Dahn Day 3 features: John Aiello
| Kep Brown
MYERS, Fla. – Leading
up to the second game of Day 2 at the 2014 PG National Showcase,
plenty of pitchers had taken the mound with impressive showings. But
none of these pitchers electrified the mound like Beau Burrows did.
Burrows’ first pitch read 96 mph on the scoreboard in left field,
the fastest velocity thus far at the National Showcase.
the first of two innings Burrows threw, his fastball constantly
stayed at 95-96 mph. He constantly overpowered hitters with his
fastball and finished his short inning outing with three strikeouts.
His fastball never dipped below 93 mph, and along with his fastball
he also displayed an above average curveball, PG scouts reported.
Burrows was pleased with his outing.
felt pretty good out there,” Burrows said after the game. “I had
a lot of adrenaline and it was hot, so I was sweating and my blood
was running. So I guess I was throwing pretty well, I felt pretty
good out there.”
the hardest velocity thus far in the National Showcase, Burrows has
all the reason to feel happy about his performance. But his fastball
velocity has taken time and training for him to be able to throw it
in the mid-90s. During his first PG tournament, the 2011 14u PG BCS
Finals, his fastball topped out at 82 mph. The following year, his
fastball topped out at 89 mph and in 2013 at the 16u WWBA National
Championship, Burrows reached 96 mph. As his body has matured over
the past couple years, his fastball has developed more velocity.
remember when I threw 82, I was a lot younger and immature and I
started lifting a lot more, eating right, I started gaining weight
and working on my mechanics,” Burrows said. “So I felt like I
gained progress in my body. My body is maturing so I feel like that’s
why I’ve gained velocity throughout the years.”
stepping on the mound, Burrows had a simple plan that he wanted to
execute. He said he wanted to go out and throw strikes, mix in his
off-speed pitches and command his pitches. Spectators inside JetBlue
Park will say that he accomplished his plan with flying colors.
6-foot-2, 195-pound righthanded pitcher from Weatherford, Texas has
committed locally to Texas A&M, a school that he says he’s
always been a fan of.
liked A&M ever since I was a little kid and whenever I went down
there I just fell in love with it,” Burrows said of his decision.
“And then I went on my unofficial visit last summer and they gave
me a really good scholarship. I walked around the campus and I just
love everything about it; I love the coaches, the coaches are
awesome. And I love the field, the stadium there, it’s beautiful. I
just love it there.”
before Burrows can begin making an impact as an Aggie, he said he
wants to accomplish his own personal goals heading into his senior
year of high school after his Weatherford High School baseball team
lost in the first round of the Texas 5A Region 1 and 3 playoffs this
plan to have a low ERA and go deep in our playoffs,” Burrows
continued. “We haven’t gone very far my past three years; this is
my senior year so I want to go farther than we did last year and then
hopefully get drafted or go to Texas A&M.”
a 17-year-old consistently pitching in the mid-90s, the sky is the
limit for Burrows. As he continues to grow and mature, his
development as a pitcher will too and his arm will be a gift for
whatever team he's pitching for.
the third straight year the Perfect Game National Showcase is
available for everyone to watch online. The live stream to all of the
workouts, batting practice sessions, and games, and the archives for
each if you can't watch them in real time, can be found on iHigh's
dedicated Perfect Game page:
games were played on Day 3 of the National Showcase. The first three games marked the last times the first group of teams would take the field at this year's event, while the fourth and fifth games marked the first time the second batch of teams played a contest. The last two teams that reported to the National, the Vegas Gold and White teams, were supposed to take batting practice to close out the day, but a pair of lightning alarms and the threat of rain postponed BP to Sunday morning.
highlight of Game 7, the first game played on Saturday, was an
amazing double play turned by the infield defense of the Green team.
Brendan Rodgers started it off by ranging far to his left to scoop
the ball, promptly flipping it to second base where shortstop Jonah
Garrison did an excellent job to position himself to receive the
throw and fire over to first. First baseman Devin Davis also did a
nice job to position himself for the throw to complete the twin
second game of the day, Game 8 overall, offered a handful of
intriguing pitchers. Lefty Josh Smith was the first of such players,
who started the game for the Orange squad. The 6-foot-5, 205-pounder
quickly passes the eye test with a prototypical and perfectly
proportionate athletic frame. While there was some effort to his
overall delivery, his arm action is clean and online, effectively
working away with his 87-89 miph fastball. His arm slowed at times
when throwing his 70-72 mph curveball, but he showed good feel, and
command, for the pitch.
Chalmers threw one of the better breaking balls of the event to this
point, a 79-82 slider that showed very tight spin, which complemented
his 89-90 mph fastball well. His tall and lean, projectable frame
suggests that more velocity could be in his near future, particularly
given how well and hard he throws his breaking pitch.
James is another one of those athletes that really stands out when he
takes the field, even more so than his listed 6-foot-3, 210-pound
stature would suggest. Built big and strong, James stood out at the
PG High School Showdown in early April at this same field (JetBlue
Park) for his two-way talents. After standing out in batting practice
on Day 1 of the National, he too threw a pair of innings for the
Orange team, working at 86-89 with his fastball and mixing in a
sharp, downer low-70s curveball. He uses his size well to throw
downhill, and he has a fast arm which makes his pitches get in on
hitters faster than the radar readings would indicate.
Carlos Rosario Terrell did manage to smoke a ball down the left field
line for a double off of James in the sixth inning, turning on a
fastball and quickly motoring to second base.
Corso of the Navy team had the biggest hit in Game 8, crushing a ball
in the third inning that sailed over the center fielder's head for
another standup double.
continued to steal the show in Game 9, the third game of the day and
the final game for the teams in the first grouping. Righthander
Matthew McGarry was the standout from this contest, as he came out
firing 93 mph fastballs, sat in the 90-93 range and recorded a
handful of 94's. He also showed a fairly well-rounded repertoire by
throwing both a low- to mid-70s curveball and a changeup that hovered
right around 80 mph. At 6-foot-3, 185-pounds, there's plenty to like
looking to the future with McGarry, as it's easy envision him adding
a tick or two as he continues to fill out his broad-shouldered build.
same can be said for Daniel Sprinkle, a very unique athlete who offers
just as much promise, if not more, than McGarry. Sprinkle looks more
like a future left tackle in football given his 6-foot-4, 230-pound
build, which might be a modest listing given how imposing he looked
on the mound. His fastball was 89-90 in this game, but appears to
only be only scratching the surface of his potential. He also mixed
in a low-70s curveball and an upper-70s changeup proving there's some
polish to balance his lofty promise.
Miller doesn't have the same kind of upside as McGarry and Sprinkle,
but is a slender and athletically built lefthander that exhibited a
smooth and online delivery in producing 87-89 fastballs while peaking
at 91. He also threw a promising mid- to upper-70s breaking ball.
big hits from Game 9 came off the bats of Parker Kelly, brother of
2012 first-round pick Carson Kelly, who participated in the 2011
National Showcase, and Drew Tyler. Kelly roped a double down the left
field line for a hard-hit double early in the game, while Tyler
blooped a flare to right field for a double of his own in the
10 featured an excellent pitching matchup between lefthander Max
Wotell – who recently claimed MV-Pitcher honors at the 18u Perfect
Game-East Cobb Invitational with a dominant 18-strikeout performance
– and righthander Kyle Molnar.
didn't miss a beat since his last performance, striking out the side
in the first inning against three of the best hitters in attendance
in Alonzo Jones, John Aiello and Dazmon Cameron. The matchup against
Cameron was particularly fun to watch, as Cameron did a nice job fouling a
fastball straight back before getting caught looking on a curveball.
Wotell's fastball sat 89-91 and touched 92 while mixing in that sharp curveball. He has a really live arm and his delivery creates a
fair amount of deception, if not confusion, as he steps from one side
of the rubber to the other as part of his delivery.
performed as expected given his past performances at Perfect Game events, although his changeup
looked a lot better than the last time we have seen him. His fastball
sat 91-93 and reached 94 a few times. Molnar threw more 83 mph
changeups than he did mid-70s curveballs, maintaining his arm speed
well on the offering. He commanded all of his pitches well and worked
quickly in his two innings of work.
Ford was a player we've been hearing about more and more in recent
weeks, as he pitched in a PG Super25 contest within the last month
and showed a very live arm producing low-90s heat. He came out firing
in this game, following Molnar in the pitching order in Game 10, by
slowly but surely working his way up to 94 mph from his first pitch
at 91. His curveball flashed very good potential for the 76-77 mph velocity it
was thrown at and for it's break. Ford's arm was loose and
easy, and while he pitched himself into some trouble, and overall needs to
iron out some kinks, there's plenty to like about the small-town
the arms obviously stood out in Game 10, Jalen Miller had one of the
hardest hit balls in the showcase, drilling an RBI double to
left-center field that fell just shy of the 379-foot sign on the
outfield wall. Miller also looked in batting practice on Friday
night, routinely putting a charge in the ball, particularly to
lightning strike halfway through Game 10 caused for a one hour and 40
minute delay, but a pair of pitchers helped ease everyone back into the game action, outside of
the opposing hitters, as soon as play resumed.
Austin Smith is yet another big and strong athlete at 6-foot-4,
215-pounds. He was able to generate easy 88-92 mph fastball velocity,
making it easy to think there's more to come. He also has the makings
of a power curveball in the upper-70s.
Nikorak ended the game with an exclamation point, putting on arguably
the most impressive pitching performance through the event's first three days. With great size at 6-foot-5, 205-pounds, projection, and an
easy delivery, it was already easy to like Nikorak simply by taking a
look at him. After taking a glance at the radar readings, in which he
sat at 94-96 and peaked at 97 mph with his fastball while mixing in a
77-79 mph slider, it's pretty easy to determine that
Nikorak is a player that is going to soar up toward the top of the
high school class of 2015 player rankings.
strong pitching picked up right back again in Game 11, the final game
on Saturday, as lefthander Thomas Szapucki of Florida opposed
righthander Drew Finley of California.
had the better stuff of the two, and pretty much looked as he has at
recent PG events, sitting in the 90-92 range, peaking at 93 and
mixing in his low-80s slider. He finished his first inning of work by
striking out powerful lefthanded slugged Greg Pickett on a high 90