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2008 PG Aflac Underclassmen Showcase Los Angeles, CA. August 8th 2008
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Years ago during the Aflac Week, we noticed that hundreds of scouts and college recruiters would attend some of the morning Aflac workouts. The Aflac players would do things in the afternoon, visit the local Children’s Hospital and other activities. This left scouts and recruiters with nothing to do in the afternoons.
We decided to hold a showcase event on one of the afternoons, followed by a game between those high level participants the next afternoon. It was well received by most of the scouts and recruiters.
Recruiting has changed over the past few years. Now more and more top players are verbally committing to college programs well before there senior and even junior years. So we decided to turn the PG Aflac Showcase into an event featuring some of the top underclassmen in the nation. Once again it was very well received.
The event is by invitation and there is no charge to the players.
This year’s PG Aflac Underclass Showcase featured several of the best underclass prospects in America. The events took place in Los Angeles at Dedeaux Field on the campus of the University of Southern California. There were college coaches from coast to coast and scouts from nearly every MLB organization, as well as the Major League Scouting Bureau, in attendance.
The players were outstanding and several are among the highest ranked prospects in the classes of 2010 and 2011. Here are the reports from that event.
Will Allen is a 2010 C/1B with a 6'2'', 205 lb. frame from Gainesville, FL who attends Buchholz HS. Allen has a strong athletic body, a very strong arm and a quick release. He has the potential to be an outstanding DI/Pro defensive catcher. He also creates excellent bat speed and showed a good gap to gap power swing in LA. His power potential is obvious. Allen is a good student and he's going to keep improving his already outstanding ability. He should be recruited heavily and draw interest from the MLB scouts over the next year.
DeSean Anderson is a 2010 OF with a 5'9'', 187 lb. frame from High Point, NC who attends Ragsdale HS. Anderson is a solidly built athletic outfielder who can run and cover lots of ground. The bat shows promise. He has performed very well in WWBA tournaments against some of the best competition in high school baseball. Scouts and recruiters need to stay on him.
Kris Bryant is a 2010 3B/1B with a 6'5'', 188 lb. frame from Las Vegas, NV who attends Bonanza HS. Viva Las Vegas, here is another highest level prospect. Bryant is big, strong athletic player with one of the top bats in his class. He shows other tools including a strong throwing arm, but the bat really stood out in LA. The ball explodes off his wood bat with a balanced approach that creates serious bat speed. He looked good in BP and even better in the game. In fact he hit a long bomb off a 90 mph fastball in the game. U. San Diego hasn't become a highest level national program by accident, with kids like Mark Wolters and Bryant verbally committing early, it's proof they know what they're doing at that college. Bryant is also a top level student and pro scouts are going to do some serious thinking.
Daniel Camarena is a 2011 LHP/OF/1B with a 6'0'', 175 lb. frame from Bonita, CA who attends Cathedral Catholic HS. Camareno is an exceptional lefty in the 2011 class. In LA he showed an upper 80s fastball with lots of running and sometimes sinking action. His curveball looked very good at 73 mph. His change was also a good pitch at 78 mph. It actually looked as if he was throwing a forkball at times and if so it was a big dropper. Camareno is a good student and should be heavily recruited by top college programs. He's going to be fun to follow for the next couple years.
Ralston Cash is a 2010 RHP/3B/1B with a 6'2'', 200 lb. frame from Cornelia, GA who attends Lakeview Academy. Cash may have drawn the most interest from scouts of any pitcher at this event. We have seen him many times before and it was no surprise. In LA his first 17 fastballs were all 89 or better, with just one pitch being 89 mph. Mostly all were 91s with an occasional 92 thrown in. Better yet was his upper 70s breaking ball and the command he showed with all his pitches. Nothing new, it was the same Ralston Cash we always see. He is one of the best pitchers in his class. Top colleges are recruiting and MLB will be interested in seeing any possible velocity gains. The future looks very bright for Ralston Cash.
Frankie Christian is a 2010 OF with a 5'11'', 183 lb. frame from Upland, CA who attends Upland HS. Christian is a strong athletic outfielder who can cover a lot of ground. He has very good instincts. At the plate is where he creates the most interest. Christian can really sting the ball hard when he squares up. He definitely shows strength in his swing and should end up hitting a lot of long balls. He has a chance to become a special hitter. Christian has verballed early to Southern Cal.
Dylan Covey is a 2010 RHP/OF with a 6'1'', 195 lb. frame from Pasadena, CA who attends Marantha HS. Covey is a solidly built RHP with a big time arm. He stayed pretty much at 91-92 mph on nearly every fastball. He showed a very good high 70s breaking ball and a good change up. He pounded away aggressively at hitters . Covey was one of the top pitchers at the event in LA and he should be getting bombarded by top college recruiters. It's hard telling just how good he might end up being. He showed very well at this event.
Kaleb Cowart is a 2010 IF/RHP with a 6'3'', 185 lb. frame from Adel, GA who attends Cook County HS. Cowart is a player we've seen many times. He is one of the countries best pitching prospects for 2010. We've seen him pitch in the low 90s several times and with a plus breaking ball at WWBA tournaments. In LA he showed another side to the equation. Cowart is a highest level shortstop with good smooth actions and of course a cannon for an arm. He's really a very good player and athlete. He also showed hitting ability and power potential. He has the body and athleticism to be a good draft prospect as a position player as well as a pitcher. Coward is a good student and will be a star at any college in America if he does end up in college.
Jose Dore is a 2010 OF/3B with a 6'0'', 170 lb. frame from Kissimmee, FL who attends Osceola HS. Dore is an athletic lean outfielder who showed a nice arm in LA. The tool that created the most interest was his bat. He attacks the ball with a nice controlled swing and displayed some serious power potential during BP. He definitely showed hitting ability. He is a player we will need to see more of as time goes on in order to get a good feel for his overall game. Dore is a good student and should be followed closely by DI schools.
Gabriel Encinas is a 2010 RHP/OF with a 6'4'', 200 lb. frame from Whittier, CA who attends St Paul HS. Encinas is a big athlete with an outstanding arm. He was touching 90 in LA with a very good 73 mph curveball. He also showed a good arm from the OF and he displayed a power bat during BP. Encinas has a chance to be one of the top pitching prospects in his class od 2010. Big athletic pitchers with 90+ arms and an excellent curveball seem to draw a lot of interest. Top colleges and MLB scouts will be paying close attention to this kid.
Bobby Geren is a 2010 3B/C/1B with a 6'1'', 185 lb. frame from Danville, CA who attends San Ramon Valley HS. Bobby is the son of former MLB player and current A's manager Bob Geren. Bobby has a strong athletic body, nice actions, a good arm and a good left handed bat. Right now he shows a polished swing with gap to gap line drive ability. This should develop into HR power down the road. He is a smart player who has a good feel for the game as one would imagine. He will be interesting to follow over the next year. Geren is an outstanding scholar athlete.
Trey Griffin is a 2010 OF/SS with a 6'3'', 193 lb. frame from Stockbridge, GA who attends Martin Luther King HS. Griffin really looks the part of a Major League player. Strong and very athletic with immense potential. We've seen him a lot and he just keeps getting better and better. He has true 5 tool potential. He is a good smooth outfielder with a strong arm. He has become a plus runner over the last year. His instincts are outstanding. All that and it's the bat, the wood bat, against highest level pitching that stands out the most. Griffin should develop upper deck power and to all fields. He still needs to add some polish, but the bat speed is obvious and the ball jumps off at warp speed when he connects. The sky is the limit.
Bryce Harper is a 2011 C/P/SS with a 6'3'', 195 lb. frame from Las Vegas, NV who attends Las Vegas HS. Then comes this one from Las Vegas. We did a story a while back about young Bryce Harper. It's all true! He is the #1 prospect in the 2011 class and that's not likely to change. Plus arm, no plus plus arm! Quickness and agility. Only a 2011 but probably the best high school hitting prospect in the country right now. Extreme power. Unlimited ceiling! Not sure there has been anyone to compare him to at the same age.
Brett Harrison is a 2011 MIF with a 6'0'', 165 lb. frame from Henderson, NV who attends Green Valley HS. The Las Vegas area will see a lot of scouting actyivity over the next couple years. Harrison looked very good at the PG Aflac Showcase in LA. He is a middle infielder with good range and some nice actions. He showed advanced hitting ability and hit some hard line drives that left his bat in a hurry. He also hit well in the game, driving in a run with a line drive double. Harrison is a good student and a high level DI prospect already as a 2011 grad. He could develop into a good draft pick as well.
Travis Harrison is a 2011 OF/3B/P with a 6'2'', 195 lb. frame from Aliso Viejo, CA who attends Tustin HS. Harrison is another extremely interesting 2011 with a strong athletic body and good tools. The bat stood out at USC both in BP and in the game. He's simply fun to watch hit. Harrison is an aggressive hitter who manages to keep things under control. He definitely shows big power potential. In the game he ripped a hard line drive to LF off of one of the top pitching prospects in the nation. He also singled up the middle against another top pitching propsect. Best of all he plays the game hard and showed it while running the bases. He doesn't look like a typical sophomore in high school in any way. Very advanced at the plate. He is going to create a lot of serious recruiting and draft interest over the next two years. Harrison is also a good student.
Craig Hayes is a 2010 C/3B/1B with a 6'1'', 200 lb. frame from Sachse, TX who attends South Garland HS. Hayes is a strong durable bodied catcher with a good arm and quickness behind the plate. He is a very good defensive receiver. In LA he showed outstanding hitting potential. He is an attacker who creates plus bat speed. The ball jumps off the wood in a hurry when he squares it up. He has power potential and needs to be followed closely by high level DIs and pro scouts. Hayes is a very good student as well.
Jeff Jackson is a 2010 C/1B/OF with a 6'2'', 190 lb. frame from Lake Zurich, IL who attends Lake Zurich HS. Jackson is another player we have seen many times. He has a good athletic body and looks the part. He shows excellent arm strength and agility behind the plate. Jackson didn't look comfortable during the first few swings of BP, then he hit a long one out of Dedeaux Stadium and all was well after that. He has extreme power potential and can square up top level pitching. Jackson has Big Time potential and he is still a young 2010. The wood doesn't bother him a bit and things could get interesting over the next year.
Luke Jackson is a 2010 RHP with a 6'2'', 165 lb. frame from SW Ranches, FL who attends Westminster Academy. Jackson is a young looking RHP listed at 6'2" with a MLB arm. We have seen him in the 90s before and he threw 90 mph in the PG Aflac game. He attacks hitters with the fastball getting a lot of momentum to the plate. He also showed a very promising breaking ball in the mid 70s and a good feel for the change up. Jackson is a good student and should be recruited heavy by the power DI colleges. He could develop into a good draft pick as well.
Eric Jaffe is a 2010 RHP/1B/3B with a 6'3'', 220 lb. frame from Oakland, CA who attends Bishop O'Dowd HS. Jaffe is a big solidly built RHP with a very good arm. He did take BP and showed power, but his future is obviously on the mound for now. He was consistently in the 90s with his fastball, up to 92 in LA with life. He goes after hitters. He threw at least one excellent breaking ball in the upper 70s. He also showed a potential good change up. All three pitches have MLB potential. Jaffe will be recruited heavily by top college programs and he will be followed closely by MLB scouts.
Hunter Jones is a 2010 SS/3B with a 6'2'', 175 lb. frame from Bellevue, KY who attends Bellevue HS. Jones is an athletic bodied infielder who showed good actions in LA. He probably profiles best as a 3B down the road, once his body fills out. His arm plays and he showed natural hitting ability during BP. He has a simple approach and shows power potential. Jones runs well and displays good body control. We have actually seen him better at other events, but he still looked good in LA.
Cody Lewis is a 2010 OF with a 6'3'', 185 lb. frame from Anaheim, CA who attends Canyon HS. Lewis is a guy we would like to see again in a situation to get a better look at his over all tool package. In LA he showed us a very good swing and a big strong athletic body. He does have a strong arm and looks like he can run well. There is definitely power potential here. He has a easy swing that still creates excellent bat speed while staying well balanced and under control. Lewis is a very good student, too. He will create a lot of serious interest.
Matt Lipka is a 2010 SS/RHP with a 6'1'', 189 lb. frame from Frisco, TX who attends McKinney HS. Lipka is a fast twitch athletic infielder who has to rank as one of the best baseball players in the 2010 class. He has all the tools and plays the game the right way. In LA there might have been someone who runs faster, or throws harder, or even hits a bit better, but no one had the combination of skills that Lipka possesses. His actions and instincts stand out in a big way. This is a real player with real tools. Lipka is also a good student who will be a standout at any college he chooses. That's if he actually ends up playing college baseball.
Marcus Littlewood is a 2010 SS/IF/P with a 6'2'', 180 lb. frame from St George, UT who attends Pineview HS. Littlewood has an athletic look to him and shows outstanding defensive actions in the infield. He has plenty of arm strength and covers a lot of ground. It looks easy in the field. We haven't seen him a lot before his appearance in LA, but he showed a good opposite field approach at USC. He switch-hits and seems to have great instincts for the game. Littlewood is a good student and was named the Gatorade Player of the Year in Utah. He's definitely a guy scouts need to keep track of over the next year.
Connor Narron is a 2010 SS with a 6'3'', 175 lb. frame from Goldsboro, NC who attends Charles B Aycock HS. Narron has good baseball bloodlines, but more importantly he has a lean athletic body and some serious talent. He's another that could easily be named the top prospect at this event in LA. He has Big League smooth actions as a shortstop with a big arm. He is a switch hitter with a polished swing from both sides. He simply squared everything up in BP and he also did it in the game. Narron is a good student and one of the top 2010s in the nation and he has verballed early to U of North Carolina. It's early, but he has first round potential as well.
Brian Ragira is a 2010 OF/3B/P with a 6'2'', 175 lb. frame from Arlington, TX who attends Martin HS. Ragira was arguably the top prospect at this event in LA. In fact, some might even say he is the top prospect in the entire 2010 class. It's pretty simple, he does it all and it looks like it's all very easy for him. He has a lean athletic body with all the tools. He even throws 90 from the mound. He hit a couple out of Dedeaux Field during BP and off the LCF wall in the game. He has what is referred to as easy power and he will get bigger and stronger! This is a natural with sky is the limit potential. Ragira is also a good student and he should be covered like a glove by MLB scouts over the next year.
Matt Roberts is a 2010 C/3B with a 6'1'', 195 lb. frame from Graham, NC who attends Graham HS. Roberts has a good catcher’s body as well as excellent tools. He is quick behind the plate, receives well, and shows a good strong and quick arm. He also shows power potential as a switch hitter. A very athletic type catcher who needs to be followed very closely. Roberts is a good student and will be recruited by top college programs. He should also create some serious draft interest.
Stefan Sabol is a 2010 C/OF/1B with a 6'1'', 195 lb. frame from Aliso Viejo, CA who attends Aliso Niquel HS. We've seen Sabol a lot and he is one of the more athletic high school catchers we have seen in many years. We saw the same thing in LA. He has a strong athletic body and he runs more like an outfielder than a catcher. He shows a very strong accurate arm and quickness behind the plate. He's an excellent all around receiver. At the plate he shows some serious power potential to all fields with excellent bat speed. There is not much he can't do on a baseball field from a talent perspective. Sabol is a good student, will be heavily recruited and followed closely by MLB scouts. It's hard to tell how good he might end up being.
Kellen Sweeney is a 2010 SS/P/OF with a 6'0'', 170 lb. frame from Cedar Rapids, IA who attends Jefferson HS. Sweeney is the younger brother of Ryan Sweeney, who is having a good year with the Oakland A's. He is from our home town so we've watched him grow up. At the same age he is probably an even better hitter than Ryan was and Ryan has been hitting in the #3 hole for the A's. He is also a very good infielder with good actions and great instincts for the game. He has uncommon power for his size and age from the left side. He can hit them out in a MLB park and he will get stronger. One of the best hitting prospects in his class, he arguably took the best BP in LA. Sweeney is also a good student and will be followed very closely by top college programs as well as MLB scouts.
Jacob Tillotson is a 2010 SS/RHP with a 5'11'', 176 lb. frame from Lake City, FL who attends Columbia/Home school. He has already verbally committed to the U of Florida. Tillotson has been on the scouting radar for a few years already. We have seen him pitch in the low 90s, but he was 87-88 in LA. He looked very good playing the middle infield and at the plate where he switch-hits. He will probably pitch and do well in college, but he will probably be a better pro prospect as a position player. Then again the arm does stand out.
Andrew Toles is a 2010 OF with a 5'9'', 180 lb. frame from Fayetteville, GA who attends Sandy Creek HS. Toles is extremely athletic. Not the tallest guy, but he is strong and has some serious tools for the game. He is a plus runner with great instincts and he has a plus arm. He can cover a lot of ground in the outfield. The ball really jumps off his wood bat and he really competes at the plate. In the game at USC he was hit by a pitch, our rules are the hitter stays in and hits, the very next pitch he smashed a line drive right past the pitchers ear. He then stole 2B and 3B. Toles is a good student and anyone overlooking him could be making a big mistake.
Nicholas Vander Tuig is a 2010 RHP/OF with a 6'3'', 185 lb. frame from Oakdale, CA who attends Oakdale HS. Vander Tuig was unable to pitch at the event at Southern Cal due to his Area Code commitment. Lucky for us we have seen Nick and he belongs on any list of top 2010 prospects, so we decided to mention him here. He is a very easy low 90s guy who has sky is the limit potential. Potential early draft pick.
Trevor Williams is a 2010 RHP with a 6'2'', 200 lb. frame from San Diego, CA who attends Rancho Bernardo HS. Williams looks the part and has gained a lot of recognition in Southern California. We have heard reports of 90+ mph, but didn't see that at USC. He did look good with solid mechanics, good command and pitchability at 86-87 in LA. He is another guy scouts need to keep a close eye on over the next year. Williams is a good student.
Brett Winger is a 2010 RHP/3B with a 6'3'', 195 lb. frame from Windermere, FL who attends Olympia HS. Winger is a big strong RHP who has been upper 80s/90+ in the past. In LA he threw 86-88 with a very good sinking 2-seamer. There is a ton of potential here and he is one to follow closely over the next year. We hope to see him again before long and get a better read on his obvious ability. Winger is a good student as well.
Anthony Wolters is a 2010 MIF with a 5'10'', 165 lb. frame from Vista, CA who attends Rancho Buena Vista HS. Wolters has excellent infield actions and a smooth good arm. A left handed hitter he appears to be a guy who sprays the field and is a very tough out. As he gets stronger we could see some power potential as well. Wolters was my personal favorite player at this event. When asked his best tools, he answered, Passion for Baseball. We hear that much more than we actually see it. Not with this kid, it's very easy to see, it's loud and clear. My notes were filled with things like, I like him!, Winner, Loves to play! I guess U of San Diego sees the same thing as Wolters verballed to them early. This could be the next Dustin Pedroia type. Wolters is a good student on top of everything else.
Derrick Workman is a 2010 OF/1B/P with a 6'2'', 185 lb. frame from Acworth, GA who attends Freedom HS. Workman is a strong athletic outfielder who looked a bit nervous his first round of BP. A left handed hitter, he looked very good and showed his potential in the second round. He does everything well, but it is the bat that stands out the most. Workman is an excellent student and will create interest among high level DI schools.
Christian Yelich is a 2010 1B/3B with a 6'4'', 185 lb. frame from Thousand Oaks, CA who attends Westlake HS. Yelich really looks the part, especially at the plate. He has an easy left handed power swing that should work at any level. He stays under control while creating good bat speed and leverage. In the future they might spread him out a bit as he is a bit straight up right now, but it looks like it's working for him. A very good looking prospect and a good student, he has verballed early to UCLA. Professional scouts will be following him closely over the next year.
Thomas Zengel is a 2010 1B/OF with a 5'11'', 195 lb. frame from High Bridge, NJ who attends North Hunterdon HS. Zengel was invited to the PG Aflac for one reason. His bat! He is athletic and all that, but the bat is what stands out. He reminds us a little of another kid we liked a lot years ago from the Northeast, Jimmy Negrych who is now in Pro Ball. Zengel creates excellent bat speed and just like Negrych years ago at our National Predraft, he was popping everything up. Sometimes you miss the ability if you’re just looking for results. Zengel can hit. He's also a good student.
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