All American Game : : Story
AFLAC All-Star Game -- Pitchers
Published: Sunday, August 24, 2003
Right Handed Pitchers
Note: There are a number of two-way players, such as Chris Nelson, Matt Bush and Trevor Plouffe, who are listed as position players but who will likely pitch in the game.
Homer Bailey (West) LaGrange HS, LaGrange, TX: When Bailey, who lives in rural Texas west of Houston, first appeared on the national stage after his sophomore season, he was a somewhat raw, unpolished 6-4 right hander who grabbed everyone’s attention with a mid-90’s fastball. When Bailey reappeared this summer, he had matured into a stronger young man with a much more balanced, controlled delivery who pitched instead of threw. Bailey has been steady in the low 90’s, topping out at around 94 mph, this summer and has shown scouts an outstanding high 70’s curveball.
Comparable Major League Player: Matt Morris (StL). Bailey may have the highest ceiling of any 2004 pitcher.
Erik Davis (West): The 6-3, 185 lb Davis has had a busy summer since being named the top prospect at the Perfect Game National Showcase in mid-June. Among his achievements; 12 shutout innings for the US National Junior Team. Davis is a polished pitcher whose 89-92 mph fastball might be his third best pitch behind an outstanding change up and sharp breaking curveball.
Comparable Major League Player: Mark Prior (CCubs): Not a great physical match, but the delivery and mannerisms are very similar.
Andy Gale (East) Phillip Exeter Academy, Durham, NH: For a pitcher with limited game experience, Gale may be the most polished high school pitching prospect in the country. That shouldn’t be completely surprising given that his father is former big league pitcher Rich Gale. Not only is Gale severely limited by the northeast weather and a short high school schedule, he is also a nationally recruited hockey player (“I’m 6-8, about 260 with skates and pads on and that’s pretty intimidating, says Gale about his hockey talents). On the mound, Gale has a simple, smooth delivery that will need very little tweaking, a 90-92 mph projectable fastball, a sharp late low 80’s slider and a deceptive change up.
Comparable Major League Player: Russ Ortiz (Atl). Strong, above average athlete with a variety of pitches.
Javier Guerra (West) Ryan HS, Denton, TX: Guerra is known for two things. The first is obvious and the reason for his participation in the AFLAC All-Star game; Guerra has an outstanding arm that dominates hitters. He tops out at 96 mph with a powerful high 70’s curveball and may be the most aggressive high school hurler in the country at throwing inside. But Guerra’s delivery gets even more notice among scouts and college coaches, many of whom maintain that it’s illegal. At the peak of his balance over the rubber, Guerra takes a big hop forward with his right leg, replants and effectively throws from about 58 ½ feet rather than 60. Picture women’s fast pitch softball from overhand. That Guerra can even do it is amazing, that he can throw in the mid-90’s is unbelievable.
Comparable Major League Player: None. There has never been a delivery like this.
Eric Hurley (East) Wolfson HS, Jacksonville, FL: Hurley is your classic projectable young high school right hander, the kind that some baseball decision makers have come recently to fear but that also populate most big league pitching staffs. Hurley has a loose, free arm on a slender 6-4 frame that projects to get much stronger. He throws his fastball from 89-94 mph and gets good late life on the pitch. Hurley’s slider isn’t as polished as his fastball but it gets sharp, hard spin and could develop into a plus pitch in the future. He’s proven to be a very durable pitcher at the highest levels of Florida high school competition and has thrown successfully in multiple international competitions.
Comparable Major League Player: Gil Meche (Sea). Electric arm, but still has some projection.
Will Jostock (West) Lapeer West HS, Lapeer, MI: Jostock is a surprisingly polished 6-6, 195 lb pitcher from the unlikely baseball state of Michigan. He first made his mark on the prospect lists early in his junior year by dominating the Baseball America team at the WWBA World Championships, pitching at 91-94 mph and overmatching a stacked team with future top draft picks. Jostock throws from a high ¾’s release point, which emphasizes his height and gives him excellent downward angle on all his pitches. He repeats his delivery well, unusual for a tall 17 year old, and is able to throw consistent strikes with all three of his pitches. Jostock’s breaking ball is a mid-70’s curveball that may evolve into a slider in the future, and he also throws an upper 70’s split finger as a change up, which could get nasty as he matures.
Comparable Major League Player: Jason Johnson (Balt). Big, angular right hander with power arm.
Kenn Kasparek (West) Weimar HS, Weimar, TX: Some evaluators have remarked that Kasparek appears to be closer to 6-8 or 6-9 than his listed 6-10. With strong hips and thighs and a rangy, projectable upper half, the exact height is not really important. Kasparek is going to be a horse when he fully matures. His delivery is outstanding for a extra tall player, with easy balance over the rubber and a deliberate, clean arm stroke. Kasparek’s fastball ranges from 90 to 93 mph with good sinking action added to its natural plane. It’s hard to imagine many players being able to lift his fastball. Kasparek throws a 79-82 mph slider that shows good potential, especially if he throws it harder, and a promising change up.
Comparable Major League Player: Jon Rauch (CWS). After all, how many 6-10 right handers are there to compare to?
Jay Rainville (East) Bishop Hendricken HS, Pawtucket, RI: Rainville has all the makings of a great power pitching prospect. He’s very strong at 6-3, 220 lbs, with thick, mature hips and shoulders and most intriguingly has the short, compact arm stroke that you often find on true power pitchers. Think about pitchers such as Roger Clemens, Nolan Ryan, Eric Gagne and even Billy Wagner and you’ll see the same type of short arm stroke on Rainville. Rainville throws between 92 and 95 mph now with no extra effort at all and it’s easy to imagine him bumping that up a couple of notches in the future. He throws effective strikes with his mid-70’s curveball but it’s very much a secondary pitch right now. With Rainville’s arm stroke and easy delivery, there’s no reason he won’t be able to master as many different pitches as he needs.
Comparable Major League Player: Roger Clemens (NYY). It’s often inadvisable to compare teenagers to future Hall of Famers, but the delivery, arm action and build are a great match
Mark Rogers (East) Mt. Arafat HS, Orr’s Island, ME: The 6-2, 200 lb Rogers was a virtual unknown to scouts before the 2003 East Coast Professional Baseball Showcase in Wilmington, NC in late July. This despite his putting surrealistic numbers as a junior and being named Maine Player of the Year. Rogers put himself high on the prospect map in Wilmington, touching 99 mph on one gun and hitting 95-96 mph consistently during a two inning stint, then repeating the performance the next week at the equally well scouted Area Code Games. Rogers also throws a devastating high 70’s power breaking ball.
Comparable Major League Player: Brett Myers (Phil). Aggressive athlete who has plus big league pitches at a young age.
Left Handed Pitchers
Giovanni Gonzalez (East) Pace HS, Hialeah, FL: Pitching in showcases or in front of TV audiences won’t put any unfamiliar pressure on Gonzalez. He was the winning pitcher for Hialeah HS (he has since transferred) in the Florida 6A state championship game as both freshman (!) and sophomore. Gonzalez can’t be called a crafty left because he throws too hard, topping out at 92 and pitching at 89-90 mph consistently, but he has all the pitches and throws from a very deceptive low