Prepping For the 2006 MLB Draft

With the 2005 MLB Draft only two months ago, and even with several of the top picks from this year's draft that have still yet not signed, gives an early preview of the talent available in the 2006 MLB Draft as the top rising high school seniors descend into Maryland to partake in the AFLAC All-American Classic this week.

The AFLAC All-American Classic, the baseball counterpart to the infamous McDonald's All-American game for the nation's top high school basketball players, is a competition of the top rising high school seniors for the 2005-2006 season, pitting the elite players from the east against the very best of the west.

The top pick in the Major League Baseball Draft the last two seasons were both AFLAC All-Americans, so you know the talent is certainly abound in an exhibition like this.

Justin Upton, the number one selection overall in the 2005 MLB Draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks, was one of five participants in last year's AFLAC All-American Classic to be drafted in the first round of the draft in June. Cameron Maybin (#10 overall pick to the Tigers), Andrew McCutchen (#11 overall pick to the Pirates), Chris Volstad (#16 overall to the Marlins), and C.J. Henry (#17 overall pick to the Yankees) were the other 2005 AFLAC representatives taken in the first round this year.

In 2004, four of the top nine draftees were AFLAC All-Americans. The Padres selected Matt Bush with the first pick, right-handed pitcher Mark Rogers was drafted fifth overall by the Brewers, Homer Bailey went seventh to the Reds, and shortstop Chris Nelson the ninth overall pick two years ago.

The 2005 AFLAC Classic will be played on Saturday, August 13th, at Ripken Stadium in Aberdeen, Maryland - the home of the Aberdeen Ironbirds of the NY-Penn League. The top 38 rising high school seniors arrived in Maryland on Wednesday to begin a stretch of workouts through Friday in front of dozens of scouts and Scouting Directors, representing all Major League Baseball teams.

Each daily workout consists of players showcasing their arm strength, infield defensive drills, and hitting ability in the batting cages as the onlookers of scouts grade out their tools.

Outfielder Cody Johnson of Panama City, Florida, catcher Max Sapp of Windermere, Forida, and right-handed pitchers Dellin Betances of New York and Jeremy Jeffress of South Boston, Virginia, highlight the East Team. LHP/1B Aaron Miller of Channelview, Texas, and right-handed pitcher Jordan Walden of Mansfield, Texas, lead the charge for the West Team. All six players are the finalists for the Jackie Robinson Award as the nation's top player, an award given to Justin Upton in 2004.

Also highlighting this year's crop of top high school talent is shortstop and right-handed pitcher, Kyle Drabek from The Woodlands, Texas. He is the son of former Pirates' ace hurler, Doug Drabek, the 1990 National League Cy Young Award winner.

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