Showcase : : Story
Thursday, June 16, 2011

PG National - Day 1 Recap

Patrick Ebert        

Winker shows power arm, bat

The 2011 Perfect Game National Showcase began with the outfielders showing their arm strength from right field. Windermere, Florida native Jesse Winker was one of those players, hitting 91 on the radar gun on throws made to both third and home.

Winker is no stranger to Perfect Game events, particularly those associated with the National Showcase, having attended the Junior National in both 2010 and 2009.

"I love coming out here, Perfect Game does a great job putting this together,” Winker said after he took batting practice. “I love coming to show what I have and to see where I rank among all the other players.

“There is a bunch of (great) talent here. From watching BP and from shagging there's a bunch of guys that can swing it and throw it, both infield and outfield. It's a lot of fun to watch and be part of.”

He already was considered one of the top players in the nation eligible for the 2012 draft, and after an incredibly impressive round of BP he has cemented his status as one of the nation's elite hitters.

“It felt great,” he said referring to the multiple balls he sent sailing over the right-field fence. “Every time I take BP I just try to hit a line drive, especially to left (field) just to get a feel for my swing and the situation around me. By the fifth or sixth (swing) I'll just let them fly. Whatever happens, happens, you've just gotta swing hard.”

Winker looks like a natural when he steps into the batter's box, with strong proportions and sloped shoulders. He exhibits very good bat speed, loft power to right field and the ability to smoke line drives to all parts of the park.

His power/power profile makes him a perfect fit for right field.

With a busy summer ahead of him, Winker has shown that he knows what it takes to succeed. “Play hard and have fun,” he said of his approach to the game. “That's all I can really do.”

Workout session recap

There were some notable performances turned in from Thursday morning’s workout session at the 2011 Perfect Game National Showcase at City of Palms Park.

In the outfield throw session, Jake Cosart from League City, Texas, topped the charts with a throw that reached 98 mph. That was just 1 mph off the event record of 99 mph set by Michael Lorenzen in 2009.

Cosart’s brother, Jarred Cosart, recorded a 101 mph throw at the 2008 Perfect Game World Showcase.

Skye Bolt from Woodstock, Ga., got close to Jake Cosart with a throw gunned at 95 mph, and two other prospects – Dylan Dore from Alpharetta, Ga., and Connor Williams from South Jordan, Utah – had 94 mph outfield throws.

In the infield throw workout, Kenny Koplove from Philadelphia, Pa., topped out with a 94 mph throw from shortstop to first base.

Max Foody from Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., bested the group in the first base throw with a 91 mph bullet, followed closely by a 90 mph throw from Tampa’s Keon Barnum. Foody’s effort was just short of the event record of 92 mph posted by current Kansas City Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer in 2007.

From behind the plate, Niklas Stephenson’s 81 mph throw from home to just behind second was clocked at a session-best 81 mph. Jason Goldstein had the best Pop time among the catchers at 1.80 seconds.

To view all of the workout results, be sure to visit the Perfect Game National Showcase

Lasting impressions

Over the next four days we will continue to provide day-by-day coverage from the 2011 Perfect Game National Showcase. While comprehensive scouting reports will be filed on all of the players in attendance in the weeks to come, in addition to Jesse Winker's round of BP as noted above, here are some of the other impressive individual performances that stood out on day one:

• The biggest story on the day was the emergence of right-handed pitcher Clate Schmidt. He warmed up at 92, threw his first pitch at 94 and his second at 95, staying in that range over his two innings of work. He also dropped in some low-80s curveballs that were so nasty it prompted a scout to say, “I swung my program at that.” Previously listed as a primary shortstop, it's safe to say his future now lies on the mound.

• Ryan Burr was also impressive, although more for his ability to hit both the inside and outside corners than for his pure stuff. And his stuff was plenty good, sitting 91-93 while throwing a very sharp curveball in the 75 mph range.

• Austin Dean hit the ball well in batting practice, and had a nice battle against left-handed pitcher Matthew Smoral in the first inning of game three. Smoral had to use his entire arsenal (fastball-slider-changeup) to retire Dean.

• Speaking of Smoral, he came out firing mostly fastballs in the 91-92 range before he grew more comfortable throwing his breaking ball. Currently listed at 6-foot-8, 225-pounds, it's easy to envision him in the 260-pound range, and carrying it well, in three to five years.

• Tanner Rahier looked good at the plate during batting practice and in game situations. He showed good bat speed and the ball jumped off of his bat pretty well, including a single he ripped through the hole on the left side of the infield in game two. He also threw 91 across the infield during the morning practice.

• Overall it was a strong group of catchers on the first day of the National Showcase. Jason Goldstein, Blake Hickman and Chris Harvey stood out in both the morning workouts and during game action. Brian De La Rosa, who did not participate in the morning drills, showed very good quickness behind the plate during game action with sound footwork.

• One member of the Perfect Game staff who had not previously seen Albert Almora this year felt he was as every bit as good as advertised. The five-tool athlete threw 89 from the outfield and should be among the leaders in the 60-yard dash when that drill is conducted on Saturday night.

• On his first swing of batting practice, Keon Barnum drew some awes from the crowd for hitting a blast well over the wall in right field. He also hit a rocket off of Clate Schmidt in game three that was snared for an out.

• Two of the louder hits in game action were triples to deep centerfield off of the bats of Daniel Robertson of the Gray team and the Gold's Jamal Martin.

• Eric Neitzel hit three straight towering home runs clearing the left-field fence to open his batting practice session.

• A trio of hurlers from Illinois looked very good for the Maroon squad in game one, combining for six scoreless innings and six strikeouts. Right-hander Kyle Funkhouser threw 89-91 with a sharp curveball and nice change, and left-hander Brett Lilek sat in the 88-90 range and touched 91 while showing very good command of his three-pitch repertoire. Ryan Perez falls into his own category with the ability to throw in the upper-80s with both his right and left arm, and created one of the more interesting storylines on the day.

• Jose Orlando Berrios threw the ball well in game two, sitting in the 91-93 range with a sharp mid-70s curve. He showed four pitches in total, all with some kind of movement to them.

• Be sure to read Jeff Dahn's player features on Carlos Correa, Keon Barnum and Kayden Porter.

Contributing: Jeff Dahn.

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