Ranked the No. 1 Class of 2012 prospect in Washington by Baseball Northwest, LaVelle told me about his eventful summer, which has included playing for the powerful Chaffey program, being selected for next month's Area Code Games in Long Beach, Calif., and traveling to North Carolina for USA Baseball's Tournament of Stars.
Here are some highlights from my talk with LaVelle, a shortstop/third baseman/pitcher who verbally committed to Oregon State University in the spring.
*Why he picked Oregon State
“I really like the coaches. The feel of the campus reminds me of Lake Stevens — it's not too big and not too small. … (OSU coaches) see me playing the left side of the infield.”
LaVelle plans to sign an NCAA National Letter of Intent with Oregon State in November during the early signing period. He said he received offers from every Pac-10 program except Stanford and UCLA. Committing early to OSU was a big weight off LaVelle's shoulders, LaVelle said.
“That's my dream school to go to. I'm going to start bleeding orange and black soon.”
*The 2012 MLB Draft
LaVelle said scouts have told him he could get drafted next year as early as Round 3 and possibly no later than Round 7. Depending on what happens in the draft, LaVelle said he will consider whether he wants to turn pro or head to Oregon State.
“OSU is an amazing fall-back option.”
*Playing for Chaffey
As a member of the Chaffey Baseball program, LaVelle has been traveling with his team up and down the West Coast. The squad recently played well at the Northwest Classic tournament in Corvallis and, as of Thursday, its win-loss record this summer was 42-1.
“We've been tearing it up.
*The Area Code Games
Along with Jackson High outfielder/pitcher Sam Brown, who is a University of Arizona recruit, LaVelle tried out and was selected to play for the Kansas City Royals Area Code team, which will represent the Northwest at the prestigious Area Code Games Aug. 5-11 in California. LaVelle also participated in the Area Code Games in 2010.
“It's the biggest tournament of the whole year. There are 500-plus scouts there.”
*Catching and karate
Although he mainly plays SS, 3B and P, LaVelle said he is honing his skills as a catcher, based on feedback from scouts who told LaVelle he could improve his value. LaVelle might catch some for Lake Stevens next spring, Vikings coach Rodger Anderson said.
LaVelle, who is home-schooled, has a black belt in karate. He attributes much of his strength, flexibility and mental toughness to his karate training. Lately, LaVelle hasn't had time to practice martial arts, but he plans to begin training again after he plays in the Mariners Cup at Safeco Field in mid-August.
Finally, here is a highlight video of LaVelle. The clip recaps his home runs from the 2011 high school season.
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