2006 AFLAC All-American: Stars of tomorrow

The AFLAC All-American hit San Diego this week, showcasing some of the top high school prospects in the nation. Thursday was headlined by a five-inning scrimmage that highlighted talent and deficiency in these baseball stars of tomorrow.

Star of the day:

After flashing a fastball that sat in the 87-90 range, Michael Burgess hit a monster shot over the right field wall off Steven Triolo, a pitcher who isn't on the AFLAC roster but came in to preserve some of the arms. It was the only home run of the scrimmage and left scouts impressed with the Hillsborough High (Tampa, Fl.) prospect. An outfielder when he isn't on the mound, Burgess worked efficiently on the bump, not allowing a run in his inning of work and flashing good command.

First Impressions:

Agoura High School's (Westlake Village, CA) Robert Stock had a difficult time behind the plate on Thursday. Several balls that dipped into the dirt went unclaimed by his mitt and his footwork and release to second and third base left a lot to be desired. Word around the stands is scouts have asserted that he stay behind the plate instead of taking his mid-nineties fastball to the mound. At the plate, Stock has a solid eye and draws considerable power from his 6-foot-1, 190-pound frame.

Freedie Freeman, a first baseman and pitcher out of El Modena High School (Villa Park, CA), is an intriguing player to scouts because of his large frame, 6-foot-4, 215-pounds, and age (16). Born in September, Freeman has displayed a nice stroke and the ability to take inside pitches the other way. He does have a strong commitment to Cal-State Fullerton and it may take a first round selection to sway him into professional baseball.

Brett Krill out of Aliso Niguel High School (Laguna Niguel, CA) is an interesting talent. While he needs some coaching, he has only played baseball for one year and already displays a knack for hitting, to go with some speed down the line.

The fastest man of the day appeared to be outfielder Stephen Brooks out of Seton Hall Prep (Wyckoff, NJ). He hit a grounder to second base that he nearly beat out and generally had the most hustle of anyone on the field.

Catcher/First baseman Danny Rams has the defensive tools that many lacked in Thursday's scrimmage. He made a beautiful pick on a ball that scuffed the dirt at first base and displayed the same skills later in the scrimmage when he was behind the plate. He has a strong arm but was a little off the mark with his throws.

Jon Gilmour, out of City High School (Iowa City, IA), got the starting nod for the West team and wasn't very sharp. The right-hander registered between 85-87 with his fastball and it took him a lot of effort to stay in the strike zone.

Not on the AFLAC rosters but making his name known was De Salle High School's (Concord, CA) Tyler Hess. The right-hander touched 92 with his fastball and showed a nice variance in speed with a changeup that sat between 75-78. He pounded the zone – much like he does in football as a two-sport star. Word is he is being heavily recruited by several universities on the west coast to play football.

The last at bat:

Sequoyah Stonecipher came on to pitch the final inning for the opposing team and debuted his knuckleball. The consensus among those watching was the Mission Bay High School (San Diego, CA) prospect should stick to the outfield, his everyday position.

His appearance on the mound, however, included one of the best moments of the day. Nick Noonan came up to bat and was announced as the final hitter of the day. With Noonan up 3-0 in the count, the first base coach told him, ‘you can't walk. You have to put it in play.'

Noonan flailed miserably at the very next offering, swinging long before the ball reached the plate and drawing laughter from the crowd, much to his chagrin. The classic battle ensued when Stonecipher threw another would-be ball that was way out of the zone but Noonan managed to get a piece of it, fouling it off. The next pitch would have hit Noonan under normal circumstances, but, forced to swing, he pulled it foul. He would go on to foul another pitch off before a ball in the zone beat him, down swinging to end the day of events.

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