East Coast Pro: Day 1 Notebook
August 2, 2016
TAMPA, FL—The 2016 East Coast Professional Showcase kicked off Monday morning at the spring training home of the New York Yankees. In its second year at George M. Steinbrenner Field, the latest edition got off to a better start than 2015, when thunderstorms wreaked havoc on the schedule. While the heat index easily broke triple digits, the skies were clear all day and there were no major delays.
If you’re not familiar, East Coast Pro is an event organized by scouts. There are six teams representing regions up the entire Eastern seaboard and to the Midwest. Usually the cutoff point is Louisiana and Arkansas, but OF Jake Randa (Shawnee Mission East HS, KS) is here representing Kansas. The six teams and their states are: Indians (MD, NC, SC, VA), Orioles (GA, FL from Orlando north), Rays (FL from Orlando south and Puerto Rico), Rangers (CT, DE, MA, ME, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, VT), Royals (IN, KY, MI, OH, TN, WV, Western PA) and Marlins (AL, AR, FL Panhandle, LA, MS).
Monday started with each team running the 60-yard dash and taking batting practice. That was followed by three games with a pro-style infield/outfield workout beforehand. To give hitters a chance to put the ball in play, courtesy runners are inserted after walks or hit by pitches with the batter standing in with a fresh count. Because of that, box scores aren’t exactly accurate.
Here are some highlights from Monday’s action…
+ The first game was between the Royals and Rays with LHP Logan Allen (University HS, FL) and RHP Ben Jordan (West Carter HS, KY) going head-to-head. Allen’s outing was uncharacteristic as he struggled to throw strikes early. He walked three batters in his first two innings of work, but didn’t allow a hit and induced a double play to escape the first jam. By the third inning, he found his groove and struck out the side. He pitched mostly in the high 80s and worked quickly, mixing a slurvy breaking ball at 75-77 mph and changeup at 79-80. Jordan was also down from previous appearances, with his fastball ranging from 85-88. He was wild too and allowed four runs on two hits, two walks and two hit batters. He struck out two.
+ RHP Jeff Criswell (Portage Central HS, MI) relieved Jordan and logged three innings. He started out sitting 89-92 with his fastball, but settled into the high 80s after the first. He pitches with a high leg kick and has a short stroke in the back. His arm is quick and he pitches with medium effort through a high-3/4 slot. He featured a slider at 77-79, but showed a curveball with more depth and sharpness at 72-74. He also mixed in a changeup at 78. In three innings, he allowed three runs on two hits and three walks. He struck out three.