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Keith Law reports on the MLB Scouts Pre-season Prep Workout


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This is the only MLB-sponsored pre-season invitation-only workout for the top high school talent in Southern California.

Not sure who all was there, but the only top name Law mentions that has been tossed around here is Dylan Covey and that was among "other names of note." Austin Wilson (OF) is definitely one to watch despite a less-than-glowing report at this event. In any case, maybe we'll hear more about some of these guys as the draft gets closer...

Here's the “free” part of what Law had to say:

It wasn't a strong crop at the MLB Urban Youth Academy in Compton, California, on Saturday the 12th, certainly down from last year's group, which featured four players who were later chosen in last June's Rule 4 Draft, including fifth overall pick Matt Hobgood (chosen by Baltimore). This year, the bats were weak, only partly balanced out by a solid group of arms that could put a few guys in the first round. The showcase includes the top prep players from southern California, all of whom were seniors this year and thus eligible for this year's draft, and it drew the biggest crowd of scouts in the event's history, with well over 100 in attendance, including at least 20 scouting directors.

If you have an ESPN INSIDER account, you can read the rest of the article here: http://insider.espn.go.com/espn/blog/index?entryID=4915913&name=mlb_draft&action=login&appRedirect=http%3a%2f%2finsider.espn.go.com%2fespn%2fblog%2findex%3fentryID%3d4915913%26name%3dmlb_draft

Players he liked:

Players who made the most money

Griffin Murphy, LHP, Redlands East Valley HS, Redlands

Jake Hernandez, C, Los Osos HS, Rancho Cucamonga

Tony Amezcua, RHP, Bellflower HS, Bellflower

Vincent Velasquez, SS/RHP/C, Garey HS, Pomona

Christian Yelich, 1B, Westlake HS, Westlake Village

Other names of note

Dylan Covey, RHP, Maranatha HS, Pasadena

Covey is probably the top California prep arm this year, and he threw well, 90-93 while showing four pitches and working quickly to keep hitters off balance. His fastball has a little bore and a little sink, and he was willing to go up with it to change hitters' eye levels. His curve was sharp, but he popped more than one and had similar problems with his changeup. He's 6'2", 195, athletic, with the good delivery and a history of showing more velo and better offspeed, so I still expect him to go in the top 20 or so picks. But it wasn't a "wow" day for him on Saturday.

Austin Wilson, OF, Harvard Westlake HS, North Hollywood

The star of last year's event...had a strong BP on Saturday but only fair at bats during the game. The ball comes off his bat very well with easy line-drive power...and big extension through his swing. He's a below-average runner and showed only an average arm with below-average accuracy, so he's primarily a bat who should profile in an outfield corner.

Cody Buckel, RHP, Royal HS, Simi Valley

Chad Lewis, 3B, Marina HS, Huntington Beach

Cory Hahn, OF, Mater Dei HS, Santa Ana

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Thanks for the info.

John Manuel also had a blog entry over on BA.com today on this showcase. He talked a little about Covey & Wilson, who is apparantly coming off of a stress fracture in his lower back. But Manuel also focuses a good deal on Vincent Velasquez.

In front of approximately 200 scouts, Velasquez enjoyed a career-altering performance. Cautious in his injury recovery, Velasquez had not pitched since December 2008. After his outing Saturday, the mound figures to be his permanent residence. The slender and highly projectable righty struck out and more impressively overwhelmed all four batters he faced.

Using a loose, easy throwing motion, Velasquez fired a lively 91-93 mph fastball, which he used to paint the outside corner or to jam a hitter inside. He liberally sprinkled in an 82-84 mph drop-dead changeup, which was well placed and cleverly concealed. Velasquez best pitch may be his 74 mph curve, which veered out toward the third-base dugout and then swerved sharply down and away to his glove side.

Stunned silence was pervasive after Velasquez brief stint. Several nearby heads nodded in agreement as I broke the brief quiet by commenting: "That'll be the end of his career as an infielder."

Manuel tries to give us some context, which would urge us not to go overboard over the pitching results from this showcase.

Without question, the understatement of this young year would be to assert that pitchers dominated hitters at Saturday’s event. In all, 21 pitchers took the mound during the contest, each throwing to four batters—a total of 84 at-bats. My unofficial tally had between 50 and 60 strikeouts, which is more humiliation than domination.

This was due to early season rust for the hitters, and the very solid pitching that showed up.

BUT, it does look like we might have a young HS pitcher to add to the watch list. Velasquez's stuff impressed all the scouts and he could end up with a lot of helium this spring.

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Velasquez's stuff impressed all the scouts and he could end up with a lot of helium this spring.

Law also had a lot of good things to say about Velasquez (especially his change-up), calling him a "jack-of-all-trades." I wasn't sure how much info was okay to include here since it's by subscription, so I tried to keep it to a minimum.

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Law also had a lot of good things to say about Velasquez (especially his change-up), calling him a "jack-of-all-trades." I wasn't sure how much info was okay to include here since it's by subscription, so I tried to keep it to a minimum.

What you included was good. Just a few snippets won't get anyone in trouble. But, yeah, it's a good idea to go minimalistic with subscriber content.

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