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Tournaments : : Story
PG WWBA Jupiter and the Big Leagues!
       
Published: Friday, October 15, 2010

No wonder it’s the biggest scouting attraction in baseball

 Sometimes there can be different opinions about what events attract the most scouts and recruiters.  But if the facts and actual results count for anything, there has never been anything even close to what happens in Jupiter Florida in late October of each year.

There have been close to 200 current Major League players who played in the WWBA Championship held each October in Jupiter Florida.  Some MLB clubs and colleges sign up early to register for that event. By NCAA rules colleges can only send 2 coaches, but MLB scouting departments don’t have that issue.  Several MLB Clubs have registered 20 or more of their scouts to be in attendance this year.  The Toronto Blue Jays made news this year by increasing their scouting staff to form the largest scouting department in baseball.  They have 34 scouts coming to Jupiter.  That is how important this event has become.  It’s not just a baseball tournament, it’s a convention of sorts for MLB Scouts and College Coaches.

The number of first round picks that came out of the event is unbelievable.  But when we talk about Major Leaguers it takes most players 4 or 5 years to make the Big Leagues.  A few years from now the majority of all major leaguers will be PG WWBA Jupiter Alumni.

The event actually started in San Antonio back in 1998 before moving to Jupiter in 1999.  It quickly grew into the largest scouting attraction in baseball.  It has been held in Jupiter all but one year when a hurricane moved the event to Ft Myers.

Just since 2003 the numbers are astounding.  Obviously the number that went on to play college baseball is around 20,000.  Easier to keep track of are the draft picks, since 2003 almost 2,700 Jupiter WWBA players have been drafted.  That number includes 144 first round picks.  Some of those became first round picks out of college.  The number of second round picks is over 100.

For a complete list of players go here… http://www.perfectgame.org/events/Default.aspx?event=1072

We thought it would be interesting  to take a look at how some of those players who played in the PG WWBA Championship in Jupiter are doing these days.

The youngest players in this group are Jason Heyward, Madison Bumgarner and Rick Porcello.  All graduated from high school in 2007.  That oldest player on this list is Cody Ross.

Many of these players have experienced a lot of success over the past couple years.  Here are a few of the highlights.  19 of the players below have already become MLB All Stars, some multiple times.

·         Zach Greinke (Royals) – Was the Cy Young award winner in the American League in 2009.  He was also an American League All Star.

·         Chris Coghlan (Marlins)- Hit .321 in 2009 and was named National League Rookie of the Year

·         Prince Fielder (Brewers) - Hit 46 HRs with 141 RBI in 2009, he hit 50 HRs to lead the league in 2007 and 32 this year.  He is a two time All Star and won the Silver Slugger Award in 2007.

·         Scott Kazmir (Angels) - Has suffered his share of injuries, but he has a 66-61 record and led the AL in Strikeouts in 2007 and he’s a two time All Star.

·         Jon Lester (Red Sox) - Has a 61-25 record, 19-9 this year. He has become one of the top pitchers in baseball and made the All Star team this year.

·         Brian McCann (Braves) - He was the MVP of this year’s All Star Game. It was his 5th straight All Star game. One of the games top catchers.

·         Daniel Hudson (D’Backs) - He was traded to the D’Backs this season where he then went 7-1 with a 1.69 ERA

·         Jason Heyward (Braves) – He was named to the All Star Game as a rookie and one of the youngest players in the Major Leagues. A candidate along with Buster Posey (see below) for NL Rookie of the Year.

·         Buster Posey (Giants) – He was called up during the season and led the Giants to the playoffs.  He hit .305 with 18 HRs while handling the pitching staff very well.  Possibly the front runner along with Heyward for NL Rookie of the Year.

·         Jonathan Sanchez (Giants) –  He went 13-9 with a 3.07 ERA for the Giants this year.

·         Stephen Strasburg (Nationals) – He electrified baseball as a rookie this year before an injury and TJ surgery ended his year.  He struck out 92 hitters in just 68 innings and had a 2.91 ERA.

·         Ryan Sweeney (A’s) – He was also injured and missed much of the 2010 season. He is a former WWBA Jupiter MVP and he led the A’s in hitting in 2009 and was leading the team again this year before a season ending injury.

·         Joey Votto (Reds) - He was an All Star this year and he is a NL MVP candidate. He hit .321 as a rookie in 2007, followed with .297 in 08 and .322 in 09.  This year he chased the Triple Crown with a .324 batting average (2nd in the league), 37 HRs (3rd in the league and 113 RBI (3rd in the league.  He led the NL in On’Base% and Slugging%.

·         David Wright  (Mets) – He is a lifetime .305 hitter and a 5 time NL All Star. He also won the Gold Glove and Silver Slugger Award  twice.

·         Justin Upton (D’Backs) - He was an All Star at age 21 in 2009.  He hit .300 with 26 HRs in 09 finished this year hitting .273.  One of the true young stars.

·         BJ Upton (Rays) – He is Justin’s older brother. Recognized as a great centerfielder, he hit .300 with 24 HRs in 07. This year he hit 18 HRS and stole 42 bases. He has 40 or more SBs in 3 straight years. He led the Rays to the 2008 World Series hitting 7 home runs in the playoffs that year.

·         Delmon Young (Twins) – He is a lifetime .292 hitter and he had a great 2010 season for the Twins.  He hit .298 with 21 HRS and 112 RBI. He led the league in games played (162) and was 2nd in the AL in doubles (46)

·         Ryan Zimmerman (Nationals) – He has a .288 lifetime average. He was an AL All Star in 2009. He also is recognized as one of the best defensive 3B and was awarded the Gold Glove in 2009.

·         Matt Wieters (Orioles) – He  hit .288 as a rookie in 2009, injured much of 2010 he is still considered one of baseballs up and coming stars behind the plate.

·         Pedro Alvarez (Pirates) -  didn’t waste much time getting to the Big Leagues.  He hit 16 HRs and 21 doubles  in his first 95 games this year.

·         Colby Rasmus (Cardinals) - He is another former WWBA Jupiter MVP.  He hit .276 with 23 HRs and 28 doubles for the Cardinals this year.

·         Rick Porcello (Tigers) - He got to the Big Leagues in a hurry. His first professional year was 2008 and he started the 2009 season with the Tigers in the Big Leagues. He went 14-9 with a 3.96 ERA in 2009.  He was 10-12 after a slow start this year, but finished the season strong.

·         Austin Jackson (Tigers) – He spent a long time in the Yankees Minor League system before being traded to the Tigers.  He had a great rookie year in 2010 hitting .293 and stealing 27 bases. He was among the league leaders in ABs, Runs, Hits, triples, and unfortunately strikeouts.  He was also among the league leaders in defensive stats.

·         Dexter Fowler (Rockies) – He is one of the top defensive outfielders in the league.  He also led the Major Leagues with 14 triples this year.

·         Yovanni Gallardo (Brewers) -  was an All Star this year, one of many former WWBA Jupiter players that have been MLB All Stars.  He was 14-7 with a 3.84 ERA and he has 200 or more Strike outs in each of the past two years. 36-24 Lifetime and like so many on this list, he is just getting started.

·         Tommy Hanson (Braves) - He was one of the top rookie pitchers in 2009 when he went 11-4 with a 2.89 ERA.  This year he went through a slump but still ended up with a 3.33 ERA.  The league has 287 hits in 330.1 innings against him.  He’s one of the few that have mor e strikes than hits allowed over the past two seasons.

·         Gio Gonzalez  (A’s) – He really came on this year going 15-9 with a 3.23 ERA. He was among the top 10 in the AL in wins, starts, hits per 9 innings, ERA.

·         JJ Hardy (Twins) – He is yet another former MLB All Star (2007).  His best offensive years were 2007 and 2008 with the Brewers.  He hit 50 HRS in those two seasons while maintaining a .280 batting average.  His defensive has always been outstanding.

·         Cliff Pennington (A’s) -  played 156 games as the A’s shortstop this year. He hit .250 with 8 triples and was 4th in the AL in sacs.  He was among the league leaders (2nd) in assists and (4th) put outs.

·         John Danks (White Sox) - He is the ace of the White Sox staff.  He went 15-11 this year and over the past three years his record is 40-31. Among league leaders in innings pitched.

·         Ike Davis (Mets) - He made his rookie debut this year.  He hit .264 with 19 HRS and 71 RBI.

·         Chad Billingsley (Dodgers) - He is yet another MLB All Star (2009) He is 59-41 lifetime with a 3.55 ERA. His best year was 2008 when he went 16-10 with 201 Ks in 200 innings pitched.

·         Jonathan Broxton (Dodgers) -  A NL All Star in 2009 and 2010 struggled in the last half this year. However he is still one of the hardest throwing relief pitchers in baseball.  He has 493 strike outs in just 379 innings. In 2009 he went 7-2 with a 2.61 ERA and 36 saves.

·         Jay Bruce (Reds) – He had a great year in 2010. He hit .281 with 25 HRs and 70 RBI despite being injured some of the year.

·         Billy Butler (Royals) - He has a .299 lifetime batting average and hit .301 with 21 HRs in 2009 followed by  a career best .318 and 15 homers this year.

·         Matt Cain (Giants) - Yet another MLB All Star (2009), He went 14-8 with a2.89 ERA that year.  13-11/3.14 for this year’s  Giants. A workhorse he has pitched over 200 innings in each of the past 4 years, 223.1 IP this year while giving up only 181 hits.

·         Matt Capps (Twins) – He was named to the AL All Star game this year.  Pitching for both the Nationals and Twins he led the Majors in saves.

·         Jeremy Hellickson (Rays) – He was named minor league Player of the Year by Baseball America.  After tearing up Minor League baseball for a few years he finally got the call in 2010.  He responded with 3 straight great performances and ended up 4-0 on the season for the Rays.

·         Adam Jones (Orioles) – He is yet another MLB All Star (2009) He also won the gold glove in 2009. He hit .284 this year with 19 HRs.  He also hit 19 HRs in 2009.

·         Ian Kennedy (D’Backs) – He had flashes of brilliance this year.  His 9-10 record doesn’t represent how well he pitched.  194 innings he gave up 163 hits.  He awas another of the few who had more strike outs (168) than hits allowed.

·         Clayton Kershaw (Dodgers) – He followed 2009 8-8 with a 2.91 ERA with 2010 13-10 with 2.91 ERA.  Over the past two years he has pitched 375.1 innings while giving up just 279 hits while striking out 397 batters.  These are very rare statistics.

·         Nick Markakis (Orioles) – He has been very good and very steady over his 5 year career. His 5 year batting average has gone, .291, ,300, .306, .293, .297. he had over 100 RBI in 07 and 09. Always among league leaders in doubles.

·         James Loney (Dodgers) – He has a .288 average over 5 years.  He’s averaged right around 90 RBI a year over the past 3 years.

·         Andrew McCutchen (Pirates) - He is very close to being a Major League star if he isn’t already.  He hit .286 both his first two seasons.  He also hit 16 homers and stole 33 bases this year and he’s already among the best defensive outfielders in the Big Leagues.

·         Brandon Morrow (Blue Jays) - He debuted in 2007 but this might have been his breakout year.  He went 10-7 striking out 178 in 146 innings pitched.

·         Mike Pelfrey (Mets) - The Mets didn’t have a good year but not because of Pelfrey.  He went 15-9 with a 3.66 ERA.

·         Gaby Sanchez (Marlins) - In his first full year he made headlines by decking a hitter who charged the mound.  He also had an outstanding year, hitting .273 with 19 HRs and 85 RBI.

·         Sean Rodriguez (Rays) - He is fast becoming one of the top utility players in baseball.  He hit .251 with 9 HRs, 13 SB and 40 RBI playing part time.  Already in his 149 games played over three years he has played every position other than pitcher and catcher.  More importantly he plays them all well.

·         Chris Perez (Indians) – He might end up being one of the top closers in MLB. He had 23 saves this year, 63 IP, 40 Hits, and a 1.71 ERA.

·         Chase Headley (Padres) - He has had two consecutive steady years playing several positions for the Padres.

·         Lastings Milledge (Pirates) - He has looked like a star at times but hasn’t shown a lot of consistency yet.  He is capable of hitting close to .300 with 20-25 HRs, 100 RBI and 20-30 SB.  His best year so far was 2008 when he hit 14 HRs and stole 24 bases in 138 games.

·         Brennan Boesch (Tigers) - He had a good rookie year this season.  .256, 14 HRs, 67 RBI in 133 games.

·         Domonic Brown (Phillies) -  Only had 62 ABs this year but he is regarded one of the top prospects in the game.

·         Wade Davis (Rays) - He pitched very well for the Rays this season and he is only 24 years old.

·         Homer Bailey (Reds) - He is also just 24 and he flashed some brilliance at times this year.

·         Cody Ross (Giants) – He has played for 5 different MLB clubs. After being traded this year he helped the Giants greatly.  His 2 hits, HR and 2 RBI were the difference as the Giants defeated the Braves 3-2 in the playoff clincher.

·         Nick Adenhart (Angels) -  We will never forget him!

·         This is just a sampling of the roughly 200 current Major League players that while in high school performed at the PG WWBA World Championship held each October.

PG WWBA World Championship Oct. 21-25, 2010 Roger Dean Complex – Jupiter, Florida