CHICAGO -- Four days after winning the High School Home Run Derby as part as the All-Star Game, Bobby Witt Jr. seized the spotlight again.A shortstop from Colleyville (Texas) Heritage High and a leading candidate to go No. 1 overall in the 2019 Draft, Witt took MVP honors at the
CHICAGO -- Four days after winning the High School Home Run Derby as part as the All-Star Game, Bobby Witt Jr. seized the spotlight again.
A shortstop from Colleyville (Texas) Heritage High and a leading candidate to go No. 1 overall in the 2019 Draft, Witt took MVP honors at the annual Under Armour All-America Game on Friday night. He punctuated an 8-2 victory for his American team with a ninth-inning home run deep into the left-field bleachers at Wrigley Field. Witt fouled off five consecutive two-strike pitches before hammering a curveball down in the zone from Ramona (Calif.) High right-hander Derek Diamond.
Witt reached base in four of his five plate appearances, drawing a pair of walks, getting hit by a pitch and driving a ball to deep left-center. The son of longtime big league pitcher Bobby Witt didn't get to show off his speed or glovework, but he's a well-above-average runner with plus arm strength and defensive skills at short.
The 2017 Under Armour Game produced 13 first-rounders for the 2018 Draft, and this year's contest was similarly loaded with talent. Here are nine other players (listed alphabetically) who stood out in Chicago:
CJ Abrams, SS, Blessed Trinity Catholic High (Roswell, Ga.)
Abrams displayed his game-changing speed when he got from the left side of the plate to first in 4.0 seconds to beat out an infield hit in the eighth inning, then followed with a stolen base. He also smoked a 95-mph fastball from IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) right-hander Brennan Malone for a first-inning double, and he also looked smooth at shortstop (his normal position) and center field.
Hunter Barco, LHP, The Bolles School (Jacksonville, Fla.)
The top high school southpaw in the 2019 Draft, Barco worked at 91-92 mph and struck out two of the four batters he faced. He fanned Memphis (Tenn.) University School outfielder Maurice Hampton on a nasty 83-mph splitter/changeup and Selah (Wash.) High shortstop Carter Young on a 91-mph fastball.
Corbin Carroll, OF, Lakeside High (Nine Mile Falls, Wash.)
A prototypical leadoff hitter with at least plus speed, a discipline approach and a quick lefty stroke, Carroll pulled a 93-mph fastball from Seminole High (Sanford, Fla.) right-hander Matthew Allan in the third inning and subsequently swiped third base. He reached in three of his four trips to plate, drawing a walk and lining a single to right field.
Daniel Espino, RHP, Bulloch Academy (Statesboro, Ga.)
Espino threw the hardest pitch in Under Armour Game history, clocking 99 mph in a perfect second inning to eclipse the 98-mph heater recorded two years ago by Hunter Greene, who went on to become the No. 2 overall pick in 2017. Espino delivered three other fastballs at 98 -- his softest one arrived at 96 -- and also flashed a promising curveball and changeup.
Riley Greene, OF, Hagerty High (Oviedo, Fla.)
The best pure hitter in his prep class, Greene rivals Abrams as the No. 2 high school prospect behind Witt. He had the most impressive at-bat of the game in the first inning, spoiling a two-strike 96-mph fastball on the outside corner from Malone before crushing a hanging slider off the right-field scoreboard. Greene also singled and drew a walk in three subsequent plate appearances, showing a tremendous eye at the plate.
Jared Jones, RHP, La Mirada (Calif.) High
One of two rising juniors in the game, Jones won't be Draft-eligible in 2020, but he certainly looked ready now by operating with a 95-96 mph fastball and whiffing Trinity Catholic High (Ocala, Fla.) outfielder Jud Fabian with a 95-mph heater. He also mixed in a power curveball during a perfect seventh inning.
Jack Leiter, RHP, Delbarton School (Morristown, N.J.)
Leiter not only has terrific bloodlines -- his father Al, uncle Mark and cousin Mark all pitched in the big leagues -- but he also has one of the better curveballs in the high school ranks. He worked around a walk and an infield single to strike out the side in the fourth, getting Puerto Rico Baseball Academy (Gurabo, P.R.) outfielder Erik Rivera and Hampton on 78-mph benders and Fabian on a 94-mph fastball, all swinging.
Andre Tarver, OF, Ringgold (Ga.) High
One of the more physical Under Armour performers at 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds, Tarver did a nice job of staying back on breaking balls. He singled twice to the opposite field on curveballs from Ledford High (Thomasville, N.C.) left-hander Chris Villaman and Diamond, and he also added a walk and a stolen base.
Matthew Thompson, RHP, Cypress (Texas) Ranch High
Thompson has one of the quickest arms among 2019 prepsters and pumped 92-94 mph fastballs during a perfect fifth inning. He recorded his lone strikeout with a 93-mph fastball against Yucaipa (Calif.) High catcher Michael Carpentier, who impressed behind the plate by throwing out two basestealers.
Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. Listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.