Talent shines at high school showcase
Top prep players turn out for Urban Youth Academy workout
It was colder than usual and damp, with batting practice delayed as a result. But the clouds didn't keep the talent from shining through at the third annual Southern California Invitational showcase, run by the Major League Baseball Scouting Bureau and held at the Urban Youth Academy in Compton, Calif.
By all accounts, it was a pitching-dominated event featuring some of the best high school talent in California. The mound dominance could have been due to the weather or because pitchers are just ahead of hitters at this point, particularly when they are only facing four batters. Here's a look at who the scouts -- there were well over 100 in attendance -- were most impressed with.
Nolan Arenado, C, El Toro HS: Known more as a bat in the past, he's relatively new to catching. He's got a ways to go, but he definitely made an impression with his arm strength from behind the plate.
Matt Davidson, 3B, Yucaipa HS: He didn't do much in the game but did have a respectable BP session, setting the groundwork to being one of the more closely watched high school infielders.
Cameron Garfield, C, Murrieta Valley HS: He's not the kind of player who wowed anyone, but he did everything pretty well. Catchers who are average across the board don't grow on trees, so Garfield should get plenty of attention as the spring wears on.
Brett Gerritse, RHP, Pacifica HS: He's kind of a pop-up guy who really wasn't on the radar until recently. He came on the scene in California winter leagues and it carried over to Sunday. His calling card is a curve ball that some scouts gave a 70 on the scouting scale. That's plus, if you're scoring at home.
Matt Hobgood, RHP, Norco HS: Possibly the best performer at the showcase, his lively fastball reached 93 mph and he showed a plus curve to boot. He threw a third pitch, which some saw as a slider while others thought had split-finger action. Whatever it was, he was extremely sharp and had above-average stuff across the board.
Jacob Marisnick, OF, Riverside HS: Hitters didn't do all that much, but Marisnick was one who was supposed to do well and more or less did so. He put on a good show in batting practice and showed more development than other hitters.
Jiovanni Mier, SS, Bonita HS: While some scouts think his swing will work just fine at the next level, he showed a tendency to be free-swinging. He stood out defensively, however, showing special ability at shortstop. He should be one of the top high school shortstops in the Draft class.
Jonathan Meyer, UTIL, Simi Valley HS: Meyer played all over the field on Sunday. Off the mound, he touched 93 with a breaking ball. He caught and played third base, which some scouts feel is his best position. He's relatively new to both catching and switch-hitting, so it will be interesting to see how he progresses.
Brooks Pounders, RHP, Temecula Valley HS: He may not be the most athletic-looking guy, but he gets it done on the mound and has a smooth delivery. He can throw four pitches for strikes (fastball, changeup, curve and slider), works fast and will ultimately develop plus command. He was only up to 90 mph with his fastball -- scouts like to see a little more velocity -- but command of four pitches might trump that weakness for the time being.
Tyler Skaggs, LHP, Santa Monica HS: Skaggs was up to 92 mph with a quick arm and plus life. He showed a swing-and-miss curve as well. He threw a changeup, but it's a work in progress. However, with a prototypical body type (think young Barry Zito) and two above-average pitches from the left side, he'll definitely be one to watch.
Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.