By: Austin Alexander - January 29, 2012
-Record number of scouts lock in on South Carolina's top talent-
Sunday was a another banner day for high school baseball, prep players, pro scouts and Diamond Prospects! Columbia's AC Flora High School, again, played host to our most anticipated event of the year and every single component of a successful showcase collided... Temperatures were in the 60's, every Major League club was represented, the playing surface was immaculate as always and the talent on the field commanded attention... plus we serviced each player in our customary three hours.
DP's Pro Day has a very decorated list of players over its six year history, as a result, a few guys were present, including Chris Owings, Brooks Hall, Madison Younginer and Tanner English.
With over 100 scouts and coaches huddled around a lane, we fired off the 60's at 10:00 and twelve players shot through the finish line under 7.0, several under 6.8, led by Blythewood's Brandon Burris (left) at 6.46.
The catchers were a group with high expectations and they did not disappoint with each one registering a time under 2.00. Hanahan's Skylar Hunter won their popping contest shooting a 1.78, followed by Nick Ciuffo (Lexington) at 1.82.
Then time for BP! High school hitters wielding wood is not always the most endearing acts to witness, not so for most on this Pro Day. Several hitters shrunk the dimensions of the Flora wall, losing baseball's deep into the woods in left, center and into the street in right. South Aiken's John Leopard was the first player to send a ball over the brand new 'Blue Monster' at AC Flora. Teammate Taylor Widener dismissed a few balls with, perhaps, the best round of the day. Fort Mill's KJ Woods (right) impressed with his share of batspeed and a round worth remembering.
The bullpens are what pulled in quite a few cross-checkers, and even a few scouting directors. The main attraction was Carolina Forest's Erich Knab (left) and Dillon's Jamie Callahan (right). Knab topped out at 94 MPH, Callahan at 93. In all, six different guys eclipsed the 90 MPH marker, 14 others were at 88+... not too shabby for January!
While quite a few participants saw their stock rise, perhaps none more than Mauldin's Cory Thompson (right). Thompson is a two-way guy that played catch in the pen with an 88-89 fastball, and mixed it with a very sharp breaking ball to go with an advanced feel for a changeup.
The usual prospects showed up and served as the cornerstone to a successful day, but the new names to scouts pushed the event into what we'd consider as very productive day for baseball in South Carolina.
DP Note: A special thanks is in order to Andy Hallett, Casey Waites and AC Flora High School. Even under construction, their facility, field and accommodation to us was beyond first class, which is par for their course!