Area Code Games


Top Pitchers >>

8/9/2010 4:32:12 PM

The list of Rawnsley's Favorites among the Area Code Games pitchers is much less a top prospect list than the top position players, which I tabbed the Highest Ceiling Players.  Scouts will tell you that the players they want most in their draft lists aren't necessarily the ones that they have listed as the top prospects.  For me that comes into play more than with pitchers than with position players.  The difference in the top position prospects for me often comes down to shear athleticism.  The margin of difference in raw tools among pitchers is often much smaller.  You can have 2 pitching prospects who are the same size and throw the same velocity and throw the same pitches and love one guy and not have any interest in the other.

Here are my 5 favorites (again, not necessarily the top 5 best prospects)

LHP Porter Clayton
RHP Lucas Giolito
RHP Robert Stephenson
RHP Sam Johnson
LHP Max Fried

Honorable Mention:  RHP Mason Hope, RHP Tyler Beede, RHP Kevin Comer; LHP Adam McCreery, LHP Cody Kukuk, RHP Kyle Crick

Projection >>

8/9/2010 3:51:10 PM

There is no problem putting together a list of projectable pitchers.  Put scouts in charge of putting together a pitching staff and they will find plenty of room for 6-4, 170 lb left handers who throw 85-88 mph with loose arms.  You know some of these guys are going to get stronger and grow some hair on their fastballs, you just don't know which ones it's going to be.  Everyone loves to dream on the left handers.

Most Projectable Pitchers

LHP Max Fried
LHP Porter Clayton
RHP Lucas Giolito
LHP Adam McCreery
LHP Brett Lilek

Honorable Mention:  LHP Michael Howard, LHP Brandon Bonilla, LHP Blake Snell, LHP Cole Irwin, RHP Trevor Megill

Putting Giolito on the Projectable list when he already throws 93-96 mph is noteworthy, but what do you do with a pitcher who just turned 16 years old and is loose and 6-5?  Clayton and Lilek already touch 90 but in both cases there is still much more there, they are young and have very good athleticism.  Fried and McCreery are very different physically but are more the classic projection types.  Bonilla was a strong consideration for the Top 5 but he throws from an overhand release point that I have more trouble projecting from.

Pitchability >>

8/9/2010 3:27:32 PM

Pitchability actually jumps out pretty quickly even in these short looks.  I had never seen a couple of the pitcher's listed below pitch before this week and it was immediately obvious that they knew where all their pitches were going and could use them in different sequences.

Top Pitchability

RHP Kevin Comer
RHP Tyler Beede
LHP Henry Owens
RHP Mason Hope
RHP Zach Davies

Honorable Mention:  LHP Porter Clayton, RHP John Magliozzi, RHP Matthew Troupe, LHP Jace Fry, RHP Sam Johnson

Break Ball >>

8/9/2010 3:16:54 PM

This was actually the hardest category to fill out, even putting curveballs and sliders under the same evaluation (don't ask about change ups in 1-2 inning outings).  True sliders tend to stand out as so few high school pitchers actually throw a true slider, as that slurvy thing that many high school pitchers call a slider and that's 10-12 mph slower than their fastball isn't really a slider.

Top Breaking Balls

LHP Porter Clayton
LHP Max Fried
RHP Cole Wiper
RHP Tyler Gonzalez
RHP Bryan Brickhouse

Honorable Mention:  RHP Kevin Comer; RHP Kyle Crick, RHP Sam Johnson

Clayton has such good feel for change shape and speed on his curveball that you could say he throws both a slider and a curveball, as he'll shorten and lengthen it and change the shape at will.  Fried's curveball is very hard (74-77 mph) in comparison to his fastball (86-87 mph) and for me that's one of the best ways to project fastball velocity on a young pitcher.  Wiper throws some true sliders at 84-85 mph that just disappear at the plate.  Both Gonzalez and Brickhouse throw more of a hard slurve type pitch that combines velocity, sharpness and depth.
Fastball >>

8/9/2010 3:02:32 PM

I've been sitting next to the people from Trackman who have a very sophisticated radar system set up that measures an incredible variety of elements about what the baseball is doing from when it leaves the pitcher's hand until it lands after being hit.  So I guarantee that I have never had as accurate of fastball readings as I have at this event.

Top Fastballs

RHP Lucas Giolito
RHP Robert Stephenson
RHP Dylan Davis
RHP Sam Johnson
RHP Nick Burdi

Honorable Mention:  RHP Rio Ruiz, RHP  Matthew Troupe, RHP Bryan Brickhouse, RHP Tyler Beede, RHP John Magliozzi, LHP Michael Howard, RHP Jerrick Suiter, RHP Parker French

Only a couple of pitcher's here have touched 94 mph once.  Giolito, a 2012 grad who is among the youngest players at the AC's, topped out at 95.8 and threw 94's in 2 innings of work.  All he's going to do is get better, too.  Johnson's fastball was notable because it had some of the best life of any pitcher here and was in the 90-93 mph range.
Top Area Code Game Pitchers >>

8/9/2010 2:50:22 PM

Just as I did with the hitters, I'm going to break the Area Code Game pitchers into 5 different categories:  Fastball, Breaking Ball, Pitchability, Projection and, for lack of a better term, Rawnsley's Favorites.

I found breaking down the contenders for each of these areas was much harder than doing so for the hitters, as the sample size for some of these pitchers was so small.  Few pitcher's out here have throw more than 2 innings at a time.  I'm trying not to rely too much on a pitcher's scouting resume coming in here but it has to factor in on many of the pitcher's I've already seen extensively this summer.
Highest Ceiling >>

8/9/2010 1:26:20 PM

You could call this category the Top Prospects or Rawnsley's Favorites or anything you really want to, but these are the position players at the Area Code Games that get me the most excited about their future potential at the big league level.  These are the guys that you bear down on every at bat and know where they are on the field at all times; they are fun to watch play.  They are listed in no particular order.

SS Julius Gaines
OF Bubba Starling
OF Charles Tilson
C Blake Swihart
OF Nick Williams

First Runner Up:  OF Billy Flamion

Defense >>

8/9/2010 12:55:20 PM

Like power, there were plenty of names thrown out in the defense category, as it's very hard to quantify and over a relatively limited number of games opportunity might be lacking.  It would be impossible to ignore some of these player's resume's established over the few months.

Top 5 Defense

SS Julius Gaines
SS-2B Phillip Evans
C Austin Hedges
C Brian Olson
2B Drew Stankiewicz

Also Mentioned:  OF John Norwood, SS-2B Logan Ratledge, OF Billy Flamion, OF C.J. McElroy, OF Charles Tilson, 2B-SS C.J. Hinojosa, OF Omar Gomez, C Cameron Gallagher

Gaines for me is in a different category defensively, he has the best defensive tools of any player in the 2011 class around the country.  Evans is much like SS Tony Wolters from the 2010 class, his measurable physical tools don't stand out but his ability to play in the middle of the infield is exceptional.  Olson is the "sleeper" on the list as a 6-0, 180 receiver from Black Diamond, Washington, but his catch and throw skills really stood out.
Speed >>

8/9/2010 12:40:35 PM

It would be easy to list the top 60 times again (this time adding Bubba Starling's 6.56, which I omitted when I did that on Friday's blogs) but that doesn't always equate to speed on the baseball field.  These 5 players have shown the best baseball speed on the bases and in the field on defense.

Top 5 Speed Players

OF Charles Tilson
OF James Harris
OF Desmond Henry
OF Shawon Dunston
OF C.J. McElroy

Tilson smoked everyone by a large margin in the shuttle run during the SPARQ testing and was tim)ed in 3.18 on a stolen base attempt (he's stolen 6 bases so far) and gets great jumps in centerfield.  That steal time is another number (like the airtime on Travis Harrison's fly ball) that you don't see much but is outstanding.  Do the math...if the pitcher is 1.3 sec's to the plate, the catcher has to be 1.9 on the bag to even think of throwing out a runner who is 3.2 to second.

Harris has been impressive both for his raw speed and his approach to the game, he shows outstanding hustle and work ethic and is full speed all the time.  Dunston is much the same type of player, always looking to take the extra base and throwing his body around the field.
Hitting >>

8/9/2010 12:27:04 PM

Top 5 Hitters

OF Charles Tilson
C Blake Swihart
IF Mason Snyder
OF Billy Flamion
SS Christian Lopes

Others Mentioned:  OF Aaron Brown, 3B Tyler Goeddel, IF Dylan LaVelle, OF/1B Daniel Camarena

Flamion has probably squared up more balls hard than any other hitter at the event, although a number of those have been pulled foul, as Flamion's bat speed is such that he's ahead of many pitches even at this level.  Snyder is probably the surprise on this list for many people but for me he is a right handed hitting version of Taylor Lindsey, the 37th pick (Angels) in the 2010 draft.  Snyder is playing with a sore arm here and may eventually end up in left field, but he can rake.  Swihart, Tilson and Lopes are significant because they all play, and project to stay at, premium defensive positions.
Power >>

8/9/2010 12:02:48 PM

There were probably more players who were considered in the Power category than any other (I have been throwing the names/categories with a couple of scouts who have been here since the first pitch of BP as well).  Part of that reason is that power is very hard to judge in Blair Field because the ball just doesn't travel here, something the cold temperatures and wet air have seemingly made even worse this year.

Top 5

OF Bubba Starling
OF Travis Harrison
C Clint Coulter
SS Johnny Eierman
OF Michael Conforto

Others mentioned:  OF Billy Flamion, C Cameron Gallagher, 1B Charles Sheffield, 1B Trevor Mitsui, OF Nick Williams

Coulter (a 2012) and Eierman, along with Harrison, put on the best power displays in batting practice.  Harrison, along with everything else on his resume, hit a fly ball to left field that we got at 6.93 hang time.  That's not a baseball number you'll see quoted very often but anyone who can hit a baseball in the air for over 6 seconds has power and over 6.50 is rare; 7 seconds is almost unheard of at the high school level.  Conforto needs to work out some timing issues in his swing but the ball explodes off his bat (105 mph on one swing) and he has the requisite lift in his swing.

Williams will move to the top of the list when he learns to use his hips better and pull the ball even occasionally.
Ranking the Top Position Players >>

8/9/2010 11:47:38 AM

I'm going to embark on a little exercise this morning to start summarizing what's been happening in Long Beach over the last four plus days.  I'm going to take 5 categories for position players and list who I feel have been the 5 top guys in each of those 5 areas, trying to spread out the recognition as much as possible.

Those categories are:   Power, hitting, speed, defense and overall ceiling.
White Sox vs. Reds Monday Morning >>

8/9/2010 11:16:41 AM

White Sox vs. Reds in the 9 am match up this morning.

Aside from presenting the opportunity to see players like Bubba Starling, Blake Swihart and Charles Tilson (3 of my and everyone else's favorites) play again, it also presents another chance to see Drew Stankiewicz play second base again.

Part of it is that he is just getting the opportunities to show off, but this young man can just flat play second base.  In has last 5 innings over the last 2 games he's turned 3 double plays and made 2 diving stops.  He turns two about as well as you can as a 17 year old.
Derek "Bubba" Starling >>

8/9/2010 11:09:27 AM

There has been plenty of scout talk during the past day (part of which I admit I've stirred the pot a bit on) about whether Bubba Starling is a primary pitcher or position player.  That, of course, begs the question of whether of whether he is a baseball player or football player, but that's for another time.

While I obviously respect the opinions of those who think of Starling as a pitcher first, I have to say I can't understand them.

To summarize it, Starling is one of those athletes who you can imagine playing centerfield in an All-Star Game and hitting in the middle of the lineup for a winning club.  He is a phenomenal athlete and a 5-tool prospect (6.5 runner, plus arm, plus/plus power, has present hitting skills, etc) as a player.  As a pitcher he is very good and will improve when he has access to a pitching coach.  But when you put him in the mix with other prospect pitchers around the country he simply doesn't stand out in the same way.  Yes, you can say he has the tools to be a starting pitcher in the big leagues.  But there are 150+ starting pitchers in the big leagues.  There are only a small handful that he can realistically say have the physical ability to play a premium defensive position and hit in the middle of the line up.

For me, it's a different equation than Casey Kelly or Ethan Martin or Kaleb Cowart from the last couple of years.  It's more like a "Yeah, Josh Hamilton throws 95 from the mound but who cares" type of equation.
Rangers Come Out Strong >>

8/8/2010 7:31:12 PM

The Rangers came out locked and loaded for the 4th game of the day here at Blair Field, which started 45 minutes early much to everyone's approval and pleasure.

RHP Parker French and C Daniel Mengden certainly were.  French, who topped out at 91 mph in his first AC Games appearance, threw in the 91-93 mph in the first inning with a hard spinning 76 mph curveball.  Mengden hosed A's speedster CF David Harris, who had walked, with a 1.97 throw right on the second base bag.

Comer Calms Down White Sox Bats >>

8/8/2010 6:02:44 PM

Just as he did at the East Coast Pro last week, RHP Kevin Comer has been very solid for the Yankees, quieting the White Sox bats (6 hits and 8 hits through the first 2+ innings) with 3 no-hit innings.

Comer sits very comfortably at 90 mph with his fastball and does a mature job of pitching with his fastball to spots.  He'll use a 74 mph big breaking curveball early in counts but likes putting away right handed hitters with a 78-80 mph slider off the outside corner.

RF Mike Papi made a beautiful laid out diving catch to save Comer a hit and run allowed to end the 6th inning.
White Sox Now Up 6-0 >>

8/8/2010 5:16:42 PM

The White Sox are now up 6-0 after 2 1/2 innings and it could be much worse.  They scored 4 runs in the top of the third inning and had no outs with a couple of runners on base when Yankees LHP reached his pitch count.  With no one warmed up in the bullpen, the inning ended there in acceptable "showcase" fashion.

Charles Tilson, who hit the first inning home run, hit a rocket Rbi single to right field in the inning that was timed at 100 mph off the bat.
White Sox End Offensive Drought >>

8/8/2010 4:41:45 PM

The White Sox ended the day's offensive drought quickly in the top of the first inning of third game of the day.  The first 2 games featured a combined total of 4 runs and 14 hits in their 14 full innings of play.

CF Charles Tilson, who has easily been one of the most impressive prospects here, led off the game with the first home run of the 2010 Area Code Games, a hard line drive that carried out of the park between the scoreboard and the right field line.  IF Mason Snyder, the next hitter of Yankees LHP Andrew Chin, almost made it 2 home runs in a row when his drive down the left field line hit the 348' marker at the top of left field fence.  Snyder later came home to score and the White Sox lead 2-0 in the bottom of the first.
Stankiewicz Puts Reds Up 2-0 >>

8/8/2010 2:37:51 PM

2B Drew Stankiewicz, whose outstanding defense was noted last night broke up a stretch of 10 straight scoreless innings dating back to the first inning of the first game today, slapping a bases load single in the top of the fourth inning to put the Reds up 2-0 over the Brewers White.

The two-out single was a big deceptive for RHP Matthew Troupe, as he'd already seen 2 hitters reach first base on strikeouts/wild pitch/passed balls and mishandled a potential double play ground ball back to the mound.  The 6-0, 195 Troupe was very impressive overall, throwing 90-92 mph from an easy but somewhat deceptive delivery and throwing a couple of nasty change ups.
Sunday Game 1 Highlights >>

8/8/2010 12:47:54 PM

Catching up on lots of "paperwork" during the first game of the day here on Sunday, which managed to be a 1-0 win for the Brewers Blue over the Nationals slow paced game that lacked much action.

The Nationals threw 4 pitchers who had thrown previously here in Long Beach and all threw better than the first time.  RHP's Cole Wiper and Kevin Moriarity each bumped up their velocity a couple of notches, with Wiper touching 92 mph and Moriarity throwing a number of 90's.   LHP Porter Clayton cruised through 2 innings and really worked his curveball well to left handed hitters.  RHP Dylan Davis pitched in the 91-94 mph range again and was much more composed and focused with how he used his fastball, also pitching 2 easy innings.

Big 2012 RHP Trevor Megill made his AC debut for the Brewers and is very intriguing.  Megill is 6-7, 220 lbs and has an extremely balanced and smooth delivery and an effortless arm action.  His arm speed isn't notable yet but he pitched at 86-89 mph with a big sweeping curveball and was effective.

The hitters pretty much took the morning off for both teams.
Stankiewicz Flashes the Leather >>

8/7/2010 9:31:26 PM

2B Drew Stankiewicz (Gilbert, AZ) is the son of former ML infielder Andy Stankiewicz and he's making dad proud tonight.

The younger Stankiewicz has made sterling defensive plays in each of the last 3 innings for the Reds.  He turned a sweet double play to end the 6th inning, using a step back pivot with excellent footwork, then made diving plays in the whole and popped to his feet to get outs at first base in each of the 7th and 8th innings.

Follow Up on Age Comment >>

8/7/2010 9:06:21 PM

Looking at Scot Hoffman's birthdate caused me to look at a few other players out of curiosity.

Both Hoffman and Porter Clayton are younger than 2012 standout OF Nick Williams (9/8/93).

2012 RHP Lucas Giolito is on the very short list of top prospects at the Area Code Games.  He is also the third youngest player at the event withg a birthday of 7/14/94, meaning that he turned 16 years old less than a month ago.  Only IF Vance Vizcaino (8/1/94) and IF A.J. Hinojosa (7/15/94) are younger than Giolito and just barely at that.
RHP Scot Hoffman, Desert Ridge HS, AZ >>

8/7/2010 8:58:25 PM

Looking at a players birthday can be very instructive when evaluating a prospect.

For instance, RHP Scot Hoffman (6-4, 190 lbs, Desert Ridge HS, AZ) has a 9/21/93 birthday, which means that his birthday is more suited for a 2012 prospect than the 2011 prospect he is.  Hoffman is one day older than 2011 LHP Porter Clayton, one of my favorite 2011 southpaws, who also could easily be a member of the 2012 class.

Hoffman has a very loose and quick arm and threw 89-92 mph from an overhand release point that generates outstanding downhill angle to the plate.  He threw a nice change up with fading action at 81 mph but struggled to get much spin on his curveball.  But looking at his age, build and arm action, he is a young man who could easily be throwing steady low 90's and touching the mid-90's in the future.
Magliozzi, Beede Throwing Well >>

8/7/2010 8:31:08 PM

The Yankees brought out their two top starters for tonight's game against the Reds, throwing Aflac All-Americans John Magliozzi and Tyler Beede for the first 4 innings.  Both right handers pretty much sat at 92-93 with their fastballs, with Magliozzi throwing the first 3 innings.

Anyone watching the radar gun board behind the plate at Blair Field is probably wondering why Beede didn't throw hard, as that gun only registered 84-88 the entire time.   But he didn't throw a pitch below 90 on the radar guns in the booth or on the high tech radar system tracking all sorts of different pitch aspects and was mostly 93 mph.

The score is 1-1 entering the 5th inning.

Nationals Comeback to Win 4-3 >>

8/7/2010 6:40:23 PM

In a very entertaining 7th inning, the Nationals scored 3 runs in the bottom to grab a 5-3 comeback win over the Brewers, who had scored twice in the top half to take the lead.  Unlike many of the Area Code games, where the score is hardly even noticed, players from both teams and plenty of parents in the stands seemed keyed on who was going to win.

Erik Forgione, Clint Coulter and Dylan LaVelle each had run scoring hits in the 3 run rally.
Nationals vs. Brewers Blue >>

8/7/2010 6:24:28 PM

Sorry not many blogable items from this game, as it's in the top of the 7th inning (2-1 lead for the Nationals) and there have only been 4 hits total, a couple of those of the infield variety.  A number of the pitchers, especially for the Nationals, have already thrown once in a previous game.

One interesting LHP to remember is 6-8, 195 lb Adam McCreery (Bonita HS, La Verne, CA).  He has a very balanced and smooth delivery for a young pitcher his size and threw 87-88 mph with a minimal effort release.  McCreery also threw both a 72 mph curveball and 79 mph slider that both had impressive depth.  The practical difference between McCreery and the highly acclaimed LHP Henry Owens isn't all that profound.
2012 RHP Lucas Giolito >>

8/7/2010 5:56:29 PM

Giolito is a 6-5, 215 lb right hander from Santa Monica, California.  To make a long story, short, this young man is going to be ranked among the top 5 in the 2012 class very soon.  He has a very loose and easy arm action, fairly low effort release and a fastball that has mostly been in the 94-96 mph range during his first inning of work.  Giolito threw both a 78 mph curveball and 85 mph slider and both had good shape but not a whole lot of spin yet.  But there is absolutely no mistaking Giolito's arm strength and ceiling.
RHP Jerrick Suiter >>

8/7/2010 3:49:50 PM

I watched Indiana RHP Jerrick Suiter throw last week down at the East Coast Pro.  He didn't throw as well as I've seen him throw in the past and I thought the reason was that Suiter went through workouts both in the outfield and behind the plate, in addition to taking a full BP, the day before he took the mound.  In the mid 90's heat in Florida that can be very draining, especially for a player from Midwest.

The primary pitchers seem to be much more limited out here at the Area Codes in terms of playing in the field.  Even if someone like Suiter was running around the field doing other things he's doing it in the crisp 70 degree Long Beach weather. 

Suiter was much, much more impressive in his performance today.  His delivery was smoother and he threw with less effort.  Suiter's fastball was in the 89-93 mph range and he mixed in a nice 74 mph curveball for strikes.

RHP Mason Hope >>

8/7/2010 3:01:35 PM

Oklahoma native RHP Mason Hope gets overlooked a bit because of fellow Oklahoma RHP's Dylan Bundy and Archie Bradley but in a normal year he would probably be the clear top prospect in the state.  While Hope can run up the numbers on the radar gun he is one of those pitcher's who is best probably viewed pitching over an entire game.  Hope pitched at 90-91 mph in his first inning of work and flashed some good curveball spin from a high 3/4's release point.  He allowed one run when SS Julius Gaines roped a high fastball into the left field corner.  Hope's strength as a pitcher, though, is the fact that he is one of the rare high school pitchers who have 4 present pitches that have both quality and command.  In a 2 inning showcase appearance it's hard to start working in that whole collection.
White Sox and A's Underway >>

8/7/2010 2:10:35 PM

ESPN/Rise is broadcasting this game, as well as having done the first game.  Former big leaguers Bob Scanlan and Rex Hudler are doing the broadcast and I do feel for them.  Neither of them knows who any of the players are, except for the sons of the ex-ML'ers.  They are doing the best they can putting things in the perspective of scouts but of course they are ex-players with no scouting background.  Dan Durst, the White Sox scout who is the "General Manager" of the White Sox team here and I have been trying to give Scanlan and Hudler as much background as possible on the players before each game starts.

I was able to tell Hudler that Charles Tilson was one of the fastest players here and a very aggressive baserunner.  Tilson then led off the game with a walk, stole second easily, was in the process of stealing third base on a ground ball to shortstop and distracted the shortstop into an error, then scored on a wild pitch.  Fit pretty well!
Brewers White Lead Rangers 8-1, Top 4 >>

8/7/2010 12:23:44 PM

The Brewers White are making easy work of the Rangers this morning, sprinting out to a 8-1 lead after 3 plus innings.  Some of the notable performers:

Left handed hitting outfielders Billy Flamion and Jordan Brown of the Brewers have had quality at bats and hit the ball hard (Flamion had one 102 mph off the bat).  Brown is an interesting prospect; 6-1, 195 lbs, threw 88 mph off the mound yesterday, ran a 6.8 60, good all around set of tools.  The ball just explodes off Flamion's bat.

The Brewers have thrown a couple of very projectable left handed pitchers who have held the Rangers to 2 hits.  Max Fried has been 86-87 mph but has a nasty hard curveball and some feel for a change up.  At 6-3, 170 lbs, Fried is very physically projectable and since he throws his curveball up to 77 mph, he's almost a sure bet to throw harder in the future.

LHP Spenser Linney threw a bit harder than Fried, topping out at 88 mph, but didn't have the curveball spin that Fried did.  Linney is long and slender at 6-4, 180 lbs with loose actions.

Speedy outfielder Desmond Henry has slammed two balls up the right centerfield alley.  Henry ran a 6.47 60 and looks like he has a very strong bat.
Connie Mack World Series Update >>

8/7/2010 10:57:54 AM

There were 2 games played in Farmington yesterday at the Connie Mack World Series.  Unfortunately, there are no box scores on the Connie Mack web site but the East Cobb Yankees defeated the Arizona Firebirds 3-1 and the Midland Redskins topped the Ontario Blue Jays 9-1.

Top 2011 prospect LHP Daniel Norris went 6+ innings for the Yankees.  He pitched anywhere from 87 to 94 mph and walked three while striking out only 3.  The lack of strikeouts tell me that Norris' curveball wasn't working at its sharpest but that's just a guess on my part.
Saturday in Long Beach >>

8/7/2010 10:38:12 AM

There is a complete schedule of 4 games scheduled for the Area Codes Games today, starting with the Brewers White playing the Rangers at 10 am and concluding with the Yankees and Reds playing at 7 pm.

I'm not sure in the blogging opportunities will be as frequent today as the press box is at overflow due to 2 of the games today being broadcast/streamed over the Internet on ESPN 3 (whatever that is, I'm told there is a link on the Area Code Games website).  Former big league RHP Bob Scanlan is doing the color commentary and I spent some time on Thursday going over some of the players and interesting stories with him to help him prepare.
LHP Michael Howard >>

8/6/2010 5:15:26 PM

LHP Michael Howard is one of the best defensive outfielders in the country based on what we say at the Perfect Game National Showcase.  His athleticism is obvious on the mound as well.  Howard looks much improved as a left handed pitching prospect from earlier in the summer.  He was 89-91 mph in his first inning of work and did an excellent job of spotting his fastball to the corners.  Howard's challenge as a pitcher will be to continue developing his off speed stuff, as he tends to slow his arm on both his change up and curveball and throw them with less confidence than his fastball.

Howard did run into one of the best hitters around in Aflac All-American OF Billy Flamion of the Brewers.  Flamion has a couple of hard hits this game, including a run scoring double off of Howard.
LHP Brandon Bonilla >>

8/6/2010 4:38:27 PM

Shawon Dunston won his "battle" with Brandon Bonilla by forfeit, drawing a 4 pitch walk.

Bonilla is listed at 6-3, 180 lbs but has arms that make him look about 6-6.  He throws from a long extended overhand release point with a severe downhill angle to the plate.  Bonilla's fastball has been in the 87-90 mph range and has had some trouble commanding the pitch.  He hasn't mixed it up much but both his 78 mph change up and 83 mph true slider showed good quality and potential.  It would be hard to imagine Bonilla's raw stuff now improving as he gets older and stronger; he is an extremely young 2011 who won't turn 17 until late October.

Interestingly, Bonilla bears a strong resemblance in his build and arm action, with a bit higher release point, to Dontrelle Willis at the same age when Willis threw in the Area Code Games in 1999
Big League Match Up to Start the Third >>

8/6/2010 4:26:40 PM

LHP Brandon Bonilla is on the mound to start the 3rd inning for the Reds.   The leadoff hitter for Brewers is Shawon Dunston.

Both dads are in the stands.
RHP Robert Stephenson >>

8/6/2010 3:57:55 PM

Aflac All-American Robert Stephenson is the starting pitcher for the Brewers White in their 3 pm game against the Reds, who are starting LHP Zak Qualls.

Stephenson has a Dwight Gooden type delivery with a strong and fast arm and high 3/4's downhill release point.  He's been 90-93 mph thus far in the first inning and has flashed hard spin on a 77 mph curveball.

He faced fellow Aflac All-American catcher Blake Swihart with 2 out in the inning and  Swihart got the best of him, lining a hard line drive single to left field with two strikes.
Rio Ruiz on the Mound >>

8/6/2010 2:34:51 PM

Rio Ruiz was mentioned earlier when he turned around a Bryan Bridgewater fastball in what has been probably the single most impressive swing of the event thus far.

A couple of SoCal area scouts sitting around me say they've never seen Ruiz on the mound before and guessed before he took the mound here that he'd probably be mid to upper 80's.  They were wrong.  Ruiz cruised through a 1-2-3 8th inning sitting at 91-93 mph with a 75 mph curveball.
Correction on Fernelys Sanchez >>

8/6/2010 2:32:13 PM

I have mentioned Fernelys Sanchez a couple of times in this blog at 6-4, 200, which is what he's listed in the program at.   The SPARQ testing also measures "official" heights and weights and lists Sanchez at 6-0 1/2 inches and 195 lbs.

That's a big difference.  6.35 is still pretty darn fast, though, at any size.
Top 60 Times >>

8/6/2010 2:16:32 PM

Here's a list of the top 60 times from the Area Code Games

OF Fernelys Sanchez              6.35
SS Johnny Eierman                 6.41
OF Desmond Henry                 6.47
OF Charles Tilson                   6.54
OF Connor McKay                  6,56
OF James Harris                     6.58
OF C.J. McElroy                     6.60
OF John Norwood                   6.65
OF Michael Suiter                   6.66
3B Tyler Goeddel                    6.67
OF Jacob Anderson                 6.67
OF Justin Bianco                     6.69
SS Julius Gaines                     6.71

Sanchez and Eierman are not the 2 players one would immediately guess as the two fastest players out here.   Sanchez is a 6-4, 200 athlete from New York City with young, coltish actions, while Eierman is a strong and compact 6-0, 195 running back type.
SPARQ Results  >>

8/6/2010 1:58:41 PM

The SPARQ results have just been released.  The SPARQ testing contests of measuring each player in 4 different areas and coming up with an overall score representing the individual's athleticism.  In addition, the players also run the 60 as a separate part of the testing.  The 4 areas are 30 yard dash, shuttle run, vertical jump and power ball.

The runaway winner was 2012 OF Nick Williams.  Williams margin over second place OF James Harris was greater than the difference between Harris and the 8th place finisher.  Williams also ran the 60 in 6.77.

Top 10 SPARQ scores

1.  OF Nick Williams
2.  OF James Harris
3.  OF Michael Suiter
4.  OF Charles Tilson
5.  OF Desmond Henry
6.  OF Fernelys Sanchez
7.  SS Johnny Eierman
8.  C Kyle Olson
9.  RHP/OF Michael Reed
10.  OF Justin Bianco

Some other notable rankings of the 142 players who completed the tests

3B Tyler Goeddel (13th)
OF Shawon Dunston (15th, including the highest vertical leap of 35.7)
C Blake Swihart (17th)
SS Julius Gaines (19th)
SS Phillip Evans (30th)
1B Trevor Gretzky (31st)

Brickhouse Part 2 >>

8/6/2010 1:03:39 PM

I put the jinx on Bryan Brickhouse last blog, sorry about that.  Brickhouse struggled mightily in the second inning getting his fastball into the zone (he missed about 10-12 times down and out of the strike zone glove side) and got some bad luck with two squibber infield hits.  Then he overadjusted on his fastball and left a 90 mph pitch right in the middle of the plate and up to 2012 IF Rio Ruiz (6-2, 190, Covina, CA) who hit an absolute laser up the RCF gap (103 mph off the bat!).  End result:  4-0 lead for the Yankees.
RHP Bryan Brickhouse >>

8/6/2010 12:50:05 PM

The Rangers vs. Yankees game started about a half hour early, which no one I can see is complaining about.  If there was someone late coming back to Blair Field, they would have missed Bryan Brickhouse (6-2, 190 lbs, The Woodlands, TX) throw a very impressive first inning.  I've seen Brickhouse throw about a half dozen times in the last year plus and this is the best I've seen him.  90-93 mph with an 82-85 mph slider that is a present big league pitch and he threw the ball where he wanted to.  The Yankees hitters didn't offer much resistance, not surprisingly.
Non-Area Code Update >>

8/6/2010 10:55:05 AM

There is another big event out west starting today that has a great deal of interest to the scouting community.  The Connie Mack World Series kicks off today at 5 pm in Farmington, New Mexico.

Teams competing in Farmington this week include annual powerhouses such as the East Cobb Yankees, the Midland Redskins, the DBAT Mustangs and Bill Hood Broncos.

Top prospects include some of the top pitchers in the country, including LHP Daniel Norris, RHP Dylan Bundy, RHP Archie Bradley and RHP Dillon Howard.

The website to follow the Farmington action is at  I'll try to get some scouting notes from a couple of friends there and post them if they are available.
Northwest Pitchers >>

8/6/2010 10:36:08 AM

The Northwest is going to have an outstanding group of pitchers next year.  Everyone they've been throwing out there is loose and projectable and throwing at least 89-90 mph.

LHP Blake Snell (6-4, 180 lbs, Shoreline, WA) just threw the 4th inning for the Nationals.  He has a very, very loose shoulder and the ball comes out easy.  Snell touched 90 mph early and I've heard that he's thrown significantly harder in the past.

If just a few of Snell, Sam Johnson, Porter Clayton, Jace Fry, Dylan Davis, Cole Wiper, Jared Fisher, etc. keep improving, cross checkers will be beating a track to the north all next spring.
RHP Sam Johnson, Nationals >>

8/6/2010 10:10:39 AM

RHP Sam Johnson (6-0, 185, Beaverton, OR) has allowed the game's first run (1-0 in the top of the 3rd) but has been the most impressive pitcher so far.  He has a smooth long arm action and a cross body 3/4's release point and has been sitting steady at 91-92 mph with very good sink down in the zone.  His 77 mph slurve will need to be tightened up into a true slider in the future but he has easy arm strength and can get his fastball to really dive at times.
IF Dylan LaVelle >>

8/6/2010 9:45:51 AM

There are a smattering of 2012's at the Area Code Games and one of them is already drawing notice.  IF Dylan LaVelle is a 6-2, 180 lb right handed hitter from Lake Stevens, Washington and plays for the Nationals.

LaVelle took a strong batting practice early yesterday afternoon, hitting hard line drives to all fields and showing some bat speed.  In the game last night he drove a hard double to LCF off a 91 mph fastball.  In his first at bat this morning he crushed a 87 mph fastball from LHP Will Solomon to straight away center that bounced at the bottom of the ball at the 400 foot sign and legged it out for a triple.

LaVelle played third base last night and is at shortstop today, so I'll definitely be bearing down on his defense and athleticism.
Area Codes Day 2 >>

8/6/2010 9:22:48 AM

Good morning from chilly Long Beach, temperature 58 degrees at the 8:30 am game time this morning.

Three games today, starting off with the A's vs. the Nationals, who for some reason are playing the early game this morning after playing the night game last night.  I guess we at PG have put together a couple of interesting schedule quirks over the years as well.

The Yankees will play the Rangers in the 12 noon game, followed by a 3 pm contest between the Reds and the Brewers White team.  The Brewers Blue and the White Sox have the day off.

Just as importantly, I have the evening off, as there is the Major League Baseball Symposium for the players this evening and there are no games.  And I can safely say that there is no chance that rain will push back the schedule today.
Two Very Good Southpaws In The Game >>

8/5/2010 9:54:17 PM

Two very good young left handed pitchers are on the mound here in the 6th/7th inning of what has been a very enjoyable baseball game.

Cody Kukuk (6-4, 200 lbs, McLouth, KS) has a long, extended arm action with lots of arm speed and plenty of projection.  He was 88-91 in his first inning of work and when he threw his curveball hard and aggressively instead of aiming it it showed nice hard spin.  He lacks some deception because of his long arm action but it's a nice, clean arm action.

LHP Porter Clayton (6-4, 195 lbs, Idaho Falls, ID) is an extremely young 2011 (won't turn 17 until September) with a easy but deceptive delivery.  He's been pitching at 88 and has touched 90 and thrown some nasty 77 mph curveballs with a very late, sharp bite.  Clayton's curveball will end up being one of the better breaking balls here and his change up is pretty good too.

Interestingly, both of them took BP earlier in the day and showed nice power potential and good overall athleticism.
White Sox Lead 3-2, T5 >>

8/5/2010 9:15:42 PM

Despite all the quality pitching in this game the hitter's are getting in their cuts as well. 

There were 3 triples in the fourth inning as both teams scored a run.  The White Sox C Dylan Delso and SS Johnny Eierman both connected off Nationals RHP Cole Wiper (88-90, nasty 83 mph slider).  The most impressive swing, though, was the rocket up the RCF alley that right handed hitting Trevor Mitsui drilled of RHP Nick Burdi in the bottom of the inning.  It got to the fence in no time at all.
RHP Nick Burdi >>

8/5/2010 9:06:26 PM

Big RHP Nick Burdi (6-5, 215, Downers Grove, IL) continues to make this an entertaining night for velocity fans.  Burdi has some effort to his delivery but he has a strong and fast arm.  He's been pitching at 91-92 mph and touched 94 mph a couple of times.  He throws a low 80's slider with some tilt as his off speed and also mixes in a couple of change ups.
LHP Jace Frye, Nationals >>

8/5/2010 8:39:11 PM

LHP Jace Fry (6-1, 190, Beaverton, OR) was pretty impressive in his first inning of work for the Nationals.  He has a polished delivery with some cross body action on his release.  Fry pitched at 89 mph and showed very good command of 4 distinct pitches.  Aside from his fastball he threw a 74 mph curveball that had hard, late bite and got a strikeout with it.  He also lets up on his curveball early in counts in the upper 60's for a big "Get Ahead" pitch and throws a nice mid 70's change.  I wouldn't be surprised at all if he didn't cruise through his second inning as well.

White Sox lead 2-1 in the third.
Starling Doubles as Pitcher >>

8/5/2010 8:21:19 PM

Bubba Starling is also the White Sox pitcher in addition to hitting in the 3rd hole.  He had about a 7 pitch first inning, getting a fly ball to centerfield, pop to shortstop and ground ball to short.  Starling has a raw delivery with a pronounced back side collapse that causes him to throw pretty flat to the plate despite his long 6-5 frame.  He throws easy, though, and was 90-91 mph on his fastball.  He didn't throw any breaking balls but got his pop up on a nice 83 mph change up.
White Sox Like Davis Velocity >>

8/5/2010 8:14:59 PM

Dylan Davis' 91-94 mph velocity didn't bother a couple of the White Sox hitters, who moved out to a 2-0 lead after the first half inning.

White Sox lead off hitter Charles Tilson led off the game by lining a Davis 92 mph fastball up in the zone solidly to left field.  Tilson, a primary left handed pitcher who shows easy plus speed on the bases, quickly stole second and third, helped by the fact that Davis is 1.75 to home plate with a big leg raise delivery.

After a ground out, Bubba Starling then blasted another Davis heater deep to left centerfield for a ground rule double.  Starling later scored on an infield error.

Davis threw almost exclusively fastballs and threw as many 94's as he did 91's.  The arm strength is obvious and easy but he will definitely have to work on shortening his delivery and learning to mix pitches before he pitches at the next level.
Dylan Davis Starting on Mound for Nationals >>

8/5/2010 8:02:50 PM

Nationals vs. White Sox just getting underway.  Aflac All-American Dylan Davis on the mound for the Nationals.
Brewers Blue Score First in 5th Inning >>

8/5/2010 6:07:39 PM

The Brewers Blue have taken a 5-0 lead going into the bottom of the 5th inning, taking advantage of some wildness on the part of Rangers RHP Trevor Simms.  Simms, who comes from a low 3/4's to sidearm release point and pitches at 85-88 mph with a big frisbee slider, walked the first 2 hitters of the inning before SS Christian Lopes singled in the first run.  An infield error, single by LF Travis Harrison and 2 wild pitches plated the next 3 runs and RF Daniel Camarena plated the last run with an Rbi ground out.

RHP Ryan Keller is on the mound now for the Brewers.  RHP Matt Bugdell threw 2 scoreless innings between Keller and starter Henry Owens.

RHP Parker French also threw 2 shutout innings for the Rangers, topping out at 91 mph with a big hard mid 70's curveball

0-0 After 3 Innings >>

8/5/2010 5:34:43 PM

LHP Henry Owens ended up striking out the side in the 2nd inning as well, giving him 6 K's in his 2 innings of work without a ball being hit in fair territory.

The leather is being flashed pretty well for both teams, especially now that Owens is off the mound and more contact is being made.

2B Phillip Evans made a beautiful diving catch going toward the right field foul line on a looping liner for the first out in the 3rd inning.  3B Taylor Sparks made a nice ranging play to his left and a strong throw to first, virtually duplicating the play made on him by Matt Dean earlier in the game.  2B Chris McFarland made a quick, clean backhanded stop of a hard ground ball by Trent Boras.  In fact, McFarland's hands and actions look very natural at second base, it may be his best position.
List of Aflac All-Americans >>

8/5/2010 5:28:55 PM

Here is a list of all the Aflac All-Americans here at the Area Code Games.  The Aflac Game will be held August 15 in San Diego.

LHP Henry Owens
SS Phillip Evans
SS Christian Lopes
C Austin Hedges
1B Daniel Camarena
OF/3B Travis Harrison
3B Matthew Dean
C/RHP Daniel Mengden
RHP Tyler Beede
RHP John Magliozzi
C Cameron Gallagher
OF Billy Flamion
OF Shawon Dunston Jr.
RHP Joseph Ross
RHP Robert Stephenson
RHP Dylan Davis
C Blake Swihart

Owens Strikes Out Side in First >>

8/5/2010 5:10:39 PM

LHP Henry Owens didn't meet meet much resistance in the first inning, striking out Chris McFarland, Trevor Story and Matt Dean around a walk to Nick Williams.  Owens pitched at 88-89 mph and consistently froze hitters with a big downer curveball that ranged from 67 to 73 mph.  As I think I noted in my report from the PG National, I don't think hitters see the ball at all off Owens, as they not only swing through pitches that look hittable, they also take a disproportionate number of strikes.
Rangers Vs. Brewers Blue >>

8/5/2010 5:00:44 PM

The first game of the day is underway a few minutes early, with LHP Tollar Boardman on the mound for the Rangers and LHP Henry Owens on the mound for the Brewers Blue.

Owens, a 6-6 Aflac All-American, is one of the better known and regarded pitching prospects in the 2011 class.  He'll be throwing to another Aflac honoree, catcher Austin Hedges.
Impressive List of "Son's Of....." >>

8/5/2010 4:58:07 PM

As is usual at the Area Code Games, there is an impressive list of son's of various baseball and even non-baseball types.

Probably the most noteworthy would be Brewers 1B Trevor Gretzky, son of "The Great One".  I missed the Brewers BP this morning but I'm told he hit the ball well.  Trevor is a bit taller than dad, weighing in a 6-4, 190 lbs, and hits from the left side.

Shawon Dunston is here in the stands with his son, Aflac All-American OF Shawon Dunston Jr.  I don't know if Bobby Bonilla is in Long Beach but his son Brandon, a 6-3, 190 lb left handed pitcher, is on the Reds roster.

Big league managers are represented with Brett Geren, son of A's manager Bob Geren.

Pro football and the Super Bowl are represented by Rangers OF Nick Williams, the son of former Cowboys defensive back Billy Williams.

The agent world is represented by 3B Trent Boras, whose father, Scott, was in the stands for batting practice this morning.  I wonder whether he paid the $500 agents admission fee or the $10 parents admission fee?

The professional scouting community has Vance Vizcaino, son of Royals crosschecker Junior Vizcaino

Rangers Batting Practice >>

8/5/2010 4:37:30 PM

Just as with Bubba Starling earlier, it's always nice to see a player who you've heard tons about hit for the first time and that was the case with 2012 OF Nick Williams (6-3, 190 lbs, Galveston, TX).  Williams exploded to the forefront last month at the WWBA 16U World Championships when he hit 6 home runs, including 4 in one game, to bring home MVP honors.  The left handed hitter has a shorter Darryl Strawberry type build and a definite resemblance to Strawberry in his swing.  He effortlessly lofted a series of high twisting 375-395' flyballs to center and left center field during BP and made little attempt to pull the ball.

Another player I got to see for the first time that I've heard lots about recently is 3B/RHP Trevor Story (6-2, 175, Irving, TX).  Most of what I've heard centers more around Story's arm strength on the mound (96 mph earlier in the summer, 94 mph at the Texas Scout's Association workout earlier this week) but he is also a very good hitter with power potential.  Like Williams, the right handed hitting Story showed his best power to the middle of the field and to the opposite field alley.

Aflac All-American IF Matt Dean didn't juice too many balls but showed a nice, easy loose swing and hit line drives hard to all fields.

A 2012 that was noteworthy was SS C.J. Hinojosa (5-10, 170 lbs, Spring, TX).   Hinojosa is very strong for his size and the ball whistled off his bat from the right side.  He's starting at shortstop in the 4 pm game so I'll get an immediate look at his defensive skills and athletic ability.
White Sox Batting Practice >>

8/5/2010 2:21:36 PM

This is the first time I've ever seen Derek "Bubba" Starling play.  The QB/RHP/OF is undoubtedly one of the top athletes in the 2011 class and may be hard for baseball to keep him when he gets more into football (Nebraska scholarship).  He's listed as a primary pitcher and I've heard he's been up in the mid-90's this summer at times.  At 6-5, 190 lbs you'd expect Starling to have a long swing just because of his length but the opposite is true, he's very short and crisp to the ball.  I'd almost like to see more length at times.  But his bat speed is obvious.

SS Johnny Eierman is very, very strong.  I don't know whether he ends up staying at shortstop (he's listed at 6-1, 195 lbs) but he had the scouts talking right away in batting practice.  The Missouri native has some length to his swing and likes getting his hands away from his body but the ball rockets off the barrel and he launched a couple of impressive home runs.

The White Sox team would be a candidate for the Area Code basketball championship if there was such a thing.  They have 16 players on their roster listed at 6-3 or above.  I'm guessing that Starling can probably jump out of the building in addition to everything else.

6-4, 205 switch-hitting C Ty Hensley (Edmond, OK) is only a 2012 but he's one of the stronger players here.  His swing from the right side is still long and raw but he swings it pretty well from the left side and has obvious power potential.

Another Edmond, OK native, 6-3, 175 lb SS Brian Anderson, will be an interesting player to watch this week, especially if he has middle infield tools on defense.  He has a nice smooth swing from the right side and projects power.
Oakland A's Batting Practice >>

8/5/2010 1:36:55 PM

I blogged frequently on SS Julius Gaines (listed here as Kenneth Gaines Jr for some reason) and will likely continue to mention him frequently this week.  Aside from his speed and defensive ability, his bat keeps growing every time I see him.  Gaines pulled the ball with authority in BP and showed very  nice hand quickness and a short path to the ball.

Charles Sheffield (6-4, 190 lbs, Columbus, GA) is listed as a primary pitcher/secondary infielder but it will be interesting to see how he throws, because looks like a pretty good hitting prospect.  He has some length in his load and swing path, very similar to Connor McKay's, but is loose and fast through the zone and the ball carries very well off the bat.

Four of the top hitters/prospects on the A's roster also played in the East Coast Pro and I don't know whether they will be here or not; they didn't take batting practice.  Of course, the entire Yankees team from Lakeland was here, so I suspect Dante Bichette, Shon Carson, T.J. Costen and Jo-El Bennett won't be here.

(late addendum:   Costen is in Long Beach and evidently just arrived late.  He's taking batting practice with the Rangers in the last group)
Cincinnati Reds Batting Practice >>

8/5/2010 12:55:25 PM

It's always a pleasure to see Blake Swihart swing the bat, especially from the right side.  The ball makes that different sound and it doesn't even look like Swihart is swinging very hard.  He hit one bomb onto the street beyond the left centerfield fence that went much farther than I think anyone thought it was going to off the bat.

1B Cole Gleason (6-0, 205, Mesa, AZ) doesn't have an immediate pro profile as a right handed hitter but I suspect that most top college teams would like to have him.  He's strong and very aggressive with the bat and can hit 'em hard and long.

OF Omar Gomez is from way off the beaten track (Burges HS, El Paso, TX) but the left handed hitter showed surprising pop and bat speed in his 5-11, 165 lb frame.

OF Connor McKay (6-3, 190 lbs, Parker, CO) was one of my favorite players out the PG National Showcase.  He ran a sub 6.5 60 and showed plus power potential.  The concern I have right now is that he is a pretty severe bat wrapper to start his swing which creates some real length to the ball.  I hope he can shorten up his path to the ball as he develops because his combination of athleticism and power really plays high.

Yankees Batting Practice >>

8/5/2010 12:15:16 PM

With a couple of exceptions, this is pretty much the exact same Yankees team that I just watched for 4 days at the East Coast Pro so I'm not sure what addition insights I'm going to be able to gather on most of them.  I know that a number of them will be dragging for a couple days after going cross country as well.

C Cameron Gallagher hit the ball very well in BP.  The ball was jumping off his bat hard and he was loose and fast through the ball.

One new guy is OF Michael White (6-2, 200, East Orange, NJ).  The left handed hitter has an outstanding athletic body and a loose swing that flashed some bat speed.  He's going to be a guy that scouts bear down on this week.

OF Mike Papi showed his power well in BP, hitting one ball out of spacious Blair Field and knocking another one off the wall.

Another new player on the Yankees roster is 2012 C Nelson Rodriguez (6-2, 210, George Washington HS, NYC).  Rodriguez looks nothing like an underclassman and is immensely strong.  His swing is pretty controlled for a big, young hitter and he has some big lift and power potential.

Rodriguez has a high school teammate and fellow 2012 prospect on the Yankees roster as well, OF Fernelys Sanchez.  Sanchez is an extremely projectable 6-4, 200 lb switch-hitter with power from both sides of the plate, although his swing is currently on the long side.  Both Rodriguez and Sanchez definitely "look" the part from a scouting perspective.

Washington Nationals Batting Practice >>

8/5/2010 11:17:49 AM

Some Impressions from the Nationals Batting Practice

Dylan Davis has a nice line drive swing and some strength but I have to respectfully disagree with those people who think he's a better outfield prospect than pitcher.  I know there is a stigma about 6-0 right handed pitchers but there is against 6-0 right handed hitting corner outfielders, too.  He has no potential position tool that matches a 90-95 mph fastball and mid 80's slider with tilt.

2012 C Clint Coulter (6-3, 200, Camas, WA) swung the bat really well and showed promising pull power.  He has some effort in his swing but he also has bat speed and good hitting rhythm.

2011 IF Trevor Mitsui (6-4, 210, Lynnwood, WA) has a nice swing and good leverage at contact.  He has the bat speed and strength to lift the ball out of the park when he squares it up.

2011 OF Spencer O'Neil (6-4, 185, Kennewick, WA) took a very, very nice BP, squaring up everything and starting to show hints that he might be getting stronger.  His build and swing isn't dissimilar to another O'Neill (Paul....not relation).

2012 SS/RHP Tyler Gonzalez is actually from San Antonio, TX, not from the Northwest, but is hearing playing for the Nationals.  He, too, looks like he's got stronger from when I last saw him at the PG National Underclass Showcase in June and hit the ball very consistently hard with a very aggressive pull swing.
Area Code Games Underway >>

8/5/2010 10:27:56 AM

Just got set up in the press box at beautiful Blair Field in time to see the second team of batting practice (Brewers Blue) hit their last 2 sets.  Of course, the first two hitters I saw (rather heard, they were both crushing the ball) were Aflac All-Americans Travis Harrison and Daniel Camarena.

Today's schedule leads off with all 8 teams taking batting practice (pro-style again, just like ECP) until 2 pm.  There will be 2 games tonight, the first between the Rangers and Brewers Blue (4 pm) and the second between the Nationals and the White Sox (7 pm).  So it's going to be a very long day that technically started at 12:30 am California time for me out in Orlando.

The 8 teams and their geographical areas out here are as follows:

White Sox:    Midwest
Reds:    4 Corners Area (AZ, CO, NM, NV)
Brewers Blue:  Southern California
Brewers White:   Northern California
Yankees:  Northeast
A's:    Southeast
Rangers:   Texas
Nationals:    Northwest

Attention College Coaches >>

8/5/2010 3:14:01 AM

One of the families that I've been hanging out with at the airport and hotel due to the canceled flight is New Jersey OF John Norwood and his mother.

Norwood was the subject of a couple of blogs from the East Coast Pro Showcase and is a very interesting prospect who I will be including among the top 50 prospects from the ECP when I put that list together (good work for the 5 hour plane trip).  He's a very well put together 6-1, 190 lb centerfielder who ran 6.5 in Lakeland (the 3rd fastest time at the event) and has outstanding range in centerfield, along with a ML average throwing arm.  Norwood, a right handed hitter, also has plenty of strength to swing the bat and some present hitting skills.  In summary, he is a high D1 level player who will get some attention from the pro scouts over the next year.

John goes to Seton Hall Prep in New Jersey and says that he has a 3.19 GPA and a 21 ACT.  The interesting thing is he says that while he's talked to a couple of schools, he hasn't received a single scholarship offer.

I can understand this to some extent, as he was under the Perfect Game radar prior to this event and not nationally ranked, although that will change.  I also expect that John's "offer sheet" will probably change pretty quickly as well.

Good Morning from Orlando >>

8/5/2010 3:05:23 AM

Good morning from Orlando??  Isn't this supposed to be a blog from the Area Code Games in Long Beach, California?

It is, but the flight from Orlando to Los Angeles last night was canceled due to mechanical failure and I'm on a 6 am flight (along with a couple of players and their families) this morning to LAX that leaves in about an hour.  So the blogs from Blair Field will be delayed a bit....I should get there about 9:30 or 10:00 am local time.  The first workout begins at 8 am so I'll miss a couple of teams of BP but that should be no problem to catch up over 5+ days of baseball.

Whether I catch up on the missed sleep is another matter.
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