Northeast Region: Connecticut,
Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New York,
Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont
arms scattered throughout Northeast define region
the warmer states like Florida, California, Texas and others, it’s
common to find a few top prospects on one team or even a matchup
between two prolific arms, which seem to be especially commonplace in
Florida. However, this upcoming spring in the Northeast scouts will
be taking long drives to see some of the area’s best talent.
of the top arms that need to be seen show tremendous promise, but
also need to prove more consistent this spring, and unfortunately the
harsh winter weather could mean less time to address some of those
New Jersey Gloucester Catholic, Bishop Eustace, and St. Augustine
Prep are three programs that always field strong squads, and 2014 is
no different. All three schools are located within 45 minutes of each
other and are led by a Division I commit on the mound, two of which
were PG All-Americans last summer. Gloucester Catholic is led by 2015
righthander John Murphy (Maryland), Bishop Eustace has Devin Smeltzer
(Florida Gulf Coast) while St. Augustine Prep has Joe Gatto (North
Carolina). Each team also has a solid No. 2 starter and great depth
in the field with Division I commits scattered throughout their
righthanders Josh Pennington (Lower Cape May High School) and Bryan
Dobzanski (Delsea High School) are both from South Jersey and really
came on strong towards the end of last summer.
New Jersey, if you head north on I-476 and I-87 for about five hours
you’ll find yourself in Baldwinsville, N.Y., home of the top arm in
the region, Scott Blewett. Blewett will force scouts out to the
center of the Empire State, especially after the progress he showed
from the beginning of last summer to his final start of the fall at
the WWBA World Championship in Jupiter, Fla.
pitcher that would have had scouts heading to a non-traditional
baseball hot spot had he not reclassified is Jake Nelson, a
righthanded pitcher from Hopkinton, N.H. Originally a member of the
2014 class, Nelson came on very late in the fall, making his debut on
the mound during the WWBA World Championship. A primary catcher up to
that point, there was no questioning the strength in his arm. It
translated well to the mound, topping at 93 mph with more velocity on
its way with experience and refinement.
Prep (Conn.) is a school that has depth throughout its lineup and the
entire starting rotation is committed to a Division I school. The
pitching staff is headlined by the recent additions of Austin DeCarr
and Paul Campbell, both Clemson commits. They also received a nice
offensive boost from Ryan January, a 2016 catcher who transferred
from Malden Catholic in Eastern Massachusetts. He will help fill the
middle of the order along with Vanderbilt commit Will Toffey and 2015
third baseman George Hewitt.
the other side of Connecticut is East Hampton High School and Saint
Bernard School, each of which boasts one of the top arms in the
state. Marvin Gorgas has had tremendous success throughout his high
school career and looks to cap it off with a strong senior season to
help lead East Hampton deep in the playoffs. Willie Rios came back to
Saint Bernard after spending the fall at IMG Academy in Bradenton,
Fla., and also looks to solidify himself as one of the top
lefthanders in the 2014 class.
Region Dream Team
on present tools and position played for high school team
- Drew Lugbauer, Sr. Arlington (N.Y.)
at his 6-foot-4 frame one would think Lugbauer would eventually have
to move from behind the plate. The opposite is true however as the
Michigan commit moves extremely well on his feet with loose, athletic
actions. Lugbauer’s arm may be his biggest defensive asset,
consistently delivering on-line strikes to second base. Lugbauer and
his quick bat capped off a strong summer and fall at the WWBA World
Championship, making the All-Tournament team by batting .364, drawing
five walks, and hitting a deep, memorable blast to right field.
- Justin Bellinger, Sr. St. Sebastian’s (Mass.)
has been on the national scene since his freshman year of high school
and is a repeat selection for first
base, though J.J. Matijevic out of Pennsylvania
received strong consideration as well. Bellinger’s 6-foot-6 frame
is an easy target to throw to and he shows soft hands with the
ability to scoop throws in the dirt. A lefthanded hitter, the Duke
commit has made noticeable adjustments to his swing, which allows for
better extension of his long levers. There is no denying the
tremendous power Bellinger owns as detailed further below.
- Isan Diaz, Sr. Central (Mass.)
unknown on the national scene heading into the summer, Diaz made his
presence felt once given his opportunity. He shows strong tools up
the middle with athletic, balanced actions and a strong feel for his
backhand. Moving lightly on his feet and with soft hands, Diaz is
able to complete difficult plays with a strong arm. The Vanderbilt
commit has recently added more muscle mass to his wiry strong frame,
which was noticeable at the World Showcase in early January. He
routinely displays his explosive hands and solid bat speed, as Diaz
is able to see and time live pitching well with loud contact off the
- John Aiello, Jr. Germantown Academy (Pa.)
a Wake Forest recruit, shows excellent ability on both sides of the
ball and is continually improving. A true switch-hitter, it’s hard
to tell which side comes more naturally after a few at-bats, but he
began swinging the bat from the right side. From that side, Aiello
shows better strength and power, but the hit tool is equally
impressive from the left side. He shows plus bat speed from both
sides and makes consistent loud contact. Due to his current 6-foot-2,
200-pound frame as a high school junior, many believe he will outgrow
the shortstop position. However, with how fluid and graceful he moves
that switch won't occur anytime soon, if at all.
Sabino, a Vanderbilt commit,
fits right in with Aiello and Diaz in the middle infield. His
defensive actions are smooth and pure and he shows easy arm strength
across the infield.
– Max Ponzurick, Sr. Greensburg-Salem (Pa.)
has a strong, well-built 6-foot-3, 220-pound frame and moves very
well for his size. He shows solid defensive actions at the hot corner
with a strong feel for the backhand. There is no denying his arm
strength across the infield – 92 mph at the National Showcase last
June – showing accuracy and plus carry on his throws. Ponzurick
shows a fast bat and incoroporates his lower half in his swing,
creating nice strength with projectable power.
- Zachary Sullivan, Sr. Corning (N.Y.)
has shown all five tools in game action and will only continue to
develop as his 6-foot-3 frame fills out. He is a sound runner with
6.7 60-yard dash speed and runs the bases well, accelerating well
from first to third. He uses that same speed in the outfield that
allows for a quick first step and ability to cover an ample amount of
ground in center field. The bat is his most projectable tool as
Sullivan shows a loose, quick swing with advanced implementation of
his lower half. He flashes power to all fields with the ability to
create leverage in his swing.
- Aidan McDermott, Sr. South Plainfield (N.J.)
6-foot-3, McDermott is built extremely well, which is evident in the
way he swings the bat, his loudest tool. With strong hands and loose
wrists, McDermott generates very good bat speed and drives the ball
to all fields with authority. The St. John’s recruit starts from a
very spread stance but shifts into contact well, transferring weight
from his back leg with nice rhythm in his swing.
- Tristan Rojas, Sr. James Monroe (N.Y.)
is a 5-foot-11 outfielder with plenty of bulk yet he is able to
retain looseness and fluidity in everything he does on the field. He
shows quick hands and plus bat speed as a righthanded hitter,
generating surprisingly big power to his pull side. Rojas is a solid
runner who moves well on his feet in the outfield and shows solid arm
strength with accurate throws.
- Marvin Gorgas, Sr. East Hampton (Conn.)
had himself a busy summer which started with a gold medal win with
the 18u USA National Team. When he's not on the mound the UConn
commit finds himself in the middle of East Hampton’s batting order
and also plays a smooth shortstop. His future at the next level
however is on the mound where he made tremendous improvements from
the beginning of last spring through the end of the fall. His
fastball was firmer with better velocity – up from 89/90 to 93/94 –
and showed better directionality with his lower half, which has
allowed him to stay on top of his late breaking slider. Gorgas also
flashes a changeup that has plus potential once he begins to throw it
a 2015, Zack
shows big-time ability both on the mound and in the middle of the
infield. He throws from a very tough low three-quarters arm angle and
produces easy low-90s heat.
- Scott Blewett, Sr. Charles W Baker (N.Y.)
say Blewett used the WWBA World Championship last October as his
coming out party on the national stage wouldn’t be fair as he threw
very well throughout the entire summer. However, what he did do in
Jupiter was slot himself into the top tier of high school arms in the
entire 2014 class. Standing at 6-foot-6 with long and loose limbs,
Blewett's fastball sat at 91-93 mph and topped out at 95 mph with
reason to believe a few more ticks will be added as he continues to
fill out. His arm action is clean and effortless and he also shows a
strong feel for an 11-to-5 upper-70s curveball with depth and tight
- Joe Gatto, Sr. St. Augustine Prep (N.J.)
has followed in the footsteps of former St. Augustine teammate Chris
Oakley, participating in the PG All-American Classic and signing his
letter of intent with the University of North Carolina. Gatto has a
strong, durable 6-foot-5 frame that helps him maintain the velocity
his low-90s fastball throughout an outing. The pitch, which peaks at
94, shows solid sinking life low in the zone with sharp downhill
plane. The continued development of his off-speed pitches and how he
mixes them into his pitch sequencing is the key to Gatto's success,
as his curveball has plus potential and he also shows a strong feel
for his slider.
- Devin Smeltzer, Sr. Bishop Eustace Prep (N.J.)
is a very interesting lefthanded pitcher who seems to get stronger
each time he takes the mound. He has a lean 6-foot-3 frame with long
limbs that he controls well in his very deceptive delivery. He is
able to maintain his balance and repeat his extended three-quarters
arm slot, helping to generate good movement on his pitches. His arm
action is very loose, and with some added strength, the Florida Gulf
Coast commit should see a bump in his current peak velocity of 91
mph. He commands everything well in the zone, including a sharp
slider and a changeup, which are mixed in with precision.
– Willie Rios, Sr. Saint Bernard (Conn.)
scouts in the Northeast received a bonus when Rios transferred back
to Saint Bernard after spending the fall at IMG Academy in Florida.
When everything is working and in sync, Rios is very difficult to
square up, let alone hit. Despite his 6-foot frame and low
three-quarters arm slot, Rios is able to work downhill and spots his
low-90s fastball very well to both sides of the plate, particularly
to his glove side. His mid-80s two-seam fastball shows darting life
to his arm side, and he mixes in two variations of a breaking ball as
well as a quality mid-70s changeup.
– Bryan Dobzanski, Sr. Delsea (N.J.)
Dobzanski's athleticism is evident as soon as he takes the mound. He
shows big strength in his 6-foot-4 frame and generates strong
downhill plane from a long, loose arm action. Dobzanski works in the
low-90s with his heater, topping out at 94 mph, and it's scary to
think what the future holds for the New Jersey native, who is also a
state champion wrestler. His continues to develop his secondary
offerings and is certain to draw large crowds of scouts behind the
backstop this spring.
was hard to leave off Josh Pennington and Brendan Spagnuolo, both of
whom have bright futures on the mound.
Region Top Tools
Hitter for Average: John Aiello, Jr. Germantown Academy (Pa.)
is a special player out of Pennsylvania and is ranked in the top five
for the 2015 class thanks in large part to his work ethic. Always in
the cages, Aiello taught himself to hit lefthanded and has
transformed himself into a legitimate switch-hitting middle
infielder. Although he shows more consistent power from the right
side, Aiello creates consistent and loud line drive contact from both
sides of the plate.
Hitter for Power: Justin Bellinger, Sr. St. Sebastian’s
took a loud round of batting practice at the National Showcase last
summer which made everybody stop what they were doing to watch. He
deposited four pitches into the upper deck of the Metrodome, and with
the adjustments he has made with his swing, the Duke commit is
looking to create more leverage with his 6-foot-6 frame.
Baserunner: Zachary Sullivan, Sr. Corning (N.Y.)
shows strong ability all over the field, including on his feet. He is
a 6.6 runner, which will improve as he gets stronger, and shows
advanced instincts to go along with his quickness on the basepaths.
He quickly accelerates and glides around the bases once he kicks it
into second gear.
Defensive Catcher: Gian Martellini, Jr. Bishop Hendricken (R.I.)
recent Vanderbilt commit, Martellini shows very strong defensive
tools behind the plate. He keeps his shoulders square and chest big
on balls in the dirt and shifts his weight well to both sides.
Martellini is a sound receiver as well and shows solid arm strength
on throws down to second. Only a junior, Martellini is sure to be on
the radar of scouts this upcoming summer circuit.
Defensive Infielder: Isan Diaz, Sr. Central (Mass.)
plays with flare in the infield and shows very smooth, athletic
actions on ground balls. There's quickness in his feet, arm strength
and very quick hands to start double plays. Diaz also shows
considerable range to both sides, particularly into the hole, whether
he's playing shortstop or second base.
Defensive Outfielder: Zachary Sullivan, Sr. Corning (N.Y.)
showed very well in the outfield all summer at all the major events
and would have taken the category based on those performances. For
good measure, Sullivan made arguably the best play in Jupiter last
October, diving to snare a fly ball off the bat of Daz Cameron,
robbing him of extra bases while showing tremendous range and
athleticism. And if that wasn’t enough, Sullivan alertly jumped to
his feet and delivered a strike to double up a runner at third base.
Infield Arm: John Aiello, Jr. Germantown Academy (Pa.)
is no mistaking the arm strength Aiello possesses, showing a low-90s
arm across, topping out at 93 mph in San Diego at the PG Underclass
All-American Games last August. The arm action is easy and loose and
allows Aiello to take an extra second to gather himself before
delivering a strike. His defensive actions are as good as any with
quick feet, allowing him to complete the play deep in the 5/6 hole.
Outfield Arm: Zachary Sullivan, Sr. Corning (N.Y.)
his third category, Sullivan shows solid arm strength from center
field with strong carry and accuracy on his throws. It is a tool that
helps set him apart from other center fielders and plays well in game
Fastball: Scott Blewett, Sr. Charles W. Baker (N.Y.)
improvement in velocity may be a sign of bigger and better things to
come for the cold weather pitcher out of western New York. He
controls his long limbs very well showing a loose, easy arm action
that generates a fastball that has topped out at 95 mph. As he begins
to fill out his lean 6-foot-6 frame it’s easy to envision him
sitting in the mid-90s, peaking a few ticks higher, to go along with
his hammer curveball.
Off-Speed Stuff: Joe Gatto, Sr. St. Augustine Prep (N.J.)
a region full of pitchers, Gatto take the off-speed category thanks
to his tight-spinning upper-70s curveball. The pitch shows deep, late
break when he stays on top of it, and he spots the pitch well down in
the zone, helping to induce ground ball contact.
Command: Josh Pennington, Sr. Lower Cape May (N.J.)
pitching at both the National and East Coast Professional Showcases,
Pennington left scouts wanting to see more. He pitched the usual 2-3
innings at each event, but was so efficient he hardly broke a sweat.
Pennington commands four pitches very well in the zone, led by his
fastball currently thrown in the low-90s. His breaking ball and
changeup show nice life and he maintains his arm speed nicely on all
of his offerings.
Pitchability: Devin Smeltzer, Sr. Bishop Eustace (N.J.)
has continued to improve in all areas of his game but the one thing
that has remained constant is his ability to pitch. With his highly
deceptive delivery, Smeltzer spots his upper-80s to low-90s fastball
well to both sides of the plate with good angle. He mixes in a late
sweeping slider up to 81 mph with impressive depth, and flashes an
upper-70s changeup. Nothing he throws is straight but he maintains
the ability to throw to his spots and mix his pitches efficiently.