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PG Field to host National Pre-Draft

Showcase : : Story
Jeff Dahn        
Published: Friday, May 16, 2014

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – The 18th annual Perfect Game National Pre-Draft Showcase is slated for Sunday, May 18, at Perfect Game Field-Veterans Memorial Stadium and at least 45 draft hopefuls – almost all from the class of 2014 – will be in attendance.

The showcase, one of Perfect Game’s longest running, provides these potential draftees a final opportunity to perform in front of the MLB scouting community before this year’s June Amateur First-Year Player Draft commences on June 5. Their purpose, of course, is to catch a scout’s eye, get drafted and have their name added to the event’s distinguished alumni list.

The prospects on hand Sunday will arrive from points as far away as The Bronx in New York City; Tampa, Fla.; Ontario, Canada, and the Dominican Republic.

Ironically, the two highest-ranked overall draft prospects – No. 82 right-hander/first baseman Keaton McKinney and No. 89 righty Mitch Keller – are Iowans. McKinney (from Ankeny), ranked No. 41 nationally in the 2014 high school class, has signed with Arkansas; Keller (Cedar Rapids), No. 43 nationally in the 2014 class, with North Carolina.

Shortstop Tristan Rojas from The Bronx, ranked 153rd nationally in the high school class of 2014, is one of three 2014 prospects that have signed with Grayson County (Texas) Community College (the others are right-hander Nicholas Padilla from The Bronx and catcher Travis Wacker from Oakville, Ontario).

Other top 2014s ranked in the top-300 nationally that are expected to be here include: right-hander Zachary Pop (No. 164, Brampton, Ont., uncommitted); shortstop Keith Grieshaber (No. 211, Chesterfield, Mo., Arkansas); catcher Griffin Helms (No. 243, Duluth, Ga., Kennesaw State); left-hander Hunter Van Horn (No. 252, Tampa, Fla., uncommitted); outfielder Aiden McDermott (No. 280, South Plainfield, N.J., St. John’s); left-hander/first baseman Patrick Mathis (No. 282, Venus, Texas, U. of Texas) and lefty Ryan Fant (No. 304, Texarkana, Texas, Arkansas).

The history of the Perfect Game National Pre-Draft Showcase is not only long, but storied.

One of the last appearances current Los Angeles Dodgers’ outfielder Carl Crawford made as an amateur ballplayer before the Tampa Bay Devil Rays made him a second-round pick in the 1999 MLB June amateur draft took place at Perfect Game Field. It happened on May 10, 1999, on the occasion of the 2nd annual PG Pre-Draft.

History repeated itself exactly three years to the date later when New York Yankees catcher Brian McCann appeared at the 5th annual PG Pre-Draft a month before the Atlanta Braves made him a second-round pick in the 2002 MLB amateur draft.

One year after that, Chicago Cubs outfielder Ryan Sweeney and Washington Nationals right-hander Tyler Clippard were at PG Field for the PG Pre-Draft just one month before getting selected in the second and ninth rounds, respectively, of the 2002 amateur draft.

The beat went on. The Rays made their right-handed starter Jeremy Hellickson a fourth-round pick in 2005 a month after he pitched at the PG Pre-Draft. Detroit Tigers’ left-hander Ian Krol was a seventh-round selection of the Oakland A’s right out of high school in 2009 just weeks after appearing at the ’09 Pre-Draft Showcase.

They are just five of the 26 players who went on to play in the big leagues after performing at the PG National Pre-Draft and five of 223 alumni ultimately drafted either out of high school or after college careers.

Seven players were drafted out of their respective high schools in the last two years, including second-round pick Alec Rash (2012, Phillies) and third-rounders Nathan Mikolas (2012, Yankees), Avery Romero (2012, Marlins) and Casey Meisner (2013, Mets).

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