Fla. – Idaho City, Idaho, native Porter Clayton made a decision as a youngster
that his faith carried a little more weight in his life than baseball, no
matter how much he grew to excel at the game.
6-foot-3, 190-pound left-hander is Perfect Game’s 46th-ranked top
national prospect in the high school graduating class of 2011, and has made a
college commitment to Oregon of the Pacific 10 Conference.
Clayton has also made a commitment of another kind.
is a is a devout Mormon and decided early in his young life – he turned 17 in
May – to take part in a Mormon Mission two years after he graduates from high
school. He will likely enroll early at Oregon and get two years of baseball
experience at the collegiate level before going on his mission.
“I’m thinking of graduating (from high school)
early, so that’s the plan for me right now,” Clayton said.
Clayton should happen to get drafted in June’s First Year Player Draft in an
early round, he said most Major League teams like for the player to complete
the mission, and then they will come back with an offer.
Game projects Clayton as a late third-round selection.
the meantime, he’s staying his course as far as the mission is concerned.
wanted to do it my whole life and my parents have been very supportive of it,”
Clayton said. “A lot of people have been very supportive of it, so nothing but
positive things have come out of it so far.”
is in Jupiter this week playing in the Perfect Game WWBA World Championship at
the Roger Dean Complex. He is a member of the far-flung Ohio Warhawks, a team
based in Springfield, Ohio, that doesn’t have a single player from Ohio on its
World Championship roster.
are, however, players from Texas, Callifornia, Georgia, Minnesota, Washington,
Tennesse, Colorado, a whopping seven from Nevada, and one – Clayton – from
has played wiith some of the Warhawks before this week’s World Championship,
including catcher Greg Bird (2011, Aurora, Colo.), third basmean Joey Gallo
(2011, Hendersonville, Nev.) and right-hander Cole Wiper (2011, Bellevue,
not really an unfamiliar atmosphere,” Clayton said. “They’re a team that won a
national championship this summer, so they’re more of a core team that just let
the rest of us play with them.”
pitched the first two innings of the Warhawks’ 3-2, come-from-behind win over
Sandlot/Midwest Scout Team Friday afternoon, and admitted to a case of nerves.
first inning I was a little nervous and my mechanics broke down, but in the
second inning I came out a lot more relaxed and it went well.”
Warhawks are coached by Ron Slusher, the oganization’s founder.
has control of his pitches and he can spot his fastball,” said Slusher, who has
been around his ace for only three days. “He has good movement on his fastball,
a nice little tail-runner, and a nice curveball.”
is not Clayton’s first baseball trip away from Idaho. He took part this summer
in the PG National Showcase at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., as well
as the Area Code Games at Blair Field in Long Beach, Calif.
Perfect Game scout at the National Showcase reported that Clayton has a “very
impressive feel for movement/location/spin (with a) mature approach on the
not really overwhelming,” Clayton said of being at the World Championship.
“It’s a lot of fun just seeing all the good players here, because a lot of the
top players are here, almost everyone of them. It’s fun to come with a team
like the Warhawks who know each other and let you play with them.”
Warhawks are kind of an interesting story in and of themselves.
founded the Miami Vallley Warhawks Baseball Club in 1990 and the program’s top
team soon became known as the Ohio Warhawks.
300 former Warhawks players have been drafted, including 28 first-rounders,
according to Slusher. He said 45 former Warhawks are playing in the Major
Leagues, including Pat Burrell, J.D. Drew. A.J. Pierzynski and Roy Halladay.
teams have won 10 national championships through the years, and it is that
success and the fact the MVWBC charges no player fees that has drawn in top
talent like Clayton.
is grateful for the exposure Perfect Game has given him, saying, “I’m from
Idaho, so the first big showcases is whenever I come to Perfect Game (events).”
His next big showcases will probably be two
years of baseball at Oregon, then a two-year Mormon Mission. Both should be