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Showcase | Story | 6/10/2021

Jr. National takes flight at East Cobb

Jeff Dahn        
Photo: Ethan Robinson (Perfect Game)

MARIETTA, Ga. – Tall and talented Tennessee 2023 right-hander Ethan Robinson arrived in the greater Atlanta area right around the first of this month to put in motion what is scheduled to be a three-week stay in the north Georgia metropolis.

The 6-foot-5, 195-pound Robinson, who calls Antioch, Tenn., home, began his time here turning in an all-tournament team performance with the Rawlings SE M.A.D. Mavericks at the Perfect Game WWBA 16u Southeast Elite Championship, which concluded Monday. He’ll rejoin the Mavericks a week from now for another go-around at the PG WWBA 16u National Select Championship.

In between those two dates with destiny, Robinson – a Vanderbilt commit ranked the No. 5 overall national prospect in the class of 2023 – will take some time away from competing for PG tournament championships and instead walk out onto the preeminent underclass stage that is the PG Junior National Showcase.

Just more than 300 top prospects predominantly from the class of 2023 (at least 35 2024s are expected) will gather at the East Cobb Complex bright and early on Saturday morning (June 12) when the 13th annual PG Junior National Showcase begins its five-day run.

The accumulation of talent will be impressive, with Robinson being a part of a collective gathering that includes 42 2023 prospects ranked in the top-110 overall nationally, a number that also includes 22 in the top-53 and 15 in the top-26.

As the No. 5-ranked prospect in his class, Robinson is also part of a separate high-profile group that includes 10 other top 2023s who are making a repeat appearance at the PG Jr. National, having performed on this stage in Hoover, Ala., a year ago.

Those welcomed back for repeat performances are No. 2-ranked Austell, Ga., third baseman Cam Collier (Louisville commit); No. 4 Trinity, Fla., third baseman Aidan Miller (Arkansas); No. 6 Norfolk, Va., outfielder TayShaun Walton (Miami); No. 10 Ocoee, Fla., shortstop Braden Holcomb; No. 11 Hawkinsville, Ga., right-hander James Hays (Georgia); No. 20 Hoover, Ala., third baseman Walter Ford (Alabama); No. 23 Tampa shortstop Cade Kurland (Florida); No. 24 Perry, Ga., outfielder Drew Burress (uncommitted); and No. 26 Melbourne, Fla., catcher Riley Jackson.

Outside of the top-25, No. 45 Phoenix first baseman Zach Wadas (TCU) and No. 78 Cumming, Ga., outfielder Cooper Milford (Georgia) also earned Top Prospect Team recognition at the 2020 PG Jr. National and return this weekend.

Other standout performers from the 2023 class who’ll be in attendance include No. 3 Franklin, Ind., outfielder Maxwell Clark (Vanderbilt); No. 13 Atlanta shortstop Antonio Anderson (Georgia Tech); No. 14 Tampa left-hander Wesley Mendes (Vanderbilt); No. 22 Cedartown, Ga., shortstop Dylan Cupp (Mississippi State); and No. 25 Las Cruces, N.M., shortstop Steven Milam (LSU).

The class of 2024 will be represented mightily by at least 10 prospects ranked in the top-71 overall, all but one of whom has already committed to a D-I school.

It’s an intriguing group led by a trio of Oklahoma commits: No. 18 Hampton, Ga.,  shortstop Bryce Clavon; No. 36 Grand Prairie, Texas, shortstop David Hogg II; and No. 70 Kansas City, Mo., catcher Bo Jonas.

Other top rising sophomores from the ’24 class include No. 5 Downers Grove, Ill., third baseman George Wolkow (South Carolina); No. 39 Mechanicsburg, Pa., shortstop Jeff Lougee (Duke); No. 53 Kearney, Mo., shortstop Trey Snyder (uncommitted); No. 56 Milton, Ga., third baseman Jax Phillips (Georgia); No. 57 Maunville, Ark., right-hander Tag Andrews (Arkansas); No. 68 Miami, Fla., righty Lazaro Collera (Miami) and No. 71 Tyrone, Ga.,  catcher Ariston Veasey (Georgia).

Make no mistake, this is quite a collection of individual talent that will have scouts filling their notebooks and iPads with breakdowns and tidbits that will add to an extensive player portfolio already in existence. Those notes will be studied time and time again ahead of the 2023 MLB Amateur Draft as each prospect’s progression is studiously dissected and documented over the next two years.

The record book tells us that many a future star professional prospect first got noticed in a big-time way at the PG Jr. National. Since its inception, 561 of the event’s alumni have been selected in the draft, a number that includes 47 first-rounders.

Additionally, 69 of those alums went on to make their MLB debuts, including established stars like Nolan Arenado, Joey Gallo, Bryce Harper, Francisco Lindor and Christian Yelich, among a host of others.

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