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Checking in on Team USA

by Jarred Amato

Playing in front of a sellout crowd of 2,763 at Cardines Field, the USA National Team defeated Newport 8-3 Thursday night. There were also at least eight scouts in attendance, from San Francisco, Boston, Toronto, Atlanta and Kansas City among others, who were beginning their evaluations for the 2009 (and 2010) MLB Drafts. Here’s a breakdown of the Americans’ performance against the Gulls of the NECBL.

Kentrail Davis (Outfielder, Tennessee, FR) – Davis is off to a torrid start this summer and Thursday night was no different. In the third, the freshman blasted his fourth homer to deep right field, turning on a fastball to clear the 20-foot high fence with ease. In the sixth, Davis added a long double off the wall in the right-centerfield gap in the sixth after fouling off two tough two-strike pitches. Davis led the Vols in batting average (.330), home runs (13) and RBI (44) as a freshman and has only elevated his play with Team USA. He stands at just 5’9”, but weighs 198 pounds and is extremely strong with quick hands and a sweet left-handed stroke. Expect Davis to be a first-round pick in 2010.

Hunter Morris (First baseman, Auburn, FR) – The Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Year didn’t have a particularly great night (1-for-4, 2 RBI), but his hard-hit single through the right-side was a good indicator of his plus-power. Drafted in the second round by the Red Sox in 2007, Morris hit .351 with 11 homers and 49 RBI in his first season with the Tigers.

Christian Colon (Shortstop, Cal State-Fullerton, FR) – Colon looked impressive defensively, starting two 6-4-3 double plays and making a strong running throw on a slow roller. Colon possesses good hands and strong arm, and seemed to cover a lot of ground. Offensively, Colon went 2-for-4 with a walk and two runs scored to go along with two stolen bases. As a freshman, Colon hit .329 with four homers and 39 RBI, although he committed 17 errors. While somewhat inconsistent, the potential is definitely there.

Aaron Senne (Outfielder, Missouri, SO) – The left-hander hit a towering homer to right field in the top of the fifth. Drafted in the 13th round by Minnesota in 2006, the sophomore hit .347 with 13 homers and 67 RBI for the Tigers this season and has a good approach at the plate.

Josh Fellhauer (Outfielder, Cal State-Fullerton, SO) – The leadoff hitter went 1-for-4 with a walk and run scored against Newport, but I didn’t get a chance to evaluate him defensively. Fellhauer hit .335 with seven homers and 40 RBI to go along with 17 stolen bases, which indicates that he has plus speed.
Tommy Medica (Catcher, Santa Clara, SO) – In his second summer with Team USA, Medica went 2-for-5 on Thursday. The sophomore hit .342 with six homers and 44 RBI for Santa Clara and is also very good defensively, although he didn’t get a chance to show off his arm strength against Newport.

Derek Dietrich (Third baseman, Georgia Tech, FR) – Dietrich has a quick left-handed stroke and is patient at the plate, as demonstrated by his two walks and nine-pitch at-bat which resulted in a base hit. He was drafted in the third round by the Houston Astros in 2007 but opted to play for Georgia Tech and hit .332 with 14 homers and 66 as a freshman. While there’s no question he can hit, Dietrich made 17 errors at shortstop and hasn’t look much better at third for Team USA. He misplayed a routine groundball in the sixth for his third error.

Dusty Coleman (Infielder, Wichita State, SO) – It wasn’t a good night for Coleman, who went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and also added an error on a ground ball to his right. He has above-average power for a shortstop, hitting .314 with eight homers and 71 RBI for the Shockers and has a strong arm, but he also made 18 errors. Playing second base for Team USA, Coleman did not look particularly comfortable, whether it was going back on a pop up or turning a double-play, but he is still an intriguing shortstop prospect.

Brian Fletcher (Infielder/Outfielder, Auburn, FR) – Fletcher had a solid night, going 2-for-3 with two walks, one RBI and a run scored to go along with two stolen bases. With Morris and Fletcher, who hit.324 with 10 homers and 42 RBI as a freshman, in the fold for two more years, the Tigers have a nice foundation to build around.

Kyle Gibson (Pitcher, Missouri, SO) – The hard-throwing right-hander looked overpowering at times, striking out six in four innings of work. However, when Newport was able to sit on his fastball, Gibson paid. Gibson surrendered a leadoff homer to Nick Santomauro and gave up back-to-back hard-hit doubles in the fourth. Still, Gibson is very projectable and has a devastating slider that, when thrown for strikes, makes him very difficult to hit. Scouts will be very interested to see how Gibson fares the rest of the summer.

Mike Leake (Pitcher, Arizona State, SO) – The Pac-10 Pitcher of the Year threw three hitless innings of relief. Leake is an undersized right-hander, but with a fastball that sits between 88-91 mph and has a lot of movement, opponents struggle to make good contact against him.

Jarred Amato is currently a Senior at Vanderbilt University and the lead writer of The Sports VU. He will be filling reports for The College Baseball Blog throughout the 2008-2009 school year.

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