Showcase | Top Prospect List | 1/14/2011

World Showcase Top Prospects

David Rawnsley        

The recently completed Perfect Game World Showcase in Fort Myers featured one of the most talented groups of players ever to play in this long running event, which dates back to 1997 and was the original Perfect Game showcase.

The 1999 World Showcase featured at least 15 players who have since played in the Major Leagues, while the 2003 event has graduated 11 participants to baseball’s highest level.  It’s safe to say that when we look back in 10 years or so, the 2011 World Showcase will feature at least somewhere in that 10-15 area and perhaps more.

I was able to watch and evaluate all the drills and batting practice for the six teams of players last weekend and scout all but two of the World Showcase games (I’ve read the notes for the other two games).  The “official” top prospect list will come out after all the reports have been written and PG grades assigned, but here’s one person’s take on a Top 25 list from the event.

Note:  The World Showcase included a couple of top 2012 prospects, along with a number of players eligible to sign immediately, including an impressive group of players from Panama.  Players are 2011 prospects unless otherwise noted.


1.  SS Carlos Correa (2012/Santa Isabel, PR):  The 6-3, 185 lb Puerto Rican has the chance to be the best prospect from the island in at least a decade, if not longer.  He’s a potential 5-tool player right now, with present bat speed, power, defensive ability, 6.79 speed and one of the best throwing arms anywhere.

2.  1B Dan Vogelbach (Fort Myers, FL):   The ball makes a different sound when it comes off the big first baseman’s wood bat.  His 400’ opposite field blast in batting practice was fun to watch.

3.  C Tyler Marlette (Oviedo, PR):  A little bit of rest has done Marlette’s body wonders, as the all out gamer looked loose, strong and quick behind the plate and in the batter’s box.

4.  SS Julius Gaines (Locust Grove, GA):  Gaines is one of the handful of best defensive prospects in the 2011 class and has big league actions and tools at shortstop right now.

5.  CF Tanner English (Murrels Inlet, SC):  English was one of the keys to the Diamond Devils WWBA 17U World Championship team last summer but we had no idea he had this kind of raw tools.  The 5-9 right handed hitter ran 6.37 and threw 97 mph from the outfield while also showing plus bat speed.

6.  C Eric Haase (Westland, MI):    Haase, a Michigan native signed with Ohio State, was the big surprise of the event.  He ran 6.81, threw just as well as Aflac All-American Marlette and pounded the ball both in batting practice and in games.

7.  OF/RHP Ryan Harris (Jupiter, FL):  Harris hasn’t pitched at a PG event since 2009 (when he threw 93 mph) but his athletic tools and hitting ability make him an upper round prospect as an outfielder as well.

8.  MIF Jesmuel Valentin Diaz (Manati, PR):  Diaz is the son of long-time big league infielder Jose Valentin and has Major League tools himself.  He’s a switch-hitter with some serious pop in his bat from both sides of the plate.

9.  SS Nico Slater (Jupiter, FL):  The 6-0, 200 lb Slater stood out defensively at shortstop, which makes his strong right handed bat all the more impressive.

10.  RHP Jace Herrera (Apopka, FL):  The Miami signee has improved significantly over the past year and hasn’t reached his physical ceiling yet.  He threw in the upper 80’s and his 81 mph slider is a very good upper level pitch.

11.  OF/LHP Javier Reynoso (Odessa, FL):  The 90 mph lefty didn’t pitch in Fort Myers but his switch-hitting ability and arm strength from right field make him a legit 2-way player at the college level should he make it to Coastal Carolina.

12.  3B Vicente Conde (Oviedo, FL):  Conde has got much stronger from last summer and that added muscle shows in his bat speed and power.  His blast off the right field wall on a 90 mph Jorge Lopez fastball was impressive.

13.  SS Avery Romero (2012/St. Augustine, FL):  Romero continued to show he is one of the top bats in the 2012 class. The Florida commit took an excellent BP and the ball jumps off his bat.

14.  RHP Jorge Lopez (Cayey, PR):  The slender 6-4, 175 lb Puerto Rican was the event’s hardest thrower, topping out at 91 mph.  He has an effortless, loose arm and should continue to gain velocity as he gets stronger.

15.  OF Jesse Winker (2012/Windemere, FL):  Winker’s left handed bat plays high and he has the classic strong armed right field tools to go with it.

16.  C Skyler Ewing (Arlington, TX) :The 6-2, 215 lb Rice signee reminds me a bit of former LSU catcher Micah Gibbs (3rd round/2010/Cubs) without the switch-hitting ability but with more juice in his bat.

17.  RHP/3B Alex Santana (Cape Coral, FL):  Santana has long been considered an upper level third base prospect but we saw him for the first time on the mound and he might have a higher ceiling there.  The 6-4 righthander threw 88-89 mph consistently with an easy, loose arm.

18.  SS Rafael Aries-Medina (FA/Bronx, NY):  Aries-Medina was an eye opener and will hopefully be signed by a Major League team soon, as most teams had scouts at the World Showcase.  He’s a 6.77 runner with quick shortstop actions and a cannon for a throwing arm.

19.  C Brian Olson (Black Diamond, WA):  Olson’s bat still has some work to do to get to prospect level but he can flat catch and throw with the best receivers in the country.

20.  C J.C. Coban (Boca Raton, FL):  Coban would definitely be on the very short list of the strongest players at this or any other event, but he is still loose and agile in his athletic actions and swung the bat very well in game competition.

21.  1B/LHP Michael Gunn (Wilson, AR):  Gunn isn’t a big, physical 1st base type slugger but has a very quick bat and packs plenty of power in his 6-1, 195 lb frame.  He also throws in the mid 80’s from the left side off the mound.

22.  3B Dalton DiNatale (2012/Parkland, FL):  DiNatale has a nice projectable 6-4, 195 lb build, enough athleticism to stay at third base and a left handed bat that projects very nice power in the future.

23.  RHP Robert Michael Garcia Quiroz (Mexico City):  The loose and athletic Mexico native topped out at 86 at the California Underclass Showcase a year ago but was up to 90 mph at a time when most pitchers are at less than full velocity.  That’s a good sign there’s still more to come.

24.  OF Michael Bradshaw (Crestwood, NY):  We didn’t even know that the 6-5, 215 lb Bradshaw had started switch-hitting until he launched a home run left handed (after doing the same right handed) during batting practice.  His skills are still raw in all areas but Bradshaw has some serious tools.

25.  SS Mitchell Morales (Wellington, FL):  Morales is a very fluid shortstop with nice quickness and a strong arm and should be able to stay at the position way up the baseball ladder.

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