The 2011 Baseball Factory Under Armour All American Game was held in Chicago and was a two day event of some of the best underclassmen from the United States, Canada, Dominican Republic, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. The event is a mixture of some of the top talent and prospects that are off the radar of major national circuit showcases. Since it has moved to an Under Armour event it has picked up steam and recognition. Come the first round of 2012’s draft and a few of these names could be called early.
Gavin Ceccinni – SS, Barbe HS (Lake Charles, LA)
This was my fourth time seeing him on the summer circuit and was by far the most impressive display of fielding. He showed a bit more fluidity in the field with improved footwork and range. Seeing the improvements and the plus arm strength, he is starting to show that he can stay at shortstop as a professional. While not a burner on the base paths, he should be an above average runner on the bases. He maintains a high leg kick as his mechanical crutch to transition body weight. He has a compact swing and ideal bat path through the zone that trends more towards line drives. I still feel that he will be an above average contact hitter. Due to the line drive path, he may not hit for above average power, but displays gap power potential and has a strong profile to become a number two hitter.
Lewis Brinson – OF, Coral Springs HS (Tamarac, FL)
Long, lean with long limbs and a great deal of room to fill out that should not sacrifice his speed. Wiry power with very quick hands through the zone. Slight raising toe touch and quiet upper body with the hands at the ear hole height. He gets a bit long through the zone and separates the hands a bit further back than ideal, leading to a slightly long arc through the zone. Tends to ride out too far in the swing which leads to early weight transfer, but has an extremely strong hip turn and the hand speed keeps him in rhythm. Hits through the ball at this stage and showcases a solid follow through that gets everything out of his body into the ball. He shows borderline plus power potential that could increase as he matures. Power/speed combo type player that shows speed to burn down the line, and athletic ability to profile as a centerfield prospect.
Byron Buxton – OF, Appling County HS (Baxter, GA)
A tall lean freak athlete that is a handyman, as he has all five tools in abundance. His potential is off the charts and will stand out in any crowd of prospects. He continues to improve every facet of his game each time I see him. He will push for the top defensive outfielder in the 2012 class as he shows the range, arm, and speed that are all teetering on plus at the moment. Solid, compact approach with quick hands that shows the ability to cover the entire plate. He has power to all fields and greatly improved his ability to take the pitch the opposite direction. Power/speed combo that shows top of the order ability with lead off potential. Easily has one of the highest ceilings in his class and potentially this entire draft.
Stryker Trahan – C, Acadiana HS (Scott, LA)
He showcases a strong, sturdy frame that oozes power potential, as I watched him display impressive power the day before and he hit a roughly 475 ft shot over the right field fence. Behind the plate, Stryker shows a good glove and the arm strength to stay as a catcher. A bit raw with footwork and positioning, but I see his athleticism that should allow it to improve with maturation and solid instruction. Already a professional type approach that shows very little wasted motion. He shows the ability to gain separation and create torque that combines with the uplifting swing that projects to at least plus power down the road. Solid hand-eye coordination and willingness to go with pitches. He could become an average to slightly above average contact hitter.
Ryan Ripken – 1B, Gilman HS (Hunt Valley, MD)
A chip off the old block with a similar frame, but is slightly more athletic that his father Cal Ripken Jr. He is a tall, lanky kid with surprising strength and shows the frame to fill out into the 220-230 pound range, maybe even more. At the plate, you are watching his dad from the left side. He has the trademark ear hole hands, with horizontal bat head. Rather raw on the national circuit and not a lot of contact with the best of his class, but still shows a solid batting eye against the competition. He has an advanced approach that is compact with little wasted actions. He shows the ability to pull along with the inside/out approach that could allow him to be a decent contact hitter down the road. His size, strength, and swing path should allow him to show as an above average power hitter down the line.
Ty Hensley – RHP, Edmond Santa Fe HS (Edmond, OK)
Another kid I have seen a few times this summer. He really showed improved command and a bit more bite on the power curve. He was throwing a solid two seam fastball sitting 90-92 mph with nice lateral tail movement riding into the hands of right handed batters. He sat mostly 93 mph on the four seam and hit 94 mph in the one inning stint. Overall, he looked in control and displayed more poise and the kid I saw last season as a junior.
Jesmuel Valentin Diaz – SS, PR Baseball Academy (Manati, PR)
Compact athletic frame, but might not have much more projection, which is not a bad thing because he already shows the defense and offensive prowess that has him rated as one of the better shortstops in his class. Smooth athlete with soft hands, range, and arm to easily stick at shortstop. Solid inside/out approach at the plate with a line drive swing, and very slight uplift. Short, repeatable stroke with a nice turn and impressive extension that allows him to get everything out of the swing. He should hit for solid contact and has sneaky power that should profile as a top of the order hitter.
David Thompson – 3B, Westminster Christian HS (Miami, FL)
Decent height and frame that could grow another 20 pounds. He will need to improve lower body strength. His baseball life is tied to his stick with a solid foundation that has a chance for above average contact and borderline plus power with maturation. He will need to improve his footwork, glove, and quick twitch reactions at third base. It is logical that he could transition to a corner outfield spot down the road and his bat should be able to handle it.
Trey Killian – RHP, Mountain Home HS (Mountain Home, AR)
Good frame with longer limbs that show nice solid proportion and a great deal room for growth. Extended overhead delivery that instantly reminds me of Juan Marichal. Solid downhill plane and a low three quarter slot that allows for all of his pitches to move in a nice easy arm action delivery. The two seam was running 88-90 mph with lateral movement and decent late depth. The arm slot allows him to throw a power slurve in the upper 70s and more traditional curve in the lower 70s. I thought when he took more off of the pitch it had better depth. Both pitches showed late action, which bode well for his future. All of his pitches move through the zone and are real difficult to adjust to or square up for contact.
Clint Coulter – C/OF/1B, Union HS (Union, WA)
Man type frame with muscular development that could grow. A kid who eats and sleeps baseball and is described as a “gym rat”. Surprising speed for a catching prospect of his size that shows the ability to hit for power to all fields right now. Decent receiver with the arm strength to stick at catcher, but realistically is likely to be a first baseman or corner outfielder in the future. If he improves his contact ability to go with his power potential, he could be one of the better catching prospects in next summer’s draft.
Carson Kelly – 3B, Westview HS (Portland, OR)
Good height with room to grow. He should improve overall mass and strength, but has wiry power at this stage. Very open stance at the plate, but the foot plant remains open and points to the hole between SS/3B. It forces his hips out early and the result is an elongated bat head through the zone. It also forces his hands to roll quickly at this stage. He sees the ball well and shows very good bat speed. He has the key tools to hit for both contact and power potential. Strong arm, good charge to the plate, and reaction time and range were a tick above average.
Anthony Alford – OF, Petal HS (Petal, MS)
Dual sport athlete and another power/speed combo with speed that is not in the same class as some of his peers. Very raw overall, but with strict focus on baseball the game should become easy for him. In the box, he is a bit un-orthodox and is arching away from the plate with his hips in a tight position to get the bat head through the zone. Quick hands and wrists to go with solid bat speed tend to make up for his ability to hit for contact, but will have to be cleaned up as a professional. He shows a nice path and line drive swing that show the potential for a dual hitter with refinements. True high ceiling potential if he is fully committed to baseball in the future.
Nick Travieso – RHP, Archbishop McCarthy HS (Pembroke Pines, FL)
Solid height and frame with the ability to pack on some pounds in the future. A real blank slate at this point; he is a guy tied to arm strength and fast arm action. Has a nice heavy fastball that will ride up to 94 mph and sits mainly in the 92-93 mph range. He places a great deal of stress on the arm and rides it through the zone. He looks the part of a power relief pitcher down the road. I like the bulldog mentality and willingness to live off the inner half of the plate.