FORT WAYNE, Ind. – The lineups are tentatively set for the Midwest League Home Run Derby and
Skills Challenge, set for Monday at Parkview Field. Six first-round draft picks are among the players
expected to showcase their skills.
Two first-rounders from last year’s draft, Cedar Rapids OF Mike Trout and Clinton INF Nick
Franklin, will slug it out in the Home Run Derby. They are expected to be joined by Quad Cities
INF Matt Adams and Wisconsin OF Khris Davis as the Western Division’s contingency. Franklin
ranks second in the league with 14 home runs. Davis wowed the crowd by launching an estimated
425-foot missile to center field earlier this month at Parkview Field.
From the East, Jerry Sands could be the early favorite after blasting a league-best 18 home runs
for the Great Lakes Loons. Sands also paces the league with 46 RBIs and a .657 slugging
percentage. Fort Wayne INF Nate Freiman is expected to hit at his home ballpark; the 6-foot-8
slugger has cracked six home runs and possesses immense raw power. South Bend INF Matt
Davidson was a supplemental first-round pick by the Diamondbacks last year and has hit nine
round-trippers this season. Dayton INF Henry Rodriguez has driven six long balls in the first half.
The Midwest League sluggers will be joined by 2010 Garrett High School grad Spencer Burns,
who won the TinCaps’ Hometown Hitters competition which pitted Northeast Indiana’s top highschool
hitters against each other. Burns topped Elmhurst High’s Kristian Gayday, 1-0, in a playoff
on Wednesday. Burns, who will hit with an aluminum bat, will attend the University of Wisconsin-
Whitewater this fall and play on the Warhawks’ football team which is an NCAA Division-III
Prior to the Home Run Derby, twelve All-Stars will take part in the MWL Skills Challenge.
In the outfield throwing competition, Beloit’s Aaron Hicks, Quad Cities’ D’Marcus Ingram, Lake
County’s Bo Greenwell and Fort Wayne’s Danny Payne are the probable participants. Hicks was
a first-round selection by the Twins in 2008, is rated Minnesota’s top prospect and ranked as the
best outfield arm in the Twins’ organization by Baseball America. Payne is among the league
leaders with seven outfield assists this year and Greenwell is right behind with six.
Wisconsin’s Scooter Gennett, Peoria’s Hak-Ju Lee, Great Lakes’ Christian Lara and South
Bend’s Chris Owings are expected to compete in the infield throwing challenge. Lee was a key
signee for the Cubs out of South Korea and was rated the best prospect in the Short-A Northwest
League last year. Owings was a supplemental first-round selection by the Diamondbacks in 2009.
Burlington’s Wil Myers, Kane County’s Max Stassi, Lansing’s A.J. Jimenez and Lake County’s
Roberto Perez are set to display their arms in the catchers’ throwing competition. Myers is rated
the Royals’ No. 3 prospect after being drafted in the third round last year. Stassi, only 19, is
Oakland’s fourth-best prospect according to Baseball America. Jimenez and Perez are statistically
the league’s best catchers when it comes to throwing out runners. Jimenez has thrown out 53
percent of runners trying to steal while Perez has cut down 47 percent.
The throwing events will test the players’ accuracy and arm strength. Competitors will throw
toward targets with small bull’s-eyes in the center. Throws which hit the target count for a single
point; throws hitting the bull’s-eye are worth three points.
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