The 2013 USA Baseball Tournament of Stars commences on Tuesday, June 18 at the USA Baseball Training Complex at Thomas Brooks Park in Cary, North Carolina.
The Tournament of Stars is a gathering of the top 144 high school players in the country who are invited to showcase their talents for one of USA Baseball’s seven National Member Organizations, those being the American Amateur Baseball Congress (AABC), American League, Babe Ruth Baseball League, Dixie Baseball, National Amateur Baseball Federation (NABF), PONY, Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI),and, an eighth at-large team, the USA Stars.
The five day tournament will serve as a showcase of sorts for Major League Baseball scouts and college recruiters, as a number of prospective first-rounders and future top prospects comprise the field each year.
In order to put into perspective the amount of talent that will be showcased in the Tournament of Stars, one may look to the 2009 18U National Team roster that captured the gold medal at the COPABE Pan American Junior Championship in Venezuela, which included the likes of Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Jameson Taillon, and Kevin Gausman.
Below we have listed the Top 5 players to watch in this year’s Tournament of Stars, along with a schedule of both the tournament and the 18U National Team.
1. Alex Jackson, C, Rancho Bernardo HS (CA), Babe Ruth
Jackson batted .343 with 14 home runs and 33 RBI as a junior, possessing a big bat and frame (6-2, 215) behind the plate, which will allow him to be a top pick in the 2014 MLB Amateur Draft.
2. Nick Gordon, OF, Olympia HS (FL), Dixie
A freshman at one of the premier high schools in Florida, Gordon batted .505 and displayed both flashy defense at shortstop and a solid arm that consistently sits in the low-90s this season.
3. Jacob Gatewood, RHP, Clovis HS (CA), AABC
Gatewood is one of, if not the best two-way players in high school, possessing a strong arm (5-1 record and 2.02 ERA this spring) and a a powerful bat, either of which should garner first-round attention.
4. Justus Sheffield, LHP, Tullahoma HS (TN), NABF
The younger brother of prep star Jordan Sheffield, Justus possesses a solid fastball that sits in the low-90s and a strong off-speed arsenal highlighted by a changeup and curveball.
5. Carson Sands, LHP, North Florida Christian (FL), Babe Ruth
Sands has experience with Team USA, helping the 18U National Team win a gold medal last season, posting a strong 7-2 record and 1.28 ERA in 54 2/3 innings of work.
Schedule of Events (Tournament of Stars and 18U National Team):
Tuesday, June 18: Players arrive, event orientation
Wednesday-Saturday, June 19-22: TOS pool-play games and evaluation
Sunday, June 23: Championship Day, 18U National Team Trials selections announced
August 16-21: 18U National Team Trial (Los Angeles, California)
August 22-29: 18U National Team Training and Exhibition Games (Los Angeles, California & Taichung, Taiwan)
August 30-September 8: 2013 IBAF 18U World Cup (Taichung, Taiwan)