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All American Game | Story | 9/17/2012

2011 All-Americans excel as pros

Patrick Ebert        
Photo: Perfect Game

Based on the collective performances during their professional debuts of the players that participated in the 2011 Perfect Game All-American Classic presented by Rawlings, there was good reason that 16 of them were selected in the first round of the 2012 draft. Three other former All-Americans that participated in years prior to 2011 were also selected in the first round.

Carlos Correa, the No. 1 overall pick of the Houston Astros, didn't post gaudy numbers, but held his own by hitting .258 with 14 doubles and three home runs between his time spent with the Astros Gulf Coast League and Appalachian League affiliates.

Albert Almora, the sixth overall pick of the Chicago Cubs, hit .321/.331/.464 with 14 extra-base hits in limited duty between the team's two rookie teams.

Left handed pitcher Max Fried didn't see much time on the mound, but was successful when he did. In 10 Arizona League appearances he posted a 3.57 ERA, striking out 17 in just over 17 innings.

David Dahl had the most impressive debut of all of the former All-Americans. Dahl, the 10
th overall pick of the Colorado Rockies, was assigned to the team's Pioneer League affiliate and eventually was crowned the league's MVP. He posted video game type numbers with a slash line of .379/.423/.625 and hit an astounding 41 extra base hits (22 doubles, 10 triples, nine home runs).

Addison Russell, the 11
th overall pick of the Oakland A's, also proved to be ready for the jump to professional ball, hitting .369/.432/.594 across three levels, which included eight home runs and 26 total extra base hits. Russell finished the summer with the A's affiliate in the Midwest League.

Another dynamic hitter than enjoyed a three level tour this summer was Courtney Hawkins. He hit .284/.324/.480 with 26 extra-base hits, including eight home runs, finishing the year with the White Sox advanced A-ball affiliate in the Carolina League.

The Dodgers used the 18
th overall pick to select infielder Corey Seager, who also enjoyed a very successful pro debut. Playing for the team's Pioneer League affiliate, Seager hit .309/.383/.520 with 19 extra-base hits, including eight home runs of his own.

Lucas Sims spent his summer between the Braves' Gulf Coast and Appalachian League affiliates, posting a 3.71 ERA with 39 strikeouts in 34 innings, allowing only 28 hits and 13 walks.

Joey Gallo posted the loudest numbers, thanks to 22 home runs, 18 of which came in the Arizona League which established a league record prior to being promoted to the Rangers' Northwest League affiliate.

The Astros second of three 2011 PG All-American draftees, Lance McCullers, also had his time on the mound limited, but like Sims saw time between two levels. McCullers' 0-4 record is misleading, as he recorded a 3.46 ERA in eight appearances, striking out 29 in his 26 innings.

Daniel Robertson hit .241 with 19 extra-base hits in the lower levels of the A's system. Keon Barnum hit .279 with three home runs in limited time spent with the Chicago White Sox Appalachian League affiliate. Jesse Winker hit .338/.443/.500 during his time in the Pioneer League as a member of the Reds organization.

Walker Weickel had a 4.50 ERA in nine games, Matt Smoral has yet to make his pro debut due to a broken foot sustained last spring, and Lucas Giolito was shut down after one appearance and underwent Tommy John surgery in late August.

And it wasn't just the first rounders that posted big numbers. Nick Williams hit .313/.375/.448 with 17 extra base hits and 15 stolen bases; Andrew Pullin hit .321/.403/.436; Nelson Rodriguez hit 14 extra-base hits, including four home runs, in the Arizona League.

Among the 2011 PG All-American pitchers drafted after the first round, Ryan McNeil stood out by posting a 1.35 ERA in eight appearances., striking out 18 in 20 innings.

And it wasn't just the 2011 PG All-Americans that stood out during their professional debuts. Golden Spikes Award winner Mike Zunino, the third overall pick (Mariners) from last June hit .360/.447/.689 with 14 doubles and 13 home runs between two levels, finishing the year at the AA level.

Kevin Gausman, like most of the pitchers drafted, received limited playing time after a heavy workload last spring for LSU, as he made only five appearances. In that time he posted a 3.60 ERA with 13 strikeouts and only one walk issued in 15 innings of work.

Richie Shaffer powered the Rays' short season affiliate, the Hudson Valley Renegades, to the New York-Penn League championship. Shaffer hit a three-run home run in Game 2 of the championship series to force Game 3, and overall hit .308/.406/.487 with 11 extra base hits in his pro debut.

Hunter Morris, who participated in the 2006 Classic, like David Dahl also received postseason honors. Morris was named the Southern League's MVP after hitting .303 with 40 doubles, 28 home runs and 113 RBI as a member of the Huntsville Stars, the AA affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers.

Numerous former All-Americans enjoyed successful seasons in the minor leagues as they continued their professional careers, including the 2011 No. 1 overall pick, Gerrit Cole. Fellow Pirates' pitching mate Jameson Taillon continues to give Pittsburgh two very promising arms pushing their way to the big leagues. Javier Baez, Archie Bradley, Dylan Bundy, Matt Davidson, Jose Fernandez, Brian Goodwin, Austin Hedges, Aaron Hicks, Alex Meyer, Henry Owens, Chris Parmelee, Jonathan Singleton and Zack Wheeler are just a handful of other former PG All-Americans who also enjoyed successful 2012 seasons.

Xavier Avery, Jordan Danks, Christian Garcia, Yasmani Grandal, Bryce Harper, Matt Harvey, Ryan Jackson, Steve Johnson and Josh Vitters all made their Major League debuts during the 2012 season. The 19-year old Bryce Harper of course received the most fanfare in the process, and became the youngest positional player named to the All-Star Game.

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