With the 2016 Draft firmly in the rear-view mirror, work on 2017 is already underway. The high school summer showcase circuit began last week with the Perfect Game National Showcase. Now the scouting industry heads en masse to Cary, N.C., for USA Baseball's Tournament of Stars, running from Tuesday through
With the 2016 Draft firmly in the rear-view mirror, work on 2017 is already underway. The high school summer showcase circuit began last week with the Perfect Game National Showcase. Now the scouting industry heads en masse to Cary, N.C., for USA Baseball's Tournament of Stars, running from Tuesday through Sunday.
The Tournament of Stars is the first step in USA Baseball's process to pick the 18-and-under national team that will compete in the 2016 COPABE Pan American Championships in Monterrey, Mexico, later this September. For scouts working on their follow lists for next spring, it's an opportunity to see more than 100 of the top prep players in the country compete in one place over a five-day span.
There's good reason why this event has become a must-see every year. Not only has the 18U National Team won gold medals as six of the last seven international events in which it has played, the alumni list is a veritable who's who of stars. Recently elected Hall of Famer John Smoltz and former No. 1 overall picks Joe Mauer, Delmon Young, Justin Upton, Luke Hochevar and Bryce Harper all played on the team. Mike Trout played at TOS back in 2008, and that's worked out OK.
The recent track record is just as impressive. Last year's TOS rosters were filled with nine eventual first-round picks, starting with recently signed No. 1 overall pick Mickey Moniak. The complete list of first-rounders (not including Taylor Trammell and Joey Wentz, who went in Lottery Round A):
No. 1 Mickey Moniak, OF, Phillies
No. 3 Ian Anderson, RHP, Braves
No. 7 Braxton Garrett, LHP, Marlins
No. 12 Jason Groome, LHP, Red Sox
No. 14 Will Benson, OF, Indians
No. 15 Alex Kirilloff, OF, Twins
No. 17 Forrest Whitley, RHP, Astros
No. 18 Blake Rutherford, OF, Yankees
No. 20 Gavin Lux, SS, Dodgers
So it's easy to see why it's imperative to keep an eye on this year's Tournament of Stars rosters. MLB.com is making that easier this week with a series of broadcasts that will allow fans to see nearly all of this year's teams. The broadcast schedule starts on Wednesday and runs through Sunday's Gold Medal Game.
Wednesday, June 22
Stars vs. Brave 10 a.m. ET
Thursday, June 23
Brave vs. United, 10 a.m.
Friday, June 25
Home Run Derby, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, June 26
Stripes vs. Pride, 10 a.m.
Sunday, June 28
Gold Medal Game, 12 p.m.
There will undoubtedly be players who jump on the radar at TOS, but several are already there. Here's a list of 10 players to watch when you tune in, with their Tournament of Stars team in parentheses:
Jordon Adell, OF, Ballard HS, Ky. (Brave) -- Ultra-toolsy and athletic; chance to be five-tool player who can stick in CF.
Hans Crouse, RHP, Dana Hills, Calif. (Free) -- Right-hander with very quick arm who can reach the mid 90s with ease.
Hagen Danner, RHP/C, Huntington Beach, Calif. (United) -- Two-way player with track record of success on mound against top competition, thanks to good stuff and smooth delivery.
Hunter Greene, RHP/3B, Notre Dame, Calif. (Pride) -- Outstanding two-way player, future likely on mound with good delivery and outstanding stuff.
Quintin Holmes, OF, Msgr. McClancy, NY (United) -- Plus athlete with outstanding speed and offensive skills to boot.
Brady McConnell, SS, Merritt Island, Fla. (United) -- Impact player at premium position; can stay at SS; coming off solid PG National.
MJ Melendez, C, St. James, Ala. (Stripes) -- Left-handed hitting catcher with outstanding catch and throw skills.
Nick Pratto, 1B/LHP, Huntington Beach, Calif. (Stars) -- Smooth left-handed swing at plate, also has good feel for pitching with three-pitch mix.
Alex Toral, 1B, Archbishop McCarthy, Fla. (Stripes) -- Left-handed hitter who will fit 1B profile with outstanding hit and power tools.
Conner Uselton, OF, Southmoore, Okla. (United) -- Outstanding combination of tools and feel for the game, can impact it on both sides of the ball.
Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.