Sanchez and Rodriguez light up Big Apple

Nelson Rodriguez of George Washington (New York, N.Y.) played in the 2010 Area Code Games on the Yankees. He is looking to be back in 2011. Derek Alvez/ESPNHS

STATEN ISLAND, NEW YORK – When you factor in that he played in a high school championship game the night before and already made the squad last summer, no one would fault Nelson Rodriguez for coasting a bit at the New York Yankees Area Code tryout Sunday morning.

But that's just not Nelson's style.

The 6-foot-2, 230-pound indefatigable catcher showcased his raw power and aggressiveness, mashing a homer to left center and sending several other balls screeching to the warning track. His sure-handed skills and anticipation behind the dish were a delight to the scouts in attendance.

"The ball was jumping off his bat," says Yankees scout and Area Code skipper Matt Hyde. "He has the power and the physical skills (we look for)."

Rodriguez, who holds an offer from Oklahoma, was part of a five-man contingent of prospects from the recently crowned PSAL Class A champ George Washington team (Manny Ramirez's alma mater) that participated in the tryout, held at Richmond County Bank Ballpark.

"I just wanted to show the scouts better defense, and that I have pop in my bat," says Rodriguez, a junior. "The home run just felt good coming off the bat."

In addition to Rodriguez's power display, several other players caught the attention of scouts, who were quick to note that the pool of hopefuls was extremely talented. Here are some of the other players who impressed at the tryout.

The Standouts:

Fernelys Sanchez, George Washington (New York City)
Outfielder, Class of 2012
Sanchez struggled at times during batting practice but still wowed scouts with his defensive prowess and plus arm in the outfield. The switch hitter's size (6-foot-4, 200) and speed should help elevate his stock for next year's MLB Draft. Sanchez, who also played with the Yankees last summer, made a run-saving catch in the PSAL finals to preserve a late Trojans' lead.

Scott Williams, Conestoga (Berwyn, Pa.)
Catcher, Class of 2012
Williams made the catching drills look easy, as he displayed good mechanics and a big-time arm throwing down to second. He was clocked at 86 mph during the drill. Behind Rodriguez, he may have been the most impressive player of the day.

Matt D'Ariano, Iona Prep (New Rochelle, N.Y.)
Right-handed Pitcher, Class of 2012
D'Ariano showed several qualities that led some to project him as a front-of-the-rotation talent. The smooth hurler featured a fastball that touched the 89-90 mark consistently and an above average change.

Alex Robinson, Holy Trinity (Hicksville, N.Y.)
Left-handed Pitcher, Class of 2012
Cloudy skies made the sun nearly invisible, but Robinson was shining bright on the mound. The southpaw was the class of the throwers, dominating the morning session with his pure power. His quirky delivery drew comparisons to Dontrelle Willis, and he set the radars ablaze by hitting 91 on one pitch. His knuckle curve could also be devastating in the future.

Andrew Velazquez, Fordham Prep (Bronx, N.Y.)
Middle Infielder, Class of 2012
Exceptional speed and range made Velazquez the star of the infield drills. He also put on a his own "Laser Show" during hitting drills, spraying line drives all over the outfield. Velazquez, who also cleared the fence, has the tools and the makeup of a star at second baseman.

Other noteworthy performers:

Seth Lamando, Roy C. Ketcham (Wappingers Falls, N.Y.)
Right-handed Pitcher, Clas of 2012
The righty helped his cause by throwing in the upper 80s and showing a quality arm. He reminded some scouts of New York Gatorade Player of the Year Jonathan de Marte.

Ryan Clark, Johnson City (Johnson City, N.Y.)
Catcher, Class of 2012
There's a lot to love about Clark: he has quality size (6-6/200), good bat speed and a smooth righty stroke.

Austin Solecitto, Indian Hills (Oakland, N.J.)
Left-handed Pitcher, Class of 2012
Said one scout, "He's a lefty who throws 90. Man, in two years, hitters can forget about it."

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