Showcase : : Story
Friday, June 20, 2003

Perfect Game National Report

Perfect Game Staff        
The annual Perfect Game National Showcase was held this past weekend at Haymarket Field in Lincoln, NE. Full player reports and top prospect listings will be posted later. A report has been turned in to Baseball America and the event will be featured in the next release of Prospects Plus.

We are now in Joplin, MO., watching the USA Baseball Tournament of Stars. The 2004 class will take some time to sort itself out. The obvious first round talents are not so obvious this year. The last two years the PG National had players like Scott Kazmir, Sergio Santos, BJ Upton, Jeff Allison, Delmon Young, Lastings Milledge, Chris Lubanski, Ryan Harvey and many others who, you just knew, were going to become early picks, even though it was a year before the draft. While there are a few ?€?04?€? pitchers who look like good bets to become first round picks, it?€™s difficult to figure out who, of the position players, will be surfacing over the next year. 2004 might be a real down year for early round high school position players.

Of course this doesn?€™t mean there?€™s a lack of talented position players in the ?€?04?€? class. In fact, there?€™s a good number, higher than usual, of talented high school catchers. Most all the major college baseball programs had a field day watching the talent in Lincoln. The problem is finding those top prospects who showed more than one or maybe two plus MLB tools. We look forward to following all these players closely over the next year. Several of them will develop and move up the ladder as we see more of them.

One position player in Lincoln that looked like a sure fire first round type was Justin Upton. BJ?€™s younger brother looks as good as BJ, but with more strength. Problem is, Justin is a 2005 graduate, but one that would probably be the first position player picked if he were eligible for the next June draft. One of the 2004 grad?€™s that stood out in Lincoln as a position player was Chris Davis (Longview, TX.) Davis is a big strong, good looking athlete with a plus arm and big time raw power. He hit several long balls out of the Stadium during BP. The ball really jumps off his left-handed bat. He does seem to change his eye level before his swing and that might be an area that he could improve. He also runs close to average. There were many other top ranked position players in Lincoln and you?€™ll be hearing a lot about them before long.

The pitching in Lincoln was outstanding. Nearly every pitcher threw high 80s into the 90s. Eric Davis RHP from Mountain View, CA. showed serious first round potential. There were several big tall pitchers with MLB fastballs in attendance. There were also a good number of high level pitchers in the 6?€™0 tall range. Once again, a hay day for college coaches at Hay Market Field in Lincoln. The pitching was the highlite of this years national and we will be posting much more later. Several of the nations highest ranked ?€?04?€? and a few of the very best ?€?05 pitchers were in Lincoln.

Three players from the Dominican Republic attended this year?€™s National. Outfielder Wady Rufino showed one of the best arms we?€™ve seen in awhile. Gun readings of 95 mph from the outfield with his throws showing great accuracy with plus carry. Rufino also creates excellent bat speed and projects to hit with big time power. Two young shortstops Vladimer Frias and Esmil Rogers both showed quick hands, strong arms and outstanding infield actions. Frias could end up being something ?€?extra special?€? as he gets bigger and stronger. T

he best 60 time (electronic) in Lincoln was a 6.44 recorded by Greg Burns OF from West Covina, CA. Other outstanding electronic times were run by Cale Iorg SS (6.65) from Knoxville, TN. Cale?€™s father is Ex Major Leaguer Garth Iorg. Joe Spiers INF from San Bernadino, CA and Justin Upton were the only others to run in the 6.6s. Upton was timed at 6.59 with the stop watch. The laser time usually takes a tenth or more off, so he could have recorded a 6.4 electronically. Several others ran in the 6.7s.

Interestingly enough we had two very good catchers who pitched an inning topping out at 90 mph from the mound. Chris Garcia from Miami, FL and Chris Kirkland from Knoxville, TN.

All in all, nearly every player in Lincoln is a high level Division One or MLB Draft prospect. Look for much more information from the PG National, coming later.
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