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Gold medal FHS duo grade high with scout

Nicky Delmonico and Philip Pfeifer, Farragut High School baseball standouts and USA gold medalists, rank among the nation’s better high school players.

Rich Sparks, scout for Major League Baseball’s Oakland A's (American League), gave high praise to both FHS standouts after evaluating them up close in East Coast Pro Showcase among the nation’s best high school talent last summer in Lakeland, Fla.

Delmonico, a junior All-state second baseman, and Pfeifer, junior All-state pitcher, made huge pitch, hit and field contributions to USA Baseball's 18-Under National Team winning gold at Pan American Junior Championships in Barquisimeto, Venezuela, in October.

Sparks said Delmonico “is probably the best position guy in the state of Tennessee now. … I would say he's going to be one of the top position guys in the country in the 2011 [Major League Baseball] draft.

“I like the way he plays the game, I like the way he swings the bat,” Sparks added. “… He's got some power and quickness to his hands.”

About Pfeifer, Sparks said, “First of all I like his special ability, that's No. 1. We don't see a lot of guys at his age that throw a whole lot of quality strikes. Philip's got a couple of pitches that he can throw for strikes, his breaking ball and his fastball and he spots it in and out and knows where to throw it. ... He's got command of his pitches, and should only get better.

“I wouldn't call him a finesse pitcher because he doesn't throw it 82, 83 [mph], he was down there throwing 86 to 89 with a good breaking ball,” he added. “Better command of a change up would probably help him out, but he's doing just fine as it is.”

Pfeifer and Delmonico, big cogs in helping the Admirals win back-to-back Class AAA state titles, were the only players from the same high school among USA’s best 18-under talent — a 20-man roster.

Pfeifer excelled in Venezuela, as the southpaw gave up no earned runs in 12 innings, pitching two wins in two starts in Venezuela while striking out 18, walking just one and giving up just five hits.

Delmonico — moving from second base to play first base for USA — batted .250 in seven starts with only one error and three assists in 47 fielding chances.


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