All American Game : : Story
AFLAC All-Star Game -- Infielders
Published: Thursday, August 21, 2003
Tyler Beranek (West) Waukesha South HS, Waukesha, WI: Beranek may less national exposure at this point than any other player on the AFLAC All-Star game rosters. His high school plays summer baseball and a case of mononucleosis prevented the 6-5 Beranek from participating in both his high school schedule and most of the showcase circuit. That will soon be rectified. Beranek has outstanding power potential and generates very good bat speed and lift from his long arms. Perhaps most impressively, Beranek is an agile, quick athlete despite his size, running close to average on the bases and showing an average throwing arm and good actions at first base. Its very possible that a college or professional team will ask Beranek to play some outfield at the next level.
Comparable Major League Player: Derek Lee (FL) or Adam Dunn (Cin). Excellent athletes on long, strong bodies.
Matt Bush (West) Mission Bay HS, San Diego, CA: Bush is one of the top 2-way players in the country. Hes enjoyed a tremendous summer, starting on the USA National Junior Team and being named the top prospect at the Area Code Games. Despite his wiry 5-10, 160 lb frame, Bush has one of the best arms in the country, regularly hitting 94 mph from the mound and throwing lasors around the infield. Bush is an average runner on the stopwatch but his quickness enables him to play the middle infield with ease. The only place where Bushs relative lack of size comes into play is with the bat. He has a short, line drive swing but its difficult to project him to hit with much power.
Comparable Major League Player: Rafael Furcal (Atl). Lacks Furcals speed, but the rifle and size is the same.
Eric Campbell (East) Gibson Southern HS, Owensville, IN: Campbell was a relative unknown, even to most scouts, before hitting five home runs and being named co-MVP at the World Wood Bat Senior Championship in Georgia in mid-July. Aside from his obvious power, Campbell has a very mature approach at the plate and above average instincts on the bases. What position he ends up playing is open to question, Campbells played shortstop, third base second base and right field this summer. His arm strength and speed are Major League average.
Comparable Major League Player: Jeff Kent (Hou). Campbell has to migrate to second, but offensive slant and overall actions match.
Brad Emaus (East) East Coweta HS, Senoia, GA: Emaus is one of three players from the East Cobb Yankees on the AFLAC All-Star Game rosters. Hes joined by OF Dexter Fowler and SS-RHP Chris Nelson from the 2003 Connie Mack national champions. Emaus plays shortstop in high school and when Nelson is on the mound during the summer, but projects out better as an offensive second baseman. Emaus bat is potent, combining strong fundamentals with excellent bat speed and surprising power from a 6-0 middle infielder.
Comparable Major League Player: Michael Young (Tex). Offensive second baseman with a variety of tools
Luke French (West) Heritage HS, Littleton, CO: French is an extra strong left handed power hitter and a good athlete. He finishes high in his swing and is capable of hitting long, high arching home runs with wood. Although he doesn't run especially well, French also has a chance to be an above average defensive first baseman. He has soft hands and good balance around the bag and an above average arm for the position. French, not surprisingly, also pitches and throws 86-87 mph with a nice slider.
Comparable Major League Player: Jay Gibbons (Balt). Strong left handed hitter with some loft in his swing.
Cale Iorg (East) Karns HS, Knoxville, TN: Iorg has the kind of polish and approach to the game youd expect of the son of a ex-Major Leaguer. Not surprisingly, Cales father Garth says that his sons swing even bears a strong resemblance to his own. Cale is a 6.67 runner with a smooth, gliding stride and the quickness to play in the middle of the field. He has a flat, smooth stroke from the left side at the plate and will add power as he adds strength. One thing that Cale does perhaps better than any high school prospect in the country is work counts and draw walks. With his speed and patient approach, Cale is an ideal lead off hitter.
Comparable Major League Player: Mark Loretta (SD). Versatile, with speed and bat control.
Jared Kubin (East) Oakton HS, Oakton, VA: Kubin is one of the premier power hitters in the Class of 2004. He is extra strong throughout his entire body, a carryover from his father who spent many years in the NFL. Kubin takes a big, aggressive swing at the plate, generating excellent bat speed and good extension, and can reach the fences to all fields. Like many big power hitters, he can be beaten by good fastballs inside. Kubin has played both corner outfield positions and while he's a close to average runner, he will likely end up at first base.
Comparable Major League Player: Robert Stratton (AAA). No, not a ML player, but the minor league home run leader is physical clone and has the same approach offensively.
Steve Marquardt (West) Kennewick HS, Kennewick, WA: Marquardt is your classic powerful third base prospect, with an above average throwing arm and the kind of strength with the bat that projects above average power in the future. He's a good all around athlete who could play many different positions on the field.
Comparable Major League Player: Aramis Ramirez (ChiC).
Chris Nelson (East) Redan HS, Decatur, GA: There is a trio of shortstop/right handed pitcher two-way players in the Class of 2004 that stand out; Trevor Ploufe, Matt Bush and Nelson. Nelson has raw power and raw arm strength advantages on his two peers, although few scouts are going to express a strong preference for any one of the three. Probably the most amazing part of Nelsons accomplishments is that he can play 75+ games a year at shortstop, plus pitch over 100 innings but have no problem maintaining low to mid 90s velocity on his fastball or well above average strength on his throws from shortstop. Scouts are split, however, on what position Nelson might play in the future. Hes added both size and strength in the last year and no longer falls into the dreaded sub-6 foot right hander category of pitchers.
Comparable Major League Player: Shawn Dunston. Dunston was faster, but the arm and pop are similar.
Trevor Ploufe (West) Crespi HS, Northridge, CA: When scouts discuss the SS/RHP trio of Ploufe, Matt Bush and Chris Nelson, theyll usually concede that the latter two have the flashier tools. But they will also quickly add that Ploufe is probably the best ballplayer of the group and maybe the most polished skill player in the country. Ploufes physical tools are impressive, too. He can touch 91 mph off the mound, has quick, sure feet and is a tick above average runner on the bases.
Comparable Major League Player: Nomar Garciaparra (Bos). Multi-tooled athlete who knows how to play and will work at it.
Stan Widman (West) L.D. Bell HS, Hurst, TX: The 6-3, 185 lb. Widman is an above average defensive player who plays with a maximum of grace and ease and a minimum of flash. His best defensive tool are his quick, gliding feet that consistently put him in position to make plays look easy, while his arm is strong enough to reach the upper 80's off the mound. Widman's swing is similar to his defensive approach; smooth and unstressed, with good extension to drive the ball into the gaps.
Comparable Major League Player: Derek Jeter (NYY). Tall rangy shortstop with smooth actions.