Player notes for participants in the 2013 Under Armour All-America Game.
I'll be at Wrigley Field along with Chris King (@StatsKing) for this afternoon's Under Armour All-America Game -- an all-star game showcasing some of the top draft-eligible amateur baseball talent in the US), as well as some eligible-to-sign talent from theDominican Republic and even a couple of the top underclass talents (2015-eligible). For those tuning-in to watch the game on MLB Network, starting at 2:30pm Eastern, here's a note sheet covering each of today's player participants, and even some space for you to take your own notes at home while you watch along.
A look at some of the top high school prospects, who played in San Diego this weekend.
Last Sunday Petco Park hosted the 11th All-American Classic, and the second since Perfect Game began headlining the event last summer. Always one of the most highly scouted events on the summer circuit, this year’s PGAAC saw more 225 scouts in attendance to evaluate 49 of the top amateur talents in the country, as well as the top draft-eligible talent north of the border.
The full showcase included multiple workout days at the University of San Diego, live-streamed (and archived) at Perfect Game’s website, along with the nine inning game itself, which was carried on MLB Network. Jason Parks and Chris Rodriguez attended the events in person, while Nick Faleris followed remotely. This is what they saw.
Joe Hamrahi (@JHamrahi), Jason Parks (@ProfessorParks), and Chris Rodriguez (@Chrisrod13) will all be in San Diego for tonight's Perfect Game All-American Classic -- an all-star game showcasing some of the top draft-eligible amateur baseball talent in the US and Canada). After a fair amount of draft-related coverage already this summer, I'll be kicking back and watching like many of you -- on MLB Network, starting at 8pm Eastern -- and chatting on Twitter (@NickJFaleris). If you aren't up on the top draft eligibles for 2014, here's a note sheet covering each of tonight's player participants, and even some space for you to take your own notes at home while you watch along.
Is the newest member of the Rockies' rotation worth a mixed-league look?
The Situation: The Rockies optioned Jeff Francis to Triple-A on Thursday in order to give 2010 second rounder (and 77th overall selection) Chad Bettis the opportunity to make his first major league start.
Background: Bettis split time between the rotation and the closer role during his three years at Texas Tech, drawing mixed projections from scouts due to his big fastball/breaking ball combo being paired with a shorter stature, inconsistent command, and fringy third offering. The Rockies pegged him as a starter and have given him every opportunity to stick in that role as he worked through the developmental system.
Eyes on Nolan Sanburn, D.J. Peterson, Dorssys Paulino, Andrew Aplin and others.
Nolan Sanburn, RHP, Athletics (Low-A Beloit) After seeing the start to his season delayed as a result of a shoulder injury suffered in spring training, Sanburn made his Midwest League debut this week after four brief innings in the Arizona Complex League. Sanburn’s debut for the Low-A Beloit Snappers went well, with the former Arkansas Razorback throwing two hitless innings while walking and striking out two. He sat a comfortable 90-92 mph with his fastball, moving it around the zone and touching 94 twice. Sanburn also mixed in two distinct breakers in the form of a hard 83-84 mph slider with tilt and a downer upper-70s curve with good bite. Sanburn also throws a straight change with some late dip, but did not utilize it in-game. The plan is still to eventually shift Sanburn over to a starter role, but for now the A’s will look to build up his arm strength and help him get innings under his belt. --Nick J. Faleris
D.J. Peterson, 1B, Mariners (Short-season Everett)
Peterson was arguably the most advanced bat of the 2013 draft class, and he has begun to put his lumber to work through his first 21 games with the short-season Everett AquaSox. Over 93 plate appearances, Peterson is hitting .286/.344/.536 with eight walks and 15 strikeouts, while launching five home runs and six doubles in his short pro career. The former Lobo boasts a tight bat path and good extension through contact, as well as balance at the plate and an ability to utilize a full-field approach. Peterson likely won’t see his first true test until he reaches High-A (potentially later this summer) or Double-A (most likely next year), where the caliber of pitching is more likely to match up with his advanced approach. --Nick J. Faleris
The Situation: After 82 starts, 447 minor-league innings, and four seasons as a top 10 prospect across two organizations, Jarred Cosart will make his first major-league start. He draws the Tampa Bay Rays and defending AL Cy Young winner David Price.
Background: Cosart was a 38th-round selection for the Philadelphia Phillies in the 2008 first-year player draft, signing for late-second-round money out of Clear Creek High School (League City, TX). A two-way Missouri commit, Cosart immediately switched to the mound full time when he entered the Phillies system.
The A's call up young pitching prospect Sonny Gray.
The Situation: With the All-Star break looming, the Athletics do not have a need for a fifth starter until late next week. Accordingly, Oakland is utilizing that roster spot to provide Sonny Gray with his first taste of major-league action, with the 2011 first rounder to work out of the A’s ‘pen.
Background: Gray was a first-round selection out of Vanderbilt University back in 2011, showcasing some of the best raw stuff in the draft but slipping to the A’s at 18th overall due to the depth of talent in the draft class, some questions about his sub-six-foot stature, and the quality of his off-speed. The former ‘Dore carved up the Texas League after signing in 2011 but took a step back, developmentally, in 2012, struggling to implement some mechanical tweaks and suffering through some regression in stuff and command.
In search of more bang from second base, the A's call up a former first-rounder.
The Situation: The first-place Oakland Athletics have received lackluster production out of the second base position in 2013—.264/.339/.343 and just one home run through 89 games—and now look to Triple-A Sacramento for an offensive boost in the form of Grant Green. After a solid but unspectacular year in Sactown last summer, Green has broken out in his second tour through the hitter-friendly PCL, triple-slashing .318/.374/.500 through 81 games whiles launching 11 home runs and 25 doubles.
Background: After entering his junior year at USC as a potential top five draft pick in 2009, Green struggled at the plate and in the field, ultimately dropping to Oakland as the 13th overall selection that June. Since then, he’s slowly climbed through the minor league ranks, showing steady growth in his game, and particularly in his approach at the plate. After shuffling around the diamond through his first three full seasons, Green made the permanent move off of shortstop in 2013 and looks to have found a permanent home at the keystone.
Well-Rounded Prep Class
Overall, the 2014 class is much deeper than 2013, with multiple first-round candidates emerging at the up-the-middle skill positions, and in particular at catcher, shortstop, and center field. While the focus will likely be on these high-value defensive positions, there is also a fair amount of corner talent, capable of growing into usable pop at the pro ranks.
Who were the standout prospects of the class of 2014 at the PG National Showcase?
Each summer, the scouting circuit kicks off with the Perfect Game Junior National Showcase and the Perfect Game National Showcase—back-to-back events (with rare exception held at the Metrodome in Minneapolis) highlighting the top underclass talent and rising seniors at the prep ranks. This year’s 2014 draft talents shined bright at PG National, with a bevy of arms and up-the-middle standouts portending a deep high school crop—the former being our focus for Part 1 of this two-part mini-series.
With over 300 players partaking in the five-day PG National Showcase, we are only scratching the surface with the notes and video in these two recap pieces. Throughout the summer and offseason, we will continue to introduce you to this exciting collection of 2014 draft prospects. To whet your appetite, check out the play of the showcase—an amazing highlight-reel grab by SoCal outfielder Derek Hill (Elk Grove HS (Elk Grove, CA)):