Photo: Perfect Game

Great Dane Classic Bound

Nick Kappel

Published: Tuesday, August 7, 2012

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — The Perfect Game All-American Classic presented by Rawlings is an annual event that showcases the top high school talent in the country. This year, the game’s 10th installment, will be played Aug. 12 at PETCO Park in San Diego.

This prestigious event has produced 117 first-round picks in the MLB Draft, including: Justin Upton, Buster Posey, Madison Bumgarner, Andrew McCutchen, Jason Heyward and Eric Hosmer.

This year the All-American Classic will feature the 48 top high school prospects, including Dane McFarland.

The 6-foot-4, 205-pound McFarland is a right-handed hitting outfielder and pitcher from JSerra Catholic HS in Laguna Niguel, Calif. He’s played in several Perfect Game events, including the National Showcase in Minneapolis earlier this summer. McFarland’s performance there — which included a 6.5 60-yard dash and two homers in the home run derby — led to his selection onto the All-American Classic roster.

I really enjoyed (the National Showcase) and had a lot of fun,” he said. “Just meeting guys was nice to get a taste of the talent across the nation … After one of the games, I was invited to the All-American Game. It definitely came as a surprise to me.”

McFarland won’t be able to play in the Classic due to a torn labrum in his right shoulder. He had surgery on it last month, and won’t be fully recovered until December.

Albert Almora was held out of last year’s Classic, but that didn’t affect his draft value. He was selected sixth overall by the Chicago Cubs in June.

Despite the injury, McFarland will be in San Diego this week to enjoy the three-day All-American experience, which includes a visit to Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego. The proceeds from the event are donated to aid in treatment of pediatric cancer.

McFarland’s high school teammate Austin Hedges, who played in the 2010 Classic, has relayed encouraging words about the event.

He says it’s a great time and a great experience,” McFarland said. “I’m looking forward to it.”

When reminded that the Perfect Game All-American Classic presented by Rawlings has produced players such as Bryce Harper and Carlos Correa in recent years, McFarland offered a humble response.

It really hasn’t hit me yet, but it’s pretty amazing to think that these guys have moved on and are now doing bigger things,” he said. “It really makes you feel good about yourself.”

The 17-year-old played with the ASD Bulldogs travel team in the 2010 and 2011 PG/Evoshield National Championships, and has committed to play at Oregon following his senior season. But the latter doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll ever wear a Ducks uniform.

Listed by Perfect Game as the No. 31 overall prospect in the high school class of 2013, McFarland will likely draw plenty of interest from teams in next year’s draft.

I really haven’t put much thought into it,” McFarland said about the possibility of being drafted. “I’m just taking that process slow. I want to see how my rehab and my senior season go. Getting my arm back to full health would be my primary goal.

I just have to keep working every single day. My goal is (to be drafted) in the top 15-20 rounds. I’ve been playing since I was eight or nine years old, so it’s always been a lifelong dream to play baseball professionally.”

Although he can pitch, McFarland prefers to play the field because it allows him to hit. He’s confident in his bat, but admits he needs to improve against off-speed pitches. In the outfield, his 6.5 speed and rocket arm allow him to run down fly balls and throw out base-runners, much like his favorite player Josh Hamilton does.

Even though McFarland was raised in southern California, he’s not an Angels fan. His mom grew up in New York and has “bred” her son to root for the Yankees, her hometown team. He grew up idolizing Derek Jeter, but after attending several Angels’ games this summer, he’s quickly becoming a fan of Mike Trout.

If Perfect Game's scouting notes on McFarland -- Exciting combination of power potential and speed with five-tool potential -- are any indicator, his skills are very similar to those of his new favorite player.

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