I was able to watch 4 games in windy Carroll on Sunday after driving over from Omaha. Perfect Game is in the midst of developing a new system for scoring games using IPad technology and we worked on that all day, so box scores from the games should have been available immediately after the final pitch. Here are some impressions on individual players during the day, in no particular order.
2011 RHP Calvin Matthews from Davis County HS was very impressive, topping out at 91 mph from an over the top release point and showing a very fast and loose arm. His off speed pitches still need development but there is no question about the arm strength and I could see him as a 92-94 mph guy by the time he graduates.
Matthews has a teammate at Davis County HS, IF-RHP Josh Martsching, who is also a top 2012 prospect. Martsching has a nice left handed swing with some power and also threw 84-86 mph off the mound with a nice slider. Both Matthews and Martsching have verbally committed to Iowa.
91 mph wasn't the top fastball of the day, though. That belonged to 2011 RHP Dakota Freese, who topped out at 92 mph, which may be the first time that Freese has hit 92 mph at a PG event, at least according to the database. Freese threw mostly fastballs, sitting between 88 and 90 mph, but will need to mix up his pitches more in the future.
RHP Joe Goodman was probably the most effective pitcher, striking out 7 hitters in 3 innings of work, including 6 straight at one point. Goodman pitched at 85-87 mph but simply abused hitters with a 77 mph slider. I'm told there are a couple of schools after the 5-10 Goodman hard right now and that's a good thing, as he's going to be a very successful college pitcher for the right school.
LHP Braden Shull, a Kansas State signee, threw the best I've seen him throw in a long time, maybe ever. I'm told he's been working hard on using his lower half more in his delivery and the efforts showed. He threw in the 86-88 mph range with nice life, showed some snap on his curveball when he maintained his arm speed and had nice fade on his change up. Shull's arm works extremely easily and if he can keep incorporating his strong lower half more, he's going to keep improving.
Big LHP David Stagg did his usual number on hitters, mixing up an 84 mph fastball, big breaking downer curveball and nice change up to cruise through 3 innings of work.
Another big 2011 LHP, Scott Harris, also threw well. Harris attends Dallas Center-Grimes HS and is 6-4, 230 lbs. He touched 85 mph but interestingly threw 2-3 mph harder from the stretch than he did from the windup, which is a dead giveaway that you have delivery problems. In Harris' case, I think that is drifting way too much in his windup and his arm struggles to catch up. From the stretch he's more compact and over the rubber and his arm comes through on time, giving a better indication of his arm strength. Harris hasn't signed with a school yet I'm told and as a mid-80's southpaw with big strong body and room to get better with mechanical work, he can definitely pitch at the next level.
The best hitter in the 2011 class in Iowa, at least in my opinion, is Mason City HS shortstop Jason Peter, who is signed with Creighton. Peter was the leadoff hitter in the first game and smashed the very first pitch of the day hard up the left centerfield gap. He should hit right away in college. Peter also threw 84-86 mph off the mound and could be a two-way guy at Creighton as well.
He's still young but college coaches and pro scouts need to get used to hearing the name of 2014 catcher Keaton McKinney from Ankeny HS. McKinney is a solidly built 6-3, 200 lbs already and has present bat speed and a very nice swing. He had no problem getting around on the mid 80's fastballs he saw and had one such pitch that he just missed, fouling it straight back to the screen off a near perfect swing. You could tell from his body language that he knew he just missed destroying the pitch. With everything else going on I didn't get a good feel for his defensive tools/skills but I'm told they are plenty good for a freshman.
I had never seen IF David Kerian, a 2011 from Bishop Heelan HS in Dakota Dunes, South Dakota, before Sunday and wish I had. Kerian has a sweet left handed swing and good present bat speed. He's athletic on the bases and in the field, too.
A two-way player that was fun to watch was OF-RHP Anthony Gagliardi, a 2011 from Prairie HS in Cedar Rapids who is signed with Southeastern CC. Gagliardi is a lose actioned 6-4, 185 lb athlete who threw 84-86 off the mound with a big downer curveball and showed bat speed at the plate. He should keep improving in both areas as he gets stronger.