High School : : General
Friday, March 08, 2013

2013 Cleats Invitational Preview

Todd Gold        
Follow the day-by-day action in the 2013 Cleats Sports Classic Invitational Scout Blogs

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The 2013 Cleats Sports Classic Invitational tournament will bring together 15 talented teams to compete throughout the Phoenix area.

Chaparral, Desert Mountain and Saguaro will share the co-hosting duties. Chaparral is the reigning champion of the tournament, having knocked off Saguaro in the title game at Arizona State's Packard Stadium last year. Chaparral parlayed that momentum into a run to the 2012 Arizona Division I state championship, while tournament MVP Dylan Cozens became a second round draft pick of the Philadelphia Phillies. Here are links to the 2012 Cleats Sports Invitational Classic wrapup and top prospect list.

This year's field will feature arguably the state of Arizona's top prospect, in Desert Ridge MIF Riley Unroe. The USC commit is the son of former big leaguer Tim Unroe, and is likely to be the biggest draw for scouts in the field. Unroe ran a 6.40 60 yard dash at the 2012 National Showcase, threw 88 mph across the infield and is a talented switch hitter.

While Unroe is the marque name entering the tournament, history has shown us that several players will likely seize the opportunity of playing on this stage to make a name for themselves as well. Cozens was a bit of an unknown at the beginning of his senior season at Chaparral last year, as some expected he would choose to pursue football. RHP Jackson McClelland of Redlands East Valley (CA) HS wasn't very well known prior to the 2012 Cleats tourney, but he ran his fastball up to 94 mph there and showed enough potential to be drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in spite of a strong commitment (which he chose to honor) to Pepperdine.

Defending state champs Chaparral was hit hard by graduation, but the perennial powerhouse still features a lot of talent. 2014 LHP Andrew Shaps, an Arizona State commit has shown steady development and was impressive at the 2012 National Underclass Session 1 showcase, where he topped out at 88 mph with good movement from a low three quarters arm slot. LHP/1B Dillon Bigcrane Jackson is a talented two-way player, who has also been in the upper 80s on the mound and has some power from the left side. The Firebirds have sent three players to Major League Baseball in recent years: Paul Konerko, Ike Davis and Brian Bannister.

Out of state import IMG Academies from Bradenton, FL is perenially strong. This year's team is highlighted by two-way standout and Stanford commit Brett Hanewich. Hanewich has taken home plenty of hardware from Perfect Game events over the course of his career, and he combines a low 90s fastball on the mound with high level switch hitting ability and strong defensive play at third base. Another familiar name from IMG will be Manny Ramirez, the son of former big league standout of the same name. Meanwhile 2014 OF Andrew DiLacqua will look to make himself at home in his future home, as an Arizona State commit.

Perfect Game will provide live coverage during the tournament with real-time scouting info via twitter (@TGold_PG and @HighSchoolPG), with a post-tournament top prospect list as part of the  event wrap-up coverage. The semifinals and championship game will be scored live via GameChanger, allowing fans to follow the action online from anywhere in the world.
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