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Tuesday, May 14, 2002

2002 National Pre-Draft Showcase

Perfect Game Staff        
May 14th, 2002 - Veterans Memorial Stadium - Cedar Rapids, IA

Below is a list of the top High School Prospects from the event and another list of the top College Prospects from the event. The list is in Alphabetical order with a report on what we saw.

Top High School Prospects
Listed Alphabetically

Jake Baker RHP 6'3 200 Holtville HS Wetumpka, AL
Baker is a strong pitcher with a solid and lean upper body and very strong lower half. He has an overhand arm slot and throws from an upright posture on a downward plane that gives him good leverage. His fastball maintained 88-90 mph and he showed 91-92 mph velocity when he needed it. He also showed an 86-88 mph live cutter. His best off-speed pitch was a good 76-78 mph change-up that he threw with a good arm action and speed. He pitched inside almost entirely and snapped one bat clear in half.
Jason Berken RHP 6'0 175 West DePere HS DePere, WI
Berken has an extremely quick arm that produced 88-89 with some life. He has been in the low 90s in the past. He's not the biggest of pitchers, but he competes. His breaking ball was nasty at 76 mph. He has a chance to be an awesome high level college pitcher.
Lance Broadway RHP 6'4 185 Waxahachie HS Waxahachie, TX
Broadway headed into this game after recently losing 15-20 pounds to mono. Although he was not full strength, he showed plenty of muscle on a plus athletic frame to pitch at 84-86 mph velocity consistently. We've seen him at 90 mph before and we believe it will not be long before he's back to his normal weight and strength again. His curve and change were both sitting around 74 mph and both were potential average pitches. He showed good arm action and he was able to keep his ball low in the zone.
Christian Castorri RHP 6'4 210 Thomas City Thomasville, GA
Castorri is one of the more projectable pitchers for the draft. He has a strong body and an easy arm action that produced 88-90 mph fastballs, touching 91. He has a strong delivery with an easy arm action. The ball comes out fast and at 6'4 and 210 pounds he gets a lot of leverage out of that frame. His fastball had life and his off-speed stuff consisted of a 71-73 mph curve and a sharper 74-76 mph slider. His fastball and slider are potential plus pitches and we think he will make large gains in all aspects of his pitching in the near future. His ceiling is high.
Shane Cauley SS 6'0 165 Douglas Gardnerville, NV
Cauley was a pleasant surprise. He has outstanding SS actions complete with a nice quick arm. He runs close to MLB average. He has hitting ability, but needs to gain strength to better handle the wood. Look for him to be a top level college player at the U of San Francisco.
Jeff Clement C 6'1 200 Marshalltown Marshalltown, IA
Clement has arguably the fastest bat in this year's high school draft class and showed that in this Pre Draft event. In BP he drove the ball off and over the wall with a couple towering HR's down the line. The ball came off his bat with lightening speed on nearly every swing. However, in the game he missed a few opportunities he'd like to have back and was unable to connect for a solid hit off some of the top pitchers that he faced. Defensively he showed his arm strength with a 1.95 pop time in the workout and again in the game. He was not as refined behind the dish as a couple of the other catchers but he has as dominating a left-handed bat as anyone in the country.
Trevor Crowe IF 5'11 180 Westview HS Portland, OR
Crowe was the top infield prospect at Veterans Stadium in Cedar Rapids. He showed MLB average or above ability with 4 tools and we clocked him with 86 mph arm strength from the hole at SS dismissing any concerns from a recent injury. His infield actions are excellent and his hitting ability and power are in the top tier of middle infielders in this years draft class. He has fast hands, plus bat-speed and outstanding bat control. He doesn't miss the ball. He showed hitting ability from both sides of the plate and his power covers the middle of the field. He hit gap to gap liners in the game and applied his 6.70 speed from the 60 in the game as he took 3rd on a RCF gapper. He is a top prospect whose stock is on the rise.
Chris Emanuel OF 6'0 170 Michael Power Mississauga, ONT
Emanuel is an interesting prospect that showed a combination of speed, hitting ability and athleticism. He began by running a 6.59 in the 60, showed good OF arm strength and hit many hard line drives in BP. His fielding ability is a plus. As a Center fielder, he takes good routes, throws to his target and showed his instincts and athleticism on a hard line drive straight in front of him that he came up with, diving head on. His speed translates nicely to the bases and he had a couple nice hits in some patient AB's. Emanuel has a lot of tools to offer and those tools can flat out play.
James Guerrero IF 5'9 165 Fontana HS Fontana, CA
Guerrero had a good day in Cedar Rapids. He showed his excellent defensive ability at SS throughout the infielding portion and had several opportunities in the game to show his range. He made plays on the other side of the 2B bag when he was at SS and found him making catches in RF foul territory when he played second base. His instincts in the field are outstanding. He also showed his hitting ability with a good compact line drive swing. He's not a power guy but he's definitely a winner.
Daniel Haigwood LHP 6'2 205 Midland HS Pleasant Plains, AR
Haigwood is a bulldog on the mound. Although he has been dominating all season and reports of him at 90-92 mph, he showed mostly mid-80's arm strength that topped out at 88 mph. He did show why he has a 40-0 career HS record with a plus curveball and pitchability. His curve showed a tight spin that had 73 mph velocity and a good hard bite to it. His body is strong, athletic and his long arms release the ball out front in a good spot.
Zach Hammes RHP 6'7 230 City High Iowa City, IA
Hammes has been better this spring, but he showed the ability to dominate some of the best hitters in the country. He breezed through 2 innings with command of a 90-92 mph fastball that just happened to be the liveliest one in the event. In fact, it is one of the liveliest fastballs in the country and we have seen it up to 94 mph this spring. With sink! He also flashed his good curve at 78 mph and an 80 mph change-up with sink and run. It is some of the hardest stuff to hit in the 2002 draft class. And at 6'7 with a very effortless arm action, he has set himself up to be one of the Nations top picks this June. Top pitcher at the event.
Bryan Hansen LHP 6'2 215 Fontana HS Fontana, CA
Hansen was another example of a prospect that helped himself by showing his pitchability and 2 potential plus pitches in Cedar Rapids. He is a left-handed pitcher with a strong body and good arm. He showed a live 87-88 mph fastball that touched 90 and a change-up at 78 mph with good arm speed. He showed the ability to pitch and looked every bit as effective as the top pitchers on this list.
Alexy Hernandez SS 5'10 165 Pace HS Hialeah, FL
Hernandez had a good showing in the Pre Draft workout. He started off by running a 6.81 in the 60, flashed a good glove in the field and then put a couple balls up in the deck area at the Anaheim Angels Veterans Stadium. Hernandez showed the ability to fight off some of the top pitchers and earn his hits in the game. His tools played out well and he looked like a veteran on the field.
Zach Kroenke LHP 6'3 175 Omaha NW HS Omaha, NE
Kroenke looked strong in Cedar Rapids. He had his fastball showing consistent 87-89 mph velocity and an arm that worked free and easy. He showed a high ¾ arm angle and was able to run the fastball in on some left-handed batters. His off-speed stuff was not as sharp but his arm strength and action were the best we've seen them.
Romelio Lopez RHP 6'7 240 Conroe High Sugarland, TX
Lopez did it all in this event. He started the day off by hitting a couple tape measure Home Runs in batting practice. He didn't skip a beat in the game as he ripped everything he saw all over the field. On the mound he was equally as impressive as he showed an 89-92 mph fastball and a good curve. His arm works easy and at 6'7 and 240 pounds with an athletic build, it looked as though there is more in him. We have reports of him as high as 97 mph and we don't doubt that a bit from what we saw.
Brian McCann C 6'2 190 Duluth HS Duluth, GA
McCann came into the event in the best physical shape we have seen him and showed that he can do everything well as a catcher. He showed plus bat-speed in BP even though he pressed for the long ball and never got into one as we have seen in the past. He was able to hit a few real hard ones in the game off the good pitching, even off a couple top lefties. There is no question that he has one of the most powerful bats in the country. Behind the plate, he showed some of the top defensive skills in the event. He handled the top pitchers easily, showed good mobility behind the plate and popped a 1.95 and 1.99 on 2 runners thrown out at 2B in the game. He showed good arm strength and quick feet with his throws. McCann is a Left-Handed power-hitting Catcher who has some of the best defensive ability in his class.
Blake Owen RHP 6'3 195 East Robertson Cross Plains, TX
Owen has a very fast arm that consistently produced 88-91 mph fastballs. He showed the ability to control that pitch and keep batters off balance with a sharp 80-82 mph slider and a good-looking arm action. He has a good frame and solid build that still allows room for growth. His change-up was also extremely good at 80 mph and with some late life. His 3 pitches were all working and everything he threw was hard. We think that he already has the ability to get outs at the next level and look for serious interest in the next two weeks.
Craig Pearson LHP 6'5 210 Dowington HS Dowington, PA
Pearson was down in velocity slightly as he cruised in the 83 mph range and topped out at 85. Although his arm was slower than what we saw in October when he was touching 90 mph on our gun, he showed good pitching ability and a smooth and loose arm action. His curve was a good one, around 70 mph and he was effective pitching in and out and changing speeds. He projects well and we expect that he will be able to put on a show when he regains that arm speed and strength. He signed with Florida and if he enrolls in September, we could be seeing a potential early round Gem by the time he is a Junior.
James Peterson OF/1B 6'1 215 Winterset HS Winterset, IA
Peterson put on a power display in BP at Veterans Stadium. He has one of the most powerful bats in the country and from the left side he makes for an interesting prospect. There was no question that he has plus power as he sent several HR's well beyond the fence and one even cleared the Diamond Vision scoreboard over 40 feet tall above the 390 mark. Had one good battle in the game fouling off many pitches before driving an away fastball opposite field sky high to the track. He will go as far as his bat takes him.
Nick Starnes RHP 6'2 170 Graham HS Haw River, NC
Starnes is another strong right-hander that projects well. He has a gifted arm and a lean / slender build. He showed his usual arm strength consistent at 88 mph and topped out at 91. He threw one 88 mph fastball with plus life and showed a good 80-81mph change-up that rung up 2 top left-handed hitters back to back. His curve showed above average spin at 74-76 mph and he was around the plate with all 3 pitches.
Mark Wagner C 6'0 180 Mayfair HS Lakewood, CA
Wagner is an interesting prospect that has come on the scene very strong, lately. He played all aspects of the game hard and showed very good catch and throw skills to compliment a powerful bat. In BP he showed a level and powerful swing that was extremely consistent in driving the ball deep into both gaps. In the game he had several hard hit line drives including 2 extra base hits to opposite field. He took 3rd on one hit utilizing the 7.04 speed he showed in the 60 earlier in the day. Defensively he popped a 1.95 and had good velocity on his throw down in the workout. He reproduced that 1.95 time in the game and his ball was consistently at the bag with good carry. He was even popping under 2 in between innings. We liked the way he played and he showed some promising ability. He was arguably the best all around catcher in this event.
Brandon Weeden RHP 6'5 200 Santa Fe HS Edmond, OK
Weeden is a strong right-hander with a super fast arm and plus body. A career shortstop, he has good athleticism. He has an excellent frame and wide shoulders to grow into. We can see him gaining plenty of muscle and still keep a loose arm, only stronger. He showed command of a live 88-91 mph fastball topping out at 92 and demonstrated good balance and sound throwing mechanics. His curve-ball was in the 73-75 mph range and was effective. Weeden is a tough player. The only hit off him was a laser back up the middle that hit him square in the thigh. He picked up the ball, got on the mound and fired a 90 mph called strike on the inside corner to start off the next batter. Plus body, plus make-up, plus arm.
"03" Ryan Sweeney LHP/OF 6'5 195 Xavier HS Cedar Rapids, IA
Sweeney is a High School Junior that is not eligible until the 2003 Draft. He was the only underclassman in the event. He is a big Left-handed pitcher with 2-way potential. He has a plus athletic body, ran a 6.83 in the 60, showed 90 mph OF arm strength and a strong, fast left-handed swing with power. In BP, he sent a couple balls over the right field wall and hit the RCF gap hard. In the game, all he did was hit line drives. On the hill, Sweeney kept his fastball consistent at 88-89mph and touched 90, on the low corners. He also had a 78-79 mph slider and showed one plus 78 mph change-up. We have seen him as high as 91mph this spring but he was as sharp as ever at the Pre-Draft. 30 MLB clubs in attendance all noticed.

There were several other Top High School prospects in attendance!

Top College Prospects
Listed Alphabetically

Reese Baez RHP 6'0 195 Northwood University Garland, TX
Baez had one of the best pure arms in the Pre Draft event. He is a well-built pitcher with a compact delivery and quick arm. He showed an 88-91 mph fastball that hung around in the 91 mph range more than anywhere. It lacked life but came out of his hand fast and gave hitters a hard time catching up with it. He also showed a 78 mph curve with a 2-plane break, using it in fastball counts. He had a good arm action and solid mechanics. We liked the way he came out firing and think he will get outs at the next level.
Justin Combs RHP 6'4 220 Morningside College Sioux City, IA
Combs is yet another strong pitcher with a power-type delivery and more than one good pitch. He showed an 85-87 mph fastball that touched 88 and had a 75-76 mph slider with a good arm action. He showed the ability to throw both pitches for strikes using the slider as his out pitch. There was an easy motion to his arm that looked tension free and he showed good balance and extension through his finish.
Derrick Conte RHP 6'1 205 Nebraska (non-roster) Lincoln, NE
Conte is an interesting pitcher with a very fast arm. He is a muscular built pitcher with a quick, almost non-existent windup and delivery. He uses primarily upper body and arm strength to generate the 90-91 mph fastball that he topped out at. He showed a variety of pitches that included an 86 mph cut fastball with a good late run, a 79-81 mph plus slider that was his best pitch, a 74 mph curve and an average 78 mph change-up. There is no doubt about his talent and there is a lot of energy in him. Nearly every pitch showed the makings of ML average except his curve and he was able to show them all.
Ben Himes OF 6'5 220 Texas A&M College Station, TX
Himes is a specimen at first sight and has some impressive tools in addition to his plus athletic body. He showed a good powerful left-handed swing, has a lightening fast bat and drove the ball deep to right and hard in the left field gap with quick hands. He got a little long at times in BP but he shortened up in the game against the 90mph velocity and was able to hit the ball real hard. He ran a 6.96 in the 60, ran well on the bases and showed good range and instincts in the field. His arm strength is playable in the outfield and he showed an aggressive style of play. At 6'5 and 220, with his speed and powerful swing, he showed us that he has the tools to hit and play at a high level.
Raul Matta 1B 6'2 215 Mt Mercy College Vega Baja, PR
Matta is a barrel-chested first baseman with some raw power that might have even more than what we saw. He is a good defensive first baseman with soft infield hands and a good glove but his top tool is his bat. He took some big hacks in BP that showed warning track power without fully rotating his body or pivoting his back foot. In the game he waited on a 71 mph curve and turned on it, fully rotating and sent it over the wall. It was the only HR in the game. It left in a hurry and he showed that the potential is there.
Brad McCann 3B 6'2 190 Gulf Coast CC Duluth, GA
McCann is a prospect with several tools that extend beyond average at the 3rd base position. He is an athletic player with plus running ability for the hot corner. He was laser timed in the 60 at 6.79 and looked good running it. He has a good body and showed ML average fielding ability and arm strength. At the plate he showed good bat speed and power potential. He swung slightly around the ball which makes us think he will drive the ball to all fields better with quicker hands. He has patience at the plate and good timing, seldom fooled with off-speed pitches. There is no question that he has some big time ability. We expect that he will be considered a promising player in this year's draft.
Josh Merino RHP 6'5 210 Kirkwood CC Vinton, IA
Merino is a big presence on the hill and is an attacker on the mound. He works quickly and has shown the ability to throw 2 average to above average pitches with the makings of a good change-up. In the Pre Draft game, Merino showed an 88-89 mph fastball with life that we saw 2 days earlier at 91. He also showed an average curve at times when he got on top of it, in the 75 mph range. His change-up at 74 mph was detectable as he opened his front side early and slowed his arm but if he stays back and rotates late as he does with his fastball, he could have another plus pitch. He can pitch and takes an offensive style on the mound.
Manny Morino OF 5'10 185 Southeastern CC Carolina, PR
Manny had a good showing in Cedar Rapids in both the skills and the game. He ran a 6.69 in the 60 and showed a good defensive approach in the field with a playable OF arm. In BP he hit many hard line drives with a level left-handed swing and showed quick hands and good bat-speed. He was able to utilize his speed on the bases and ran a 4.22 from home to first on a ground out.
Nathan Panther OF/P 6'2 185 Muscatine CC Muscatine, IA
We have seen Panther before and he was always a quick runner with a good bat and good arm. He is now a speed / power type with an average bat and a plus arm. He showed tools like 90 mph OF arm strength, 6.63 speed in the 60, a good swing with power from the left side, and he hit 2 HR's in BP. He was able to show his athleticism and range in the OF and hitting ability in the game off outstanding pitching. He pitches too! On the mound he was mostly 85-88 mph but got up to 90 and 91 when he needed it and flashed a hard breaking ball at 75 mph a couple times. He bats and throws left-handed and has room to grow. Panther did everything well and we expect that he opened a lot of eyes. Top college player at the event.
Adam Rogers C 5'11 195 TX Junior College Grayson, TX
Rogers was one of many extremely good catchers in this event. He has a prototypical catchers build and featured a strong arm and powerful bat. He showed good footwork and quick hands while popping in the low 1.9's routinely. At the plate he flashed power with a couple HR's over the LF wall and showed long drives with backspin in the LF gap to the wall. His swing was a short and quick one that showed good balance throughout and had 1 solid hit in the game. There is a lot of baseball ability in this catcher.

There were other Top College prospects in attendance.

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