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Draft status rising for Dons teammates

08/09/2013, 8:01pm PDT
By John Maffei

Cathedral Catholic's Brady Aiken, Sean Bouchard shine in showcase events this summer.

Cathedral Catholic lefty Brady Aiken is expected to start on the mound in Sunday's Perfect Game All-American Classic at Petco Park.

Brady Aiken had hoped to do well this summer, even expected to stand out.

“But I never expected to do this well,” Aiken said.

Aiken, a left-handed pitcher, and shortstop/third baseman Sean Bouchard, who both play at Cathedral Catholic High, are two of the summer showcase circuit’s more pleasant surprises.

Both will play Sunday in the Perfect Game All-American Classic at Petco Park with Aiken slated to start on the mound for the West, throwing to Rancho Bernardo catcher Alex Jackson.

Aiken threw two hitless innings at the Perfect Game National Showcase in Minnesota, striking out five. He followed with three hitless innings and seven strikeouts at the Tournament of Stars in North Carolina.

Tuesday in Long Beach at the Area Code Games, Aiken worked three innings, allowing one hit while striking out eight.

That’s eight innings with 20 strikeouts against the best prep players in the country.

He has gone from a blip on the radar to a possible first-round draft selection, ranking as high as the 12th-best prospect in the nation by the Perfect Game scouting service.

“The first-round talk is really cool, but it’s kind of scary,” said Aiken, who will play for Team USA in the 18U World Championship later this month in Taiwan. “I’m still a year away. I still have a year to develop.”

According to scouting reports, the 6-foot-4, 205-pound Aiken — who has committed to UCLA — has developed an 88-93 mph fastball to go with a solid curve and change-up while significantly cleaning up his mechanics.

He was 5-3 with a 1.18 ERA last year at Cathedral with 80 strikeouts in 53?1/3 innings.

Bouchard, who also has committed to UCLA, has impressed with his speed and athleticism for a player with a 6-3, 195-pound frame. He ran the 60-yard dash in a speedy 6.66. Anything under 7.0 is considered good.

Scouts like Bouchard’s bat speed, power potential and arm strength.

“This summer has absolutely been a good gauge for me,” Bouchard said. “The Perfect Game Showcase was an invitation-only deal, so that made me feel good.

“There were some really good players there. And the pitching was insane.”

Bouchard hit .316 with 16 runs scored, nine RBIs and seven steals last season at Cathedral as a third baseman. He’d like to play shortstop this season.

“There are a lot of big shortstops — Cal Ripken, Derek Jeter, Troy Tulowitzki,” Bouchard said. “I’ve been a shortstop my whole life, and I’d like to go back.

“One of my strengths is the intangibles I bring to a team, not getting too high or too low, not letting failure in a game of failure get me down.

“I need to work on hitting to all fields, and I need to step up and be a leader, be a guy the team can depend on.

“That’s why this summer has been so important. I’ve soaked it all in, watched a lot of really good players.

“And playing in this game Sunday is a tremendous confidence builder.”

What: Perfect Game All-American Classic
Where: Petco Park
When: Sunday, 5 p.m.
Format: East and West all-star squads compete in the 11th annual game showcasing the nation’s top high school seniors of 2014
Local players: Brady Aiken (Cathedral Catholic), Sean Bouchard (Cathedral Catholic), Alex Jackson (Rancho Bernardo)
Local coaches: East’s Eddie Johnson (Mater Dei Catholic), West’s Manny Hermosillo (Montgomery) and Luis Lorenzana
TV: MLB Network
Radio: ESPN 1700
Tickets: $6
Proceeds: Benefit Rady Children’s Hospital
Online: pgallamerican.com


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