As summer winds down, one of the biggest showcases for the 2007 draft will take place this Saturday in San Diego, as 38 of the top high school seniors in the country will get together for the Aflac All-American High School Baseball Classic.
One name that Tigers fans should keep an eye one is Brother Rice's D.J. LeMahieu, who has had great showings at Perfect Game's National Showcase, and is also performing at this week's Area Code Games. The former Tigers bat boy projects as a potential five-tool shortstop down the line, and has a very projectable frame at 6-foot-4 and 185 pounds.
If LeMahieu continues to excel, he certainly would be an interesting candidate for the Tigers, should they not surrender their first-round pick in free agency.
Leading the '07 prep class is Florida's Michael Main, who has seen his fastball clocked at 98 this summer, and California's Robert Stock, whom scouts will have to make a very difficult choice on as to whether he will pitch (his fastball hit 95 at age 15), or keep him at catcher, where his power bat and tools fit nicely.
Some other power arms to watch are California's Neil Ramirez, Washington's Greg Peavey, and Connecticut's Matt Harvey, who can all reach 95, while Utah' s Tanner Robles and North Carolina's Madison Bumgarner reach 95 from the left side, and project to throw harder.
There wasn't much to write home about with last year's position players, but that should change next year with shortstop Justin Jackson, a former teammate of Cameron Maybin in North Carolina, who offers great tools at a premium position. Florida's Michael Burgess and Georgia's Jason Heyward are both outfielders who are loaded with tools, and Florida's John Tolisano is a shortstop with a power bat from both sides of the plate.
This is just a little sampling of what looks to be a very solid draft class for next year. Fox Sports Net will air the game at 3 p.m. Eastern on Saturday.
After signing Aaron Fuhrman two weeks ago, and making a run at Chad Nading, the Tigers may have one more draftee they may take a run at. Casey Weathers (25) has strongly indicated that he wants to return to Vanderbilt for his senior and not be a "one-year rental" according to Vandy coach Tim Corbin. However, after going 1-0 with a 0.84 ERA and eight saves in 16 appearances for Anchorage in the Alaskan League, it would be very surprising if the Tigers didn't make a run at the right-hander, who was also added to Team USA's roster after his sizzling summer, which saw Weathers' fastball climb into the 94-97 range with a slider that was clocked in the 83-86 range.
One player the Tigers will not make an offer to is left-hander Kevin Chapman (43), who had a tough spring and saw his velocity dip into the high-80's after reaching 93 in the fall. Chapman is headed to Florida, where he could develop into a premium pick in 2009.