The Tournament of Stars is an early week-long event run by USA Baseball, bringing more than 100 of the top high school players in the country together to help form the eventual 18-and-under national team that will compete internationally in Japan in late August.
On Sunday, USA Baseball whittled down that group of more than 100 players to a 40-man roster for the official trials. Eventually, that will become the 20-man roster that will go overseas to play in the WBSC 18U Baseball World Cup.
While USA Baseball's evaluators were watching everyone at the Tournament of Stars for roster consideration, all 30 Major League organizations were also on hand taking stock of the action. Getting to see some of the best potential high school draftees in the class of 2016 makes the TOS a key stop on the summer showcase circuit.
A number of players stood out, both in tangible results and in flashing future tools. As the scouting industry gets ready to move on to other things -- including continuing to watch the U.S. College National Team, the Cape Cod League and catching up with the high school crop again at the East Coast Pro Showcase at the end of July -- here's a quick top 10 list from the previous week in Cary, N.C.:
1. Jason Groome, LHP, IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) College commitment: Vanderbilt
Groome might be the best high school arm in the class, and while he only threw once, he showed why he's an early contender for a top of the Draft selection. His fastball touched 95-96 mph on multiple occasions during his three-inning stint and he was throwing his nasty breaking ball for strikes as well, which helped him strike out six in his outing.
2. Braxton Garrett, LHP, Florence (Ala.) HS College commitment: Vanderbilt
Garrett was a big reason why his team won the gold medal at Tournament of Stars, throwing six very effective innings. The official stats show he gave up one earned run, but it really came about because of an errant throw. In any event, the lefty mixed his 89-91 mph fastball and very good breaking ball effectively, and he didn't allow a hit across two outings.
3. Nicholas Quintana, SS, Arbor View HS (Las Vegas) College commitment: USC
Quintana got the very positive label of being a real "baseball player" from scouts. He also swung the bat very well (6-for-14, two doubles), and while some weren't sure he can stay at shortstop, he did show good hands and a solid arm. A move to third could be in Quintana's future, and one scout thought seeing him behind the plate could be worthwhile.
4. Alex Speas, RHP, McEachern HS (Powder Springs, Ga.) College commitment: Mississippi State
Speas gave up three runs in his first inning of work, showing some nerves in the first inning of the TOS. He put up three scoreless frames after that, showing velocity (up to 94-95 mph), a decent breaking ball, athleticism and projectability.
5. Mickey Moniak, OF, La Costa Canyon HS (Encinitas, Calif) College commitment: UCLA
Moniak might've been the most exciting position player at the TOS, bringing a ton of energy on the basepaths and in the outfield. He also showed a terrific swing from the left side of the plate and made consistent hard contact (6-for-15 with a double and triple). Moniak also stole five bases and scouts saw a lively frame that has room to add strength.
6. William Benson, OF, The Westminster Schools (Atlanta) College commitment: Duke
Benson might have the best all-around tools of any hitter at the event, though he didn't have much to show for it results-wise over the first two games. He ended up going 5-for-14 with a double and two triples over his four games. The ball makes a different sound off of Benson's bat and he can really run, recording the second-fastest 60-yard time for the week.
7. Cooper Johnson, C, Carmel Catholic HS (Mundelein, Ill) College commitment: Ole Miss
The best defensive catcher at the event, Johnson consistently showed soft hands, tremendous agility and a strong arm. A true testament of his skills behind the plate came from his team's pitching staff talking about how much they loved throwing to him. While Johnson went 3-for-12, he did show a balanced approach and the ability to square up the baseball at times.
8. Forrest Whitley, RHP, Alamo Heights HS (San Antonio) College commitment: Florida State
The 6-foot-7 right-hander showed a very loose arm with a starter's delivery, using his size well to throw downhill. He was up to 95-96 mph at times, leading to nine strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings.
9. Ben Rortvedt, C, Verona Area HS (New Glarus, Wis.) College commitment: Arkansas
Rortvedt played well behind the plate. It was his bat that really stood out, though. The left-handed-hitting backstop went 8-for-16 with three doubles and a triple.
10. Kevin Gowdy, RHP, Santa Barbara (Calif.) Senior HS College commitment: UCLA
Gowdy continues to throw the ball well this summer, with a fastball in the low-90s, a good slider and solid command, all coming from a very projectable 6-foot-4 frame. While he did give up a pair of runs in his first outing, he came back in the gold medal game allowed just one hit in three scoreless innings.
Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com and writes a blog, B3. Follow @JonathanMayo on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.