February 21, 2011
There was a lot of baseball news going on in Florida on Thursday. Albert Pujols arrived at Cardinals camp after failing to reach a contract extension with team. Other pitchers and catchers were springing into action while position players began to arrive at training camps across the Sunshine State.
Yet there were more professional scouts on hand at a high school baseball field than at any other, with well more than 100 MLB affiliated talent evaluators watching a high school game between Montverde (Fla.) Academy and Jacksonville Arlington (Fla.) Country Day School, just to get a glimpse at the shortstops of the two teams. An unofficial count by Montverde officials claimed that there were 110 scouts in attendance, while a tally put together by BrightHouse Sports Network claimed at least 150 were watching the game.
According to the Orlando Sentinel and a host of different baseball talent evaluators, Montverde's Francisco Lindor and ACD's Javier Baez are both prospective first-round picks in this spring's MLB entry draft.
While both shortstops were solid defensively, Lindor stole the game's thunder with a 3-for-3 performance at the plate, complete with a walk, three runs scored and a stolen base. Baez wasn't too shabby himself, raking a triple and also earning a walk, all while leading ACD to a 10-5 victory. BrightHouse Network televised the game, providing highlights afterwards right here.
While it may be hard to get an accurate read on a player's talent so soon in the season, the chance to see two of the best prospects at the same position in one outing was too good an opportunity for most scouts to pass up, all of which created a fascinating pressure cauldron for a much hyped early season matchup.
"According to the final tally there were 110 scouts in attendance last night," Montverde coach Tim Layden told the Sentinel. "It was wild."
Both Lindor and Baez may have helped affirm the belief that a number of scouts already had in their talent, but Montverde catcher Roberto Rodriguez may have helped himself as much as any player in the game. The fringe MLB prospect knocked an RBI double and added two walks in the loss (he was 1-for-2 at the plate), catching the eye of a few scouts in the process.