California's best Draft prospects on display at PDP event

California's best Draft prospects on display at PDP event

COMPTON, Calif. -- Participating in the 2017 Prospect Development Pipeline offers high school prospects more than just any typical showcase. For the 42 players invited from across Southern California to participate in Thursday's event at the MLB Urban Youth Academy in Compton, Calif., the opportunity means a better chance for exposure.

For most, such as first baseman Nick Hansen of El Modena High School, Thursday's showcase marked their first time being involved in a PDP event. The 6-foot-5, 215-pounder from Orange, Calif., was more than appreciative of the opportunity.

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"Really loved it," Hansen said of his experience. "It was cool. The technological aspect of it and the exposure is a really cool thing to have."

There are 20 total PDP events held across the country this year. Each one includes a plethora of Major League scouts on-hand, providing a potential direct line for players and their future clubs. The Compton site, in particular, is an example of such, having been graced by Major Leaguers such as Oakland's Khris Davis, New York's Aaron Hicks, and Los Angeles' Trayce Thompson, whose names line the left-field wall.

Scouts are vocally grateful for events like Thursday's, which accommodate a high volume of top prospects into the same space.

"Any time you can see the better players that were invited to a particular event, it's going to help evaluate," one scout said.

"And they get all of these good players in one place," added another team evaluator. "These showcases are huge for scouts."

Players were broken into seven groups before beginning their day. Some opened with interviews, while others worked through athletic assessment testing or vision assessments, rotating through each station.

The athletic assessment drills featured broad jumps, 30-yard dashes, and one-footed and two-footed vertical jumps among other reaction-based agility drills. Vision assessment also implemented a Hawkeye Test.

Randy Abshier, a left-handed pitcher from Otay Ranch High School who went through his second PDP event on Thursday, said he was familiar with the technology incorporated with the tests, which are administered off the diamond.

"They're kind of hard," said Abshier, a University of Arizona commit. "They compare you to a pro player, which is really cool for an athlete. I look forward to seeing my improvement, see where I can work harder, and just overall get better as an athlete."

After testing, groups took turns working through infield and outfield defensive drills and taking technologically-analyzed, wooden-bat batting practice while others shagged balls. A break precluded the commencement of a full-length, nine-inning game.

"Watching them on the field is the best way to analyze them," one scout said.

Several of the prospects stood out in front of the scouts present, bolstering their early stocks. Though perhaps none stood out more than Hansen, who clobbered a three-run homer during his first at-bat of the game before ripping another base knock during his second.

In a modest manner, Hansen reveled in his performance but reiterated he was simply thankful for the opportunity to compete and demonstrate his skill set.

"Being out here and playing, I'm really grateful to be out here, especially playing with all these guys," Hansen said. "There's so much talent. To be a part of this was a really cool thing for me. The home run was just a bonus."