The Under Armour Game is this Saturday at 6:05 PM central time. As always, it will be held at Wrigley Field and, just like always, I will be there. The game will also be televised on the MLB Network.
There has been some great players pass through this game, including 3 Cubs prospects. 2010 featured Addison Russell while last year featured overslot draft RHP Dylan Cease and LHP Carson Sands.
It's a fun way to get a sneak peak at tomorrow's draft picks and prospects.
Tickets and Meet up
UPDATE: We will meet up at Mullen's before the game, It's located at 3527 N Clark St. the HR Derby is at 4 PM, so I will be there around 2:00 PM. If you have tickets, please come before 3:30 pm to pick them up.
I've given away all of my tickets, though I have saved some for those of you who will be picking them up in person before the game. We will be meeting up at a place still to be determined. Trying to get somewhere close and not too loud. And that has good beer. Suggestions are welcome. There are tentative plans to stop at the Red Lion afterwards, because well, they have good scotch.
The Roster and some quick notes
Here are some of the players and I got a chance to ask around and do some research I try to get ready for another big Cubs draft. I have to say that every year I feel better prepared. The more I ask, the more I learn -- not just about these players but also what to look for when I am at the game.
Luken Baker, RHP, TX
In what is a common theme throughout this preview (and really, all the time), Baker is a big, strong Texan who throws hard. Already sits low 90s and can touch a few ticks higher, but he is raw in other phases of the game. Shows potential for average secondaries and command, but will need development.
Seth Beer, LF-RF, GA
Whenever you see a top high school prospect who profiles in a corner, you can be pretty sure that his best tool is his bat and that he has some power. That is the case with Beer, who has a knack for both making contact and going deep.
Chris Betts, C, CA
Left-handed hitting catchers are always a nice commodity. Betts is a good hitter, bat stays in zone, so he should hit for average. He has some raw power. Solid but not great arm, has a decent chance to stick at catcher.
Hunter Bowling, LHP, FL
Tall pitcher who throws with good velo (90-94) with good plane, as he is 6'7". He doesn't have much else right now except in flashes, such as his slider, but when you get that kind of size and velo from a lefty, that's about as good a starting kit as you can ask for.
Beau Burrows, RHP, TX
Another Texas flame-thrower, Burrows may have the best velo of any of the Texans this year. Can hit 96 and has an very athletic and projectable frame. His change-up may be slightly ahead of his breaking ball so far, which is uncommon among high schoolers, though both of those secondaries show above average potential. A bit of a late riser, there is a lot to work with here.
Daz Cameron, OF, GA
Worth the trip all by himself. Superstar potential. Athletic with the best bat speed in this class, he also has the knack for squaring up and making consistent hard contact. True 5 tool player and it will be a matter of making the best out of them and becoming a better player than his dad, Mike, who was also a 5 tool talent. Could be the #1 pick but that may depend on organizational philosophy.
Wyatt Cross, C, CO
Great chance to stick at catcher. Advanced defense, strong arm. Hit tool will ultimately determine draft status. Potential there but known more for his work behind the plate right now.
Kody Clemens, MIF, TX
Another Clemens kid making the rounds. This one is a middle infielder, so no worries about living up to dad's standard here. Kody is 6'1", 175 and shows a line drive swing, good athlete, some power. May end up at 2B.
Justin Cohen, C, FL
Athletic catcher with good receiving skills and a solid arm. Bat needs development and he profiles more as a guy who makes line drive contact than a guy who will hit for power.
Devin Davis, 1B/OF, CA
The fact that he may end up at 1B tells you this is a guy who isn't around for his defense. Good hitter with power potential.
Kyle Dean, OF, CA
An average tools across the board type. Can do a little bit of everything but doesn't really stand out it in any one area at this point.
Gray Fenter, RHP, AR
Quick twitched and good arm speed generate velocity which he throws with some plane, will probably generate more ground balls than strikeouts. Strong build, looks to me like a potential eating inning, sinker/slider mid-rotation type
Mitchell Hansen, OF, TX
Another athlete with good tools across the board. Also a talented WR, so you can guess that he can run, but he is different than the Cubs former WR Matt Szczur, as Hansen also shows the ability to hit for power, especially as he fills out.
Ke'Bryan Hayes 3B/1B TX
Solidly built player with a knack for making contact. Good hitter, good arm at 3B, and there is power potential you like at that spot.
Starling Heredia, OF, DR
Unfortunately I don't have any solid contacts in the Dominican Republic, so can't tell you about this player
Juan Hillman, LHP, FL
Athletic, good arm speed, knows how to pitch. Just 17 and only 175 lbs on his 6'2" frame so plenty of room for growth here.
Bryan Hoeing, RHP, IN
Throws 88-92 with good movement. Good secondaries, especially the curve and shows potential for a change. All-around pitcher with pitchability and good control. And at 6'6" he has natural plane while his 195 lbs frame could grow and get stronger.
Justin Hooper, LHP, CA
An athletic 6'6" pitcher that oozes projection and has already hit as high as 94, some say even a couple ticks higher Left-handers like this tend to go early and Hooper has a shot at being a top 5 pick right now.
Ryan Johnson, LF-RF, TX
Generates good bat speed from a fluid LH swing that should work well for average with enough natural loft to hit for power as well. He adds an advanced approach and the ability to make consistent contact. He may wind up in LF but he has the bat to carry the position.
Alonzo Jones, 2B-SS-CF, GA
Switch-hitting, athletic, speed merchant who has as yet an undetermined position though his size and athleticism make him a middle of the field type player.
Cole McKay, RHP, TX
A big kid with some athleticism and a strong build. Good arm speed, generates low 90s velo, touches 94. Could be a good all-around pitcher as both of his secondaries (curve, change) flash plus potential and he has the body type to eat up innings.
Anthony Molina, RHP, FL
A preview for 2016 as Molina will be a junior next year. Projectable, yet can already sit low 90s and some reports have him hitting 96. CB has potential. At this rate he could go a the top of the '16 draft, though that has never happened for H.S. RHPs.
Kyle Molnar, RHP, CA
Athletic, projectable pitcher with a high 80s/low 90s FB and a good feel for a slider.
Ryan Mountcastle, 3B, FL
Tall, lean player who projects as a power hitting 3B at the next level. Has the soft hand and arm strength to handle the position.
Josh Naylor, 1B, ONT, Can.
Canadian player with a big body who is already relegated to 1B, so you can guess why he is here. He can hit and hit for power, which he generates more with strength than pure bat speed -- though he does have solid bat speed as well. Cubs fans will be tempted to compare him to Dan Vogelbach, though he is built closer to the current, slimmer Vogelbach than the one that came out of high school
Mike Nikorak, RHP, PA
Outstanding athlete (high school QB) with great size (6'5") and all kinds of projectability. Already flashes mid 90s fastball with good movement and potential for plus curve.
Cal Raleigh, C, NC
Coach's son and a good athlete who is relatively new to catching. Has average skills for the position which hopefully play up because his advanced knowledge of the game. Has the athleticism to move if he needs to but bat may profile best behind the plate.
Franklin Reyes, OF, DR
Another Dominican player but some information from Baseball America, who says that if he were draft eligible, Reyes, who is huge for his age of 15 (6'4, 190 lbs) would already have some of the best raw power in the MLB draft.
Austin Riley, RHP/IF MS
Two way player who has a high 80s/low 90s FB that can touch 93. Big, athletic kid at 6'3", 225 lbs who also has potential as a power hitting 3B.
Brendan Rogers, SS, FL
The consensus best high school position player prospect after Daz Cameron. Considered a 5 tool talent by one scout I talked to, though maybe not quite as "loud" as Cameron when it comes to those tools. He adds value in that he has a great chance to stick at SS. Smooth athlete, flows through the ball like you like to see from a SS and one scout told me he has the best chance to stick there of any player in this coming draft. He also called him a 5 tool talent. Potential top 5 pick.
Ashe Russell, RHP, IN
Another fast riser. His name came up with more than one person I spoke with. He has size and projection (6'4", 195) -- and already is hitting 92-94 with some regularity. His FB has been tough to pick up so far because of his delivery and arm slot. The FB also has good movement. As for his secondaries, one scout said, "He has decent grip strength where the break should improve, good rotation that should improve to slightly above average, two pitch guy now. He may have a change-up, but I have not seen it yet" Well, with that kind of FB and a potentially above average breaking ball, who needs a change-up at this level?
Cole Sands, RHP, FL
The brother of Cubs 4th round pick Carson Sands, Similar but more of a quick twitch athlete. His arm speed is better and he has the potential to throw harder. Right now Sands can reach as high as 93 though like many young pitchers, his velo varies from the high 80s to low 90s. Like his brother, his command and the rest of his reperotire project to be at least average, but his older brother is ahead in these areas right now. One scout I know likes him more but another says they're just different, Cole may throw hard but Carson may have the better mix all around.
Sati Santa Cruz, RHP, AZ
Big framed pitcher who hits lower 90s with little effort and potential to throw harder. Also throws slider (high 70s) and a curve (low 70s). Arm action is a bit long for me and I wonder if he might be easy for hitters to pick up.
Nicholas Shumpert, SS/2B, CO
If the name sounds familiar, yes it is Terry's son. He is a good defender, that is probably his standout tool, He is athletic and should stick in the middle infield, though 2B is more likely. Having some struggles at the plate but they are mechanical and fixable. Also may have tried to add too much power too soon. Could hit some but not for big power, should settle in more as a line drive type.
Thomas Szapucki, LHP, FL
Some raw arm strength but needs to develop control and secondaries. More of a projection type pick at this point but lefties with arm strength tend to go on the first day.
LT Tolbert, SS, FL
Athletic player with instincts but not a ton of experience. Shows good defense and a nice LH stroke, but he is more projection than anything right now.
Kyle Tucker, OF, FL
One of the best high school hitters in this draft with the rest of the tools being solid average -- defense is key because if he can stick at CF, he will profile best there given his average power potential, though there are some that think he will develop above average power as well.
Corey Zangari, RHP, OK
Ok, he is not a big Texas flame-thrower but he is close geographically, come from the state to the north. Zangari has a strong 6'4" frame pitches often in the mid 90s, touching 97. That is about all he has right now so there is work to be done, though he shows potential for a good breaking pitch. Not as well-known as some of the others on this list.
Filed under: Under Armour All-American Game