Back in 1994, MLB scouts created the East Coast Professional showcase, an event designed not only to allow high school players a chance to show what they can do in front of evaluators from all 30 teams, but also to provide an opportunity for those scouts to work with the
Back in 1994, MLB scouts created the East Coast Professional showcase, an event designed not only to allow high school players a chance to show what they can do in front of evaluators from all 30 teams, but also to provide an opportunity for those scouts to work with the players and educate them about what it takes to play at the next level.
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It's become one of the major stops on the summer showcase tour and just wrapped up on Saturday in Hoover, Ala. Split among six teams, players got to play in four games against the top high school competition from the Eastern part of the United States and also had professional-style workouts, batting practice, 60-yard dash and PDP (Prospect Development Pipeline) evaluations.
From Alabama, scouts -- and players -- were scooting across the country for the next stop on the showcase circuit: The Area Code Games, starting on Monday in Long Beach, Calif., MLB Pipeline was able to talk to a number of evaluators to get a sense of who the top prospects were at this year's East Coast Pro showcase. The following top 10 is a bit of a hybrid, combining performance specific to the event, but leaning more toward overall prospect status.
1. Daniel Espino, RHP, Georgia Premier Academy (Statesboro, Ga.): Committed to LSU, Espino continues to wow scouts with his arm strength and power stuff. He sat at 95-99 mph, according to multiple scouts, and he mixed in a very good power breaking ball as well, striking out six in three hitless innings.
2. Brennan Malone, RHP, IMG Academy (Fla.): Malone has been dominant all summer and his performance here was no different, though he lost feel for a little bit in his fourth inning of work and got dinged up as a result (three earned runs). But he was throwing 92-97 mph with his electric fastball for most of his outing and mixed in a very effective breaking ball to go along with it, leading to six strikeouts in 3 2/3 innings.
3. Hunter Barco, LHP, The Bolles School (Fla.): Touted as perhaps the best prep lefty in the class, Barco has had a bit of an uneven summer, so it was good to see him dominate at East Coast. He gave up two hits and struck out six over three scoreless frames, using a fastball that was up to 94 mph with excellent movement to go along with a slider and a changeup with split action.
4. Rece Hinds, SS, IMG Academy (Fla.): Hinds didn't do anything of note in games, in fact he went 0-for-10, but he did put on his usual show in batting-practice sessions. If he was a player who hadn't shown in-game power in other events, there'd be more concern, but he's still considered the best prep power bat in the nation.
5. CJ Abrams, SS, Blessed Trinity Catholic HS (Ga.): Like Hinds, Abrams' performance didn't stand out (2-for-12 at the plate), but his athleticism and his ability to stay at a premium position still puts him very high on all follow lists.
6. Maurice Hampton Jr., OF, Memphis University School (Tenn.): There are serious tools to work with here and Hampton showed them off in workouts and in games. He ran one of the better 60-yard dashes (6.53) and also went 5-for-11 with a double and a home run in games.
7. Jerrion Ealy, OF, Jackson Prep (Miss): Ealy is committed to Ole Miss for both baseball and football, where he is a top running back recruit, and he showed off his athleticism with a 6.49 60-yard dash time and a pair of stolen bases in games.
8. Matt Allan, RHP, Seminole HS (Fla.): The Florida commit gave up just one hit over three innings, walking none and striking out seven. The right-hander dominated with a fastball that touched 95 mph and sat comfortably in the low-90s and an outstanding curve.
9. Riley Greene, OF, Hagerty HS (Fla.): Another top prospect who didn't perform all that well in games (2-for-10), Greene did nonetheless show impressive raw power in batting-practice sessions. Most laud his feel for hitting that he has shown off at other events this summer, though that was lacking at this event.
10. Jack Leiter, RHP, Delbarton Prep (NJ): While others lit up the radar gun, Leiter continued to impress with his overall feel for pitching. He did walk three, though that was more because of nibbling than a lack of overall command. He also struck out five in three innings, using all four of his pitches in the strike zone effectively.
Others of note: Will Bednar, RHP, Mars Area HS (Pa.); Joe Charles, RHP, The First Academy (Fla.); Will Childers, RHP, Lakeside HS (Ga.); Ethan Hearn, C, Mobile Christian HS (Ala.); Jack Kochanowicz, RHP, Harriton HS (Pa.); Michael Limoncelli, RHP, Horseheads HS (NY); Alex McFarlane, RHP, Habersham Central HS (US Virgin Islands); Hayden Mullins, LHP, Hendersonville HS (Tenn.); Sammy Siani, OF, William Penn Charter (Pa.); Landon Sims, RHP, South Forsyth HS (Ga.); Jose Torres, SS, Calvert Hall College HS (Md.); Cesar Valero, SS, Foothills Composite HS (Alberta, Can.); Chris Villaman, LHP, Ledford Senior HS (NC)
Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLB Pipeline. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.