Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Study analyzes visual tracking strategies in baseball - UPI.com


from upi.com

Study analyzes visual tracking strategies in baseball

Aug. 4 (UPI) -- Researchers from Ohio State University's College of Optometry have found that batters change their visual tracking strategies depending on whether they swing or not.
The study, published in the August edition of Optometry and Vision Science, measured horizontal eye and head movements in two collegiate baseball players who were up to bat with a pitching machine.
Researchers found that patterns of head and eye movements are slightly different when batters are swinging compared to "taking" a pitch, meaning not swinging at a pitch.
The study tracked head movements in the baseball players by using an inertial sensor mounted on the players' helmets. Eye movements were tracked using a video eye tracker, both showed differences in tracking when swinging compared to not swinging at pitches.
The two batters followed a similar visual strategy in swinging and taking a pitch, however, when not swinging, they mainly moved their heads, not their eyes, toward the ball the majority of time the ball was in the air.
When the ball was about 150 milliseconds from arriving, the batters shifted their eyes ahead of the ball when it crossed the plate. 
"Large eye movements only occurred late in the pitch trajectory," the researchers said in a news release.
Conversely, when the batters were swinging at the ball, they followed a different visual strategy with head movements toward the ball being substantially larger than eye movements. The batters focused their eye on the ball up until about 50 milliseconds before it crossed the plate.
Researchers believe their findings support previous research that placing the gaze ahead of the ball is the optimal learning strategy and tracking the ball is the optimal hitting strategy.

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Ten business truisms that apply to coaching, sports | Coach & Athletic Director

Ten coaching truisms

1. If you don't know, say so. If you don't know what you're talking about, stop talking. Too often, we think we must have all the answers because of that adjective (coach) in front of our name. If we have all of the answers, that's because we've stopped learning, and that's never a good thing.

2. Don't jump ship before you hit the iceberg. Hang in their physically and mentally with your team until the bitter end. Most times, we can read the writing on the wall about our teams and we can tell when the season is a bust. That's no reason not to hit it hard with video, or to stop being creative in practice, or to cease trying to make your players better.

3. Confidence comes from success; knowledge comes from failure. In my mind, there's no greater teacher than failure and no greater motivator than success. I'm sure most of us wouldn't be the coaches we are today without some significant failure in our past, so use it as an opportunity to learn.

4. If you're miserable, quit and do something else. If you're still miserable, it's you. We've all been around the folks who complain all the time: Their team doesn't have enough financial support, they're working crazy hours, their team is underachieving, etc. So maybe coaching isn't your gig. If it is, the rest of us don't want to hear about it because we're happy.

5. People won't perform for those they don't respect. Your team doesn't have to love you or even like you (though that'd be nice), but they do have to respect you. They should respect your knowledge of the game, your interest in their well-being and the way you coach them. I'm not saying they should always agree with you, but respect is on a higher level.

6. If you're not passionate about what you're doing, you won't be successful. I once wrote a "Pyramid of Success" series, based on the John Wooden tool. One of the cornerstones of that pyramid is enthusiasm. If you have it, show it. If you don't have it, go get it. Enthusiasm and passion are critical to the success of your team.

7. Conflict is healthy; anger is not. Get some help for that. I once wrote an article about yelling at your players and provided three ways that you can get the most from your team without screaming at them. You're going to have to manage your team and, over the course of the season, that probably comes with conflict. Control yourself, so that you can control the situation.

8. No matter how smart you are, wisdom only comes from experience. When I first started coaching, I knew everything. And with each proceeding year, I knew less and less. Funny how that works out.
Book knowledge of how things should work with your team is only valuable when combined with the street knowledge of how things actually work. If you're new to coaching, hook up with someone who's been at it a while and learn all you can.

9. Whine and complain all you want — nothing will change. We'll listen to you, but we can't help — so why even start down that path? We can't make your alums more involved, or your recruits commit earlier, or your boss give you a raise. So let's celebrate the fact that we get to coach, teach kids life lessons and be happy with what we have.

10. The boss isn't always right, but they're still the boss. What else is there to say beyond that? Our job is to coach 'em up and make our bosses look good. Beyond that, we should give the boss the respect that we want from our teams.

I've always thought that the link between the athletics and business world is pretty strong and the article I found about business truisms was a good demonstration of that.

Dawn Redd is the head volleyball and assistant track & field coach at Beloit College in Wisconsin.

Survey: 36 percent of parents would let 10-year-old play football - Coach and Athletic Director

Survey: 36 percent of parents would let 10-year-old play football - Coach and Athletic Director:

A coach who has spent more than a decade in a youth football league outside of Chicago said five years ago 266 kids participated. Today, there’s just 98.
Dr. Bennet Omalu, who discovered the degenerative brain disease CTE, said children should avoid football, ice hockey, rugby, lacrosse and soccer until high school, when the brain is more developed. Even then, contact sports come with great risk, he said.
Today.com’s survey also found that 88 percent of parents worry about concussions if their children participate in contact sports. 
Youth football participation has declined nationwide, but the drop also is an issue at the high school level. Since the 2009-10 school year, the sport has lost 53,663 high school players, but football still remains the most popular boys sport.

'via Blog this'

Thursday, August 17, 2017

No, the Google manifesto isn’t sexist or anti-diversity. It’s science - The Globe and Mail

...and this from the ilk that worships at the altar of science and prattles on about how wise and tolerant and good they are. Good Grief.

How about sprinkling in a little dose of common sense once in a while, that shouldn't be too much to ask given that you guys are such freaking geniuses, right?

This is more about altering viewpoints and public opinion i.e. controlling the narrative to control the masses. Always has been, always will be. 

Let's see how long this blog post lasts.
No, the Google manifesto isn't sexist or anti-diversity. It's science - The Globe and Mail

No, the Google manifesto isn't sexist or anti-diversity. It's science

By now, most of us have heard about Google's so-called "anti-diversity" manifesto and how James Damore, the engineer who wrote it, has been fired from his job.

Titled Google's Ideological Echo Chamber, Mr. Damore called out the current PC culture, saying the gender gap in Google's diversity was not due to discrimination, but inherent differences in what men and women find interesting. Danielle Brown, Google's newly appointed vice-president for diversity, integrity and governance, accused the memo of advancing "incorrect assumptions about gender," and Mr. Damore confirmed last night he was fired for "perpetuating gender stereotypes."

Despite how it's been portrayed, the memo was fair and factually accurate. Scientific studies have confirmed sex differences in the brain that lead to differences in our interests and behaviour.

As mentioned in the memo, gendered interests are predicted by exposure to prenatal testosterone – higher levels are associated with a preference for mechanically interesting things and occupations in adulthood. Lower levels are associated with a preference for people-oriented activities and occupations. This is why STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields tend to be dominated by men.

We see evidence for this in girls with a genetic condition called congenital adrenal hyperplasia, who are exposed to unusually high levels of testosterone in the womb. When they are born, these girls prefer male-typical, wheeled toys, such as trucks, even if their parents offer more positive feedback when they play with female-typical toys, such as dolls. Similarly, men who are interested in female-typical activities were likely exposed to lower levels of testosterone.

As well, new research from the field of genetics shows that testosterone alters the programming of neural stem cells, leading to sex differences in the brain even before it's finished developing in utero. This further suggests that our interests are influenced strongly by biology, as opposed to being learned or socially constructed.

Many people, including a former Google employee, have attempted to refute the memo's points, alleging that they contradict the latest research.
I'd love to know what "research done […] for decades" he's referring to, because thousands of studies would suggest otherwise. A single study, published in 2015, did claim that male and female brains existed along a "mosaic" and that it isn't possible to differentiate them by sex, but this has been refuted by four – yes, fouracademic studies since.

This includes a study that analyzed the exact same brain data from the original study and found that the sex of a given brain could be correctly identified with 69-per-cent to 77-per-cent accuracy.

Of course, differences exist at the individual level, and this doesn't mean environment plays no role in shaping us. But to claim that there are no differences between the sexes when looking at group averages, or that culture has greater influence than biology, simply isn't true.

In fact, research has shown that cultures with greater gender equity have larger sex differences when it comes to job preferences, because in these societies, people are free to choose their occupations based on what they enjoy.

As the memo suggests, seeking to fulfill a 50-per-cent quota of women in STEM is unrealistic. As gender equity continues to improve in developing societies, we should expect to see this gender gap widen.

This trend continues into the area of personality, as well. Contrary to what detractors would have you believe, women are, on average, higher in neuroticism and agreeableness, and lower in stress tolerance.

Some intentionally deny the science because they are afraid it will be used to justify keeping women out of STEM. But sexism isn't the result of knowing facts; it's the result of what people choose to do with them.

This is exactly what the mob of outrage should be mobilizing for, instead of denying biological reality and being content to spend a weekend doxxing a man so that he would lose his job. At this point, as foreshadowed in Mr. Damore's manifesto, we should be more concerned about viewpoint diversity than diversity revolving around gender.

Debra Soh writes about the science of human sexuality and holds a PhD in sexual neuroscience from York University.

Image result for google echo chamber\

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Best Post Game Speech of the Year

...and this after a season-ending 19-0 loss to Florida State. Amazing. This is what it's all about. 

Lance Miles on Matt Deggs

Heath Donica on Matt Deggs

Pablo Sandoval is back where he belongs

This is a really good first step. The upper deck HR off Scherzer doesn't hurt either. 
A sincere, heart-felt apology always helps and Pablo really owned his actions here.
Who doesn't love a good redemption story?

Welcome back, Panda. 

"Before I continue, I want to take a moment to apologize to the Giants and to the fans. I know I already have, and I probably will again, but I don't think I can apologize enough for the way I left — for some of the things I said. I said things I didn't have to say. Things I don't want to repeat. Things I didn't mean. I was just so emotional when I left San Francisco, and I didn't handle it the right way.
I made a mistake.
I'm very sorry.
And I understand how fortunate I am to be back with this organization. It's just such a blessing for me to be back in San Francisco — back with the team that has been there for me through so many ups and downs in my career. The Giants gave me my first chance to be in the big leagues.
Now they have given me the opportunity for a second chance."

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38 Special - Back Where You Belong

Friday, August 11, 2017

Stretching Scholarship Dollars Key To College Success | BaseballAmerica.com

Courtesy of Stanford University

This is going to be a tough one to work out since you have two of the biggest control freaks in sports, MLB and the NCAA, struggling for control of these assets called baseball players. If MLB gives subsidies, they are going to want some measure of control in return. 

We'll see how it goes and I remain hopeful they can improve the landscape. But IDK......There should be a partnership type of arrangement and colleges currently work with the industries they serve all the time in terms of curriculum, so this should be somewhat in their wheelhouse. 

So there you go MLB, here's your to do list:
  • Subsidize RBI baseball in the inner cities
  • Subsidize women's/girls softball nationally
  • Subsidize college scholarships
  • Subsidize baseball/softball internationally via WBC tournaments to enhance or replace Olympics command and control every four years
It's an investment in your potential future players as well as expansion of the sports future audience.  See how easy it is to spend other peoples money? I should be a politician, but I don't want to shower/delouse three times a day.

from Baseball America:

Stretching Scholarship Dollars Key To College Success

Courtesy of Stanford University
In late March, Stanford announced it was raising an important financial aid threshold. Previously, any family with a yearly household income of $100,000 or less could expect to contribute nothing to a student's tuition payments. This year, that number became $125,000, which is more than twice the median U.S. household income but right in line with the median figure of Stanford's student body.

The motivation for the move was primarily academic: Removing money as an obstacle in getting the smartest, most talented high school students to Palo Alto.

The implications go further than that, though, to the sphere of athletics. Not to football and basketball, most schools' most popular sports and primary moneymakers. A scholarship in those sports has essentially the same value anywhere, and schools are can cover each position three to four times over.

Baseball, however, is different. It is limited to 11.7 scholarships for a 35-man roster, and those are doled out not in terms of yes and no, but in percentages and fractions.

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Rob Manfred joins RBI WS softball roundtable | MLB.com

Rob Manfred joins RBI WS softball roundtable | MLB.com
Manfred committed to raising softball's profile

Good for MLB and kudos to Rob Manfred for picking up the ball on this issue. I have been calling for more of a partnership between MLB and softball for many years. It seems as if Manfred also sees the opportunity for a woman to break through the minors and into MLB baseball, another issue I have written about before. There are plenty of examples of girls who have competed versus the boys at the HS level. It shouldn't have taken Monee Davis doing something at the LL level to open the Commissioners eyes. But we'll take whatever progress we can get.

I do hope the focus on the Monee Davis' of the world does not leave women's softball out in the cold. Here is one area where baseball can take the lead over the other major sports. There is no comparable league to the NFL for women, period. Nor is there one comparable to the NHL, although there could be. The NBA and the WNBA do coexist and there could eventually be a woman who could break through and play in the NBA before MLB breaks the barrier. 

I would like to see MLB beat them to the punch and I think the way to do it is to encourage participation by raising the bar for women's softball by subsidizing a professional women's softball league. I know they subsidize RBI and there are calls for them to subsidize college scholarships, here there will be a wash to expenses since presumably their minor league affiliated costs will decrease somewhat. They need to start thinking of these cash outlays more as investments in the future of the game rather than as pure expenses. 

from mlb.com  


Manfred committed to raising softball's profile

Commissioner talks to youth players during RBI World Series roundtable

CINCINNATI -- It was not a scheduling coincidence that Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred visited the RBI World Series on a day when girls softball participants were playing their semifinal games on Wednesday. Manfred came to Cincinnati specifically to talk softball and to engage with young women who play.

Manfred was part of a roundtable discussion at the Kingsgate Marriott Hotel at the University Of Cincinnati that included Reds chief operating officer Phil Castellini, Reds senior vice president of business operations Karen Forgus and Northern Kentucky University softball head coach Kathryn Gleason.

"It gave me an opportunity to put a special focus on softball," Manfred said. "Youth participation is a huge priority for Major League Baseball. I think historically we have given inadequate focus to softball in addition to baseball. We want to make sure that our efforts capture the entire population, male and female. We love the idea of making our softball programs every bit as high profile as our baseball programs."
Cincinnati, the Reds and the MLB Urban Youth Academy are hosting the 25th annual Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) World Series baseball and softball tournaments. The semifinals were scheduled for Wednesday afternoon, and the finals are slated for Friday.

During the roundtable discussion, it was the softball players who got to ask the questions.

"What opportunities do you have for women who want to play professional baseball?" one player asked the Commissioner.

In his reply, Manfred brought up visiting the Little League World Series shortly after his 2014 election as Commissioner and meeting Mo'ne Davis, a pitcher out of Philadelphia who became the superstar of the tournament, and who helped her team from Philly win the RBI World Series Junior Championship, throwing five sold innings in the semifinals.

"She changed my view of the prospects of a woman playing professional baseball," Manfred said. "When she looked at me and I looked at the look on her face, and she told me she thought she was going to be able to be good enough to play professional baseball. ... There was a look of determination in her eye that was really inspiring to me. One of the reasons that we started the women's baseball part of our [youth] program was to recognize that some young women out there would prefer to play the same game the boys play for a longer period of time."

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Thursday, August 10, 2017

Giants 2017 Starters

This is it, save for a couple of forgettable Chris Stratton starts. If the Giants knew how bad the season was going to be, do you think they would have DFA'd Clayton Blackburn? I sure would have liked to have seen him in extended meaningful action, I think he'd have developed into a keeper like Ty Blach seems to be doing. 

Believe it or not, the core problem is not here. Samardzija has to keep the ball in the yard and get finer with the strike zone. He's discovering the difference between control (throwing strikes) and command (throwing strikes with stuff and proper location). It just can't be anywhere in the strike zone. We tell twelve and thirteen year-olds with "stuff" to just throw it down the middle and dare them to hit it. That doesn't work in the show. The other guys is getting paid big bucks too.  

Nothing stops Bumgarner, except dirt-bikes and lack of run support. Not worried about him. PAY THE MAN!!

Blach pitches to contact and keeps the ball in the yard and on the ground. So he may get hit but he can get a DP limit damage. Talk to Samardzija.

Cueto has to get it back. He got exposed a little after Bumgarner went down. I don't think he's a pure #1 anymore. He needs some cover. Keep Bummer away from dirt bikes.

Matt Moore is truly vexing. I think a lot of it is between his ears. When he threw the WP and forgot to cover home recently, I though Posey should have drilled him with it. It might have knocked some sense back into him. He seems to forget how to compete when things go wrong. When the wheels come off for him, they don't go back on easily, like for Blach and Bummer. He supposedly has 3-4 pitches, none of which he can really command. Which means he really doesn't have any pitches.

Matt Cain. Hey, thanks for the memories. Here's your $7M buyout for next year. The old-timers game is in June, you think you can give us a couple of innings? Maybe get some guys out there? What do they say, if you have two Matt's in your rotation, you really don't have any? TRUTH!!

Moore has to figure it out quickly or, as long as we're into bringing back the old guard, let's just offer him back to the Rays for Matt Duffy, if he ever gets off the DL. He plays left, Parker goes to RF and Pence, IDK about Pence. He makes a lot of money so.......yeah. That's why we can never have a nice team around here.

'Tebow Effect' Paid Off For Sally League Clubs | BaseballAmerica.com

'Tebow Effect' Paid Off For Sally League Clubs | BaseballAmerica.com

No denying that there was a purely business component to this signing right from the get-go, primarily from the Mets standpoint. But when are people going to give this guy credit for his accomplishments?

He's doing even better in High-A than he was in the Sally League, showing legitimate power, even to the opposite field, after putting the game down for ten years.

Remember that was supposed to be a lark for Timmy. He was going to make a fool of himself and major league baseball. Hasn't happened. Time to give credit where credit is due.

If the Mets are out of it and bring him up in September, so what? He's earned it.

The same fools that hate this guys and ran him out of the NFL now want us to feel sorry for Colin Kaperdink.

F-you, ESPN, NFL, SJW's of all stripes and especially BLM ass-hats. You folks, and your ilk, ran Tebow out of the league for kneeling to God and now you want this POS Kapershit back in the league for kneeling to piss on the flag and this country?

Don't need y'all and don't miss y'all and apparently neither does Tim Tebow.

ESPN = garbage network
NFL = garbage league

from Baseball America:

'Tebow Effect' Paid Off For Sally League Clubs

Tim Tebow has brought in tens of thousands of extra fans to South Atlantic League games this year.
Tim Tebow has been promoted to the Florida State League and has played his last game in the South Atlantic League. On pure baseball terms, it's fair to say that a 29-year-old outfielder who hit .220/.311/.336 is as forgettable as a prospect could be.
But at the box office, Tebow is the greatest star the South Atlantic League has ever seen.

When we first wrote about the "Tebow effect" on fan attendance a little over a month ago, we calculated that Tebow was worth roughly 2,200 fans per game whenever the Columbia Fireflies hit the road. Since then, the Tebow Effect grew.
In comparing what teams have drawn in games where they played host to Tebow teams versus the rest of their home schedule without Tebow, it now appears that Tebow was worth 2,591 fans per game when the Fireflies were on the road.
To explain it more simply, there are 14 teams in the Sally League this year, but through Tebow's final game on June 25, nearly one of every four fans who have walked through the gate at a Sally League game has done so to see Tebow's Columbia Fireflies play.

Giants Top Minor League Prospects

  • 1. Tyler Beede 6-4, 215 RHP from Vanderbilt projects as top of the rotation starter when he works out his command/control issues. When he misses, he misses by a bunch.
  • 2. Christian Arroyo 6-1, 180 SS very efficient with the bat, good hitting approach, test will be how he handles advanced pitching
  • 3. Chris Shaw 6-3. 230 1B Lefty power bat, limited defensively to 1B, Matt Adams comp?
  • 4. Bryan Reynolds 6-2, 210 OF Switch hitter with average speed and polished hitting approach. Fits Giants mold of high-floor, low-ceiling prospects. .
  • 5. Stephen Duggar 6-1, 170 CF Another toolsy, under-achieving OF in the Gary Brown mold, hoping for better results.
  • 6. Sandro Fabian 6-0, 180 OF Dominican signee from 2014, shows some pop in his bat. Below average arm and lack of speed should push him towards LF.
  • 7. Aramis Garcia 6-2, 220 C from Florida INTL projects as a good bat behind the dish with enough defensive skill to play there long-term
  • 8. Heliot Ramos 6-2, 185 OF Potential high-ceiling player the Giants have been looking for. Great bat speed, early returns were impressive.
  • 9. Garrett Williams 6-1, 205 LHP Former Oklahoma standout, Giants prototype, low-ceiling, high-floor prospect.
  • 10. Heath Quinn 6-2, 190 OF Strong hitter, makes contact with improving approach at the plate. Returns from hamate bone injury.
  • 11. Seth Corry 6-2 195 LHP Highly regard HS pick. Was mentioned as possible chip in high profile trades.
  • 12. Jacob Gonzalez 6-3, 190 3B Good pedigree, impressive bat for HS prospect.
  • 13. C.J. Hinojosa 5-10, 175 SS Scrappy IF prospect in the mold of Kelby Tomlinson, just gets it done.

2017 MLB Draft - Top National HS Players

  • 1. Hunter Greene 6-3, 205 RHP Notre Dame HS (CA)
  • 2. Royce Lewis 6-0, 185 SS J Serra HS (CA)
  • 3. MacKenzie Gore 6-1, 170 LHP Whiteville HS (NC)
  • 4. D.L. Hall 6-2, 180 LHP Valdosta HS (GA)
  • 5. Jordan Adell 6-3, 205 OF Ballard HS (KY)
  • 6. Austin Beck 6-1, 190 OF North Davidson HS (NC)
  • 7. Hans Crouse 6-4, 185 RHP Dana Hills HS (CA)
  • 8. Nick Pratto 6-2, 195 LHP Huntington Beach HS (CA)
  • 9. Shane Baz 6-3, 185 RHP Concordia Lutheran HS (TX)
  • 10. Brady McConnell 6-3, 175 SS Merritt Island HS (FL)
  • Others: Bubba Thompson 6-2, 175 OF McGill-Toolen HS (AL) Heliot Ramos 6-2, 185 OF Leadership Christian Academy HS (PR) Blayne Enlow 6-3, 180 RHP St. Amant HS (LA) Matthew Sauer 6-4, 200 RHP Ernest Righetti HS (CA) Sam Carlson 6-4, 200 RHP Burnsville HS (MN)

2017 Top MLB College Draft Prospects

  • 1. Kyle Wright 6-4, 200 RHP Vanderbilt
  • 2. Brendan McKay 6-2, 200 LHP Louisville
  • 3. J.B. Bukauskas 6-0, 190 RHP North Carolina
  • 4. Alex Faedo 6-4, 220 RHP Florida
  • 5. Jeren Kendall 5-11, 190 OF Vanderbilt
  • 6. Pavin Smith 6-2, 210 1B Virginia
  • 7. Adam Haseley 6-1, 195 OF Virginia
  • 8. Alex Lange 6-3, 200 RHP LSU
  • 9. David Peterson 6-6, 240 LHP Oregon
  • 10. Seth Romero 6-3, 240 LHP Houston
  • Others: Brian Miller 6-0, 185 OF North Carolina Jake Burger 6-2, 210 3B Missouri State Keston Hiura 6-0, 185 OF UC Irvine Clarke Schmidt 6-1, 205 RHP South Carolina Griffin Canning 6-1,175 RHP UCLA Tristan Beck 6-4, 165 RHP Stanford Tanner Houck 6-5, 200 RHP Missouri Wil Crowe 6-2, 250 RHP South Carolina Nate Pearson 6-6, 245 RHP Central Florida CC Logan Warmouth 6-0, 190 SS North Carolina Brendon Little 6-2, 215 LHP State JC of Florida

2017 Top MLB HS Draft Prospects in Jacksonville Area

  • 1. Austin Martin SS 6-1-170 Trinity Christian Academy commit to Vanderbilt
  • 2. A.J. Labas RHP 6-3, 220 Trinity Christian Academy commit to University of North Florida

2017 Top MLB HS Draft Prospects in Tampa Bay Area

  • 1. C.J. Van Eyk 6-2, 200 RHP Steinbrenner HS commit to FSU
  • 2. Tim Elko 6-3, 225 1B Hillsborough HS Tone of raw power from the bat, limited defensively
  • 3. Jordan Butler 6-1, 180 LHP Alonso HS (Tampa) Heavy FB and above avg. slider. Florida commit
  • 4. Conor Grady 6-2, 185 RHP Tampa Catholic HS (Tampa) Sinking 88-90 FB, workable CB and change