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Thursday, August 07, 2008

2008 Aflac All American Game Notes - Day 1

Perfect Game Staff        
Los Angeles, CA
Aug 6

Day I Aflac All American Game

In the first five years, 52 Aflac All Americans have been drafted by MLB clubs in the first round. This means that more than one out of every four former Aflac All Americans have become a first round draft selection. So we can say with some certainty, that there are several future first round picks among the 38 players here in LA this week.

Actually things got started Tuesday night with the player welcome dinner.

As in all previous years Perfect Game presented awards to those Aflac players who stood out at the Perfect Game National Showcase held in June at the Metrodome in Minneapolis, MN.

The amount of talent at the PG National is unbelievable to anyone other than those who attend that event and see everything. Picking individuals for the awards is a very tough task as many could easily be considered for nearly every award.

It can only be one in each category, so here are the players who received those awards at the Aflac Welcome Dinner.

Best Runner – Levon Washington (FL)
Best Fielding – Mychal Givens (FL)
Best Hitter – David Nick (CA)
Best Power Hitter – Jonathan Singleton (CA)
Best Pitcher – Matthew Purke (TX)
Best Prospect – Donavan Tate (GA)

Wednesday Morning Practice

Each team took a quick round of infield. Not a lot to report, but a few things did stand out.

The West middle Infielders Jiovanni Mier and David Nick showed smooth actions and quick arms.

The catchers are a strength in this class and Austin Maddox’s arm continues to impress people.

West Coach Andy Hall is real good at hitting pop ups to the catcher.

For the most part, it was fairly routine, with good players looking like good players.

Both teams then took BP, here are a few notes and highlights.

The fences at Dedeaux Field on the USC campus are 328 LF Line, 375 LC, 395 CF, 365 RC, and 333 down the RF line.

The West team hit first and pretty much every hitter displayed why they were selected as Aflac All Americans.

We started wondering about the HR Contest coming soon as very few of the West hitters were hitting the ball out of the park. Of course, we couldn’t help but think about the fact that Dodger Stadium, where the Aflac Game and the finals of the HR contest will take place, is a large park.

Then Brooks Pounders (CA) hit a couple long ones over the CF wall and Jonathan Walsh (TX) hit a bomb over the RF wall.

Everett Williams (TX) looked very good in today’s BP session.

Jonathan Singleton (CA) hit some good line drives and showed the ability to drive the ball to all fields, but we didn’t see the big upper deck power we have seen from him before. Somehow you have to think it will show up before the week’s over.

The East team put on quite a show and ended our concerns about the HR contest.

Scooter Gennett (FL) is one of the smaller sized athletes on either Aflac team, but he has some hard to believe power to the pull side. He just leaves you wondering how he can drive the ball so far when you see some of the towering shots jump out of the park.

Richie Shaffer (NC) hit a couple long ones that easily left the yard.

Drew Steckenrider (GA) hit a long one out of the park from the left side and then hit a few out, including one well over the 395 sign in straight away CF, from the right side. He did the same thing in June at the Metrodome in Minnesota.

Austin Maddox (FL) followed with a couple long ones to no ones surprise.

Brian Goodwin (NC) showed some serious power as he easily drove a couple out of the park.

Luke Bailey (GA) and Michael Heller (FL) also showed HR power in today’s BP session.

The National powerhouse USC football team was working out in the adjacent field and they look very athletic.

On another note, lefty pitcher Ian Krol made the play of the day while shagging BP balls in the outfield. At a full sprint he ran down a deep fly ball to the RC field wall, caught the ball and ran into the fence at full speed. Luckily he wasn’t hurt. You know what they say about lefties. But it sure is interesting to see someone do something like that during BP. Very impressive in a left handed sort of way.

The most important thing about today

The Aflac players visited the Children’s Hospital this afternoon. It should always be remembered that finding a cure for pediatric cancer is the main purpose of the Aflac All American game. It’s always good to see these talented players visiting the children at the hospital. Sometimes these smiles by both players and the children are the most important smiles we will see during Aflac week. That is precisely the reason we are all here in LA this week.

Wednesday Evening

Then later in the evening Dodger assistant GM in charge of scouting, Logan White, came to talk to the players. Logan talked about what players can expect from the scouting community over the coming months and mentioned the fact that the Dodgers first round pick this year was Ethan Martin who played in last year’s Aflac game. Logan then introduced former Dodger and hall of fame manager Tommy Lasorda. As always, Tommy entertained everyone, but he spent a lot of time telling these Aflac All Americans what it will take for them to become Major League players. He gave a very passionate talk, raising his voice and driving home some very important details. We have heard Tommy speak and even “sing” a few times and he is always extremely entertaining in addition to being very passionate when it comes to the game of baseball. Tommy walked out to a standing ovation.


Tomorrow starts another interesting day that will include a scrimmage at USC. Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith will once again be here as the spokesman for this years game. Bo Jackson, arguably the greatest all around athlete ever, will soon be in LA to take in the Aflac game. Tomorrow afternoon the PG Aflac underclassmen showcase will begin. It’s going to be a very busy day two in sunny Southern California.
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