|ESPN.com: 2012||[Print without images]|
|Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) catcher Jeremy Martinez, the No. 1 player in the ESPN 60, headlines the field at the Area Code Baseball Games.|
When some of the nation's best high school baseball players get together for this year's Area Code Games presented by New Balance, they'll be part of an event that has produced more than 500 MLB players.
You've probably heard of a few of them, too. Albert Pujols, Clayton Kershaw, Dustin Pedroia, Ryan Braun, Bryce Harper, Mike Trout, CC Sabathia and Prince Fielder are just a few of the players who have played in the Area Code Games and gone on to superstardom.
Considering the talent at this year's games, it's safe to say that number will only continue to grow.
The Area Code Baseball Games will feature eight teams comprised of some of the top players in the Class of 2013, 2014 and 2015. Players were selected by MLB scouts after competing in regional events in June and July. There will be 20 games during the event, which will take place from Aug. 5-10 at Blair Field in Long Beach, Calif. And if you're looking to catch some of the action, four games will be broadcast on ESPN3 and WatchESPN on Tuesday, starting at 11:30 a.m. ET.
Each team is made up of athletes from a specific region -- for example, the White Sox roster is comprised of players from the Midwest -- and teams play a total of five games during the week.
The rosters of this year's event read like a veritable who's who in the prep baseball world, and it starts with Jeremy Martinez. The catcher from Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) is rated the nation's No. 1 player in the ESPN 60. He hit .388 as a junior and committed only two errors behind the plate, earning ESPNHS All-American third-team honors as a result.
Martinez will be one of the key members of the Brewers Area Code team, and he won't be alone. Another Brewers star is Stephen Gonsalves of Cathedral Catholic (San Diego). The stellar southpaw is rated the nation's No. 5 player in the ESPN 60. He was 10-0 this past spring with 79 strikeouts in 66 innings.
When next year's MLB Draft comes around, both Martinez and Gonsalves will be attractive picks for pro teams. But one player who won't yet be eligible is Jack Flaherty, a rising junior 3B from Harvard-Westlake (Studio City, Calif.). Also a righty pitcher, Flaherty is the team's only non-rising senior. He batted .397 while leading his team to a 24-5-1 record in the spring. This past season, Flaherty was teammates with Max Fried and Lucas Giolito, both of whom were selected in the first round of this June's MLB draft.
The Brewers will be one of the top teams at this year's tournament, but they're not the only team with a plethora of talent. The Rangers are a collection of almost all Texas products -- only Garrett Williams of Calvary Baptist (Shreveport, La.) doesn't reside in the Lone Star State -- and there's plenty of top-tier recruits on the team.
Among the players on the Rangers team are Sheldon Neuse of Fossil Ridge (Fort Worth, Texas), the nation's No. 10 recruit in the ESPN 60, and Cavan Biggio of St. Thomas (Houston), the nation's No. 28 recruit in the ESPN 60.
Neuse, a shortstop and pitcher, batted .443 at the plate and compiled a 5-0 record with a 1.31 ERA on the mound for Fossil Ridge this past season. Biggio, the son of former MLB star Craig Biggio, batted .420 and played third and first base.
Other players to watch in this year's Area Code Games include White Sox pitcher/outfielder Trey Ball of New Castle Chrysler (Ind.), the nation's No. 7 recruit in the ESPN 60; Royals catcher Reese McGuire of Kentwood (Covington, Wash.), the nation's No. 19 recruit in the ESPN 60; Royals 3B Joey Martarano of Fruitland (Idaho), the nation's No. 26 recruit in the ESPN 60 who has committed to Boise State for football; and Athletics 1B Ryan Tellez of Elk Grove (Calif.), the nation's No. 49 recruit in the ESPN 60.