Just like everyone else, the amateur baseball world has had to adjust on the fly to life during a pandemic. The summer showcase circuit has had to shuffle things and change locations to make things work, but for the most part, the usual events -- minus Major League Baseball’s PDP League -- have taken place.
That included the Perfect Game All-American Classic, which typically takes place earlier in the summer in San Diego. Instead, the game was moved to Oklahoma City and was played this past Friday. While travel and attendance were limited, there were still plenty of scouts on hand to watch the top high school players for the Draft class of 2021 compete.
Typically, the high schoolers would have been playing all summer and would be in peak performance mode at the time of the PG event. But with longer layoffs between events and an overall lack of competition, there was a little rust on hand. Usually, these kinds of exhibitions are dominated by pitchers, who come out and throw gas for one-inning stints, and while there were some solid pitching performances, the hitters really ruled the day. That makes some sense given most feel this will be a high school position player-dominated class overall.
Here’s a list of a dozen players who stood out based on conversations with scouts who were in attendance, with their usual position listed (several players moved around, as is often the case in All-American games like this one), focusing mostly on performance in the game itself, though overall prospect status came into play:
1. Jordan Lawlar, SS, Jesuit College Prep HS (Texas): Named the Perfect Game Jackie Robinson Player of the Year, Lawlar had a pair of hits, a walk, an RBI and scored three runs in the game. He showed off an outstanding approach at the plate as well as some premium speed, and he has the ability to stick at short, reminding some of Bobby Witt Jr.
2. Alex Mooney, SS, Orchard Lake St. Mary’s Prep HS (Mich.): Mooney was named MVP of the game after he had three hits, including a triple, and scored three runs. His approach and all-around tools stand out to go along with excellent instincts.
3. Edwin Arroyo, SS, Arecibo Baseball Academy (PR): One of the younger players in the Draft class, Arroyo had a pair of hits, including a double, and drove in a run. He swung the bat well from both sides of the plate and drew some Asdrúbal Cabrera comps, though he might not stick at shortstop long-term.
4. Ian Moller, C, Wahlert HS (Iowa): Moller doubled in a run and continues to impress with his offensive ability and raw power. He also looked much better behind the plate than he did earlier in the summer.
5. Jackson Jobe, RHP, Heritage Hall HS (Okla.): Jobe gave up a hit and a walk, but threw a scoreless inning while striking out one. He has a really fast arm that delivered a fastball in the 93-96 mph range and a plus slider he threw 82-85 mph.
6. Mason Albright, LHP, IMG Academy (Fla.): While his stuff was a bit down from his showing at the East Coast Professional Showcase, Albright showed the best pitchability in the game, needing just nine pitches to get two strikeouts and a popup. The Maryland native recently transferred to IMG Academy and was in the 87-91 mph range with his fastball, while showing the ability to spin an upper-70s curve for strikes.
7. Braden Montgomery, OF, Madison Central HS (Miss.): He’s gotten better all summer, with a solid approach from both sides of the plate, and Mongtomery hit the ball hard a couple of times in this game, though he had just one hit to show for it. The outfielder has the chance to have a very well-rounded offensive profile.
8. Benny Montgomery, OF, Red Land HS (Pa.): His raw tools have stood out all summer, especially his speed, but he surprised many with his power display. Montgomery won the home run derby by hitting 14 balls out, including six with a wood bat.
9. Joshua Baez, OF, Dexter Southfield HS (Mass.): There might not be any player in the 2021 Draft class with more raw power than Baez, with one scout putting an 80 grade on his pop. He hit 12 homers in the derby and tripled in the game itself.
10. Harry Ford, C, North Cobb HS (Ga.): Ford hit the lone home run, a two-run shot, in the game and shows off an intriguing combination of bat speed/feel to hit as well as good catch-and-throw skills and overall athleticism.
11. Carter Holton, LHP, Benedictine Military (Ga.): Holton struck out a pair, including Lawlar, in his one inning of work. He’s not the biggest guy in the world at 5-foot-11, but the lefty used his funky delivery to create deception well to go along with an electric fastball that was 93-95 mph. His 83-85 mph changeup is his best secondary pitch.
12. Joe Mack, C, Williamsville East HS (NY): There’s not much to show in the box score -- Mack went 0-for-1 with a walk and a run scored -- but scouts loved the professional quality of his at-bats, especially since the left-handed hitter had to face some nasty left-handers. He’s really good on both sides of the ball.