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Monday, January 15, 2018

’18 National returns to ‘Trop’

Jeff Dahn        
Photo: Perfect Game

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – Perfect Game Baseball is both pleased and excited to announce that its annual PG National Showcase will return to Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., in June.

“The Trop,” the domed-stadium that is the home of the MLB American League Tampa Bay Rays, previously served as the host of the PG National – the country’s most highly regarded and heavily scouted amateur baseball showcase for high school-aged prospects – in 2001, 2002, 2004 and 2010. 2001 and 2002 marked the first two years the event was held.

The 18th annual PG National Showcase will play-out at The Trop over four days from Thursday, June 14 through Sunday, June 17. The PG National has been held at jetBlue Park in Fort Myers, Fla., the last four years from 2014-17 after being held indoors at the old Metrodome in Minneapolis in 2012-13.

While jetBlue Park is considered one of the top MLB spring training facilities in the country – the Boston Red Sox train there – PG was eager to move the National Showcase back into a domed, MLB stadium.

PG wanted to better accommodate the needs of the hundreds of top prospects and their families who will be attending, and the more than 1,000 scouts and college recruiters that attend the PG National each year.

PG founder and president Jerry Ford felt the move was important to maintain the event’s integrity and secure its standing among the national scouting community.

"We are very excited about returning the PG National to Tropicana Field,” Ford said. “There are so many great memories from previous years at The Trop. Players, scouts, coaches, everyone will enjoy watching the top players in the country, while seated in air-conditioned comfort."

The PG National Showcase welcomed dozens of prominent young prospects into its fold in its previous four visits to The Trop who then went on to careers in Major League Baseball, with many of them performing at the highest levels of the game.

The 2001 National featured Scott Kazmir, Melvin Upton, Joey Votto, Denard Span, Jeff Clement, Alex Gordon, Prince Fielder, Lastings Milledge and Jarrod Saltalamacchia, among others. Milledge and Saltalamacchia returned in 2002 when guys like Andrew Miller and Chris Perez were also in attendance.

The 2004 event at The Trop will always be remembered as one of the biggest in terms of star-power with future National League MVPs Andrew McCutchen and Buster Posey being joined on the field by future No. 1 overall MLB Draft pick Justin Upton. Gerardo Parra, Cameron Maybin, Ike Davis, Austin Jackson and Colby Rasmus were also on hand in 2004.

The 2010 National featured Javier Baez, Jose Fernandez, Franciso Lindor and Daniel Norris among its head-liners. In all, 312 PG National Showcase alumni have played in at least one MLB game since leaving the event.

In related news, the PG Junior National Showcase will also be changing venues, moving from Fort Myers to Perfect Game Park South-LakePoint in Emerson, Ga., the week before the PG National, running June 9-12.

The PG Jr. National – an event that features the top underclass talent from around the country, Puerto Rico and Canada – has piggy-backed the PG National for much of the last decade, playing out at the same venue in the three or four days preceding it. This is the first time the showcase will be held in Georgia.



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