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Tournament of Stars impact talent

High School : : General
David Rawnsley         Frankie Piliere        
Published: Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The second stop in the summer showcase circuit following the Perfect Game National Showcase is a complicated one. USA Baseball’s Tournament of Stars isn’t a showcase but it really isn’t a tournament either. It’s a combination event whose primary purpose is to narrow down the selection process for who will be on the USA National 18U Team that will travel to Mexico the first two weeks of September for the Pan American Championship.

There were some changes to the TOS structure this year that streamlined things somewhat. There were formally eight “teams” that were made up of players loosely divided on their affiliation with various umbrella summer organizations including Connie Mack, American Legion and RBI. That was eliminated in favor of six teams named after patriotic themes (Pride, United, Brave) resulting in a reduction of total players from 144 to 108.

There was also an additional workout day added to the schedule at the beginning of the week prior to the regularly scheduled four days of games split by a workout day.

Since the purpose of the TOS is to select a team to represent the country, we thought that we’d construct the TOS recap in roster format projecting a potential national team, with comments on other players as well.

The USA 18U Team will travel with a 20-player roster. A very key component to past rosters which is notably missing this year is that there seem to be fewer two-way players in the 2015 class. In 2013, for example, Jack Flaherty, Keaton McKinney and Alex Destino all saw extensive action on both sides of the ball. That situation is more problematic in 2014.

The team below is based heavily on perceptions from the Tournament of Stars only, along with a long background of observing how USA Baseball constructs rosters. It is not meant to represent a top prospect list.

Pitchers (9)

LHP Kolby Allard
: The California lefty may have emerged as the team’s potential ace, with two strong outings that were consistent and dominating.

RHP Austin Bergner
: Bergner is not only the top arm in the 2016 class but he offers middle infield insurance as well as a rare two-way player in this group.

RHP Beau Burrows
: The West Texas native didn’t seem bothered by the heat, as his second outing was stronger than his first. He’ll bring the heat himself with his mid-90s fastball.

RHP Chandler Day
: Day showed an impressive three-pitch starter’s mix, with a slider and changeup that actually graded out higher than his 89-92 mph fastball.

RHP Joe DeMers
: DeMers has a closer’s body and a closer’s delivery but he stands out for having a starter’s collection of pitches and the ability to mix them. He’s a veteran of the Gold Medal winning 2013 team.

RHP Gray Fenter
: Fenter would be our choice to fill the Luis Ortiz (2013) role as the designated closer for the USA team. He has a calm demeanor on the mound, a 90-93 mph fastball he commands well and a big low-80s slider for his out pitch.

RHP Ryan Cole McKay
: McKay didn’t have quite the same fastball as he did at the PG National but worked extensively on his off-speed stuff, with his changeup being an especially effective weapon.

RHP Matthew McGarry
: McGarry’s improvement from the PG National to the TOS was very notable. He dominated in both his outings in Cary with plus stuff and much better command.

LHP Cole Ragans
: Ragans is the perfect pitcher to throw against a secondary opponent. He’s extremely polished for a 2016 and will fill up the strike zone with quality stuff. USA Baseball likes investing in a few underclassmen each year and Ragans and Bergner are talent worthy.

Other pitching notes:

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