FORT MYERS, Fla. – In an April conversation with Perfect Game, Washington Nationals assistant general manager and vice president of player personnel Roy Clark related just how essential attendance at the Perfect Game National Showcase has become for someone in his line of work.
“Last year, something came up and I missed the Perfect Game National for the first time in probably 10 years. And I was just lost,” Clark recalled. “One of the things that’s so beneficial for me – now and as a former scouting director – at that event they’ve got the better kids, just about all of them, from throughout the country that are the top kids for the next draft.
“We, as the Washington Nationals, start getting ready for the next year’s draft the day after (the previous) one ends,” he continued. “The day after the 2011 Draft, we will start getting ready for 2012, and the Perfect Game National is the main event right there.”
Perfect Game is bringing its most prestigious showcase event to City of Palms Park for an electric four-day run June 16-19.
The 2011 Perfect Game National Showcase – recognized as the No. 1 showcase event in all of amateur baseball – will bring together 270 of the top prospects in the high school class of 2012 from all across the country for four days of skills sessions and game action.
This year’s National was originally scheduled to be held at the Metrodome in Minneapolis, but after a heavy snowfall caused a portion of that facility’s roof to collapse, the event was moved to City of Palms Park.
The 2011 MLB First-Year Player Draft concluded on June 8, and 17 prospects who participated in the 2010 National Showcase were either first round or first round compensation selections.
In the 2011 draft, three 2010 PG National alumni were taken with the first 14 picks – Francisco Lindor went No. 8 to the Cleveland Indians, Javier Baez No. 9 to the Chicago Cubs and Jose Fernandez No. 14 to the Florida Marlins.
In addition, seven players from the college ranks that had previously attended the Perfect Game National Showcase were also drafted in the first or supplemental first rounds, including the No. 1 overall pick, Gerrit Cole (2007).
There is no question the PG National is the kick-off event for the upcoming scouting season.
Mike Radcliff is the Minnesota Twins’ vice president of player personnel after previously serving as the Twins’ scouting director. He makes it a point to be there.
“We put schedules together over the winter for the upcoming season, both before the draft and right after the draft – that’s when you start up for the following draft,” Radcliff told Perfect Game in April. “I go to the Perfect Game National every year and it seems like it’s usually within minutes – or at least days – right after the draft process is over (the previous) year.”
At latest count, more than 80 Perfect Game National Showcase graduates are playing in the Major Leagues. Some of the more notable big-leaguers, listed by year of participation, include:
2001 – Prince Fielder, Joey Votto, B.J. Upton, Denard Span, Jeff Clement, Scott Kazmir, Lastings Milledge and Alex Gordon.
2002 – Chad Billingsley, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Matt LaPorta, Sean Rodriguez and Ryan Sweeney.
2003 – Justin Upton, Jonathan Arencibia and Jeremy Hellickson.
2004 – Buster Posey, Ike Davis, Cameron Maybin, Colby Rasmus and Andrew McCutchen.
2005 – Jeremy Jeffress, Mike Minor, Dominic Brown and Cedric Hunter.
2006 – Jason Heyward, Madison Bumgarner, Peter Kozma, Rick Porcello and Freddie Freeman.
2007 – Eric Hosmer.
That’s just a small sampling of the talent the PG National Showcase puts on the field. It’s no wonder it’s a must-see in the eyes of the scouting community.
“It’s just something we feel very strongly about attending every year. You get to see the majority of the better high school kids for the upcoming year,” Tom McNamara, the Seattle Mariners’ director of amateur scouting, told PG in April. “Right after the 2011 draft is over, you’re already looking at 2012 – there’s not much time to take a breather and say ‘OK, let’s take a couple of weeks off.’”
The Nationals’ Clark will make sure he doesn’t miss this year’s event and feel lost for another entire summer.
“The ideal for me is to see the (PG National Showcase) to identify the guys I want to really bare down on the rest of the summer,” he said.