fall League. Year 20 of the AFL will kick off on Tuesday and there are prospects aplenty who will be on-hand. Starting pitchers have yet to be posted, but we do know that the Mets’ Collin McHugh will be starting, courtesy of his tweet (follow him @Collin_McHugh):

No, it’s not a desert mirage. I am actually starting opening day of our AFL season on Tuesday! Truly humbled by the privilege.”

McHugh (who has a fantastic blog of his own, A Day Older, a Day Wiser) will also be contributing to our AFL prospects blog, which is already pretty active.

The top two prospects on MLB.com’s Top 50 — Mike Trout and Bryce Harper — will be a part of the same Scottsdale Scorpions outfield. No. 44 Gary Brown will also be there, making the Scorps outfield one of the most fun to watch in recent memory (they’ve also got Tyson Gillies and Alex Hassan out there!).

Other Top 50 prospects in the AFL:

15. Wil Myers, Royals (also a blogger) (Surprise Saguaros)
23. Nick Franklin, Mariners (Peoria Javelinas)
24. Aaron Hicks, Twins (Mesa Solar Sox)
35. Matt Dominguez, Marlins (Surprise Saguaros)

As I pointed out in the roster release story, there were a total of eight No. 1 prospects from different organizations playing as well. That’s down to 7, with the Cubs’ Brett Jackson being replaced by Josh Vitters. Hey, at least Vitters is No. 5 on the Cubs’ list.

And while Jed Bradley is no longer going to be in Arizona, a number of 2011 first-rounders will, starting with No. 1 overall pick Gerrit Cole (Mesa). No. 2 Danny Hultzen (Peoria) will be there, too, as will No. 28 Sean Gilmartin of the Braves (Surprise), Joe Panik (Scottsdale) of the Giants and No. 31 Mike Mahtook of the Rays (Surprise).

That’s not the only place prospects are playing, of course. While Winter Ball rosters aren’t set yet, there’s overseas action to follow in the form of USA Baseball. The professional team’s first World Cup game in Panama got rained out, but they should be playing for gold soon. Keep in mind, this is a team of guys not on 40-man rosters, but there is Travis d’Arnaud (No. 47) and the aforementioned Brett Jackson (29) from the Top 50, along with some other good talent representing the United States in international competition.

So don’t despair if your team isn’t in the playoffs right now. There’s the future to watch in Arizona and, to an extent, in Panama!

USA Baseball interview: Albert Almora

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.

 

 

USA Baseball interview: Scott Brosius

If you checked out the preview for the USA Baseball Prospect Classic, you saw two minutes or so of my interview with former big leaguer Scott Brosius, who is in his first year of managing the 18 and under national team. Here it is in it’s undedited, raw entirety — we talked about the team, the USA Baseball facilitiy and the Prospect Classic itself. Enjoy

USA Baseball’s Prospect Classic

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.

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