FORT MYERS, Fla. – The 2013 Perfect Game National Showcase will always be remembered as the PG National that featured one of the deepest and most talented pitching classes in the prestigious event’s 13-year history; the first day of the 2014 MLB First-Year Player Draft last week drove that point home.
Ten pitchers that are alumni of the 2013 PG National were selected in the first round of the draft, including No. 1 overall pick Brady Aiken, a left-hander from Cardiff by the Sea, Calif., and No. 2 pick Tyler Kolek, a right-hander from Shepherd, Texas. At the completion of the first round and the competitive balance round A (41 picks), a total of 17 2013 PG National Showcase alumni had been chosen.
The expanded 2014 Perfect Game National Showcase, the 14th edition of amateur baseball’s most prestigious showcase event, will run Thursday, June 12 through Monday, June 16 at JetBlue Park with more than 300 of the top prospects from the high school class of 2015 performing in front of hundreds of professional scouts and college coaches and recruiters.
This year’s event, lengthened to five days from four in previous years, will feature prospects taking part in workout and batting practice sessions over the first three days. They will be divided into 12 teams, with each team playing three games on consecutive days over the course of the five-day run; games will be played all five days. (For the complete schedule, please click here).
Similar to past years, Perfect Game will streaming the 2014 Perfect Game National Showcase in its entirety. The 60-yard dash, outfield, infield and catching drills, batting practice and all 18 game will be available, for free, for everyone to watch from the comforts of their own home. Simply follow the link that will be available on Perfect Game's homepage (www.perfectgame.org) to access these streamed videos.
Forty-three of the top-50 nationally ranked prospects from the 2015 graduating class will be at JetBlue Park for this year’s PG National. That number includes 26 of the top-30, 18 of the top-20 and all 10 of the top-10.
In almost a complete reversal from a year ago, the class of 2015 is loaded with standout position players; only two of the top-10 prospects in attendance are primary pitchers, and they’re ranked Nos. 6 and 10. Broken down even more narrowly, if the 2013 National was “the year of the pitcher” this one could be called “the year of the shortstop” with four primary shortstop prospects ranked in the top-12, including Nos. 2, 3 and 4.
Or, perhaps, “the year of the outfielder” would be appropriate. Four primary outfielders are ranked in the top-13 nationally, including overall No. 1 Dazmon Cameron, a 6-foot-1, 186-pound center fielder from McDonough, Ga., who has committed to Florida State.
In an interesting parallel, Cameron shares a hometown with Atlanta Braves outfielder Jason Heyward, an alumnus of the 2006 PG National Showcase, held that year in Fayetteville, Ark. Both also played in the East Cobb Baseball organization.
The other 2015 prospects ranked in the top-10 are: No. 2 shortstop Brendan Rodgers (Longwood, Fla.), Orlando Scorpions, Florida State commit; No. 3 shortstop John Aiello (Lansdale, Pa.), Tri-State Arsenal, Wake Forest; No. 4 shortstop Nicholas Shumpert (Lone Tree, Colo.), Prospects National Team, Kentucky; No. 5 Jahmai Jones (Roswell, Ga.), Georgia Roadrunners, North Carolina.
No. 6 right-hander Kyle Molnar (Aliso Viejo, Calif.), CBA Marucci, UCLA; No. 7 catcher Chris Betts (Long Beach, Calif.), CBA Marucci, Tennessee; No. 8 outfielder Ryan Johnson (College Station, Texas), EvoShield Canes, Texas Christian; No. 9 catcher Michael Hickman (Katy, Texas), Marucci Houston, Oklahoma; No. 10 left-hander Thomas Szapucki (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.), All-American Prospects, Florida.
Cameron has been the class of 2015’s top-ranked national prospect since the second set of rankings was released on Dec. 1, 2012. He was No. 3 in the inaugural 2015 national rankings released on Sept. 4, 2012 – behind Molnar and Szapucki – but has held down the top spot in nine subsequent updates.
Never satisfied, Cameron has continued to excel at his craft. He was named to the all-tournament team at eight PG WWBA or PG BCS tournaments and included on the top prospect list at four Perfect Game showcase events since the summer of 2011.
“You’ve got to be pleased with your progression; you’ve got no choice but to be pleased in this game,” Cameron said in September while playing at the PG/EvoShield National Championship (Upperclass) in Goodyear, Ariz.). “I go out there and try to play my best every time I’m out on the field.”
His father Mike Cameron – a retired veteran of 17 major league seasons – has enjoyed a front-row seat throughout his son’s PG career, watching Daz’s young career advance to the point where he is performing on the biggest national stages.
“It’s been good to see him start to excel in some areas,” Mike said in September. “He’s starting to put himself in pretty good position player-wise moving into this senior season, and that’s always a good sign. Probably the biggest thing is that he’s continuing to progress and he’s continued to learn more and more about himself every day.”
Donovan and Szapucki aren’t the only top arms at the event. Right-handers Nolan Kingham (ranked No. 14, Las Vegas, Texas commit), Beau Burrows (No. 15, Weatherford, Texas, Texas A&M) and Gray Fenter (No. 20, West Memphis, Ark., Ole Miss), and left-hander Juan Hillman (No. 18, Haines City, Fla., Central Florida) headline the 2015 class.
Additionally, right-hander Anthony Molina from Pembroke Pines, Fla. – the No. 1-ranked national prospect in the class of 2016 – will be in attendance on the heels of an appearance at the PG Jr. National Showcase earlier in the week. Outfielder Seth Beer from Suwanee, Ga., ranked No. 4 in the class of 2016, will also be at the PG National after performing at the PG Jr. National.
The prospects in attendance will not only be trying to catch the eyes of the hundreds of MLB scouts in attendance but also those belonging to Perfect Game scouts and front office personnel. A prospect’s performance at the PG National Showcase is taken into account when invitations are extended to the prestigious Perfect Game All-American Classic, played in early August at the San Diego Padres’ Petco Park.
With the results of the 2014 MLB amateur draft now final, a total of 1,602 PG National Showcase alumni have been drafted since the event’s inception in 2001. They include overall No. 1 selections Justin Upton (2004 PG National/2005 draft), Tim Beckham (2007/2008), Gerrit Cole (2007/2011), Mark Appel (2008/2013), Carlos Correa (2011/2012) and Aiken (2013/2014).