Cameron among top stars at East Coast Showcase
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- The 2014 East Coast Pro Showcase is now in the books as the summer amateur showcase circuit continues to wind on.
From here, the scouting industry, as well as the top high school players vying to be top picks in the 2015 Draft, will go on to Long Beach, Calif., for the Area Code Games, followed by Perfect Game's All-American Classic (Aug. 10) in San Diego and the Under Armour All-American Game powered by Baseball Factory in Chicago (Aug. 16). The summer high school scene wraps up with USA Baseball's 18 and Under team trials in Houston beginning Aug. 23.
Along the way, scouts will be collecting information on next year's Draft class. Obviously, no decisions are made in August, with summer action helping to build follow lists for next spring. The ECPS is a great event in that it allows scouts to see players over a four-day period, playing full games, as opposed to the one-game all-star type events. But it's still just four games, not exactly a big sample size, though the high school class of 2015 seems especially strong in one area: bats.
"There's a good crop of advanced high school position players," one scouting director said. "There were also two to three potential first-day-of-the-Draft-type high school arms."
"It seems like a deeper position-player crop at this event than in the past," another scouting director said.
The list of top performers below, as a result, is very bat-heavy. The top 10 is an attempt to combine prospect status along with performance. It isn't just performance based, though some players clearly raised their profile by producing in Syracuse. Taking a look at this list next June should be an interesting exercise.
1. Brendan Rodgers, SS, Lake Mary High School, Fla.: Shortstops are always a hot commodity, and Rodgers showed some ability to play the position, but it was his bat that really stood out. According to the unofficial stats, Rodgers went 7-for-12 with a home run and three RBIs in four games. Even his outs were loud.
2. Ashe Russell, RHP, Cathedral High School, Ind.: While position players ruled the day, the consensus was that Russell was the top arm in Syracuse. The Midwest area right-hander was in the mid-90s consistently. The 6-foot-4, 195-pounder has a nasty slider (80-83 mph) and even showed a few changeups with fade. Russell struck out five in 2 2/3 innings.
3. Nick Plummer, OF, Brother Rice High School, Mich.: There may not be another player who helped his stock out more than Plummer. It seemed everything Plummer hit was hit hard, and the Detroit area outfielder finished with three extra-base hits, including a home run. He went 7-for-13 overall.
4. Daz Cameron, OF, Eagles Landing Christian Academy, Ga.: Thought to be perhaps the top talent in next year's class, Cameron didn't perform that well (1-for-12), but he showed some outstanding tools, including running a 6.67 60-yard dash, clocking very good times home-to-first, playing an outstanding center field and having some quality at-bats, even if he didn't have much to show for them.
5. Cornelius Randolph, SS, Griffin High School, Ga.: Coming from the same high school as former No. 1 overall pick Tim Beckham, Randolph swung a hot bat. The middle infielder went 4-for-13, with a double, a home run and three RBIs.
6. Donnie Everett, RHP, Clarksville High School, Tenn.: The Cubs pitching staff had the most arm strength, with Everett and Ashe throwing on the same day. He's strong and physical, touching the mid-90s early and sitting in the low-90s with his fastball. He added in a breaking ball with a lot of potential and some effective changeups as well. He went 3 1/3 innings, allowing one earned run on five hits while striking out three.
7. Garrett Whitley, OF, Niskayuna High School, N.Y.: Every year, it seems like a "local" product makes a name for himself. Whitley only went 2-for-10, but his two hits were a double and triple. He has legitimate raw power from the right side and ran a solid 60 (6.65).
8. Cody Morris, RHP, Reservoir High School, Md.: Morris needs work on his breaking ball, but he showed a fastball up to 94 mph and a solid changeup. In his 2 1/3 innings of work, the Maryland right-hander allowed just two hits, walking none and striking out one.
9. Kep Brown, OF, Wando High School, S.C.: Brown has hit pretty much all summer and the ECPS was no excpetion. The big outfielder went 3-for-9 with a home run on Saturday that gave his Indians a win.
10. Kyle Tucker, OF, Gulf Coast High School, Fla.: The brother of Astros prospect Preston Tucker, there was some division about Tucker and his ability to catch up to top velocity. But he did go 4-for-13 with a pair of doubles during the event.