note: Perfect Game recognizes that there are dozens of standout
performers at this year's 16u WWBA National Championship. The
thoughts provided below are first-hand observations from Scouting
Coordinator Jheremy Brown during the event's second day.
at 6-foot-3, 180-pounds, Max Kranick (2016, Jessup, Penn.)
isn’t done growing and projects well as he will continue to add
strength to his frame. Already committed the University of Virginia,
Kranick made his first start of the summer at a Perfect Game event
yesterday and surely didn’t disappoint.
a live, loose arm with balanced, repeatable mechanics, Kranick filled
up the strike zone with a three-pitch mix, throwing whichever pitch
he wanted to for strikes in any given count. More impressive than
that though was his ability to consistently locate knee-high to
either side with his fastball that sat 89-91 mph, topping out at 92,
early on before settling into the 88-90 range. Aside from one inning
in which his command slipped up, the future Cavalier pounded the
lower quadrants of the strike zone.
slider was his go-to out-pitch, showing sharp, late break up to 78
mph and used it to record several of his strikeouts. Maintaining the
same arm action as his fastball was key, as hitters were not able to
pick it up out of his hand until it was too late. Like his fastball,
Kranick rarely missed high with his slider and also flashed a couple
of changeups through his time on the mound, showing some fade at 80
mph. With everything low in the zone, you could imagine him inducing
a lot of ground ball contact and that’s just what he did.
in to close it out after Kranick was 6-foot-5, 200-pound lefthander
Jeff Belge (2016, Syracuse, N.Y.) who was equally effective
and worked a clean 1-2-3 sixth inning.
an outing last week with which he struggled with his command, Belge
did a much better job of staying online with his delivery and keeping
his front side closed, not falling toward the third base dugout. With
his delivery cleaned up, Belge was able to establish his fastball for
strikes early in the count, which in turn allowed him to throw his
slider, something he wasn’t able to do last outing.
working in the 89-91 mph range, Belge showed a little extra on an 0-2
count to the first batter, running his fastball up to 94 mph and was
locating well to the glove side corner. His slider showed sharp life
up to 80 mph, and like Kranick, he used it as his knockout pitch.
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