Perfect Game held it’s first ever event on the newly christened “Perfect Game Field” at Memorial Stadium in Cedar Rapids this weekend. The stadium is the home of the Cedar Rapids Kernels of the Midwest League and the Los Angeles Angels organization.
The Spring Top Prospect Showcase almost looked like it would not hold that distinction and would more resemble the February Pitcher/Catcher indoor showcase, held across the street at the PG Facility. But the weekend long 80% rain forecast proved way too optimistic and there was only a two hour delay Saturday morning for moderate drizzle.
The showcase is a relatively small event in numbers that is held to primarily put the spotlight on the Iowa players who are competing in the Perfect Game Iowa Spring League. But there was a good contingent of players from South Dakota and Canada in attendance, plus a smattering of players from other states.
Some of the individual highlights included:
3B Chad Christensen (2009/Washington HS, Cedar Rapids, IA): Christensen did what he does best; hit. Every at bat seems to result in a hard line drive somewhere, often up the RCF gap. He has the innate ability to square up on the ball. The 6-3, 195 lb third baseman also ran a nice 6.76 in the 60.
RHP Joshua DeBoer (2009/Iowa City West HS, Coralville, IA): DeBoer took a big step forward from a month ago, when he was 84-86 in a spring league appearance. This time out he was 87-89 with an occasional sharp slider and his fastball was exploding on hitters. His arm works very well.
LHP Matt Dermody (2009/Norwalk (IA) HS): Scouts have been talking a lot about the 6-5, 190 southpaw all spring. He was loose and easy with his delivery and sat in the 85-87 mph range with a quality change up.
RHP Jon Keller (2010/Xavier HS, Cedar Rapids, IA): Keller was clearly the top pitching prospect at the showcase and showed that he continues to make progress every time out. He threw lots of 90’s and 91’s from as smooth an arm action as you’d want to see.
RHP Matt Koch (2009/Washington HS, Cherokee, IA): Koch’s first public appearance on the mound this spring was solid, with a steady 87-88 mph fastball and two sharp breaking balls. Expect more velocity from him later in the spring.
RHP Jonathan Musser (2010/Dowling Catholic HS, Waukee, IA): Musser gives Iowa at least a trio of cross check players for 2010 (with Sweeney and Keller). The 6-5 right hander had an outstanding delivery and arm action and sat at 88 mph. He should be a 90+ prospect in short order.
C Spencer Navin (2010/Dowling HS, Des Moines, IA): Navin is a quick and athletic receiver who popped a 1.74 in drills (5 different watches had him under 1.80), ran 7.10 and showed gap power at the plate.
RHP Chris Romano (2009/Father McGiveney SS, Markham, ON): Romano has a very complicated delivery but threw strikes with four quality pitches, including a fastball that topped at 89 mph.
SS Kellen Sweeney (2010/Jefferson HS, Cedar Rapids, IA): I saw something with Sweeney this weekend I hadn’t recognized before. For me, he has excellent hitter’s hands and less exciting hitter’s hips. Against good velocity pitching (88+), Sweeney’s hands stay outstanding and he uses far less hips than he uses when timing lower level pitching. The result was enlightening and very promising for the talented junior.
SS/RHP Damek Tomscha (2010, North HS, Sioux City, IA): Tomscha will be an interesting player for Midwest college to focus on over the next few months. He has shortstop actions and arm strength with an athletic 6-1, 185 lb build. He also threw an easy 87 mph off the mound.