Mack Ade – Chris Rivera, Lee Mazilli Jr., NKOTB, Reese McGuire, Hunter Hayes
Tracking baseball prospects does have areas that are pretty predictable. One is looking up a high school senior’s stats from previous years and being impressed with what has been reported to sites like MaxPreps.
I hate high school baseball statistics. I have no idea the quality of opponent these kids have played against.
I’m always reminded of one of my local high schools here in Hardeeville, South Carolina, the Abundant Life Academy. It was a private school that allowed its coach to recruit home schooled travel team veterans in a three county radius, something no public school could do. The result was ALA won the State Championship for, like, six years in a row.
All of this sounds very impressive until you get a look at the lack of quality on the teams they played against. Some had less than 15 total players on their team. Their pitchers threw in the high 70s and there was some years that the vast majority of the games were ended early due to the lopsided scores at the time. Every ALA starter hit well over .300. Pitchers K/9 stats were off the charts. It was a statistic smorgasbord.
So, naturally, I expected to see the same thing when I went to MaxPreps to get Chris Rivera’s stats for this portion of my weekly column. I first looked up his sophomore year:
.359/.490, 28-H, 18-RBI, 21-R
Sounds normal… next came last season:
.194/.283, 18-H, 14-RBI, 19-R, .909-FP
Was I missing something here? This is the guy that Matt Garrioch says is the number one pick overall and The Bleacher Report has at #4.
No one questions Rivera’s ability to play the position. The comparisons quickly go to the likes of Christian Colon, though his speed is slower. The interesting part of his game was the success he had last year as a pitcher, sitting in the 91-92 range.
I had talked to him early this year about his 2012 stats:
Mack – Chris, I want to jump ahead to the 2011-2012 season at El Dorado. Tell us about what went right and what went wrong last season?
Rivera – “Well what went wrong was I didn’t hit the way I wanted to, but did play the defense I knew how to play and I pitched well for my team. As a team, we did a lot of things right, and I couldn’t have been any more proud to be a part of the team.”
I checked back in with him this week to see how the team was preparing for the new season:
“Our first game is March first”, said Rivera. “And were just hitting and doing a lot of defensive things. We’re hitting really well and hitting is one of our strong points.”
I hated all my English teachers always asking me if I was related to Pulitzer Prize writer George Ade. Ade also was Editor-In-Chief of the Chicago Times and Dean of Admissions for years at Purdue University. The football stadium proudly displays his name… Ross-Ade Stadium. I, being ignorant at the time, said yes because my Grandfather was named George Ade and he died in 1944, the same year the famous Ade died. Having never met the man (I was born in 1947), all that would get me was the front row, left seat by the English teacher and the expectations that I would follow in his glorious footsteps. I found out from a relative a few years later (both my parents were long dead) that “my” George Ade worked in a barn on 88th Street in Manhattan.
I’m sure Connecticut’s Lee Mazilli Jr. has his identity stories, but what he does seem to have is the ability to stand up on his own two feet in the batters box. 2012’s Huskies stats speak for themselves: .339/.404/.548, 9-HR, 38-RBI. He developed his game at the famous IMG Academy in Florida.
I asked Mazzilli how he and his team is preparing for those cold games in February:
Our first game is Feb 15th, in Florida, against Purdue.
My teammates and I are doing everything we can to prepare indoors for when we are able to be on the field after game one.
Right now we are hitting in our indoor facilities and practicing in our football indoor complex.
We’re all itching to get out there, but seizing each day and taking it day by day with the limited resources we have up here, is the best way we can prepare. Thanks Mack.
The mock drafts keep coming out and there’s been some new names added to the mix in January. First times include:
Carlos Salazar, RHP, Kerman HS (CA) – FB hits 97, junior stats: 11-1, 1.27, 159K/55BB, 77-1-IP. Raw.
Garrett Williams, LHP, Cavalry Baptist Academy (LA) – low-90s FB – U18 Team USA: 1.26-ERA, 18-K, 16.2-IP
Casey Shane, RHP, Centennial HS (TX) – low 90s with sink – lots of projection due to 6-4, 200 frame.
Trevor Clifton, RHP, Heritage HS (TN) – 6-4, 180 – FB sits in low 90s, 57-K in 33.2-IP. 8-K, 5.1-IP for U16 Team USA.
Aaron Blair, RHP, Marshall – 6-5, 220 – 88-92 FB with sink – Cape Cod League – 8-0, 1.05, 60-K, 21-BB, 51.1-IP.
Corey Littrell, LHP, Kentucky – 6-3 – Cape Cod – 45-K, 11-BB, 32-IP – won Rawlings Gold Glove
Jason Cole – @LoneStarDugout
Big name to see here today is Texas JR closer Corey Knebel. He worked at 94-95, touching 96 in his first inning of work. He’ll go one more.
One inning look of Taylor Jungmann – he sat at 93 mph. Just one inning but looked better than he did at instructs.
Florida Gator’s Jonathon Crawford Honored With USA Baseball International Performance of the Year Award
USA Baseball has named catcher Reese McGuire from Kentwood High in Covington, Wash., its 2012 Dick Case player of the year. McGuire played on USA’s 18-and-under team that defeated Canada to win gold medals at the IBAF 18U World Championship in Seoul, South Korea in September: .400/.522/.514 with four doubles and 11 RBIs over 35 at-bats. He led the team in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage, hits, RBIs and walks.
Hunter Hayes – http://www.prepbaseballreport.com/news/MI/Top-Infielders-at-the-Unsigned-Senior-Showcase-4968312705 – , 1B, Adrian HS- Hayes had one of the best performances at the Unsigned Senior. To start, he ran a 6.85 in the 60 which was much improved since his 7.1 back in the summer. He has added some strength as well. Defensively he picked everything that came his way. He was smooth and showed soft hands coupled with good footwork around the bag. At the plate he is raw still yet but has continued to show improvement with signs of putting it all together. He starts from an upright stance and whips the barrel through the zone. He currently has gap to gap power with the chance to hit for more power as he progresses.