Contributing: Todd Gold, Frankie Piliere, Justin Hlubek
followed a somewhat different pattern on Saturday, bouncing between
Terry Park, the Twins Complex and City of Palms Park looking for
prospects, with a determination to focus more on position players
than I had on Thursday and Friday.
first player that caught my eye in the 8:30 a.m. slot may turned out
to be one of the better new prospects at the WWBA Underclass World
Championship this week. 2016 shortstop Hudson Sanchez of
DBAT-Bonesio has a very loose and projectable 6-foot-2, 175-pound
frame and outstanding present bat speed. I asked Frankie Piliere to
go see him in his second game later Saturday and he has more on the
young Texan in his notes below.
St. Louis Pirates/Doubleday Rockies game, also in the 8:30 a.m. time
slot at Terry Park, had my attention for a long time, with the
Pirates winning 8-6 in a game that eventually determined the pool
champion. The Pirates were led by a pair of Wisconsin natives,
shortstop Alex Henwood and catcher Rudy Rott. Henwood
is a lefthanded hitter with a nice swing who has a verbal commitment
to Nebraska. He also made some nice plays at shortstop, especially
charging the ball. Rott is a very strong 5-foot-11, 190-pound
lefthanded hitter with plenty of pull power and bat speed. It’s
always nice seeing premium position players who are left handed
hitters. Outfielder Cody Siebenberger also put some good
swings on balls and had a couple of base hits.
center fielder Vincent Perry is ranked No. 224 in the PG 2015
class rankings but he’s a player we really haven’t seen play much
to this point. That should change, as the young righthanded hitter
has a very nice combination of running speed, bat speed and power
potential. I thought the Tennessee native had himself a home run in
one at-bat, as he pulled his hands in very well on an inside
fastball, but his long, high fly ball was caught on the warning
track. 2016 catcher Drake Frix is also a player to follow on
the Rockies team. He has a projectable 6-foot-1, 170-pound build, a
very sound approach at the plate and athleticism behind it. He
batted cleanup in the talented Doubleday lineup, but led off one
inning with a perfect bunt single, an interesting thing for a young
catcher to do.
heard about a 2016 lefthanded pitcher from New Jersey named Zachary
Attianese from a coach who was thinking of taking him to Jupiter
in two weeks and asked me to take a look at him. I’m very glad I
did. Attianese struck out 15 hitters in six innings in Gallagher
Baseball Team Mizuno’s 4-1 win over Elite Prospects. He has a
young looking 6-foot-1, 175-pound build that is going to get
stronger, and a fast paced delivery with a smooth arm and high
three-quarters arm slot. Attianese worked in the 84-86 mph range
with his fastball and threw a big – and I mean really, really big –
curveball at 68-71 that he commanded very well.
bit of advice I’d have to give the young man is to slow down on the
mound. He works extremely quickly, taking virtually no time at all
between pitches, to the point of distraction. An older or more
polished team is going to continually step out, call time, walk down
to the third base coach's box, etc, and distract him. I think he
threw 19 pitches in six minutes in the first inning.
didn’t see it but Gallagher third baseman Dennis Brady came
in to get the save in the seventh inning and struck out the side,
throwing 87-89 mph in the process.
shortstop John Aiello is always a pleasure, as the 13th ranked member of the 2015 class is very gifted physically and plays
the game with an ease and grace beyond his years. He went 3-for-3 at
the plate in the Tri-State Arsenal Underclass' 4-0 win over Team
Elite Black, with all his hits coming from the left side of the plate
for the switch-hitter. He also has easy, fluid actions at shortstop
despite his large 6-foot-2, 195-pound build and a cannon of an arm.
teammate Joseph Baran impressed me as well. Baran is listed
as a primary lefthanded pitcher with a verbal commitment to Boston
College, but he looked like a nice outfield prospect to me. He ran a
4.15-second home-to-first time on a ground ball from the left side,
and a 4.4-second turn on a triple he laced into the right field
corner. Outfielder Bryan Scheker and second baseman A.J.
Wright also showed very good prospect tools for Tri-State.
college coach at the field told me the Diamond Devils righthanded
pitcher Harrison Smith has been up to 92 mph late in the
summer. Smith picked up the save in the Diamond Devils 5-1 win over
Coastal Prospects and the South Carolina commit threw in the mid-80s
with his fastball, but it was his 73 mph hammer curveball that was
him most impressive pitch.
teammate at Wando High School in South Carolina, Diamond Devils
cleanup hitter and catcher Noah Locascio, had a very good day
at the plate squaring the ball up every time and going 3-for-4.
matchup between FTB Mizuno righthander Jordan Gubelman and
Knights Baseball righthander Will Neely attracted one of the
largest crowds of college coaches and scouts I’ve seen yet this
week and the game didn’t disappoint anyone but the players and
coaches, as both pitchers shined in a 1-1 tie.
was especially impressive in his five innings of work, sitting at
88-90 mph in the first couple of innings before settling in at 86-88
mph with bat breaking life on his fastball. He threw about a half
dozen 78-80 mph sliders that had very hard spin and bite but didn’t
feature this pitch as much as I thought he could have. His changeup
had the same type of hard sinking life as his fastball did.
saw Gubelman throw a complete game with 10 strikeouts last weekend at
the Florida Qualifier and his overall stuff was very similar in his
three innings of work Saturday. He topped out at 90 mph with big
running life on his fastball, although he was up in the zone more
often this time out. He showed significant improvement in his
curveball, however, and relied on the pitch a couple of times to get
outs with runners on base. His changeup continued to be potential
had the chance to talk to PG’s Justin Hlubek, who has been running
the Twins Complex the past two weekends, and he filled me in on some
of the top players who came through his complex Saturday.
Roadrunners righthander Weston Bizzle, a 2017 grad, was up to
87 mph with a hard spinning 72 mph curveball. That’s big velocity
from a freshman.
of Austin right hander Ryland Cox is a 6-foot-4, 165-pound
projection prospect with a loose arm and a fastball up to 85 mph to
go with a nice changeup.
had seen the Flood City Elite play briefly on Friday and made note
that 2016 third baseman Isaiah Kearns had a nice arm.
Hlubek reported that Kearns was 84-88 mph with a very smooth delivery
and arm action on the mound.
had also seen Florida Hardballers catcher Isaiah Cullum at the
Florida Qualifier last weekend and made note of his strong build and
bat speed, as well as his rawness behind the plate. Cullum played
third base on Saturday and blasted a pair of doubles off the wall
while showing very good bat speed.
Legends righthander Michael Rodriguez has a clean, quick arm
action and an 86-88 mph fastball to go with a nice 78 mph slider.
Pelicans righthander Christopher Machamer, the 29th ranked player in the PG 2016 class rankings, had himself a game,
topping out at 91 mph and maintaining upper-80s velocity into the
seventh inning while striking out 12 hitters. He also throws a hard
curveball up to 77 mph with good spin.
the end of pool play in the WWBA World Championship a trend has
emerged: impressive performances from the 2016 class. In most years
the junior class tends to outshine the younger classes, but
throughout the weekend there have been 2016 graduates who have really
announced their presence, and in several cases they are doing so for
the first time on the national stage.
next impressive 2016 representative I came across this weekend
grabbed a share of the spotlight in a matchup against national
powerhouse Marucci Elite. Catcher and righthanded pitcher Sam
and righthander Drake Fellows
stood out immediately, which is impressive considering that the first
batter of the game was the second ranked prospect in the class of
2015 (outfielder and middle infielder Jahmai Jones).
has high level projection and sat 87-89 with a whole lot to like.
Fellows is still gaining coordination to his lanky 6-foot-4 185-pound
frame, and his command is a bit inconsistent, but all of the markings
of a future high level pitching prospect are present. He uses his
frame well to create a sharp downhill plane to his delivery,
releasing the baseball out front with good extension, and his long
loose whippy arm action works very well. He showed a very promising
77-79 mph slider with good shape and tight spin, and as a reassuring
bonus he swung the bat well too. He has a chance to develop into one
of the top prospects in the 2016 class over the next few years.
catching a high level pitcher like Fellows, and playing in a game
where the opposing catcher is a well established national prospect
(more on that shortly), it would have been easy for Sam Ferri to get
lost in the shuffle. But thanks to Marucci Elite’s aggressive
base-running, Ferri got to show off his catch-and-throw ability
repeatedly. Thanks to his quick feet and agility behind the plate,
Ferri was able to at least slow down Marucci’s ability to wreak
havoc on the basepaths with a lineup that features multiple plus
runners. Ferri posted in-game pop times of 1.96 and 1.97 in the early
going (1.90 between innings) and showed advanced receiving ability,
blocking very well and showing advanced pitch framing skills for his
age. At the plate he has a long, whippy swing that generates good bat
speed with good extension through contact. Later in the game he took
the mound in relief working 83-85 with a projectable arm action,
showing the makings of a quality slider in the mid-70s and a 70 mph
12-to-6 curveball with good extension and downhill plane to his
just about any other matchup, Ferri’s defensive ability behind the
plate would have out-shined his counterpart by a significant margin.
However, Marucci Elite’s 2015 catcher Wyatt Cross was
outstanding defensively, as per usual. The topic of debate
surrounding Cross' defensive prowess is not whether he's the best
defensive catcher in the 2015 class (that is a resounding yes), but
whether there is a better defensive catcher in the high school ranks.
His catch-and-throw ability is well documented, having posted a 1.79
pop time in the catcher workout at the PG Underclass All-American
Games in August (where he also posted in-game pop times of 1.85 and
1.91 in the same inning).
But Cross brings more to the table than
just a strong arm – he's a very good receiver for such a tall
catcher, with the quickness to move his long levers in time to block
difficult pitches. The umpire (who works at the professional level
during the season) that had plate duties in this matchups has been
stingy about giving strike calls on pitches where the catcher
attempts to frame borderline pitches, but Cross even got his seal of
approval with several strike calls on quality frame jobs.
In the past
few years we've seen standout defensive catchers come off the board
in the top two rounds – in 2011 the light hitting Austin Hedges was
a supplemental first-round pick, and in 2013 Reese McGuire was
selected 14th overall. Cross still has a ways to go to match those
two in terms of defensive ability, but he's on a good trajectory.
aforementioned Jahmai Jones was obviously a significant draw for
scouts in that Marucci-Elite Baseball Training Chicago matchup. A
primary infielder at present, a lot of scouts project Jones as an
outfielder long-term, and he got the start in center field for
Marucci on Saturday. He's new to the position and it showed, but he
certainly has the speed to develop into a quality defender there,
posting home-to-first times of 4.30 and 4.32, along with a stolen
base time of 3.35.
with the theme of speed on the basepaths, 2015 outfielder Reggie
stole the show (and four bases) with a 3-for-4 day out of the leadoff
spot for the East Cobb Astros. One of his hits came on an infield
single where he got down the line in 4.04 seconds (on the lower end
of his usual range). With his game-changing speed firmly established,
the most promising development of the day was the offensive
improvements he showed in his ability to drive fastballs. He's still
working on adjusting to quality breaking balls and pulling the ball
with authority, but he's beginning to show that he can translate his
hand speed into hard contact. He performed very well defensively in
center field as well, if the bat continues to develop he could go
from being an impact baserunner to an impact player, and we will
certainly be keeping a close eye on his development.
Astros teammate 2016 first baseman Will
is the type of player who stands out from the moment he steps off the
bus. Listed at 6-foot-5 and 185-pounds and hitting in the middle of
the order, Benson was pitched carefully. When he got pitches to hit
he did what you'd hope to see from a young hitting prospect. He has a
complicated swing with a deep hand load, but showed the ability to
time up pitching at this level well despite the moving parts,
squaring it up hard a couple of times, including a ball he tomahawked
back up the middle that registered at 97 mph off the bat. Another
East Cobb Astro who I was impressed with in my first viewing of was
2015 outfielder Brandon Hill
who runs as well as his strong athletic build would suggest, with
prospect level bat sped to match.
it not been for the outstanding duo of catchers in the Marucci-Elite
Baseball Chicago matchup, 2015 catcher Gian
would have been the top catcher of the day. His blocking and
receiving skills stood out and were very impressive, handling balls
in the dirt especially well. He also swung the bat well and will be a
highly sought after prospect amongst Division I college programs
throughout the northeast. 2015 first baseman Seamus
showed big raw power from the left side of the plate, creating good
leverage with his long levers and utilizing his strong lower half
loaded Orlando Scorpions '15 Prime lineup took batting practice in
their 8:30 matchup, cruising to a 12-0 run rule victory in four
innings. The usual suspects stood out, including 2015 middle
infielders Brendan Rodgers
and Jonah Garrison,
while 2015 outfielder Cameron
capped off a 3-for-3 day with a line drive over the center fielder's
head for a triple. But the Scorpions player who showed the biggest
improvement since the summer was 2015 catcher Nick
who got under a ball, popping up to left field, but thanks to his
plus strength the ball kept carrying (despite the humid conditions at
9:00 a.m.) all the way to the warning track for a ground-rule double.
things were winding down in the final time slot 2016 catcher Ryan
made an impression with the bat for the Dirtbags Gold, showing a very
good swing path and taking his hands directly to the baseball with
good extension through it. He popped up in his final at-bat, with a
high fly ball that hung in the air for 5.95 seconds, and if he is
also a quality defensive catcher (served as the DH in this game) then
he may be one of the top 2016 prospects.
the interest of keeping things chronological, I’ll begin with
talking about a player that caught my eye on Friday morning.
Righthander Charles King did not have his best day on the
mound for the East Coast Grays - Conret squad on Friday morning, as
he battled with command issues throughout his outing. However, it was
hard to ignore his raw stuff and projectable frame. King reached 87
mph with his fastball, pitching mostly around 85-86 with good life
through the zone. And, at 6-foot-4, 170 pounds, it’s difficult not
to notice just how projectable the Coppell, Texas native is. Despite
his problems on this particular day, this is a very young arm in the
2016 class that we’re going to hear a lot more from before it’s
all said and done.
it’s not the best habit to make quick judgements about players in
the field of scouting, some players just force your hand. Hudson
Sanchez (as detailed above) is one of those players. A 2016 graduate out of Southlake
Carroll High School in Texas, Sanchez has a skill-set that’s hard
not to recognize. His actions at shortstop are not typical for a
player his age, and he has easy carry on his throws across the
diamond. I came away more impressed with him at the plate, however.
His advanced bat speed is immediately evident, and he squares the
ball up as frequently as any player I’ve scouted this week. He
makes a clear effort to keep his hands inside the ball and has an
approach designed to hit up the middle and to right-center field.
But, he also has the quickness to spin on the ball, as evidenced by a
hard line drive he hit through the hole on Saturday off a fastball
inside. As his athletic build adds strength, he has the tools to
evolve into an outstanding offensive prospect.
Pillsbury is a 2016 graduate who certainly doesn’t command his
pitches like one. Using a one-two punch of a fastball and curveball,
Pillsbury showed stretches of very good command and flashed an
ability to repeat his delivery. He worked mostly between 83-85 mph
with his fastball, but dipped to the lower-80s later in his outing as
he began to open up early and throw across his body. We’ve seen him
touch as high as 87 mph in the past. There’s some very late running
action on his fastball that netted him some bad reactions from
hitters as well. The Orange Park, Fla. native also flashed good depth
on a 66-69 mph curveball that he, at times, seemed to have on a
string. He’ll need to tighten it up, but his feel for this pitch an
ability to put it on the corners stood out in this outing. More than
anything with else with Pillsbury though, what really jumps out is
how clean and easy his arm works.
of lefthanders, Team Elite Prime’s Evan Steele caught my eye
on the front field of the 5-Plex, just one time slot after seeing
Pillsbury. Steele worked at 83-86 mph early in the game, reaching 87
mph from an easy, repeatable three-quarters arm action. He hides the
ball very well, and his 6-foot-4, broad 195-pound frame screams
projection. Steele worked under his 70 mph curveball at times, but
showed flashes of better depth and action. We’re likely going to
see more velocity from this 2015 graduate, as his present velocity
looks to come very easily to him right now.
last time I saw Grant Bodison I was seeing him by coincidence
while watching a high school tournament in March that featured, at
that time, highly touted draft prospects Nick Ciuffo and Corey
Thompson. This time around, I was watching Bodison on purpose and
came away just as impressed as I was back in March. Bodison’s
athletic, projectable frame passes the eye test, but, it’s his bat
that intrigues me the most. He has a compact, quick bat and he covers
the whole plate exceptionally well. You wouldn’t suspect a
170-pound 2016 graduate to typically have a lot of juice in his bat,
but Bodison certainly does. He also looks like he has a chance to be
an above average runner. We’ll need to see more from Bodison
defensively, but the South Carolina commit out of Mauldin High School
clearly has an elite level offensive profile in the making.
Wotell has seen an increase in velocity since I saw him last, and
even from what he showed just a few weeks ago in Arizona. He touched
91 mph on Saturday afternoon, a new high for him at a Perfect Game
event (he had previously topped out at 89 mph). He also showed the
same good depth on his curveball that I’ve seen from him in the
Randolph had some of the most impressive swings of the weekend in
an Upstate Mavericks’ lineup that has intriguing players from top
to bottom, including the aforementioned Grant Bodison. Randolph, a
2015 graduate out of Griffin High School in Georgia, produced a 91
mph line drive on Saturday afternoon, as well a 6.31 second hang time
on a long fly ball. He shows a compact swing path and good lift in
that swing. Right now, second base may be his home defensively, but
we’ll need to see more of him on that side of the ball.
of the loudest and most impactful swings of the day had to belong to
A Florida State commit, Petrey launched a monster home run well over
the right field fence at the 5-Plex on Saturday, showing good use of
his lower half and easy carry off his bat. He made hard contact
throughout the day, and also shows off good outfield arm strength.
Given the consistency of his swing path and game ready power, the
lefty swinging outfielder is going to continue to open eyes with his