CHICAGO -- Friday afternoon's Cubs-Cardinals game included nine former first-round picks on the two rosters. The nightcap may feature even more future first-rounders.Wrigley Field will host the Under Armour All-America Game for the 11th straight year. One of two major all-star games on the summer showcase circuit, it will showcase
CHICAGO -- Friday afternoon's Cubs-Cardinals game included nine former first-round picks on the two rosters. The nightcap may feature even more future first-rounders.
Wrigley Field will host the Under Armour All-America Game for the 11th straight year. One of two major all-star games on the summer showcase circuit, it will showcase 40 top high school prospects. MLB.com will stream the event live at 8:30 p.m. ET on Friday, while MLB Network will air a two-hour condensed version at 8 p.m. ET on Sunday
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The 2017 game included 13 players selected in the first round a year later: outfielders Jarred Kelenic (No. 6 overall, Mets), Connor Scott (No. 13, Marlins) and Jordyn Adams (No. 17, Angels); left-handers Ryan Weathers (No. 7, Padres) and Matt Liberatore (No. 16, Rays); third basemen Jordan Groshans (No. 12, Blue Jays), Nolan Gorman (No. 19, Cardinals) and Triston Casas (No. 26, Red Sox); right-handers Cole Winn (No. 15, Rangers), Mason Denaburg (No. 27, Nationals), J.T. Ginn (No. 30, Dodgers, did not sign) and Ethan Hankins (No. 35, Indians); and catcher Bo Naylor (No. 29, Indians). Outfielders Kyler Murray (No. 9, Athletics) and Seth Beer (No. 28, Astros) went from the 2014 Under Armour Game to 2018's first round -- Beer also played in 2015 -- bringing the event's all-time total to 98 first-rounders.
Liberatore earned MVP honors a year ago, tossing three scoreless innings and striking out five of the 10 batters he faced to earn a 2-1 victory. Adams drove in Kelenic with the winning run in the top of the 11th.
The biggest name this summer is Colleyville (Texas) Heritage High shortstop Bobby Witt Jr., a leading contender to go No. 1 overall in the 2018 Draft. The son of longtime big league pitcher Bobby Witt, he won the High School Home Run Derby Monday night in Washington, D.C. as part of the All-Star Game festivities. He was one of two underclassmen to play in the 2017 UA Game, going 0-for-2 as his American team won 2-1 in an 11-inning thriller.
"It was just unbelievable being around the guys and seeing those guys get drafted and their dream becoming true," Witt said. "It's really been an honor to be back here and participate in another Baseball Factory event. ... I've always watched the game, seen all the dudes in the past get drafted and perform in college. All the alumni who've done this, it's amazing."
All of the consensus best high school prospects are in Chicago. Besides Witt, the top position players are Blessed Trinity Catholic High (Roswell, Ga.) shortstop C.J. Abrams, Providence School (Jacksonville, Fla.) shortstop Tyler Callihan, Jackson (Miss.) Prep outfielder Jerrion Ealy, Trinity Catholic High (Ocala, Fla.) outfielder Jud Fabian, Hagerty High (Oviedo, Fla.) outfielder Riley Greene and Niceville (Fla.) High shortstop Rece Hinds. The most powerful hitter in the 2018 prep class, Hinds finished second to Witt at the High School Home Run Derby and easily won the B45 Home Run Derby after Thursday's Under Armour workout, beating Callihan in the finals.
Pitching standouts include The Bolles School (Jacksonville, Fla.) left-hander Hunter Barco, Bulloch Academy (Statesboro, Ga.) right-hander Daniel Espino, IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) righty Brennan Malone, Cary-Grove High (Cary, Ill.) righty Quinn Priester, Midway High (Waco, Texas) righty Will Rigney and Cypress (Texas) Ranch High righty Matthew Thompson. Lakeside High (Atlanta) righty Will Childers has a father (Matt) and uncle (Jason) who pitched in the big leagues, while Delbarton School (Morristown, N.J.) righty Jack Leiter tops that with a dad (Al), uncle (Mark) and cousin (Mark) who took the mound in the Majors.
Thirty-eight of the players are eligible for the 2018 Draft. The two exceptions are rising junior right-handers, La Mirada (Calif.) High's Jared Jones and Monsignor Pace High's (Miami Gardens, Fla.) Victor Mederos.
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), Lewis Brinson (2011), Jose Berrios (2011), Clint Frazier (2012), Austin Meadows (2012) and Alex Verdugo (2013). Six of the seven best American prospects on MLB Pipeline's Top 100 list are Under Armour alumni: Rockies shortstop Brendan Rodgers (2014), Blue Jays shortstop Bo Bichette (2015), Astros outfielder Kyle Tucker (2014), Astros right-hander Forrest Whitley (2015), White Sox righty Michael Kopech (2013) and Twins shortstop Royce Lewis (2016).
Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. Listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.