NCAA regionals put top prospects in limelight

The NCAA regionals get under way Friday with intriguing matchups that will immediately thrust the best of the best into the limelight.

Kent State takes on Arizona State, showcasing a potential matchup of right-handers Brad Stillings and Mike Leake, both considered first-day prospects.

Vanderbilt LHP Mike Minor and RHP Sonny Gray, a 2011 draft prospect, will take on Middle Tennessee P/OF Bryce Brentz, a 2010 first-round candidate, who enters the game with a .482/.552/.968 line to go with 28 long balls.

Louisville LHP Justin Marks and 3B Chris Dominguez share the field with Indiana trio Josh Phegley, a potential top-50 selection at catcher; right-hander Eric Arnett; and lefty Matt Bashore.

RHP Stephen Strasburg and his San Diego State Aztecs will face red-hot Virginia, giving Strasburg the biggest test of his college career, and right-handers Kendal Volz (Baylor), Alex White (UNC) and Kyle Gibson (Missouri) are all in the schedule for regionals weekend.

But how much can scouts take from the college postseason when it comes to their final assessments of next month's draft prospects?

One special assistant who has served as an assistant scouting director and area scout for multiple organizations says these games have a lot of value for pro clubs.

"There's quite a bit going on right now," he said. "Clubs are always torn on a couple of names, and the more you see them, the more you know about them. It's always a matter of information."

For example, if the Cincinnati Reds (at No. 8) are looking at White and Gibson and have graded them out evenly to date, this weekend could push one of them over the top.

"Just last year we weren't sure on three or four guys at this point, and we saw two of them separate themselves just a little bit," the special assistant said.

Prepsters in the postseason

• Catcher Max Stassi went 1-for-2 with a walk in Yuba City's (Calif.) 8-0 win to three-peat as sectional champions. Stassi ended his prep career with a terrific senior season -- one that has thrust him into the first round of the draft. His final line for 2009: .538/.645/1.113 with 11 home runs and 11 doubles in 30 games.

• Yucaipa (Calif.) 3B Matt Davidson, another probable first-round selection, went 2-for-2 with a double, a homer and a walk Tuesday in the state Division II quarterfinals. The long ball was Davidson's 11th of the season and led his Thunderbirds to the semifinals Friday.

• Temecula Valley (Calif.) right-hander Brooks Pounders went seven solid innings in a 3-1 loss to Norco on Tuesday, walking one and fanning eight while yielding two earned runs. Right-hander Matt Hobgood got the final five outs to secure the win, but it was his two-run homer in the eighth inning that did in Pounders. He is slated to start Friday's third-round matchup versus Mater Dei.