Who Will Be Next? A Brief History of the UA Game
On Saturday night at 6:05pm CST the top high school players in the world will compete in the 7th Under Armour All-America Game at historic Wrigley Field. The past six games have produced 42 first round picks and over 150 draft picks in total. Several of the game’s alumni are currently playing in the Major Leagues while many others are top prospects on the rise.
The first game, in 2008, featured future Big Leaguers in pitchers Zack Wheeler, Jacob Turner, Tyler Matzek, Paco Rodriguez and Ian Krol, as well as infielders Nick Franklin and Scooter Gennett, catcher Max Stassi and outfielder Jake Marisnick. These players began the tradition of excellence that has carried through each year of the game. In fact, the first 4 high school players selected in this past June’s MLB Draft all played in the UA All-America Game.
The question to be answered this year is, “Who will be next?”
Who will be the next player to win the HR Derby and the MVP award like Nick Castellanos did in 2009, or to dominate on the mound the way Jameson Taillon did that same year?
Who will carry the torch of the top shortstops that have played in the game over the years like Nick Gordon, JP Crawford, Gavin Cecchini, Addison Russell, Nick Franklin and others?
Will the top player in the country separate himself from the pack the way the game’s current top prospect Byron Buxton did in 2011 with an impressive week in Chicago? The top high school outfielder taken in each of the last four drafts has played in the UA AA Game. Who will be the next Alex Jackson or Clint Frazier?
An underrated or underappreciated prospect always seems to put himself on the map at the UA Game. Who will follow in the footsteps of Gavin Cecchini, Brandon Nimmo and Hunter Harvey?
When the most talented high school players from all over the US, Canada and the Dominican Republic descend on Wrigley Field this Saturday they should all be answering the question the same way…”I WILL.”