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Palmetto Games Preview: 2019

By: Will Cheatham – August 7, 2019

GuerrieriTay reltex19It is that time of year in South Carolina. The week of the Palmetto Games is upon us. The months of preparation are ending and now the one thing we all hope for is a weekend full of sunshine and injury-free for all participants. I have typed out the “Preview” since 2014 and I have team Stats from 2008-2016. Unfortunately, we do not have complete stats for 2017 & 2018 so I cannot provide some information, but we do have a large sample size. 

I have tried a few ways to predict the outcome of this event. I have looked at statistical data, State Championship teams, total commitments and the honorary coaches. I believe that this event does a good job of predicting more of what area of the state a State Champion team will come from. The overall winning percentage listed below has one team as the outlier and the rest similar to each other. I have also included the commitment numbers for this year’s rosters as well.

W

L

T

Win %

Titles

Committed Players ‘19

NW

14

8

4

.615

2009

12

NE

11

11

4

.500

2008 2016 2017 2018 

11

MW

13

12

0

.520

2010 2012

10

ME

12

14

0

.462

2011 2013 2014

10

SW

13

12

1

.519

2015

4

SE

8

16

1

.340

-

5

My prediction this year is that the Midwest team is going to go 2-0 and most likely give up the least amount of runs in event history. In 2018 the AAAAA baseball playoffs came down to Midlands teams and if you look at this roster for the Midwest it is packed full of pitchers that have proven to be dominant over the past few years. This rotation has the potential to be one of the best overall from top to bottom not just being top heavy.

GuerrireiTaylor finish11This year’s alumni spotlight goes to Taylor Guerrieri. Taylor is a graduate of Spring Valley HS in 2011 and spent time at North Augusta HS as well. In last year’s preview I talked about one of my memories from the first Palmetto Games and Mr. Guerrieri was another one of those memories from that year. When Taylor was 13 years old, he attended the Jack Leggett Baseball Camp at Clemson University for a week in the summer. Well, I happened to be working camp that summer and the one “full day” camp that I worked, I had Taylor on my team. I still remember seeing him on the practice football field (where we played games) back hand a ball deep in the six-hole and throw the runner out in a game. That week he was awarded the Top Infielder award for the camp. Fast forward to the first Palmetto Games and I saw that name on the roster and knew that had to be him. He was a rising sophomore and was lighting up the radar gun at a young age. I covered him for many more games throughout his career but still, to this day, that play he made in summer camp still remains in my memory. I mentioned this play to him on the phone today and he still remembered it. “That was down on the turf field and I remember sliding so far and popping up.”

Taylor was signed by the Rangers in January of 2019 as a Free Agent. He spent the beginning of the year with the Nashville Sounds in AAA and in July of this year was promoted to the big-league team. He has thrown 9 innings so far since joining the team and has a 1.70 ERA and has struck out 11.

-Q&A-

WC: What is your fondest memory from your times at the Palmetto Games?

TG: Winning The Gold Arm award in 2010, after facing off against SC’s best talent, but winning that Award was my best memory.

WC: Who was the toughest hitter you remember facing off with in HS?

TG: Hunter Cole was a tough out. I could throw him great pitches and he would find a way to hit it hard. We got to play together in Nashville this year which was a blast.”

Adam Jones has been the toughest hitter so far in the big leagues. He fouled off so many pitches and then I ended up walking him.

WC: What was it like when you got told you were going to the Big Leagues?

TG: It was an emotional experience, something that myself and a lot of guys dream of this. To have that moment happen with my family there, it was a feeling I will never forget.”

WC: What was one of the biggest “shocks” when you got called up?

TG: Playing in all these different ballparks in these big cities. We are in Cleveland right now and it is a beautiful ballpark.”

WC: Any words of advice you can give to this year participants?

TG: Take it serious if baseball is something you want to pursue. This weekend is a great time for exposure, there is a ton of talent on the field and it will bring out the best in you. Compete and Have Fun!

Taylor Guerrieri: 2008-2010 Participant

2009 Awards: Gold Arm Midwest, Best Breaking Ball

2010 Awards: Gold Arm Midwest, Best Breaking Ball, Best Fastball, Best Overall Stuff, Top Prospect for 2011 Class, 1st Team All-Palmetto Games

One thing that is for certain is that I and my cohort on the field Tony Osterman look forward to this event each year. Where else can you put this type of talent on the field and give the players an opportunity to play in front of as many scouts as we will have in a two-day period. Let us say a quick prayer for player safety and solid weather over this weekend!