There was a new addition to the Area Codes Games History poster that hangs on the third base concourse. Mickey Moniak became the 11th Number One overall pick in the Major League Baseball draft to have played in the annual showcase that has become the best event of its kind in the country.
“It’s the best event because the players are selected by scouts independent of the event organizers,” said an MLB cross checker.
As you would expect, the Area Code Games annually host the best baseball prospects in the country, and this year was no exception. While many of the prospects that stood out were industry names, there were a few prospects that somewhat came out of nowhere to make a name for themselves.
Below are my selections for Area Code Games Top 10 pitchers:
- Hunter Greene, RHP, Notre Dame (Sherman Oaks, Calif.): Loose and lean athletic frame, Greene unleashes a fastball up to 98 MPH (he sat 96-98 at Area Code Games) with late life. His swing and miss slider (80-83) is his main secondary and he flashed a firm change at 87-89 with some promise. Greene is one of the younger players in the draft class (just turned 17) and shows huge upside both on the mound and in the field where he is a smooth defender at short with a rifle arm. Greene is committed to UCLA.
- Trevor Rogers, LHP, Carlsbad (N.M.): Relatively unknown in prospect circles until the Area Code Games tryouts, Rogers had a loud first outing working with an explosive fastball at 92-95 and a wipeout slider at 77-79. A young Andrew Miller was one comparison for this projectable lefty who has plenty of room to fill out on his thin frame. He also flashed a 75-77 change that shows promise. Rogers is committed to Texas Tech.
- Kyle Hurt, RHP, Torrey Pines (San Diego): Hurt, a Perfect Game and Under Armour All-American, offers a true three pitch mix including excellent feel for a swing and miss change-up at 82-84 that he throws to both right- and left-handed hitters. The fastball was 91-94 with arm side run and he pounded the bottom of the zone with that offering. His curveball was 75-78 with good shape. Big upside with this big right-hander, more velocity should come as he incorporates his lower half more as he develops. Hurt is committed to Southern California.
- Jordon Adell, RHP, Ballard (Louisville, Ky.): Along with Hunter Greene, Adell is on both pitchers and position players lists as he shows immense upside on both sides of the ball. On the mound, Adell has an athletic delivery that delivers an easy low 90s fastball that has touched mid 90s in other outings. Adell’s slider is a true swing and miss weapon at 79-83. Adell is committed to Louisville.
- Hans Crouse, RHP, Dana Hills (Dana Point, Calif.): Hans has been highly-touted going back a few years when he was working low 90s and touching 94 as a sophomore in high school. His delivery has often changed, but the power arsenal has always been there and he showed a new delivery with better balance. Scouts have seen the 97 mph fastball in his arsenal, in this outing he worked 91-94 touching 95, and he struck out 4 with the fastball in his 3 innings of work. His main secondary was a 73-75 mph curveball that he shows some feel for and he also worked in a few changeups at 79-81. Crouse draws some Mark Fidrych comparisons with his demeanor on the mound, and at times he’ll mix in a little Johnny Cueto shimmy into his delivery. Crouse is committed to Southern California.
- Shane Baz, RHP, Concordia Lutheran (Tomball, Texas): With top pitching prospects, you’re looking for top-end ingredients, and that’s what Baz flashed at the Area Code Games. The 6’3” Texan got a little too cute at times with pitch selection, but that’s because he has a pretty deep arsenal. Baz ran his fastball up to 94 with occasional late cutting action that should be the anchor of his repertoire. He mixed in a lot of cut fastballs in the upper 80s that will need more consistency to be a true weapon. Baz has a swing and miss slider in the low 80s and a firm change at 84-86. He is committed to TCU.
- Nick Storz, RHP, Poly Prep (Brooklyn): Arguably the most physical of pitchers in attendance at the Area Code Games at an imposing 6’4, 245 pounds, Storz has an intimidating presence on the mound. The RHP pounds the zone with a heavy fastball up to 94 MPH and threw a breaking ball at 75-80 that got plenty of swing and misses and produced four strikeouts in his three innings of work. Storz also has some of the biggest power in the class, and was one of two amateurs that qualified for MLB’s Home Run Derby. Storz is committed to LSU.
- Alex Scherff, RHP, Prestonwood Academy (Plano, Texas): Scherff is an athletic pitcher with a great frame. Scherff featured a fastball that sat primarily 92-95 in this outing. His top secondary pitch was a changeup 81-85 with very good sink and fade. His curve ball was 73-77 and had more depth at higher velocities.
- Jeremiah Estrada, RHP, Palm Desert (Calif.): Estrada has one of the prettiest and easiest deliveries in the class, which adds to his deception as he unleashed a fastball at 91-94 MPH. The UCLA commit featured a swing-and-miss changeup that he threw to both right- and left-handed hitters with excellent tumble and fade. Estrada generally has a four-pitch mix with both a curve ball and slider, but he used the slider piece more in this outing and he showed good feel for the pitch that had late action at 78-79.
- Sam Carlson, RHP, Burnsville (Minn.): Standing at 6-4, 195 pounds, Carlson has a prototype frame scouts love to see in a high school arm. Carlson has good feel for pitching and a loose arm that should produce more velocity down the road. He worked his fastball primarily 90-92 with good action. Carlson also has good feel for a change at 80-83 and a breaking ball 76-78.