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Sunday, June 17, 2012

An impressive PG National debut

Jeff Dahn        
Photo: Perfect Game

MINNEAPOLIS - Loganville, Ga., outfielder Clint Frazier showed up at the Metrodome early Friday evening for the Perfect Game National Showcase as the nation's No. 22-ranked overall prospect in the high school class of 2013.

Based on what he showed Perfect Game scouts and the scouting community at large during his three-day stay here, by the time he plays in his next PG event early next month, it's quite likely that ranking will have slid upward at least a couple of positions.

Loganville High School is starting to gain a bit of a reputation for producing draftable prospects, and Frazier may just be the best yet. The 6-foot, 190-pound converted third baseman wowed the scouts during Friday's workout session and continued to impress during Saturday night's Rawlings Home Run Challenge.

For his part, Frazier was wowed just being part of the show.

"There are 300 kids here, and just to be one of the 300 selected really means a lot," he said Sunday. "It really shows where I stand and what I need to work on and what I am good at compared to what other people do."

There was no doubt where Frazier stood Friday night. He started his workout by running a personal-best 6.42-second 60-yard dash, which stood up as the sixth-best time recorded after three separate workout sessions. At last year's PG Junior National Showcase in Fort Myers, Fla., Frazier ran a 6.94 in the 60. His jump to 6.42 a year later bordered on jaw-dropping.

"I think racing against a kid that was faster than me is what kept me in the race," Frazier said, while admitting "it even surprised me."

More eyebrows were raised when Frazier took part in the outfield arm velocity workout. His best throw from the outfield to either third base or home plate was gunned at 98 mph, just off the event record of 99 mph set by PG/Aflac All-American Michael Lorenzen at the 2009 PG National right here in the Metrodome.

"I just let it rip on that second one; the first one didn't feel as good coming out," Frazier said of his 98 mph outfield heater. "I knew I was only going to do two throws instead of four, so I gave it all I had on the second one."

Frazier took part in a batting practice session early Saturday evening in preparation for the Rawlings Home Run Challenge later in the night. The warm-up must have been helpful, as Frazier finished second in the competition to Elk Grove, Calif., slugger Rowdy Tellez.

"I felt pretty good going in, but it took me a minute to find my groove," he said. "I couldn't seem to get (any home runs) out to left-center so I just tried to dead-pull and get under it a little bit. It felt pretty good."

Frazier said his experience at the PG Junior National last year helped him better understand the challenges this year's PG National would offer. He came in knowing that the skill level he saw from the young prospects in Fort Myers - many of whom were here this week - was only going to be elevated at this event.

"Everyone had another year to get better," Frazier said. "I just come in and try to do the best that I can because you never know. Baseball is a different sport."

Frazier is coming off another spring of success playing for his Loganville High School team. Loganville won the Georgia AAAA state championship and one of its players, senior Christian Miller, was selected in the 19th round of the MLB amateur draft by the San Diego Padres.

Brandon Moss, another Loganville alum, was an eighth-round selection of the Boston Red Sox in 2002, was recently acquired by the Oakland A's and sent up to the big leagues, and in 10 recent games with the A's has six home runs and 11 RBIs.  Casey Shiner is a Loganville High alum who was selected in the 10th round of the 2012 MLB draft out of Kennesaw State.

"The coaches are what make the team every year," Frazier said of head coach Jeff Segars and varsity assistants Brian Mills and Mike Ryan. "We were ranked preseason No. 1 five years in a row, so our coaches do everything they can to get us prepared. I give all the credit to them."

Frazier, a University of Georgia recruit who before the National was ranked a top-50 draft prospect, will play with Team Elite again this summer. That means he'll be getting plenty of face-time at PG WWBA and BCS Finals tournaments.

"Playing with them last summer - I was 16 playing with the 18-year-olds - it was definitely a challenge," Frazier said. "I knew I had to work on a lot of things just to get to where all those kids already were."

He played with Team Elite at last year's PG WWBA World Championship in Jupiter, Fla., as one of only two 2013s on a team loaded with 2012 prospects, including 2011 PG All-American Classic selection Clate Schmidt.

"Turning around and looking down the third base line and seeing all the (golf carts with scouts in them) lined up behind third base, it was kind of overwhelming because I didn't know what to expect," Frazier said of the Jupiter experience. "And then facing the amount of talent that I was facing down there made me kind of nervous."

He claims he's past the stage of feeling butterflies in his stomach these days, even at events like the Perfect Game National Showcase. His performance here the past three days certainly makes that claim  all the more believable.

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