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Updated: Aug 5th, 2010
Area Code Games: Batting Practice Report
By: Blaine Clemmens |

Long Beach, CA - The 2010 Area Code Games kicked off today with the batting practice evaluations for all eight teams, followed by two games.  The teams here all take an extended BP, not the normal showcase 8 or 10 swings and out.  Each player generally gets around 3-4 full rounds of BP, similarily to a MLB pregame routine.  Considering they are using wood bats and are playing in a cavernous ballpark located just off the Pacific Ocean coastline, hitting here at Blair Field in Long Beach (CA) is a challenge, and in some cases, really not a great testiment to the ability of these kids.

I almost would rather see players take BP after all the games are played because there is really only one useful reason for us to see these kids in BP and that is to evaluate their raw power and to estimate their future raw power potential.  Yes, we can see swing types, bat speed, swing plane, swing mechanics, timing, etc, but so much of that changes and is affected by live pitching.  It is a common thing to put a star or check-mark by a kid's name after his BP rounds and then to realize in the games that he just cannot hit, making any raw power pretty much an unusable tool.  After all, with all hitters the primary concern is, "can he hit and is he GOING to hit" and then if the answer to those questions is a yes, we then move onto the power aspect.  If a kid has power and cannot hit, well, who cares?

In any case, when players hit even BP home runs here at Blair Field, scouts generally take notice.  Here are the players I thought showed the most power potential during the BP rounds.  Generally in this list this I am focused on players that are showed at least near average present day (MLB scale) raw power with the future potential for above average raw power:

Chicago White Sox

Johnny Eierman, SS, Warsaw HS (MO) - HR

Jerrick Suiter, RHP, Valparaiso HS (IN)

Derek Starling, OF/RHP, Edgerton HS (KS)

Ty Hensley, C, Santa Fe HS (OK)

 

Cincinnati Reds

Michael Suiter, OF, Punahou HS (HI)

 

Milwauke Brewers (Blue)

Austin Hedges, C, J Serra HS (S CA)

Kyle Raubinger, 3B, Arroyo Grande HS (S CA)

Travis Harrison, OF, Tustin HS (S CA) - clearly the most physical hitter here, in my estimation

Taylor Sparks, 3B, St. John Bosco HS (S CA)

Jacob Anderson, OF, Chino HS (S CA)

 

Milwaukee Brewers (White)

Blake Grant-Parks, C, Yuba City HS (N CA)

Aaron Brown, OF, Chatsworth HS (S CA)

Rouric Bridgewater, 1B, Diamond Ranch HS (S CA)

Chris Keck, MIF, Amador Valley HS (N CA)

Zachary Green, INF, Jesuit HS (N CA) - 2012

Tyler Goeddel, 3B, St. Francis HS (N CA)

Trevor Gretzky, 1B, Oaks Christian HS (S CA) - yes, THAT Gretzky

 

New York Yankees

Matthew Duran, INF, New Rochelle HS (NY)

Rio Ruiz, INF, Bishop Amat HS (S CA)

John Gorman, RHP, Catholic Memorial HS (MA)

Nelson Rodriguez, C, George Washington HS (NY)

Cameron Gallagher, C, Manheim Township HS (PA)

 

Oakland Athletics

Chase Griffin, C/OF, Lee County HS (GA)

Charles Sheffield, RHP/INF, Columbus HS (GA)

 

Texas Rangers

Matthew Dean, 3B, The Colony HS (TX)

Trevor Story, OF, Irving HS (TX)

Chris McFarland, INF, Lufkin HS (TX)

 

Washington Nationals

Michael Conforto, OF, Redmond HS (WA)

Clint Coulter, C, Union HS (WA) - 2012

Trevor Matsui, 1B, Shorewood HS (WA)

Dylan Davis, RHP, Redmond HS (WA)

Certainly there were some hitters I project to have at least average raw power in the future and some other hitters that stood out to me for their swings and potential to hit, but I wanted to keep this list to the players that stood out in BP for the one tool that BP is most useful for in a setting like this, present day raw power.

About Blaine Clemmens
There are few people with the knowledge of baseball on the west coast like Blaine Clemmens has. Blaine has worked as an area scout for the Atlanta Braves in California, was the recruiting coordinator for the University of San Francisco, and was a scout/writer for Team One Baseball and Perfect Game. Blaine serves as the National Scouting Director on the west coast and helps cross-check east coast players.
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