For the high school baseball showcase circuit, one of the biggest weekends came and went in Chicago as the Under Armour All-America Game was held at Wrigley Field.
Ten of MLB.com’s 12 top high school prospects in the 2018 Draft class were in attendance, but it was a couple of Arizona Wildcats commits that dominated the festivities.
Nolan Gorman, a 6-foot-1 middle infielder from Sandra Day O’Connor High School in Glendale, started the Arizona dominance by winning the home run derby in as close to walk-off fashion as possible.
Gorman knocked off two of the top eleven high school prospects in the country on his way to this particular title. He’s been regarded as one of the top hit-power tool prospects in the country, and these last few weeks have certainly confirmed that. He also won the MLB HS Home Run Derby in Miami earlier in the month.
But Arizona commits weren’t done dominating at Wrigley Field this weekend.
In the actual game, 6-foot-5 LHP Matthew Liberatore (Mountain Ridge Peoria) tossed three scoreless innings while striking out five of the ten batters he faced. This performance earned Liberatore MVP honors.
Matthew Liberatore with a backdoor curve to strikeout Nander De Sedas: pic.twitter.com/otXt8barQe— Carlos Collazo (@CarlosACollazo) July 30, 2017
Just as Matthew Liberatore, LHP, Mountain Ridge (AZ) is getting oohs and aahs with his curveball, he blows this 92 mph FB by Mike Siani. pic.twitter.com/VCSfXUlidz— Burke Granger (@burkegranger) July 30, 2017
The odds of either of these guys actually making it campus are certainly lower than going straight to professional ball next year. One thing that will make Liberatore interesting is that his high school teammate and friend Cameron Cannon chose Arizona over the draft last year, and would be a junior during Liberatore’s freshman season. The Wildcats could certainly use a left-handed arm with life like that.
Having two in-state prospects that are committed to Arizona like this is just another example of how Jay Johnson and the new staff have started to dominate the recruiting landscape within their own borders.
Either way, the fact that these two were rising to the occasion in a showcase event like this with some of 2018’s best prospects shows where the level of recruiting is for this particular Arizona staff now.