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Getting down in the desert

Showcase : : Story
Jeff Dahn        
Published: Wednesday, November 28, 2012

GLENDALE, Ariz. – The beautiful Camelback Ranch Complex in this western Phoenix suburb will host more than 130 prospects from high school classes ranging from 2013 to 2016 this weekend when a pair of Perfect Game showcase events set up camp.

The 2012 PG National Underclass Showcase-Session 1 and 2012 PG West Uncommitted Showcase will run Saturday and Sunday (Dec. 1-2) at Camelback Ranch, the Cactus League spring training home of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago White Sox.

More than 90 prospects from the classes of 2014 and 2015 – with a sprinkling of 2016s – will be in attendance at the Underclass-Session 1; another 40-plus 2013s will be at the West Uncommitted. While most of the participants are from California, Arizona and Texas, 13 other states will be represented, along with five players from Alberta, Canada, and one from Mexico.

Two top-100 prospects, one each from the classes of 2014 and 2015, highlight the rosters at the PG National Underclass Showcase-Session 1.

Jordan Pearce, a left-handed hitting third baseman/right-handed pitcher from Oceanside, Calif., who has committed to the University of San Diego, comes into the weekend as the nation’s No. 98-ranked overall prospect (No. 17 in California) in the class of 2014.

Pearce has already attended seven PG events in 2012, including both the PG/EvoShield National Championship Upperclass and Underclass tournaments in September. He was especially impressive at the 2012 PG National Games in mid-August when he clocked a 90 mph fastball and showed solid strength and bat speed at the plate.

Many of the scouts’ eyes will be on 6-foot-4, 208-pound top prospect Tyler Williams, an outfielder out of nearby Peoria, Ariz., who is ranked the No. 38 national prospect (No. 1 in Arizona) in the class of 2015. Williams burst on the Perfect Game scene in June, 2011, when he was named the Most Valuable Player at the PG 14u Desert Classic while playing with the AZ Prowlers.

The 15-year-old played in five PG tournaments since that debut and always up an age-group or two (or three). He was at the 18u PG WWBA West Memorial Day Classic with the Dbacks Elite Scout Team; the 17u Perfect Game World Series with Arizona Elite; the PG/EvoShield National Championship (Upperclass) with the Dbacks Elite Scout Team; and the PG/EvoShield National Championship (Underclass) with the AZ Prowlers, all since late May.

Other top 2014s that will perform include infielders Grant Fennell and Sean Bouchard, both from San Diego, and outfielder/right-hander Jared Janczak from Temple, Texas. The Nos. 6 and 7-ranked prospects in Colorado – shortstop Justin Thaxton from Aurora and right-hander Benjamin Wiley from Durango – will also be on hand.

The PG National Underclass Showcase-Session 1 first came to life in Arizona in 2007 and five of its alumni went on to become first- or second-round MLB draft picks.

Mark Appel  (2007 Session 1 alum) was a first round pick of the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 2012 draft and Joey Gallo (2009) was a first-round compensation pick of the Texas Rangers in the same draft. Kellen Sweeney (2007) was a second-round selection by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 2010 draft; Chase DeJong (2008) was taken in the second round by the Blue Jays in 2012; and Jake Thompson (2009, 2010) was a second-round pick of the Detroit Tigers in 2012.

The PG West Uncommitted Showcase is designed to give upperclassmen an opportunity to get a real-time scouting report preserved in the Perfect Game database and posted online so college coaches from across the country can consider it if they still have some scholarship money available.

Just last year, nine prospects that came into this event uncommitted ended up signing offers, including catcher Jesse Kay with the University of California and left-hander Marc Huberman with Southern California.

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