Top team, 2014 Draft prospects from WWBA showcase
JUPITER, Fla. -- Scouts, college recruiters and agents at Perfect Game's annual World Wood Bat Association World Championship focus on finding talent for the future. For the roughly 1,700 players on the 85 teams who attended the biggest and last event on the high school showcase season, the goal was to win the tournament.
The Evoshield Canes rode a deep pitching staff to this year's championship. The Canes opened the tournament with three straight shutouts and allowed just nine runs (six earned) while going 7-0-1. In the final, played at Roger Dean Stadium on Monday, Evoshield outlasted the Florida Burn, 4-3.
Left-hander Ryan Avidano (Starrs Mill High, Fayetteville, Ga./committed to Georgia) earned the victory and the tournament's Most Valuable Pitcher Award. He started and pitched four scoreless innings with seven strikeouts.
Outfielder D.J. Burt (Fuquay-Varina, N.C., High/South Carolina) keyed the Canes' attack with three hits and an RBI. Shortstop Hunter Lee (Winter Park, Fla., High/High Point) rallied the Burn with a two-run double in the bottom of the seventh but ended the game stranded on third base.
Reds Midwest Scout Team catcher Evan Skoug (Libertyville, Ill., High/Texas Christian) won tournament Most Valuable Player honors. He went 7-for-11 with a double, a homer, six RBIs and eight walks, leading Reds Midwest to six straight wins before it fell to the Burn in the semifinals.
The 15 previous WWBA World Championships have sent 348 players to the Major Leagues, including Clayton Kershaw, Andrew McCutchen and Mike Trout. Below is a list of the top 10 2014 Draft prospects from this year's event, based on their overall talent and not just their performance at the tournament:
1. Alex Jackson, C, Cardinals Scout Team/FTB Chandler (Rancho Bernardo High, San Diego/Oregon)
Plus right-handed power and arm strength are his two best tools; no reason he can't stay behind the plate.
2. Jacob Gatewood, SS, Toronto Blue Jays Scout Team (Clovis, Calif., HS/Southern California)
6-foot-5, 190-pound athlete can put on a show in batting practice, needs more consistent game production.
3. Touki Toussaint, RHP, Atlanta Blue Jays (Coral Springs, Fla., Christian High/uncommitted)
Possesses electric fastball/curveball combination, but still learning how to harness his pitches.
4. Nick Gordon, SS/RHP, Cardinals Scout Team/FTB Chandler (Olympia High, Orlando, Fla./Florida State)
Son of former All-Star Tom offers defensive ability, above-average speed and a low-90s fastball.
5. Kodi Medeiros, LHP, Ohio Warhawks (Waiakea High, Hilo, Hawaii/Pepperdine)
Compact lefty has outstanding movement on his pitches, has hit 95 mph with his fastball.
6. Sean Reid-Foley, RHP, Cardinals Scout Team/FTB Chandler (Sandalwood High, Jacksonville, Fla./Florida State)
Inconsistent but has shown a quality fastball, breaking ball and command at different times during the summer.
7. Scott Blewett, RHP, Syracuse Sports Zone (Baker High, Baldwinsville, N.Y./St. John's)
Looks like a big leaguer at 6-foot-6, 210 pounds and already can reach 96 mph with riding life on his fastball.
8. Grant Holmes, RHP, Evoshield Canes (Conway, S.C., High/Florida)
Averaged 92 mph and reached 97 with his fastball in Jupiter, showing nice life and control with the pitch.
9. Braxton Davidson, OF, Dirtbags (Roberson High, Asheville, N.C.)
Packs a lot of left-handed power in his 6-foot-3, 220-pound frame; pitchers rarely challenged him in Jupiter.
10. Alex Verdugo, OF/LHP, Texas Scout Team Yankees (Sahuaro High, Tucson, Ariz.)
Scouts are split on his future because he has a sweet left-handed swing and a strong arm.