Tournaments : : Story
Friday, October 20, 2006

Handicapping the PG WWBA Championship

Perfect Game Staff        
Who will get the Rings?

Here is a quick look at one man?€™s opinion of the top 30 teams in this year?€™s 80 team PG WWBA World Championship. The tournament starts with 5 games on Thursday Oct. 26th and the championship game will be Monday afternoon Oct. 30th at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter Florida.

Many top prospects will be playing for other teams in the 80 team tournament.

Players in bold attended either the Perfect Game National Showcase and/or the Aflac All American Classic.

Handicapping the World Wood Bat Championship

1 - Reds Scout Team

Top Players: OF Michael Burgess, SS Justin Jackson, 3B Derek Dietrich, 2B Ryan Dent, C Yasmani Grandal, 1B Eric Hosmer, LHP Walker Kelly, RHP Jarrod Parker, RHP Sam Runion, RHP Tommy Toledo, RHP Seth Blair and Many other top prospects.

The nucleus of the Midland Redskins summer club has an incredible starting lineup featuring 5 AFLAC All Americans in Burgess, Dietrich, Jackson, Runion and Grandal. The rest of the team is almost as talented.

      Michael Burgess              Justin Jackson                Derek Dietrich                   Ryan Dent                Yasmani Grandal

2 - East Cobb Astros

Top Players: OF Jason Heyward, 3B Hunter Morris, OF Chris Epps, 1B Chase Davidson, RH Jake Cowan, LHP Josh Smoker, LHP Jack McGeary, RHP Austin Bailey, LHP Nathan Vineyard, RHP Brian Dupra, RHP Gary Gilheeney, LHP Brett DeVall, RHP Zeke Spruill and the rest are top prospects too.

It would be hard to argue that any team can match up pitcher for pitcher with the Astros staff. The same essential group allowed 1 run at last year?€™s World Championship and 2 runs at the 2006 World Junior Championships.

      Heyward                 Morris                   Epps                 Smoker                McGeary                Bailey               Vineyard


3 - Ohio Warhawks

Top Players: SS Christian Colon, 1B Freddie Freeman, SS Mike Moustakas, OF Isaac Galloway, OF Danny Carroll, RHP James Mahler, RHP Scott Moviel, RHP Drew Storen, They are loaded with top prospects throughout the lineup.

The Warhawks finished 2nd at Jupiter in 2004 and are a perennial contender for the championship. Scoring runs should not be a problem for a high powered offense. Look for a couple of big surprises.

      Christian Colon              Freddie Freeman              James Mahler

4 - ABD Bulldogs

Top Players: SS Nick Noonan, 3B Josh Vitters, OF Brett Krill, OF Sequoyah Stonecipher, 1B Anthony Rizzo, C Daniel Elorriaga-Matra, IF-RHP Ryan O?€™Sullivan, LHP Forrest Moore, RHP Cole Cook, RHP Kyle Ocampo, RHP Matt Sisto and many other top prospects.

The 2005 third place Bulldogs are without MVP Chris Parmelee, now with the Twins, but return what is for sure a stronger overall team. In fact, this looks like one of the best ABD teams ever.

       Noonan                   Vitters                   Krill               Stonecipher               Rizzo           Elorriaga-Matra            Moore

         Cook                 Ocampo

5 - South Florida Bandits

Top Players: RHP Rick Porcello, CF Stephen Brooks, SS D.J. LeMahieu, RHP Nathan Striz, RHP Anthony Ranaudo, OF Wes Manning, C Keith Weinkofsky, C Shawn Zarraga, 1B Jaren Matthews, SS Greg Sherry and other top prospects.

The South Florida Bandits are actually mostly from New Jersey and other parts of the country, but New Jersey is one of the hot up and coming states for young talent. This team is absolutely loaded.

       Porcello                 Brooks               LeMahieu                Striz                Weinkofsky              Zarraga              Matthews


6 - Houston Heat

Top Players: SS Kevin Ahrens, OF David Alleman, RHP Paul Demny, LHP Aaron Daab, RHP Barrett Loux, RHP Justin Jackson, LHP/1B Bobby Stone, RHP Brandon Finken and many more top prospects.

The Heat always bring the heat, in the form of some of the top players from always talent rich Southeast Texas.

         Kevin Ahrens                 Paul Demny

7 - All American Prospects

Top Players: C-1B Danny Rams, SS Rolando Gomez, OF Jeff Eubank, OF Joey Hage, C Nikko Navarro, 1B-LHP Iden Nazario, RHP Kevin Quackenbush, LHP Chris Hernandez, RHP Ryan Weber, LHP Anthony Ferrera, OF-RHP Rey Delphry and several other top prospects.

The reigning 2-time WWBA 17U National Champions bring a very talented group of players to Jupiter, including a very deep pitching staff.

        Rams                  Gomez                 Eubank                  Hage                  Navarro                Nazario            Quackenbush


8 - PG Crosschecker

Top Players: OF Jiwan James, C Braxton Miller, C Robert Bono, SS D.J. Fitzgerald, 3B Pedro Albery Baez DelaCruz, RHP Matt Mitchell, RHP Taylor Reeves, LHP Jimmy Nelson, OF Kentrail Davis, RHP Matt Harvey and many others.

The PG Crosschecker team is put together by the PG Staff, headed by Kirk Gardner, of players who don?€™t have regular teams to play with at Jupiter. Especially interesting are a couple of high level prospects from the Dominican Republic. This team has the talent to challenge for the title.

        Miller                 Fitzgerald                Reeves                  Davis                  Harvey

9 - Dirtbags

Top Players: 1B David Mailman, SS Garrison Lassiter, 2B Tyler Hanover; OF Quincy Latimore, OF L.J. Hoes, 3B-RHP Greg Holt, RHP Justin Poovey, RHP Patrick Johnson, RHP Trent Rothlin, RHP Ryan Leach and several other top 08 and 07 prospects.

The Dirtbags have finished in the top 3 in three different WWBA tournaments in the past year and want more this time.

       Justin Poovey                Patrick Johnson

10 - Midwest Blazers

Top Players: SS Carmen Angelini, OF Jose Rodriguez, RHP Brett Zawacki; RHP Chris Wakefield; RHP Marc Recchio; LHP Nick Rice, RHP Travis Lawler, LHP Nick Jensen, RHP Cody Scarpetta, LHP Joel Delorit and several more top prospects from around the nation

The Blazers have one of the deepest and best pitching staffs in the tournament and could be a surprise team if they score enough runs.

       Angelini               Rodriguez                 Rice                  Jensen

11 - All Star Baseball Academy

Top Players: C Devin Mesaroco, SS Phillip Gosselin, 3B Austin Gallagher, RHP Gabe Feldman, LHP Mark Adzick, RHP Connor Hoehn, RHP Ryan McCafferty and several other top prospects.

There are plenty of top prospects on this team for All Star Baseball Academy to make a run deep into the playoffs.

       Phillip Gosselin               Gabe Feldman                 Mark Adzick                Connor Hoehn

12 - Black Sox Scout Team

Top Players: 1B Aaron Westlake, OF Pablo Bermudez, C Cole Leonida, LHP Jonathan Clarance, LHP David Small, LHP Zach Brewster and many more in a loaded lineup.

The Black Sox qualified for Jupiter by winning the Kernels Championship in September and have added a number of talented prospects from all over the nation since then.

      Aaron Westlake                David Small

13 - Puerto Rico Baseball Academy

Top Players: OF Julio Morales, LHP Gaspar Santiago, RHP Rigoberto Lugo

The word out of Puerto Rico is that this is the best team from the island in many years. It?€™s a must see team for the professional scouts to get a good look at. They will be fun to watch.

14 - Knoxville Yard

Top Players: OF Cody Hawn, RHP-1B Paul Hoilman, IF Barton Ivy, IF Joey Delmonico, LHP Chad Bell, LHP Ryan Holland

It would be unprecedented for the Yard not to be a playoff contender at a WWBA event and they should be again this fall. Garth Iorg?€™s team always plays everyone tough.

Cody Hawn

15 - Louisiana All-Stars ?€? Team Marucci

Top Players: OF Leon Landry, SS Matt Creel, OF Paul LaVasseur, OF-LHP Chad Jones, RHP Jastin Rainwater

The All-Stars are always one of the most athletic teams at Jupiter and this year should be no exception. Always a surprise or two on this team.

16 - Chet Lemon?€™s Juice

Top Players: 1B Dalton Hicks, 1B Ryan Matthews, RHP John Bachanov, RHP Nevin Griffith and many more top prospects.

The Juice have turned over almost their entire roster since sharing the 2005 Jupiter title with the East Cobb Astros, so they are something of an unknown. It would be unlike Chet Lemon not to bring a very talented team, however.

       Ryan Matthews               Nevin Griffith

17 - Orlando Braves

Top Players: OF Evan Chambers, C Justin LaFavers, 3B Tyler Benzel, C Tony Caldwell, LHP John Gast, RHP Brennan Dobbins, RHP Chad Allen, RHP Greg Larson

The Braves, aka the Orlando Scorpions of summer ball, have some of the top talent from the rich Central Florida area.

       Evan Chambers                 John Gast

18 - Southeast Texas Sun Devils

Top Players: SS Tim Ferguson, OF Johnny Dishon, 3B David Murphy, OF Alex Carrow, OF Bobby Armstrong, OF-LHP Hunter Cervenka, LHP Mark Serna, RHP Chase Dempsay, and other top 07s and 08s.

Many of this same group of players has pretty much been together for 3 years and competed well against everyone in the country. This is their last major tournament as a group and they want to go out strong.

      Ferguson                Dishon                 Carrow               Cervenka

19 - Sandlot/Midwest Scout Team

Top Players: SS Peter Kozma, OF David Stewart, IF Davis Duren, 3B Andy Wilkins, C Derek Norris, RHP Brad Buehler, and several other top prospects.

Midwest Scout Team does an excellent job each year of bringing together some of the top prospects in the central Midwest and this year is no exception. They have the talent to make a good run at the title.

        Peter Kozma                  David Stewart                 Davis Duren

20 - Florida Bombers

Top Players: 3B Vic Ramjit, SS Tyler Pastornicky, SS Sam Mende, 3B Jacob Rogers, OF Denny Almonte, C Joel Caranza, OF J.P. Ramirez, IF-RHP Mike McGee, LHP D.J. Swatscheno

The Bombers have one of the youngest rosters in the event but also one of the most talented. They could be a surprise team if they mature quickly and they have enough pitching 

         Mike McGee                D.J. Swatscheno

21 - New Jersey Twins

Top Players: C James Laufer, OF Nicholas Natale, OF Alex Kenny, RHP-OF David Laufer, SS-RHP J.C. Menna, RHP Evan Danieli, RHP Tim Norton

The word is out that there are tons of top players in New Jersey, so the Twins are having to share the wealth with numerous other teams.

      Nicholas Natale                 Evan Danieli

22 - Indiana Scout Team

Top Players: 3B T.J. Baumet, SS Ethan Wilson, IF Jeff King, OF Guantlett Eldemire, RHP Burney Mitchem, RHP Brock Huntzinger, RHP Nick Cunningham, RHP Bryce Schaeffer

The Indiana Scout Team should get plenty of attention from the scouts, especially a couple of their talented right handed pitchers.

23 - Orioles Scout Team

Top Players: OF Tyler Mann, OF Peter Verdin, OF-LHP Austin Stadler, LHP Sean Tierany, RHP Gary Bulman, RHP Ryan Rivers, RHP Joseph Yermal, RHP Bryan Castro

The Orioles have quietly put together one of the deepest pitching staffs of any team at the tournament. They could be a big surprise if they get off to a fast start in pool play.

      Joseph Yermal

24 - Richmond Braves National 18U

Top Players: IF Sam Roberts, C Will Kent, IF Jacob Mayers, RHP-3B Tim Melville, RHP Robert Morey, RHP Will Roberts, LHP Matt Laney, LHP Greg Amorosso and several other top 07s and 08s.

The Braves are one of the most experienced teams in the field and have great upper level talent. Their main concern is depth if they advance well into the playoffs.

         Sam Roberts                Greg Amorosso

25 - Ontario Blue Jays

Top Players: C Jordan Wideman, IF James Kotaras, 1B Cameron Robulack, OF Kyle Fillier, SS Stephen Wickens, OF George Apyapong-Mensah, RHP Carson Pillers, LHP Evan Grills, RHP Dan Lazarou

The incredible traveling Blue Jays have the depth to go deep in the playoffs with a few breaks. They are certainly more accustomed to being on the road than any other team in Jupiter.

      Jordan Wideman           Cameron Robulack

26 - Southeast Select

Top Players: 3B Matt Sorrell, C Zach Maggard, RHP-OF Michael Main, RHP-1B Daniel Marrs and others.

The scouts will follow Southeast Select around carefully to see Main pitch, but the team has plenty of other good young talent as well.

         Matt Sorrell                   Michael Main

27 - South Charlotte Panthers

Top Players: C Kolby Epley, SS Whit Merrifield, 1B Preston Shuey, RHP Kyle Greenwalt, LHP Hamilton Bennett, RHP Keegan Linza

The Panthers are a bunch of gamers who come to play, led by their ace RHP Greenwalt, the one pitcher no team in the tournament really wants to face.

Kyle Greenwalt

28 - Southwest Florida Baseball

Top Players: SS John Tolisano, 1B Kenny Carlson, SS Kenny Crews, C Michael Zunino and other top 07s and 08s.

Just as with Southeast Select, the scouts will follow Southwest Florida to watch one player in particular, Tolisano, which should benefit all their good young players.

       John Tolisano

29 - South Troy Dodgers/Brooklyn Youth Service

Top Players: OF-RHP Greg Holle, C Jonathan Candelier and several other top prospects.

Many of the Dodgers are from NYC and fairly unknown, but everyone remembers them coming with RHP Dellin Betances two years ago. Holle and Candelier are top prospects.

         Greg Holle                 Jonathan Candelier

30 - Diamond Devils

Top Players: OF Brian Harrison, C Trey Wimmer, RHP Thomas Fekeke, RHP B.J. Hyatt, RHP Anthony Markham

You would have to go back a long time to find a WWBA Championship that the Diamond Devils didn?€™t contend for. Strong pitching and defense are their trademarks.

Note ?€? Rosters will be filling up right up until the tournament starts. Many highly ranked players will be added to the above team?€™s rosters as well as the other 50 teams.

The other 50 teams (not listed above) have lots of highly ranked prospects. A couple of them are likely to be big surprises in Jupiter this year. Then there are the many individual surprises that pop up each year in this event. Looks like it should be a good one!
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