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High school talent to convene at Dream Series

MLB partners with USA Baseball for second edition of event
@DKramer_
January 4, 2018

Major League Baseball announced Thursday it is teaming up for the second straight year with USA Baseball to host the Dream Series in Tempe, Ariz., next week, featuring a diverse group of some of the nation's top high school prospects confined within a Spring Training atmosphere. The Dream Series is

Major League Baseball announced Thursday it is teaming up for the second straight year with USA Baseball to host the Dream Series in Tempe, Ariz., next week, featuring a diverse group of some of the nation's top high school prospects confined within a Spring Training atmosphere.

The Dream Series is put on in connection with Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and will run from Jan. 11-15 at Tempe Diablo Stadium, the Spring Training home of the Angels, featuring pitchers and catchers.

In addition to receiving presentations on baseball career opportunities through both college and pro avenues, the event will serve as a showcase of sorts, with a throng of college recruiters and pro scouts expected in attendance.

Some participants will be eligible for the 2018 Draft while others may be years away. The Dream Series' objective is to not only prepare its participating athletes for a future in baseball, but also spread diversity across the sport overall.

"The Dream Series is such a great event," said Hunter Greene last year after participating, months before he was selected by the Reds with the No. 2 overall pick. "All the people that are here, all the coaches, they're the best of the best. And to just be around them and to go out and compete every single day on the field it's a true blessing."

This year's crop consists of many players who are already committed to elite college programs, including right-handers Kumar Rocker (Vanderbilt), Simeon Woods Richardson (Texas), Sanson Faltine (Texas), Christian Little (Vanderbilt), D.J. Jefferson (USC), Irving Carter (Miami), left-hander Armari Paula (Virginia) and catchers CJ Rodriguez (Vanderbilt) and Ian Moller (LSU) among others.

Rocker is ranked No. 17 on MLB Pipeline's 2018 Top 50 Draft Prospects list and the son of former NFL defensive lineman Tracy Rocker.

Marquis Grissom Jr., whose father was a 17-year MLB veteran with two All-Star appearances and a World Series title with the Braves in 1995, will also be on hand.

Coaches at this year's Dream Series include former MLB All-Stars Tom "Flash" Gordon, Charles Johnson, Kenny Hill, Junior Spivey and Grissom, as well as 20-year veterans LaTroy Hawkins and Darren Oliver, former MLB manager Jerry Manuel and former MLB front-office executive Reggie Waller among others. Many members of this year's coaching contingent took part in the inaugural Dream Series event last year.

In addition to on-hand coaching, players will have the opportunity to undergo athletic assessments through the Prospect Development Pipeline Premier Events, which have been quickly incorporated by all 30 clubs and the MLB Scouting Bureau as a pathway assessment screening that, in many ways, mirrors Statcastâ„¢ analysis.

The PDP screenings include an athletic assessment, which captures most agility movement and cognitive speed, sports vision screening, aimed to identify areas of vision that can be improved, swing analysis, which monitors barrel and hand speed and impact momentum, and ball flight analysis, which for pitchers, measures velocity, spin rate, spin axis and other metrics.

Daniel Kramer is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @DKramer_.