FORT MYERS, Fla. – The Perfect Game National Underclass Showcase-Main Event wrapped up its three day run Friday morning with three Top Prospect Games featuring right around 150 players recognized by PG scouts as having enjoyed a standout showcase.
Pitchers often grab the most attention on the final day of these showcase events and several dozen got a chance to take the hill Friday morning on one of the three fields used at the Boston Red Sox Player Development 5-Plex.
This week’s event attracted its usual number of high caliber pitching prospects – this year in the high school classes of 2013 and 2014. The talent didn’t go unnoticed.
“There have been a lot of guys that you can see have made a jump from the summer to now and who can make another jump by the time we see them next spring season,” PG scouting coordinator Ben Collman said Friday morning. “I’ve seen a lot of good lefties, which is always good.”
Underclass events can be tricky propositions for scouts, who spend equal parts evaluating and projecting. This year’s Underclass-Main was no exception when it came to looking at the pitchers on hand.
“We didn’t have any huge velocity guys but we have a lot of guys that project well,” Collman said. “I thought we saw guys with better change-ups than curve balls, which is something you usually do not see at an underclass showcase. There were actually pitchers with a real good change-up at a young age which as a scout I love to see. That’s the best No. 2 pitch there is.”
Andrew Lantrip is a 6-foot-3, 160-pound right-hander in the class of 2013 at Livingston High School in Goodrich, Texas. He was one of six starters in Friday’s Top Prospect Games.
Lantrip pitched four innings on Wednesday, watched his fastball reach 88 mph and struck out 10 batters. A PG blogger noted that “Lantrip is an athletic pitcher with lots of projection as well as present velo. He sat 84-88 with long arm action but a smooth delivery that comes out easy. His fastball jumps out of his hand and a sweeping slider at 73-75 compliments it nicely.”
He was here this week to make just such an impression.
“There are a bunch of scouts our here that are giving you an opportunity to show what you’ve got and if you show yourself, they’ll come and find you,” Lantrip said Friday. “I’m just the kind of guy that lets it flow and sees what happens. Personally, I have my own expectations and if I don’t meet those, then that’s my fault. All the scouts, they don’t have expectations of me, so I just go with the flow.”
Lantrip has played in two PG WWBA tournaments and participated in the South Underclass Showcase last summer. He was somewhat surprised he was chosen to a Top Prospect Team.
“I thought I might make it but truthfully I was just hoping that I did,” he said. “I’ve had a strained oblique for about a month, but other than that I kind of thought I had a chance. I made a Top Prospect team before at a different Perfect Game event so I thought I might make it.”
Lincoln Henzman is a 6-2, 180-pound right-hander in the class of 2014 at Lexington Christian Academy in Lexington, Ky., who also made a start in one of Friday’s Top Prospect Games. Henzman has played in three PG WWBA tournaments with the elite Kentucky Baseball Club and also participated in the Ohio Valley Showcase in his hometown last summer.
Henzman threw three innings on Wednesday and had his fastball top-out at 88 mph. His performance prompted a PG blogger to write “Henzman has an athletic, strong build with a high ¾ arm slot, short arm action (and) the ball comes out well. (He) has good sink on his fastball and ties up a lot of hitters.”
His outing Wednesday came against a team consisting of top East Cobb Baseball prospects.
“It’s been pretty good,” Henzman said of his three days here. “There’s a lot of good competition down here, and that first game playing East Cobb, it was kind of a big game I guess. But I felt pretty good about it and it was a good experience. In the past I’ve had some pretty good success but the competition really shows up here. I threw all right I guess, so my expectations played out.”
Henzman seems committed to get to as many PG events as he can over the next two years of his high school experience, which could mean a return to this event next year.
“I just want to get seen by whoever shows up. Being seen by the right people at the right time is pretty much what it’s about,” Henzman said.
Several prospects from the class of 2013 that were here this week have already made their college commitments and there are even a handful of 2014s that have done the same. Lantrip recently verbally committed to Stephen F. Austin University, but he knows his final years of high school will still offer a lot of intrigue as far as his baseball future is concerned.
“This is probably the most important next year-and-a-half for me to get somewhere in baseball,” he said.