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Updated: Aug 15th, 2010
Live Blog: Aflac All-American Game Home Run Derby
By: Blaine Clemmens |

San Diego - 1:20 pm PT - Fans/families/scouts all filing into this beautiful ballpark.  Being that the first MLB ballpark I was ever in was Wrigley Field when I was nine years old and now I live in the Bay Area where there is a jewel called AT&T Park, it is hard to imagine any other ballpark measuring up.  However, Petco Park is beautiful, the playing surface is spectacular, it still has that new sheen to it and wow, it is big, in all respects.  The third deck is WAY high and towers over the field.  There is a city park out beyound centerfield and it looks to me as though those bleacher seats out there are free and open access.
 
There is the SD logo behind homeplate and currently they are setting up for the Home Run Derby.  It is 336' down the left field line, 357' about 60' off the left field line and it jets all the way out to 401' in the deep recesses of left-centerfield.  There is a breeze swirling around but down at field level it is basically calm.  They say that Petco Park plays pretty fairly for right-handed hitters and I would imagine that all four players that will take part in the derby are going to hit from the right side.
 
From what I saw the other day, I am going to pick Christian Lopes to win the HR derby, because he has the most "calm" about him in a moment like this.  Travis Harrison has the most raw power to reach these seats, seats that even the big leaguers don't reach all that often.  I have just seen too many 6-hole ground balls from Harrison lately to believe in him for today.
 
The players are milling around out in front of the 3rd base dugout, from both teams.  What a moment it has to be for these kids.
 
Back later with updates during the HR derby, which is 15 minutes away from starting.

4:00 pm PT -

The first hitter is Josh Tobias from the East team.  Tobias is a switch-hitting middle infielder, not your typical home run hitter.  He reminds me of Ray Durham with the thunder he has in a strong and compact frame that is listed at 5'10" but just might not be.
 
There are kids running around the outfield chasing the "outs"... Tobias JUST MISSED a homer on his fourth swing... it fell inches from the wall in straight-away left field and he had that look that big leaguers have when they hit a ball on the screws but it doesn't go out... his eighth swing was a BOMB but he hit it to the base of the wall at the 401' mark.  That ball was CRUNCHED and was a homer in likely any other park in America.  Oh well... no homers for Tobias, now Francisco Lindor will take his shot.  Lindor is another switch-hitting middle infielder that does not exactly bring Troy Tulowitzki to mind, in terms of power potential.
 
Lindor smoked one 372' for a homer on his second swing!  He went right over the 357' mark toward the left field line.  That is the right place for these hitters to shoot for.  On his tenth swing Lindor hit another homer, this time to straight away left field, where Tobias had one fall short.  His very next two swings resulted in balls hit WAY out of here, both into the seats that are attached to the Western Metal Supply Co. building down the left field line.  The fourth homer was hit into the second level of those seats, a shot that Vlad Guerrero would be proud of.  Wow, can't say that I was expecting this type of power display from the 5'11" 175 lb. Lindor.  Awesome.
 
Next up is Travis Harrison, far and away the hitter with the most raw power among these four participants.  We shall see how it plays out in actual competition... four swings, four outs so far and nothing close yet for Harrison.. bloop into centerfield, five outs... line drive down the line, eight outs... he is now asking for the ball to be thrown on the outer half... he got it and smoked a ball on a line into left field that would have been a double but in this competition, it was his ninth out... Harrison just drew huge cheers with his 10th swing... he hit the TOP of the Western Metal Supply Co. building!  Wow, estimate at 412'... impressive to say the least, and proving his raw power... last swing, fly ball into centerfield.  One homer for Harrison, now Lopes will take his shot.
 
Two swings in for Lopes and two outs... swing #3 is a homer, straight down the left field line... Lopes is the third middle infielder in this competition, but at least I can make a fair comparison to Blue Jays SS Yunel Escobar in terms of Lopes and his power potential... line drive into left field... four outs... two homers for Lopes as he goes 365' to left field, over the Wells Fargo sign... six out and two homers, he trails Lindor by one... wow, he just hit the bottom of the left field wall, but it only counts as an out... another warning track shot for his ninth out... good showing so far, but needs one more homer to force a playoff with Lindor... didn't get it.  Two homers for Lopes and a few near misses.
 
Francisco Lindor, from Montverde Academy and Clermont, Florida, your 2010 Aflac All-American Classic Home Run Derby champion.

4:35 pm PT -Here are the starting lineups:

EAST

1. Josh Tobias                          2B

2. Francisco Lindor                  SS

3. Javier Baez                           3B

4. Larry Greene                        RF

5. Tyler Marlette                       C

6. Cameron Gallagher               1B

7. Jake Cave                            CF

8. Austin Slater                        DH

9. Sean Trent                            LF

SP Daniel Norris (LHP)

 

WEST

1. Phillip Evans                         SS

2. Billy Flamion                        RF

3. Blake Swihart                       DH

4. Travis Harrison                     LF

5. Christian Lopes                    2B

6. Matthew Dean                     3B

7. Shawon Dunston, Jr.            CF

8. Daniel Camarena                  1B

9. Austin Hedges                      C

SP Robert Stephenson (RHP)

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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