Tag Archives: Baseball America

Baseball America/National High School Baseball Coaches Association Top 25

The latest Baseball America/National High School Baseball Coaches Association Top 25 has a new No. 1 and a lot of changes after several ranked teams faced off in the USA Baseball National High School Invitational. Tampa’s Jesuit High jumped four spots to No. 1 after Carroll High (Corpus Christi, Texas) and Bishop Gorman High (Las Vegas) lost at the NHSI and Utah’s Spanish Fork High as well as Klein-Collins High (Spring, Texas) dropped games in the last two weeks.

The NHSI champion, Mater Dei High (Santa Ana, Calif.), made the biggest jump. The Monarchs climbed 13 spots to No. 5 despite splitting a doubleheader upon their return to Southern California.

The staffs of Baseball America and the NHSBCA compile the Top 25 rankings. In-season polls will be conducted every two weeks and released every other Tuesday throughout the season. Records indicated are as of April 8 and do not include ties.

Rank School Record Previous
1 Jesuit HS, Tampa 17-1 5
2 Calallen HS, Corpus Christi, Texas 24-0 7
3 Columbus HS, Miami 17-2 9
4 Spanish Fork (Utah) HS 11-1 3
5 Mater Dei HS, Santa Ana, Calif. 12-4 18
6 Harvard-Westlake HS, Studio City, Calif. 12-3 10
7 Parkview HS, Lilburn, Ga. 13-3 8
8 Orange (Calif.) Lutheran HS 12-3 6
9 Olympia HS, Orlando 21-0 13
10 Bishop Gorman HS, Las Vegas 13-2 2
11 Carroll HS, Corpus Christi, Texas 19-2 1
12 Gloucester Catholic HS, Gloucester City, N.J. 4-0 12
13 Seven Lakes HS, Katy, Texas 20-2 21
14 James River HS, Midlothian, Va. 8-0 17
15 Klein-Collins HS, Spring, Texas 18-4 4
16 Columbus (Ga.) HS 16-1 20
17 Archbishop McCarthy HS, Southwest Ranches, Fla. 15-4 11
18 St. Francis HS, Mountain View, Calif. 16-0 NR
19 Clovis West HS, Fresno, Calif. 18-3 19
20 American Heritage HS, Plantation, Fla. 15-4 24
21 Owasso (Okla.) HS 17-2 NR
22 Broken Arrow (Okla.) HS 20-3 22
23 Gainesville (Ga.) HS 17-0 NR
24 Madison HS, Vienna, Va. 8-1 NR
25 Mount Si HS, Snoqualmie, Wash. 7-1 NR
Dropped out: No. 14 Don Bosco Prep, Ramsey, N.J.; No. 15 North HS, Riverside, Calif.; No. 16 Washington HS, New York; No. 23 Highlands Ranch (Colo.) HS; No. 25 Lawrence (Kan.) HS

Summer Leagues Postseason Heating Up

 by Mike Kanen/BA
Summer ball schedules continue to dwindle into mid-August, but many title runs are just beginning.

In Cape Cod, the semifinals are underway as the Harwich Mariners defeated the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox, 6-0, in Game One of their series Tuesday night. Nick Routt, a rising senior southpaw from Mississippi State, carved through the Y-D bats, firing seven innings, yielding six hits and striking out four to give Harwich a one-game lead.

The Mariners scored eight times in the first three innings during their two quarterfinal wins against Brewster and got on the board early again in the second round. Harwich scored five runs in the game’s initial two frames, which allowed Routt to settle into a groove. Speedsters Ronnie Richardson and Darnell Sweeney, teammates at Central Florida, and rising Georgia Tech senior Jake Davies, started the game with consecutive singles to put Harwich on top 2-0 after the first inning. Richardson—a 31st-round pick by the Cubs this year—and Sweeney—the Golden Knights’ everyday shortstop— then knocked in a pair of unearned runs in the second, including a Sweeney triple.

The game would be a pitcher’s duel from then on, as Routt continued to foil the Red Sox before fellow MSU Bulldog Caleb Reed and VCU righthander Blake Hauser cruised through the eighth and ninth innings.

The other semifinal pits the Wareham Gatemen against the Falmouth Commodores in an unlikely matchup that begins tonight. Although the Gatemen were the higher-seed in their quarterfinal series with Bourne, they entered the postseason with the Cape’s lowest team OPS at .625. Meanwhile Falmouth, the fourth-seed in the Western Division, faced off with Hyannis, which won its first division title in 34 years with a league-best 29-15 record. Yet both teams survived.

After staving off Bourne in Game One, 6-5, Wareham slugged five extra-base hits en route to a 12-3 romp to advance. The Gatemen got multi-hit efforts from five players, including Connecticut’s LJ Mazzilli, who went 2-for-6 with four RBIs and hit his first home run of the summer. On the mound, lefthander Brent Suter (Harvard) threw a complete game, fanning eight to earn the win and Cape Cod pitcher of the week honors.

The Commodores dropped their first game against Hyannis, but staved off elimination via the arms of Tyler Duffey (Rice), Joe Bircher (Bradley), Nathan Thornhill (Texas) and Johm Simms (Rice). Duffey, the Game Two starter, struck out six and walked none in his six innings of work, before Bircher and Co. surrendered just two runs and struck out 14 in the clincher.

Barrett Barnes and Reid Redman, a pair of Texas Tech Red Raiders, led the offensive charge. Barnes doubled three times in Game Three while Redman went 5-for-11 with a double and triple in the series.

Just down the road, the NECBL championship series kicked off last night with the Keene Swamp Bats downing the Laconia Muskrats, 10-3. Keene, the winner of the Western Division, flexed its muscle in Game One, launching three home runs to give the Bats eight in seven playoff games.

With the game tied at three in the bottom of the fifth, Brett DeLoach (Georgia) blasted a solo home run to grab the lead, and Esteban Gomez (San Jacinto JC in Texas) hit a two-run shot to pad it three batters later. Alex Chittenden, a rising sophomore from Louisville, also homered in the game, but it was a trio of Georgia Bulldogs that stood out from the pack.

DeLoach, a rising sophomore catcher, went 2-for-4 with a pair of RBIs, while Georgia teammates Colby May, a rising senior, and Colby Powell, a rising junior, combined to go 7-for-9 on the night. Tyler Skulina, a 6-foot-6 righthander from Kent State, David Mahoney (UConn) and Brad Monroe (Southern New Hampshire) split the game on the hill to allow just one earned run and strike out seven. Mahoney received the win with 2 2/3 innings of steady relief. The Swamp Bats can wrap up the league title with a win tonight.

Down south in the Coastal Plain League, the top-seeded Edenton Steamers and seventh-seeded Wilmington Sharks head into the final game of their three-game set tonight, with the winner advancing to the championship round.

Edenton, which was 25-3 in the second half and 44-11 overall this summer, has been challenged in the postseason. In the quarterfinals against the eighth-seed Peninsula Pilots, the Steamers were pushed into extra innings in both games. On Tuesday, Edenton then fell to the Sharks, 7-4, to set-up their win-or-go-home scenario.

Kenny Bryant (Presbyterian) and Daniel Aldrich (College of Charleston), Wilmington’s three-and-four hitters, single-handedly changed the Steamers’ season outlook. The two mashers combined to go 5-for-8 with five runs, six RBIs, and three home runs in Game Two, and righthander Chris Mazza (Menlo) threw three spotless innings out the bullpen to close for the Sharks.

Aldrich, a rising redshirt sophomore, hit two dingers—half his summer total—and may be heating up at just the right time. This spring, Aldrich was named a first-team BA Freshman All-American when he hit .347 with 22 home runs and 73 RBIs. He also won the CPL home run derby earlier this summer.

Gastonia and Forest City head into a do-or-die Game Three tonight as well.

The Coastal Plain League saw a number of records fall during the last week of the regular season, marking 2011 as the best offensive campaign in the league’s 15-year history. Chase McDonald (East Carolina) set the single-season RBI record with 51 and also led the league in hitting at .403. He fell two home runs shy of the triple crown—N.C. State’s Ryan Mathews smashed 15 to win that belt. Zach Smith (Erskine) set the total base record with 127, and Joe Wendle, a rising senior from West Chester (Pa.), broke the single-season hit record with 81. The league as a whole set a hits record, too.

The NBC World Series in Wichita is also heating up, as the winner’s bracket final will be tonight between the San Diego Waves and Santa Barbara Foresters. Yesterday, the Waves of the Western Semi-Pro Baseball Association downed the Valley Center Diamond Dawgs of the Walter Johnson Baseball League to advance, 5-4.

In the nightcap, the Foresters, the co-champs of the California Collegiate League, played in the tournament’s premiere matchup against the Alaska League winner, the Kenai Peninsula Oilers. The Foresters broke a 4-4 tie with single runs in the sixth and seventh innings off the bats of Jeff McVaney (Texas State) and Derek Legg (Cal State Fullerton) to squeak by the Oilers, 6-4, and move on.

Both teams sent rising sophomore righthanders to the mound. Santa Barbara sent Rice’s Austin Kubitza and Peninsula echoed with Long Beach State’s Jon Maciel, but neither pitcher seemed particularly sharp. Both surrendered early runs before each team plated three in the fourth when Maciel was knocked out. Doubles from Legg and Brett Vertigan (UC Santa Barbara) did the bulk of the damage for Santa Barbara while Kubitza lasted five innings and struck out six to earn his second win of the World Series.

Baseball America’s Best Tools American League

Best Tools

Staff Report
August 10, 2011

BEST Hitter
1. Adrian Gonzalez, Red Sox
2. Miguel Cabrera, Tigers
3. Jose Bautista, Blue Jays
1. Jose Bautista, Blue Jays
2 (tie). Miguel Cabrera, Tigers
2 (tie). Josh Hamilton, Rangers
1. Brett Gardner, Yankees
2. Juan Pierre, White Sox
3. Erick Aybar, Angels
1. Bobby Abreu, Angels
2. Miguel Cabrera, Tigers
3. Kevin Youkilis, Red Sox
1. Derek Jeter, Yankees
2. Erick Aybar, Angels
3. Asdrubal Cabrera, Indians
1. Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox
2. Elvis Andrus, Rangers
3. Brett Gardner, Yankees
1. Brett Gardner, Yankees
2. Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox
3. Peter Bourjos, Angels
1. Jose Bautista, Blue Jays
2 (tie). Josh Hamilton, Rangers
2 (tie). Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox
1. Justin Verlander, Tigers
2. Jered Weaver, Angels
3. C.C. Sabathia, Yankees
1. Justin Verlander, Tigers
2. Felix Hernandez, Mariners
3. Daniel Bard, Red Sox
1. Justin Verlander, Tigers
2. Gio Gonzalez, Athletics
3. Josh Beckett, Red Sox
1. Felix Hernandez, Mariners
2. C.C. Sabathia, Yankees
3. Jered Weaver, Angels
1. James Shields, Rays
2. Jered Weaver, Angels
3. Justin Verlander, Tigers
1. Jered Weaver, Angels
2. Dan Haren, Angels
3. Josh Tomlin, Indians
1. Mark Buehrle, White Sox
2. James Shields, Rays
3. Justin Verlander, Tigers
1. Mariano Rivera, Yankees
2. Kyle Farnsworth, Rays
3. Daniel Bard, Red Sox
1. Matt Wieters, Orioles
2. Joe Mauer, Twins
3. Alex Avila, Tigers
1. Mark Teixeira, Yankees
2. Adrian Gonzalez, Red Sox
3. Casey Kotchman, Rays
1. Robinson Cano, Yankees
2. Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox
3. Ian Kinsler, Rangers
1. Adrian Beltre, Rangers
2. Evan Longoria, Rays
3. Alex Rodriguez, Yankees
1. Elvis Andrus, Rangers
2. Asdrubal Cabrera, Indians
3. Erick Aybar, Angels
1. Adrian Beltre, Rangers
2. Erick Aybar, Angels
3. Jose Bautista, Blue Jays
1. Franklin Gutierrez, Mariners
2. Adam Jones, Orioles
3. Shin-Soo Choo, Indians
1. Shin-Soo Choo, Indians
2. Jeff Francoeur, Royals
3. Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners
1. Mike Scioscia, Angels
2. Ron Gardenhire, Twins
3. Joe Maddon, Rays

Baseball America’s Best Tools List Nation League

Best Tools

Staff Report
August 10, 2011

1. Albert Pujols, Cardinals
2. Joey Votto, Reds
3. Jose Reyes, Mets
1. Prince Fielder, Brewers
2. Mike Stanton, Marlins
3. Albert Pujols, Cardinals
1. Michael Bourn, Astros/Braves
2. Jose Reyes, Mets
3. Emilio Bonifacio, Marlins
1. Joey Votto, Reds
2. Albert Pujols, Cardinals
3. Prince Fielder, Brewers
1. Placido Polanco, Phillies
2. Martin Prado, Braves
3. Freddy Sanchez, Giants
1. Michael Bourn, Astros
2. Jose Reyes, Mets
3. Andrew McCutchen, Pirates
1. Michael Bourn, Astros/Braves
2. Jose Reyes, Mets
3. Emilio Bonifacio, Marlins
1. Jose Reyes, Mets
2 (tie). Matt Kemp, Dodgers
2 (tie). Albert Pujols, Cardinals
1. Roy Halladay, Phillies
2. Jair Jurrjens, Braves
3. Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers
1. Aroldis Chapman, Reds
2. Craig Kimbrel, Braves
3. Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers
1. Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers
2. Chris Carpenter, Cardinals
3. Tommy Hanson, Braves
1. Carlos Marmol, Cubs
2 (tie). Roy Halladay, Phillies
2 (tie). Sergio Romo, Giants
1. Cole Hamels, Phillies
2. Tim Lincecum, Giants
2. Shaun Marcum, Brewers
1. Roy Halladay, Phillies
2. Cliff Lee, Phillies
3. Jeff Karstens, Pirates
1. Clayton Richard, Padres
2. Chris Capuano, Brewers
3. Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers
1. Brian Wilson, Giants
2 (tie). Joel Hanrahan, Pirates
2 (tie). Craig Kimbrel, Braves
1. Yadier Molina, Cardinals
2. Carlos Ruiz, Phillies
3. Brian McCann, Braves
1. Joey Votto, Reds
2. Albert Pujols, Cardinals
3. Todd Helton, Rockies
1. Brandon Phillips, Reds
2 (tie). Omar Infante, Marlins
2 (tie). Neil Walker, Pirates
1. Ryan Zimmerman, Nationals
2. Placido Polanco, Phillies
3. Scott Rolen, Reds
1. Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies
2. Jose Reyes, Mets
3. Alex Gonzalez, Braves
1. Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies
2. Jose Reyes, Mets
3. Rafael Furcal, Dodgers/Cardinals
1. Michael Bourn, Astros/Braves
2. Shane Victorino, Phillies
3. Chris Young, Diamondbacks
1. Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies
2. Rick Ankiel, Nationals
3. Jay Bruce, Reds
1. Bruce Bochy, Giants
2. Tony La Russa, Cardinals
3. Clint Hurdle, Pirates

Blanford Shows Loose Arm At Area Codes

 by Conor Glassey/Baseball America
LONG BEACH, Calif. — The 25th-annual Area Code Baseball Games presented by New Balance got underway today at Blair Field in Long Beach, Calif. While most of today’s action consisted of batting practice, there were also two games played. One pitcher that stood out was Reds pitcher Tony Blanford from Boulder Creek High in Phoenix.

Blanford, a 6-foot-3, 180-pound righthander, hasn’t pitched in any other big showcase events this summer, and it looks like his outing today may have been his biggest chance.

“After this, I go back to school,” Blanford said. “So, my summer’s pretty much over after this.”

Blanford has a nice, athletic body and showed good balance in his delivery. He showed a loose arm and pounded the lower half of the strike zone with a fastball in the 88-90 mph range, a good 74-76 mph curveball with 11-5 break and he flashed an 81 mph changeup.

He got hit around a little in his second inning of work, giving up a pair of runs to the Royals, but still showed enough stuff to be an interesting player to follow this fall and spring.

“I felt pretty good,” Blanford said. “The ball was coming out pretty good and I had good command. One guy squared it up pretty well—I thought I made a good pitch, but he squared it up and he’s a pretty good hitter.”

Long Beach Leftovers

• Righthander Ty Hensley from Santa Fe High in Edmond, Okla. looked a little tired in the first game. Hensley, who was up to 95 mph earlier this summer, was more in the 88-91 mph range today, though he still mixed in a good, 76-77 mph curveball.

• Righthander Grayson Long from Barbers Hill High from Mont Belvieu, Texas has a projectable frame at 6-foot-6 and 190 pounds. He had good life on his 89-91 mph fastball and mixed in a 75-76 mph curveball.

• The Reds threw two other righthanders with good stuff. Zach Quintana from Arbor View High in Las Vegas was 89-91 with a sharp, 77-78 mph slider and Brady Lail from Bingham High in South Jordan, Utah was mostly 86-89 with a 74-75 mph curveball that he threw for strikes.

• All four games set for Tuesday, Aug. 9 will be broadcast live on ESPN3.com.

Baseball America Prospect Hot Sheet

Remember that the Prospect Hot Sheet is not a re-ranking of the Top 100 Prospects. This is a snapshot of which top prospects are excelling and which ones are struggling right now. Stats cover the period from July 29-Aug. 4.

Contributing: J.J. Cooper, Kyle Dugan, Matt Eddy, Michael Kanen, Nathan Rode and Jim Shonerd.



Team: Double-A Frisco/San Antonio (Texas)
Age: 21
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.60, 2 GS, 15 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 14 Ks.
The Scoop: If the Padres had any doubt they wanted Joe Wieland in the trade that sent Mike Adams to the Rangers, he erased them with a dominating no-hitter against the Padres’ Double-A San Antonio club on July 29. That proved to be Wieland’s parting gift to the Rangers organization, after he was sent along with teammate Robbie Erlin to the Padres for Adams at the trade deadline.

Having been baffled by Wieland twice in the previous two weeks, his new Missions teammates already had a pretty good idea of what he could do, but Wieland reinforced his status as a newfound ace for San Antonio by holding Springfield to three hits and one run in six innings. As usual, Wieland was efficient, with 51 strikes in 73 pitches, and didn’t walk a batter.

2011 Stats
Team: Double-A Hunstville (Southern)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 7 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 9 Ks.
The Scoop: The hottest pitcher in the minors? It may not be Matt Moore.

As good as Moore’s been, Peralta has allowed only three runs in his last six starts for a 0.66 ERA over that stretch. Peralta is becoming a regular on the Hot Sheet, as it’s hard to drop a guy from the list as long as he keeps posting zero after zero on the scoreboard. Peralta’s best start of that stretch was his last one—a one-hit, seven inning masterpiece. In a system that’s understandably thin after a series of trades, Peralta and Tyler Thornburg are proving that the cupboard isn’t bare.

2011 Stats
Team: Double-A New Hampshire (Eastern)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: .455/.520/.864 (10-for-22), 3 R, 3 2B, 2 HR, 8 RBIs, 2 BB, 4 Ks, 1 SB.
The Scoop: At times, scouts have said that while d’Arnaud doesn’t do anything great, he also doesn’t have many weaknesses. That may sound like faint praise, but when you’re talking about a catcher, it’s a pretty good compliment. Still, d’Arnaud may be forcing some re-evaluations of that statement, as he’s putting together a monstrous year offensively. He’s second in the Eastern League in batting, third in slugging percentage and fifth in on-base percentage. And he’s getting hotter as the season goes along—he’s hitting .370/.425/.575 since the all-star break. Add to that solid defense and a respectable 30 percent rate throwing out basestealers, and d’Arnaud is reinforcing his status as one of the game’s best catching prospects.
2011 Stats
Team: Triple-A Iowa (Pacific Coast)
Age: 23
Why He’s Here: .462/.576/.962 (12-for-26), 4 HR, 1 2B, 6 RBIs, 9 R, 7 BB, 6 SO, 0-for-1 SB
The Scoop: Jackson was sidelined by a broken finger in May with Double-A Tennessee. It took a little time, but he has gotten back on track and hit his stride after moving up to Triple-A Iowa in mid-July. The Cubs’ 2009 first-round pick owns a .293/.400/.573 line in 75 Triple-A at-bats after hitting .256/.373/.443 in the Southern League. One thing that never suffered was Jackson’s eye at the plate, and he has drawn 59 walks in 88 games between the two levels. Jackson led off two games with home runs this week, and he had four multi-hit games.
2011 Stats
Team: Double-A Bowie (Eastern)
Age: 21
Why He’s Here: .423/.559/.962 (11-for-26), 9 R, 2 2B , 4 HR, 12 RBIs, 8 BB, 4 SO, 1 SB.
The Scoop: Though Hoes batted .241/.297/.342 in 41 games at high Class A Frederick earlier this season, the Orioles felt confident enough to promote him to Double-A Bowie, and he has rewarded that faith. In 236 at bats with the Baysox, Hoes has posted a .326/.389/.455 line and went on a power binge recently. Hoes’ four homers on the week nearly doubled his season total (nine) and he did it without sacrificing his discipline at the plate.

While it’s been a strong offensive season for Hoes at Bowie, it doesn’t seem that he’ll be providing it from second base moving forward. Since getting to Bowie, he has primarily been an outfielder (49 games), and when he has seen action in the infield, it has been more at the hot corner (seven games) as opposed to second (five games). Hoes’ defensive home was in question coming into this season, and it seems the Orioles aren’t content to let his glove hold back his bat.

2011 Stats
Team: high Class A Jupiter (Florida State)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 2 GS, 14 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 14 SO, 3 BB, 19/7 G/F
The Scoop: Rasmussen received credit for a shutout for his seven-inning, two-hit performance against St. Lucie yesterday. The Marlins’ 2010 second-rounder has shown progress in the Florida State League’s second half, upping his strikeout rate to 7.3 per nine innings (first half: 6.2) and reducing his walk rate to 3.2 per nine (first half: 5.3). Rasmussen’s wide repertoire makes him a menace to lefthanded batters, who’ve managed to hit .235/.299/.348 in 132 at-bats this season.
2011 Stats
Team: Double-A Reading (Eastern)
Age: 25
Why He’s Here: 0-0, 1.50, 6 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 12 SO
The Scoop: Hyatt may not be blowing hitters away with heat, but he still finds ways to miss bats. Hyatt’s fastball can reach 93 mph, but his keys to success have been his curveball, which looks promising when it’s on, and a sinking changeup that makes him tough on lefthanded hitters, who are batting .193 against him. Hyatt had been plagued by home runs for most of the year, but he has gone four starts without giving up a long ball, his longest stretch of the year. His 12 strikeouts against Harrisburg this week were a season high and moved him into second on the Eastern League leaderboard.
2011 Stats
Team: high Class A Modesto (California)
Age: 23
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 3.14, 2 GS, 14 1/3 IP, 11 H, 5 R, 0 HR, 15 SO, 5 BB, 13/6 G/F
The Scoop: The Phillies’ Trevor May (169) and the Rays’ Matt Moore (160) have closed the gap on Cabrera and his minor league-leading 175 strikeouts, but Cabrera seems to be gaining strength as he marches to the completion of his first full season. He has fanned at least six batters (with a high of 11) in each of his eight California League starts, and no Cal League hurler has more than Cabrera’s 65 strikeouts since he made his first start for Modesto on June 26. The lefty with the plus changeup and strong control could be another Latin pitching success story for the Rockies, joining Jhoulys Chacin, Juan Nicasio, Esmil Rogers and the departed Ubaldo Jimenez. In 21 starts this year, Cabrera has gone 7-2, 3.37 with a 175-to-33 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 139 innings.
2011 Stats
Team: Rookie-level Orem (Pioneer)
Age: 21
Why He’s Here: .379/.438/.931 (11-for-29), 4 HR, 2 2B, 1 3B, 11 RBIs, 8 R, 1 BB, 4 SO, 2 HBP
The Scoop: A 21-year-old, righty-hitting first baseman fresh out of college also tore up the Pioneer League in 2009, smashing 18 homers in 74 games. His name? Paul Goldschmidt. Little more than two years (and 83 homers) later, he’s starting for the Diamondbacks. Cron’s debut in the PL bears similarities to Goldschmidt’s, particularly if he keeps up the pace of the past 11 games, when he has hit .340 with seven homers in 50 at-bats. Cron, the 17th overall pick in June, leads the PL with 11 homers and 35 RBIs. To Goldschmidt’s credit, he was drafted seven rounds after Cron, and he played first base for Missoula, whereas Cron has DH’ed exclusively.
2011 Stats
Team: low Class A Charleston (South Atlantic)
Age: 19
Why He’s Here: .304/.385/.826 (7-for-23), 5 R, 4 HR, 8 RBIs, 3 BB, 8 Ks.
The Scoop: Don’t bury Gary Sanchez just yet. A slow start combined with a suspension for poor attitude seemed to take a lot of the shine off of one of game’s best catching prospects early this year. But Sanchez has responded well to the adversity. He homered in three consecutive games this week and has raised his overall numbers to .248/.328/.458. He has also thrown out 30 percent of basestealers, though he still has plenty of work to do on his receiving. Considering he’s one of the youngest players in the South Atlantic League, it’s a respectable season.
2011 Stats
Team:  Double-A Carolina (Southern)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: .333/.385/.958 (8-for-24), 7 R, 5 HR, 11 RBIs, 1 BB, 5 Ks.
The Scoop: Neftali Soto’s position has always been a question mark. He was drafted as a shortstop and quickly moved to third base. His strong arm seemed a good fit at the hot corner, but his slow feet didn’t match up nearly as well, so last year the Reds decided to try him at catcher. Understandably Soto was quite raw behind the plate, and it didn’t help that he was in an organization suddenly flush with catching prospects (Devin Mesoraco and Yasmani Grandal). So Soto moved again, this time to first base. Whatever position Soto is playing, he has always shown solid power potential, and the chance to focus more on his hitting this year appears to be paying off. Soto has a pair of two-home run games this week, with his final home run of the week (his 24th of the season) earning him a tie with Josh Willingham as the Carolina Mudcats’ single-season home run leader. Now that Paul Goldschmidt and his 30 Southern League home runs are in the big leagues, Soto has an outside chance of the SL home run crown. And as a 22-year-old in Double-A, his .609 slugging percentage deserves notice.
2011 Stats
Team:  Triple-A Durham (International)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 1 GS, 5 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 9 Ks.
The Scoop: Isn’t Triple-A supposed to be tougher than Double-A? You wouldn’t know it by watching Moore. He’s now 2-0, 0.50 in his first three Triple-A starts with a 29-5 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 18 innings. In almost every measure, his numbers at Triple-A are better than they were at Double-A Montgomery.

But Moore’s chances of a third consecutive minor league strikeout crown are very much up in the air. The Rockies’ Edwar Cabrera leads the minors with 175 strikeouts, and Trevor May’s dominating week has helped him leap ahead of Moore with 169 Ks. Moore is still third with 160, and he gets another chance to add to that total this weekend.

2011 Stats
Team: high Class A Clearwater (Florida State)
Age: 21
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 2.19, 2 GS, 12.1 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 6 BB, 18 SO
The Scoop: Clearwater lost one of its aces when Jarred Cosart was sent to the Astros in the Hunter Pence deal, but the Threshers can still run a quality arm out there more nights than not, and May is one of them. The big righthander posted his sixth double-digit strikeout game of the season Thursday when he fanned 10 Tampa hitters in five innings. May has gotten himself in trouble with walks at times, but he’s been tough to handle when he’s around the zone, holding FSL hitters to a .220 average and ranking second in the minors with 169 strikeouts in 124 innings.
2011 Stats



Maybe we should have seen this coming. When Angels RHP Garrett Richards, one of the team’s breakthrough prospects of 2011, pitches at home at Double-A Arkansas, hitters don’t really have a chance. Richards improved to 8-0, 1.78 at home with one dominating start (eight shutout innings) and one so-so start this week. Richards has had a little tougher time on the road (4-1, 4.57), but it’s hard to argue much with his results wherever he pitches. He hasn’t lost since early May. Richards has managed to tame the worst of his crossfire tendencies while maintaining the mid-90s velocity that gives hitters such a tough time . . . A midseason suspension and a Houston committment helped LHP Mitchell Taylor slip to the seventh round of the 2010 draft. Taylor ended up signing with the Blue Jays for third-round money, and the undersized lefty (6 feet, 150 pounds) is earning the bonus. Taylor, 19, allowed only one hit in two starts this week for Rookie-level Bluefield , throwing 11 scoreless innings. He struck out 16 and walked two. He does it with solid stuff, as he pairs a low 90s fastball with a big-breaking curveball . . . For a player making his U.S. debut this year, Padres CF Alberth Martinez has sure gotten around. Martinez played for low Class A Fort Wayne earlier this season and even four games for Triple-A Tucson, in emergency roster situations. Martinez, 20, was clearly over his head in those stints in full-season ball, but he’s had no such problem in the Arizona Rookie League. Martinez hit .522/.571/1.000 with three home runs this week. He leads the AZL in total bases, extra-base hits, is second in slugging percentage and home runs and is sixth in batting at .373 . . . Wherever Rays C Stephen Vogt goes, he usually hits. Vogt’s .301/.344/.487 numbers at Double-A Montgomery were right in line with his usual minor league production (he’s a .307 career hitter) and earned him a recent promotion to Triple-A Durham. He responded by hitting .429/.425/.762 in his first five games. The versatile Vogt isn’t really good enough defensively to be an everyday catcher, and he’s 26. But his versatility (he plays catcher, left field and first base), reliable lefthanded bat and feel for the game should earn him a spot in the big leagues . . . Like Hot Sheet No. 1 pick Joe Wieland, Pirates RHP Kyle McPherson treats walks as an affront to his character. McPherson walked six while striking out 60 at high Class A Bradenton, and he’s been nearly as stingy for Double-A Altoona. His July 30 start against the Portland Sea Dogs spanned 6.2 innings, his longest since being promoted to Double-A Altoona. McPherson has been remarkably consistent between High-A and Double-A this season, posting ERAs of 2.89 and 2.88 . . . Marlins RF Marcell Ozuna has had an up-and-down season, but he is on a decided upswing. After hitting .198 with two home runs between May and June with low Class A Greensboro, Ozuna hit .308 with seven home runs in July, and his production has continued into August. This week, Ozuna went 12-for-27 with five extra-base hits, including two home runs. Power is Ozuna’s calling card, as he entered the season ranked as top power bat in Florida’s farm system. A year removed from leading the New York-Penn League, Ozuna has 17 for the year . . . Seattle could sure use offensive help, so it may not be long before Mariners 3B Alex Liddi gets a call. Liddi, who could become the first Italian-born position player to play in the major leagues, launched three home runs and drove in five during a 4-for-6 effort with Triple-A Tacoma last night, upping his season total to 24, a career high. Once ranked as high as fourth in the Mariners system, Liddi has taken a back seat to other bats in the system in the last year because he continues to swing and miss too often—he has 137 strikeouts in 107 games this season—but his power remains undeniable.


Kyle Drabek, rhp, Blue Jays. The Bill of Rights ought to protect Pacific Coast League pitchers from such cruel and unusual punishment as Drabek has endured recently. Two of the 23-year-old’s last five starts have come at home in Las Vegas, while the other three were made in Tucson, Colorado Springs and Reno. The results: 27 innings, 6.33 ERA, 1.81 WHIP and 14-to-13 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Drabek deserves credit for going six innings in each of his last four starts, and for keeping the ball in the yard—he’s given up six homers in nine PCL starts, all in unforgiving environments. But his last two starts resulted in 10 runs on 20 hits in 12 innings, making his fast start as a Blue Jays rookie (2-0, 3.30 through his first five starts) seem like a distant memory.

D.J. Lemahieu, 3b/2b, Cubs. Lemahieu struggled during a short callup to the majors, batting .216/.216/.243 in 37 at-bats as an injury fill-in for Darwin Barney. He had been doing well since going down to Triple-A Iowa at the end of June, but the 23-year-old was perfectly imperfect this week, posting a .000/.000/.000 line after going 0-for-19 with four strikeouts. Just for good measure, he did reach base on a fielder’s choice in last Saturday’s game but was promptly thrown out trying to steal second.

Tom Stuifbergen, RHP, Twins. The 6-foot-3 righthander from the Netherlands has been roughed up in his last two starts. His strong run at the start of the season, when he was 3-0 with a sub-1.00 ERA after five starts, is a distant memory now as he allowed 20 hits and 13 earned runs in his last two starts. Despite improving his velocity from last season, Stuifbergen, 22, is 4-8, 4.45 this year in 20 appearances. His last win came four starts ago at Dunedin and it was his only win in the month of July.

Aaron Hicks, cf, Twins. Hicks has always been a streaky hitter, but normally he starts slow and finishes strong. His .337 average in June seemed to indicate that he was following his normal career path, but this year the bottom has fallen out for Hicks as the summer heat sets in. Hicks is 16 for his last 106 (.151) with seven extra-base hits over that stretch. He’s seen his average drop by 40 points and his 11 steals in 17 attempts is also disappointing for a center fielder with plus speed.


Robert Morey, rhp, Marlins: It’s hard to know what to think of Morey. The Marlins fifth-round pick in 2010 out of Virginia, he’s repeating low Class A Greensboro at age 22, and it hasn’t gone well. A polished college product with solid makeup and solid stuff (a 90-93 mph fastball with a usable slider, curveball and changeup) is supposed to do better than 6-7, 5.66. But just when it seemed time to start lowering expectations, he goes out and throws 16 scoreless innings in a week, including a shutout while walking one and striking out 16. Morey has proven too hittable this year (.303 average against), and his lack of projection will keep scouts from getting too excited, but this week is a sign he’s finishing a bad year on a good note.


Ponce de Leon spent years searching for the Fountain of Youth all over Florida. Hitters searching for the Fountain of Power just need to get assigned to Triple-A Reno. Ryan Langerhans is the latest former big leaguer (joining Wily Mo Pena and Sean Burroughs) to be rejuvenated by the hitter-happy tendencies of Aces Ballpark. The 31-year-old Langerhans spent parts of nine seasons in the majors, but his lack of the power teams expect out of a corner outfielder kept him from ever getting a full-time job. Langerhans was traded to Reno this week for cash considerations. He’s already hit four home runs in his first week as an Ace, including two at his new home park.


Pay little attention to Johnny Hellweg’s 4.28 ERA, and don’t dismiss him because of his 52 walks in 69 innings. All of that was to be expected with the massive (6-foot-9) righthander. The Angels knew that Hellweg’s development would require lots of patience, plenty of work and even a little bit of luck. But the hard work appears to be paying off. Hellweg has one of the best arms in the system and he can run his fastball up to 98-99 mph, which is even more frightening for hitters because of his height and long arms. He’ll never have plus command, but since the all-star break he has toned down his walk rate to one every two innings or so and the results are dramatic. He’s 1-2, 2.39 since the break (after going 2-3, 6.54 in the first half). And in his last three starts he’s allowed one run in 15 innings while striking out 21 and walking eight. Hellweg’s long-term role is still likely the bullpen, but like Matt Lindstrom and other slow-developing pitchers who can touch 100, there’s reason to be patient.

Cape League Notebook: Stony Brook Standouts Keep Rolling

by Aaron Fitt/Baseball America 
CHATHAM, Mass.—After taking in the Cape Cod League all-star game at Fenway Park on Friday, I stuck around to catch some more action around the Cape. Here are some observations from the final week of the league’s regular season.

• Stony Brook dominated the America East Conference this spring, going 22-2 to win the league by four games and finishing the regular season 41-10 overall. The Seawolves were upset in the AEC tournament, ending their season shy of regionals, but a number of Seawolves have made noise in the Cape League. Three Stony Brook players made the league’s all-star game, including catcher Patrick Cantwell and center fielder Travis Jankowksi of Bourne, who started for the West team.

Two Seawolves led Orleans to the East Division title on Wednesday, the last day of the regular season. All-star righthander Tyler Johnson allowed just one hit over 6 2/3 scoreless innings to get the win in the first game of a doubleheader against Chatham, clinching the division. Johnson pitches primarily off a mid-80s sinker with serious life, and he effectively mixed in a slider and changeup.

“When I’ve got all three pitches working, especially with these kind of defensive guys behind me, it makes it real easy to pitch,” Johnson said. “I just like to throw that (sinker), let it do its thing and get some ground balls.”

Johnson’s Stony Brook teammate, second baseman Maxx Tissenbaum, powered the Orleans offense, singling home a run in the fifth and driving a three-run homer to right field on a fastball from Trae Davis (Baylor) in the eighth, breaking the game open. Tissenbaum, who hit .344 as a freshman and .343 as a sophomore for the Seawolves, entered the day hitting just .216 with one homer, but his disciplined approach never wavered, as evidenced by his 14-9 walk-strikeout mark.

“I told him I was really proud of him for maintaining that good attitude and work ethic,” Orleans head coach Kelly Nicholson said. “He played a lot for us last summer, and he was really good. He can hit. He’s a good baseball player, and I think he’s gotten a lot better defensively. He’s going to walk more than he strikes out, he puts the ball in play—really a good contact guy.”

Ace Nick Tropeano may be gone, but there is a lot of reason for Stony Brook to be excited heading into next season—as this summer illustrated.

“We had a real good year this year at school, and unfortunately we got left out of the regionals, but we’ve got a lot of good players up here,” Johnson said. “Hopefully we’re opening the world’s eyes to our team and what we can do. It’s been real fun, especially seeing my teammates do well up here too.”

• Orleans’ corner infielders, Matt Duffy (Long Beach State) and Ben Waldrip (Jacksonville State), each arrived in the Cape League as temporary players, but each earned a spot on the roster, and each wound up starting in the all-star game. Duffy was one of the summer’s great breakout players, and heading into the season-ending doubleheader he was hitting .354, just a point behind league leader Dane Phillips of Chatham. Duffy finished at .346, three points behind Phillips, who actually finished just behind Yarmouth-Dennis’ Stephen Piscotty (Stanford) for the batting title.

“Duffy had a huge summer,” Nicholson said. “He’s a hard worker, and he’s a good baseball player. He can play second, short, third, you can probably run him into the outfield. Our backup catcher signed today, and (Duffy) told me he could catch. He’s just a hard worker. He’s a great, great Cape story.”

• Phillips is a great Cape story, too. His quiet lefthanded stroke helped him hit .337 as a freshman and .339 as a sophomore for the Cowboys, but he was even better with a wood bat this summer. “As far as hitting goes, he’s just been immense,” Chatham coach John Schiffner said. “He’s just had a tremendous summer—hitting the ball where it’s pitched, going opposite field, clutch hits, everything.”

Phillips played DH for much of the spring at OSU, and he showed off a great arm from right field against Orleans, gunning down Andrew Aplin (Arizona State) by a mile at the plate on a single to right. But he spent the bulk of the summer catching, and he made great strides there.

“What’s really been impressive to us is he didn’t catch that much at Oklahoma State, and we gave him a chance to get into the catching rotation,” Schiffner said. “He really struggled at first, but he really improved behind the plate to where we had no problem putting him back there at all. I think that’s a big step in the right direction for him. He’s a player; there’s no question he’s a player. The fact that he can catch and he’s lefthanded, he’s going to go quite a ways in pro baseball.”

• Wake Foret lefthander Tim Cooney gave Chatham six strong innings against Orleans, allowing just one run on three hits while striking out six. He hit his spots with a high-80s fastball and mixed in a nice, sharp 11-to-5 curveball. He was replaced by another ACC product, North Carolina righthander Cody Penny, who struck out two batters in a perfect inning of work. Penny’s stuff was outstanding—his fastball had good arm-side run, his knuckle curve was devastating, and he used his slider effectively down and in against lefthanded hitters.

“Penny’s good. He struggled when he first got here, maybe because he was a little rusty,” Schiffner said. “But the last three or four outings he’s been very good. He throws a curveball and a slider; the curveball’s the thing that goes, ‘Zoom!’ and just drops. The slider sets that up, and the fastball’s pretty good, pretty lively. He’s done a nice job for us.”

• The summer has been full of growing pains for two pillars of Stanford’s top-ranked 2010 recruiting class. Righthander A.J. Vanegas of Yarmouth-Dennis and outfielder Austin Wilson of Harwich faced off Tuesday, and both players continued to struggle, as they have for much of the summer. Vanegas, my preseason pick for Freshman of the Year heading into 2011, struggled with his command for much of the spring, finishing 1-0, 3.35 working mostly in a relief role. Heading into his final regular-season start this summer for Y-D, Vanegas had issued 15 walks and struck out 19 in 22 innings, while going 0-1, 3.27. His stuff was good against Harwich; his fastball darted all over the place, but he struggled to hit his spots with it, and opposing hitters simply laid off his hard slider, which was frequently in the dirt. When he finally did throw it for a strike, the Mariners hit it hard. He was pulled after giving up four hits over two-plus innings.

Vanegas did win his one battle against Wilson, getting him to line out to right field in the second inning. Wilson finished 0-for-3, dropping him to .202 on the summer with 26 strikeouts and six walks in 89 at-bats. Wilson has mammoth raw power, but clearly he’s still learning to make consistent contact.

• Another player with huge raw power is Yarmouth-Dennis DH Brian Johnson, but his power is quite a bit more usable at this stage than Wilson’s is. Team USA’s coaches raved about how quickly Johnson adjusted to wood bats during his brief stint with the national team, saying he took the best batting practice of any player on the team. Against Harwich righty Devin Burke (Duke), Johnson blasted a towering three-run homer that soared into the trees behind the right-field fence. The majestic shot brought a grin to Johnson’s face as he rounded third base.

• Johnson’s Florida teammate, catcher Mike Zunino, left Yarmouth-Dennis after 11 games on the heels of a long, grueling spring, but backup catcher Derrick Chung (Sacramento State) made the most of his opportunity to play. Chung, a 5-foot-10, 170-pound converted shortstop, showed outstanding athleticism, arm strength and savvy in Y-D’s 7-3 win against the Mariners, and he also delivered an RBI single in the second. Defense is Chung’s calling card, though. In the third, he received a throw to the plate from left field too late to tag the scoring runner, but he immediately fired to second base to get John Wooten (East Carolina) trying to stretch his single. The next inning, Chung caught Mike Garza (Georgetown) trying to steal second, then showed good range to catch a tricky foul pop-up by Alex Swim (East Carolina).

• Virginia’s keystone combination also stood out in that game, as shortstop Chris Taylor delivered a sacrifice fly, double, single and stellar defense for Y-D, while second baseman Keith Werman went 2-for-3 with a perfect bunt single and a sharp single to right field for Harwich. Taylor dazzled on a ground ball by Wilson deep into the hole in the fifth inning; the shortstop made a diving stop, then threw from one knee to get the out at first base.

• Wareham had to piece together its pitching down the stretch. Ace Justin Amlung (Louisville) went home before the all-star game to negotiate with the Reds but wound up deciding to return to school. Another top starter, Bobby Brosnahan (Michigan), had his summer cut short when he hit his head on a garbage can in the dugout trying to dodge a foul ball and suffered a concussion. And No. 3 starter Barrett Astin (Arkansas) went home early when his mother had a medical procedure. But Monday, lanky righthander Luke Farrell (Northwestern) gave the Gatemen a huge boost, delivering four innings of no-hit, shutout relief in a 6-3 win at Bourne. Farrell—a 6-foot-6, 200-pounder with a loose, whippy arm action—struck out six and walked four. His summer got off to a strong start, but he slumped in the middle of the season. He finished strong, though.

“Luke’s been working hard in the pen,” Wareham head coach Cooper Farris said. “He made some adjustments with his offspeed pitches. He had a lot of depth on his breaking ball today, and he got a lot of strikeouts with that pitch. That’s something we’ve been working on with him; it’s gotten better.”

• Wareham DH Daniel Palka (Georgia Tech) had a huge day against the Braves, going 4-for-4 with a double into the right-center gap and two RBIs. Everything he hit was hard, as has been the case much of the summer. The game raised Palka’s average to .330, and he also has excellent power potential. That was on display in the all-star home run derby, where the lefthanded-hitting Palka hit three balls out to spacious right field at Fenway Park. Two of his homers went into the bullpen, and another cleared the pen.

“Not many lefthanders can hit it out there,” Farris said. “They always tell us not to bring lefthanders to the home run derby, but I thought he had a chance to get a few. If that Green Monster had been in right field, he’d have hit probably 10.”

• Kyle Farmer (Georgia) showed off nice range and a strong arm at shortstop for Bourne, and he has followed up his strong spring with a steady summer defensively. Farmer fielded .960 for the Bulldogs as a sophomore and was fielding .956 for the Braves. Bourne third baseman Colin Moran (North Carolina) was fielding just .917, but he did look good defensively against Wareham. With a runner on third base, Moran made a perfect charging play on a slow chopper to get the out at first base and save a run. And of course Moran—the national Freshman of the Year—has continued to hit this summer, batting .289 and earning a starting spot in the all-star game.

High School Top 25: June 8

By Nathan Rode/BA
June 8, 2011

Edison High of Huntington Beach, Calif. has eyed a national title the last two seasons, but for the second straight season, an early exit in the playoffs have squashed the team’s hopes. Edison High had moved up to No. 1 in the previous Baseball America/National High School Baseball Coach Association Top 25, but its loss to to Lakewood (Calif.) High in the quarterfinals of the Southern Section Division I playoffs dropped them to No. 18 in the new rankings.

Archbishop McCarthy High of Southwest Ranches, Fla. jumped Spanish Fork (Utah) High to take over the top spot. Spanish Fork won the Utah 4-A state title, but had to travel through the loser’s bracket to do so. Archbishop McCarthy won 16 straight games on its way to defeating Jesuit High of Tampa in the 4-A finals. The Mavericks proved their worth by taking down the then-No. 13 team in the country, which threw its ace, Lance McCullers Jr.—a top prospect for 2012.

Most of the country has wrapped up postseason play, with Texas being the active state with the most implications on the rankings. State champions in the Lone Star state will be decided this week with Corpus Christi’s Carroll High (currently ranked No. 5) and Brenham High (ranked 11th) looking to repeat, a daunting task for Texas.

The staffs of Baseball America and the NHSBCA compile the Top 25 rankings. In-season polls will be conducted every two weeks and released every other Tuesday throughout the season. Records indicated are as of June 5  and do not include ties. The last poll will be released on Tuesday, June 14 and expand to 50 teams.

Rank School Record Previous
1 Archbishop McCarthy HS, Southwest Ranches, Fla. 29-3 3
2 Spanish Fork (Utah) HS 29-3 2
3 Broken Arrow (Okla.) HS 37-2 4
4 Marist School, Atlanta 33-4 8
5 Carroll HS, Corpus Christi* 35-6 7
6 Buchanan HS, Clovis, Calif. 30-2 10
7 Bishop Gorman HS, Las Vegas 35-4 11
8 Bishop Amat HS, La Puente, Calif. 29-4 14
9 Maize (Kan.) HS 25-0 16
10 West Boca HS, Boca Raton, Fla. 28-4 19
11 Brenham (Texas) HS* 36-7 25
12 Mountain Pointe HS, Phoenix 28-5 17
13 Owasso (Okla.) HS 37-2 12
14 North HS, Riverside, Calif. 27-7 NR
15 Bishop Verot HS, Fort Myers, Fla. 28-4 21
16 South County HS, Lorton, Va.* 26-0 22
17 Saguaro HS, Scottsdale, Ariz. 34-4 23
18 Edison HS, Huntington Beach, Calif. 25-4 1
19 Calallen HS, Corpus Christi* 38-5 NR
20 Alonso HS, Tampa 23-5 NR
21 Parkview HS, Lilburn, Ga. 29-10 NR
22 JSerra Catholic HS, San Juan Capistrano, Calif. 24-5 6
23 Columbus (Ga.) HS 30-9 NR
24 Jesuit HS, Tampa 26-6 13
25 Brazoswood HS, Clute, Texas* 30-8 NR
Dropped out: No. 5 Don Bosco Prep, Ramsey, N.J.; No. 9 Clements HS, Fort Bend, Texas; No. 15 Rockwall-Heath HS, Rockwall, Texas; No. 18 Spalding HS, Griffin, Ga.; No. 20 Mater Dei HS, Santa Ana, Calif. No. 24 Lamar HS, Houston

Looking Ahead: North Carolina, Tennessee Underclassmen

 by Nathan Rode/BA
While Conor Glassey and I have been hitting the road for a lot of 2011 draft coverage, we’ve seen a few guys at games that stand out as players to watch for the future. Here are some thoughts and quotes on a few of them we’ve seen recently:

A.J. Simcox, ss, Faragut HS, Knoxville (2012)
Simcox is a junior shorstop at Tennessee powerhouse Farragut High. He’s a string bean right now at 6-foot-3 and 170 pounds, but shows very good range in the field, soft hands, a strong arm and good baseball instincts. Simcox’s father, Larry, was also a shortstop that spent three seasons in the minor leagues with Houston.

“He’s a high-upside player,” Farragut head coach Matt Buckner said. “Defensively, he’s special. He’s got a big arm and he’s long and rangy. At the plate, he stays inside the ball and goes gap-to-gap. He’s been tremendous this year and he’s got a bright future. He has several SEC offers and I think he’s 20 pounds away from being a pretty high draft pick. He’s got all the physical ability in the world and he’s a really good kid, too.”

Will Craig, 3b, Science Hill HS, Johnson City, Tenn. (2013)
Craig is a physical corner guy that held is own against a talented Farragut team. He looks good in a uniform standing at 6-foot-3, 210 pounds. He had a solid batting practice session and shows good strength. In the game he went 1-for-2 with a single and two walks. He made an error at third base late in the game, but it’s too early to judge if he needs to move off the position.

“He’s a guy that has a lot of skill at the plate,” Science Hill head coach Ryan Edwards said. “He’s one of the few guys I’ve seen that can hit a ball 400 feet to the opposite field. He can kill a ball oppo, but he can still turn on one. He made that error in the last inning, that’s not like him usually. He can usually really pick it at third. I feel like defensively at third we’re solid because of him. I like him. He’s another up and coming guy that has a chance to play at a high level.”

Jackson Campana, 3b/rhp, Providence HS, Charlotte (2012)
Campana jumps out on the field with his 6-foot-6, 200-pound frame. He looks fine defensively at third and has a plus arm, but scouts have been raving this season about his batting practice sessions. In to see 2011 catcher Brett Austin, scouts see Campana’s raw power on display and say it rivals Richie Shaffer’s, a Providence alum and current Clemson corner infielder. Campana is verbally committed to Clemson and has recently started to see some time on the mound. He got on the mound late in the game against local rival Ardrey Kell High and faced one batter, striking him out with 87-89 mph fastballs.

“He’s a three-year starter for us, started since he was a freshman,” Providence head coach Danny Hignight said. “Obviously, he has raw power, and he’s a heck of defensive third baseman. He’s just starting to get on the mound a little bit. Tonight was only his second outing all year. He’s a special one. We’ve had a few All-Americans here and he’s probably going to be the next one.”

Ty Buttrey, rhp/of, Providence HS, Charlotte (2012)
Buttrey got the start against Ardrey Kell and worked with an 87-90 mph fastball. He has a long, projectable frame with plenty of room to fill out at 6-foot-5, 200 pounds. He also worked with a mid-70s curveball that was loopy at times, but did flash sharp break. Buttrey also swings from the left side and had the game-winning hit against Ardrey Kell after giving up a game-tying three-run home run in the fifth inning. Overall, he went five innings, allowing three runs on seven hits and two walks while striking out three.

“He was real good, but started to miss his spots a little bit,” Hignight said. “His pitch count got up. We knew it was time. He made a mistake, but I mean, Trent Thornton can hit. He’s going to Carolina obviously. We made a bad pitch and he hit it out. Coming to the plate in that situation, I’ve got a lot confidence in our hitters. We swing the bat well. With a good guy on the mound, we found a hole.

Trent Thornton, rhp/of, Ardrey Kell HS, Charlotte (2012)
Thornton is a small righthander, standing at only 6-feet, 155 pounds, but he can do some damage on both sides of the ball. He went 2-for-3 against Providence with a walk, two home runs and four RBIs. He tied the game in the fifth and gave the Knights the lead in the top of the seventh with a solo blast. The pitches were down and he showed some pop for a little guy. On the mound he showed arm strength by running his fastball into the high 80s. The home run he surrendered was a changeup down in the zone that Austin did a good job of dropping the barrel on. Thornton is verbally committed to North Carolina.

“He’s a special player,” Ardrey Kell head coach Hal Bagwell said. “He’s one of our top hitters. He’s a gutsy player. He showed that tonight. He carried us offensively. Carolina is getting a real good, solid two-way player in my mind. He’s got pop, no doubt.”


High School Top 25: April 12

Compiled by Nathan Rode/BA
April 12, 2011
Two tournaments played a role in the latest Baseball America/National High School baseball Coaches Association Top 25 rankings. Spanish Fork (Utah) High upset Las Vegas’ Bishop Gorman High in the Big League Dugout Championship in Scottsdale, Ariz. The Gaels lost two games in Scottsdale and lost another to Las Vegas rival Sierra Vista when they returned, dropping them to No. 14 while Spanish Fork moved up to No. 7. In California, JSerra Catholic High of San Juan Capistrano bounced back from three losses in a five-game span to go 5-0 at the Anaheim Lions Tournament. The Lions beat El Toro High of Lake Forest in the championship game and rose from to No. 12.

Wayne County High of Jesup, Ga. made the biggest jump, from unranked to No. 16, after starting the season 17-0. Only two other teams joined the Top 25 this week. Douglas High of Parkland, Fla. debuts at No. 20 and Sierra Vista checked in at No. 23.

The staffs of Baseball America and the NHSBCA compile the Top 25 rankings. In-season polls will be conducted every two weeks and released every other Tuesday throughout the season. Records indicated are as of April 10 and do not include ties.

Rank School Record Previous
1 St. Francis HS, Mountain View, Calif. 16-1 1
2 Archbishop McCarthy HS, Southwest Ranches, Fla. 19-2 2
3 Edison HS, Huntington Beach, Calif. 13-1 3
4 Owasso (Okla.) HS 19-1 4
5 Broken Arrow (Okla.) HS 23-1 7
6 Gulliver Prep, Miami 19-4 6
7 Spanish Fork (Utah) HS 12-2 11
8 Farragut HS, Knoxville 15-3 10
9 Jesuit HS, Tampa 16-3 12
10 Carroll HS, Corpus Christi 19-5 13
11 Don Bosco Prep, Ramsey, N.J. 5-0 14
12 JSerra Catholic HS, San Juan Capistrano, Calif. 14-3 20
13 Clements HS, Fort Bend, Texas 23-2 16
14 Bishop Gorman HS, Las Vegas 14-3 5
15 The Woodlands (Texas) HS 20-2 18
16 Wayne County HS, Jesup, Ga. 17-0 NR
17 Mesquite HS, Gilbert, Ariz. 18-2 15
18 Buchanan HS, Clovis, Calif. 15-1 24
19 Rockwall-Heath HS, Rockwall, Texas 23-4 8
20 Douglas HS, Parkland, Fla. 16-1 NR
21 Marist School, Atlanta 15-2 17
22 Central HS, Madison, Miss. 19-1 21
23 Sierra Vista HS, Las Vegas 17-0 NR
24 St. Rita HS, Chicago 10-1 22
25 Ardrey Kell HS, Charlotte 14-1 9
Dropped out: No. 19 Pinnacle HS, Phoenix; No. 23 East Coweta HS, Sharpsburg, Ga.; No. 25 Langham Creek HS, Houston