Commentary

Nationals kick things off close to home

Originally Published: June 12, 2011
By Christopher Crawford | ESPNHS.com

CHESAPEAKE, VA. -- The Mid-Atlantic Region has provided some of the best baseball talent in the country the last few years, and more of that talent was on display at Greenbrier (Chesapeake, Va.) High School on Saturday in a tryout for the Washington Nationals and the 2011 Area Code Games.

With players ranging from as far north as Maryland and as far south as South Carolina, the tryout was a chance to see some of the best talents of the 2012 class, with a few 2013 players sprinkled in.

While there were many more talented players on display than listed below, here's a look at six guys that stood out, and what makes them names to watch for next baseball season and beyond.

Mitchell Aker, RHP/OF, Paul VI Catholic High School (Vienna, Va.)
The term "two-way player" gets overused at times, but Aker is the definition. The 6-foot-2 right hander showed outstanding arm strength in the outfield, and moved well laterally in the defensive drills. Offensively, Aker had solid bat-speed and squared up well with the wooden bat, and showed off a swing that could produce power as he gains strength. If that weren't enough, the young man from Vienna showed off a plus curve-ball and solid arm action and a fastball with both run and sink. Whatever position Aker ends up at, someone is going to get a heck of a baseball player.

Ty Buttrey, RHP, Providence High School (Providence, N.C.)
Buttrey was the most impressive pitcher of the day, showcasing a 92 mile-per-hour fastball with plenty of movement that will look even faster after you see his change-up  a pitch that he commanded well and that had well above-average arm action on  and 78 mile-per-hour breakingball. The right-handed pitcher was no slouch with the bat, either. He made solid contact from the left-side and kept his hands in well. Buttrey is currently committed to the University of Arkansas, and it looks like the Razorbacks are going to get a weekend starter who can also swing the bat.

Darian Carpenter, 3B, Varina High School (Richmond, Va.)
If you're looking for a right-handed stick with raw power, look no further than Carpenter. Only a sophomore, Carpenter had no issues swinging with a wooden stick, and hit the most balls out of the park among any player on the day. Defensively, Carpenter showed a plus arm and solid footwork, and was one of the most active kids in the field. He's two years away, but file the name away now, because you're going to be hearing it a lot in 2013.

Max Schrock, SS, Cardinal Gibbons High School (Chapel Hill, N.C.)
Schrock may not be the biggest kid in the world, but if you get a chance to watch the left-handed hitting infielder play, the concerns over his size quickly diminish. On a day where many talented shortstops were on display, the South Carolina commit flashed well-above average movement to his left and right, and also charged the ball extremely well, and showed an arm that was certainly strong enough to keep the young man from Chapel Hill at the position. Offensively, Schrock had one of the prettier line-drive swings in Chesapeake, and kept his hands in as well as any player that took batting practice as well. On a day where it seemed like everyone wanted to play shortstop, no one did it better than Schrock.

William Hinton, OF/1B, Landstown High School (Virginia Beach, Va.)
The first thing that stands out about Hinton is that he's one of very few players who throws left-handed and bats right-handed. The next thing that stands out is athleticism that any prep player would envy. Hinton can absolutely fly, and no one got to balls quicker Saturday morning. Offensively, Hinton showed extremely strong wrists, and the ball jumped off his bat when he squared up on the ball. Everything is very raw  as it is for most high-school players  but once he pieces everything together Hinton should be a special baseball player.

Ryan "Red" Dowdell, C, Yorktown High School (Arlington, Va.)
If you followed the draft at all this year, you undoubtedly noticed the plethora of left-handed batting catchers that were selected over the three days  and Dowdell could be one of those names called next June. The Arlington native had plenty of arm-strength, and it became obvious early that he was a student of the game and along with Carpenter was one of the vocal leaders of the tryout. Offensively, he had a line-drive swing and the ball exploded off his bat, and for the position Dowdell ran very well. He's currently committed to VMI  one of the more underrated and overlooked programs in the country  and come fall the Keydets should have a solid backstop for the next three to four years.

Christopher Crawford is currently a contributer for prospectinsider.com and MLBdraftinsider.com. He can be followed on twitter @CrawfordChrisV