The Cubs aren't the only assemblage of young talent that annually plays at Wrigley Field.For the 10th straight year, the Friendly Confines will host the Under Armour All-America Game. One of the top events on the summer showcase circuit, the game will feature 40 top high school prospects. The event
The Cubs aren't the only assemblage of young talent that annually plays at Wrigley Field.
For the 10th straight year, the Friendly Confines will host the Under Armour All-America Game. One of the top events on the summer showcase circuit, the game will feature 40 top high school prospects. The event will air live on MLB.com at 8 p.m. ET tonight, with MLB Network broadcasting a two-hour condensed version at 8 p.m. ET on Aug. 6.
• Watch live: 8 p.m. ET on MLB.com
If you want to get a glimpse of the next wave of stars, start here: More than two dozen players have gone from the Under Armour Game to the big leagues, including Scooter Gennett (2008), Jameson Taillon (2009), Nicholas Castellanos (2009), Lance McCullers (2010), Addison Russell (2010), Jose Berrios (2011) and Clint Frazier (2012).
And more are on the way, as six of the 10 best American prospects on MLBPipeline.com's new Top 100 Prospects list are Under Armour alumni: Rockies shortstop Brendan Rodgers (2014), Astros outfielder Kyle Tucker (2014), White Sox right-hander Michael Kopech (2013), Brewers outfielder Lewis Brinson (2011), Pirates outfielder Austin Meadows (2012) and Reds 2017 first-round pick Hunter Greene (2016).
Last year's game included seven players who would become first-round selections in the 2017 Draft, highlighted by the top two picks in shortstop Royce Lewis (No. 1 overall, Twins) and Greene (No. 2, Reds). The others: outfielder Jo Adell (No. 10, Angels), righty Shane Baz (No. 12, Pirates), first baseman Nick Pratto (No. 14, Royals), outfielder Heliot Ramos (No. 19, Giants) and left-hander D.L. Hall (No. 21, Orioles).
Ramos was the brightest star at Wrigley a year ago, going 3-for-3 with a homer and four RBIs to lead the National team to a 5-4 win over the American squad in seven innings. Greene matched an Under Armour Game record by hitting 98 mph with his fastball.
This year's rosters are just as loaded and should add to the total of 83 Under Armour participants who have become first-round choices. Of the 12 best high school prospects for the 2018 Draft, 10 will be at Wrigley (the other two had conflicts that prevented them from attending):
1. Brice Turang, SS, Santiago HS (Corona, Calif.)
2. Kumar Rocker, RHP, North Oconee HS (Bogart, Ga.)
3. Ethan Hankins, RHP, Forsyth Central HS (Cumming, Ga.)
4. Jarred Kelenic, OF, Waukesha (Wis.) West HS
5. Will Banfield, C, Brookwood HS (Snellville, Ga.)
6. Luke Bartnicki, LHP, Walton HS (Marietta, Ga.)
7. Nander de Sedas, SS, Montverde (Fla.) Academy
- Slade Cecconi, RHP, Trinity Prep HS (Winter Park, Fla.)
9. J.T. Ginn, RHP, Brandon (Miss.) HS
10. Mason Denaburg, RHP/C, Merritt Island (Fla.) HS
11. Elijah Cabell, OF, TNXL Academy (Longwood, Fla.)
12. Joe Gray Jr., OF, Hattiesburg (Miss.) HS
(Bold indicates 2017 Under Armour Game participant)
Georgia is well represented with four of the five best prospects on hand, including the top pitchers in Rocker and Hankins. Rocker has better pure stuff with a fastball that reaches 98 mph and a hard slider, while Hankins sits at 92-95 mph with more polish and more projection remaining. The best position prospect is Kelenic, one of the best hitters in the 2018 class and also a potential five-tool talent.
Thirty-eight of the players are eligible for the 2018 Draft, and the top two prospects for 2019 will also be on display in Colleyville (Texas) Heritage High shortstop/right-hander Bobby Witt Jr. and Niceville (Fla.) High shortstop Rece Hinds. The son of Bobby Witt, who won 142 games in a 16-year Major League career, Witt is one of three players whose fathers pitched in the big leagues. The others are Severna Park (Md.) High first baseman Kody Milton (son of Eric) and Loretto (Tenn.) High left-hander Ryan Weathers (son of David).
Both Canadians in the game have athletic connections as well. St. Joan of Arc Secondary School (Mississauga, Ont.) catcher Noah Naylor, who was the runner-up in the High School Home Run Derby at the All-Star Game, is the younger brother of Marlins 2015 first-rounder and current Padres farmhand Josh Naylor. Everest Academy (Toronto) outfielder Denzel Clarke's mother Donna is a former Olympic heptathlete.
Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. Listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.