Tournaments | Story | 9/27/2020

WWBA Sophomore Scout Notes: Day 3

Jered Goodwin         Vincent Cervino         Tyler Russo         Perfect Game Staff        
Photo: Owen Egan (Perfect Game)
WWBA Sophomore Scout Notes: Day 1 | Day 2

Turning in a very strong performance during the morning slot over at Terry Park was southpaw Hayden Thomas (2023, Lexington, S.C.) who kept the flow of the game moving for the Canes National team as their offense exploded and Thomas didn’t miss a beat. Committed to Arkansas, Thomas is a lean, athletic left-handed pitcher with a lower arm slot, very loose arm, and projection remaining given the size of the frame. The fastball showed very good running life down and to the arm side and the stuff plays up given Thomas’ propensity to hide the ball and hit his spots on a consistent basis. Thomas showed a curveball with good shape and tilt, an obvious projection pick given the upside, and though he didn’t need it often it still gives him a quality two-pitch mix to build off and develop.

Resmondo Baseball leadoff man Michael Graziano (2023, Naples, Fla.) has had a strong fall thus far and is building on it with very good bat-to-ball skills through the pool play section of the tournament. Graziano checks a lot of boxes from a prospect perspective with a physical 6-foot-2, 195 pound frame, big strength-oriented tools like the arm and bat speed, and is also a 6.6 runner. The right-handed swing offers plenty of bat speed and, particularly, impact potential as the strength of his wrists translates to loud contact all over the field. The heaviness of the barrel head is an obvious standout tool and allows him to have substantial offensive upside. Graziano notched three hits to the ledger during the first game of the day and his performance this fall has been impressive to say the least.

Pitching for Resmondo in the same game was Freddy Noel Beruvides Jr. (2023, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) who is one of the more accomplished pitchers at PG event for his grad class and Beruvides once again turned in a stellar start. The Virginia commit tossed five innings of one-run baseball all while competing within the zone, landing all three pitches with command, and striking out ten batters. Beruvides has a controlled and efficient delivery, getting the arm out in front on time to land his pitches and it starts with the fastball which was up to 85 mph and sat right around the mid-80s for the majority of the start. The change-up and breaking ball are both quality offerings for Beruvides and he would get ahead in the count and mix in the off-speed to really disrupt hitters. It was clear Beruvides had a plan for giving different looks of attack different times through the order and the result was a strong start.

PFA Matadors lead-off man and switch hitter Nate Franco (2023, Westlake Village, Calif.) shows a lot to like out of the young prospect with a projectable frame, loose and easy stroke, and the performance in the tournament thus far to back that. Most of the at-bats seen by this scout came from the left side of the plate, as is often the case with young switch hitters given the predominance of right-handed pitching, but the swing really projects well as he adds strength to the 5-foot-11, 160 pound frame. There’s quickness to his wrists and he’s able to pull the ball and loft it in the air to the pull side. The extra base ability is already present throughout and a lot of the fly balls he hits should begin to turn into home runs as he adds strength to the lengthy frame. Franco had a very good weekend with a .636 average to his name and the ability certainly matches the stats in this case and Franco should be monitored closely. 

Another California prospect coming off a big summer is Oregon commit Carl Schmidt (2023, Petaluma, Calif.) and all Schmidt has done for Meta Prime is find barrels in the middle of the lineup. He’s an athletic and twitchy prospect with the wherewithal and tools to stick for the long term and to potentially be an asset there given the actions and advanced infield feel; the barrel ability also portends the potential to be an impact offensive piece moving forward. Schmidt has excellent bat speed from the right side, an effective toe tap timing trigger to get his hips extended and the bat on time at contact, and the general hittability that stands out for a prospect this young. The Oregon commit doesn’t just look for contact, he fires his mechanisms on time and really impacts the baseball with requisite impressive mechanics to really project out as he continues to fill out. Schmidt is a name trending up for the 2023 class and his performance thus far on the weekend only solidifies that.

Brett Denby (2023, Sellersburg, Ind.) pitched a gem for Team Georgia in the opening round of bracket play, going over six innings while striking out eleven batters and competing his tail off in the process. Denby is an excellent athlete, who’s been lauded over the summer for his work as a position prospect, but during this look the pitching prowess was what really stood out. The delivery is compact and repeatable, with a simple turn step and shorter, quick arm stroke that remains online nicely. The athleticism really shows as Denby finishes through his front leg well and reveals the ball at the last minute. That deception in conjunction with the sinking life generated on the fastball in the lower third of the zone leads to a lot of ground balls and uncomfortable swings. The Georgia commit worked mostly in the 83-86 mph range for the afternoon, peaking at 88 mph in the first inning as he also mixed in a solid breaking ball with sharpness. Denby showed a ton of pitchability and competitiveness on the bump on Saturday and he was rewarded with the win next to his name on the ledger.

While Denby was undoubtedly impressive on the mound, fellow Georgia commit Cooper Milford (2023, Cumming, Ga.) was the hero for Team Georgia as his go-ahead, three-run home run in the bottom of the sixth inning was the difference maker. Milford is another prospect who’s been on the rise after a strong summer and the athleticism is the big marker of Milford’s prospect status. He’s a lean, twitchy outfielder at a listed 6-foot, 155 pounds with immense physical projection remaining. There’s solid bat speed to the profile and he controlled his front side well on the home run swing, getting his foot planted and really creating violent torque to turn the barrel over and drive the ball out to the pull side. Milford is a solid prospect who came up big in the biggest moment of the game to deliver his team a win.

Another very strong outing came from the right arm of Christian Rodriguez (2023, Coral Springs, Fla.) who battled through a touch-and-go first inning to quickly regain form and settle in nicely. The two-time PG Select Festival participant showed some electric stuff early, running his fastball up to 92 mph and sitting right around 87-90 mph for the majority of the start and showing quality life to the offering. The arm action is compact through the back and a bit offline; however the athleticism and twitch that Rodriguez shows to his delivery coupled with the ability to get the arm out on time make strikes not a huge issue during this look. The breaking ball was inconsistent, but at its best it has the makings of a swing-and-miss offering given the bite and sharpness to the pitch. Rodriguez will have to be a bit more consistent with his release point on the pitch, but the ingredients are obviously there. He punched out nine hitters in a little over four innings while holding his stuff and posits well as a premier two-way prospect.

Having a monster tournament thus far is outfielder Zaid Diaz (2023, Miramar, Fla.) who was an impact force in the lineup during Eagles Baseball’s victory with a double and a home run to his ledger. Diaz, who recently impressed over at the Underclass All-American Games, is a twitchy left-handed hitter with a loose, fast stroke from the left side and the bat speed and strength to turn the barrel over with intent and pull it to generate a ton of carry. The barrel skills were on full display as he pulled a double down the line to lead off the game and later pulled a home run to the pull side that was struck well on a line and still showed the carry and distance to get out. The tools and overall package are exciting as Diaz is one of the higher quality uncommitted outfielders in the class.

The most dominant performance of the day came from Meta National’s Owen Egan (2023, Yucaipa, Calif.), who’s been documented already this week due to his exploits as an offensive prospect, but his pitching outing in the first round of bracket play was nothing short of excellent. Egan was super-efficient over the course of six shutout innings as the off-speed stuff, command, and ability to mix were on full display and led to a lot of empty hacks against him. A UCLA commit, Egan is primarily known for his offensive tools and talent as a position prospect; however, he’s been into the low-90s and has great secondary stuff which makes him a legitimate two-way prospect. Egan’s delivery is simple yet deceptive, as his athleticism allows him to stop-and-start, pause, and manipulate levers to give the hitters different looks at release. The arm stroke is compact through the back and the fastball worked in the 86-89 mph range, sitting right around 87 mph for the duration of the outing. Egan would pitch backwards, start with off-speed pitches, and even sometimes not throw the fastball for an entire at-bat. The changeup has all the makings of a plus pitch with excellent fading life, replicated arm speed upon release, and the ability to throw it to both righties and lefties. Egan garnered fourteen swings and misses with the pitch showing its elite capabilities while the breaking ball showed slurvy shape with hard bite at times, functioning more as a chase pitch than a pitch to be landed. The performance was very strong for Egan who’s putting together a very good weekend for himself down in Florida.

Coming on in relief for 5 Star was right-hander James Hays (2023, Hawkinsville, Ga.) who has some of the best stuff in the entire class and is currently ranked the eighth best prospect in the country. Some of the justification for his lofty prospect status jumps out right away with an uber-physical 6-foot-1, 200 pound build, a straightforward operation with a clean and fast arm stroke, and big time stuff that is among the best present stuff in the country. The arm stroke has some length through the backside which can cause some timing issues as far as release point goes but this led to some inconsistencies with fastball command that led to some long at-bats. That can sound fairly nitpicky, though, as at the end of the day the repertoire was good enough to miss bats and overpower hitters. The fastball sat right at 90-92 mph on the day, touching 93 mph once or twice, with very heavy life on the pitch. Hays complemented the fastball with a sharp slider in the upper-70s that flashed the ingredients for swing-and-miss potential as well as some firm changeups in the low-80s. The Georgia commit was wholly impressive during this look and it’s easy to see that the long term future is bright for Hays.

Top Tier won their first bracket play game on Saturday night and the offense was once again showing up as both Steven Milam (2023, Las Cruces, N.M.) and Colton Wombles (2023, Salem, Ala.) helped contribute to the victory.

There might not be anyone having as good a tournament as Milam, who entered play on Sunday hitting a scorching .714 and showing as the top statistical hitter thus far. The Louisiana State commit is such a unique prospect as rarely do you see the barrel control and ability to manipulate contact at the level Milam can in such a young prospect. He’s a legitimate switch hitter in every sense of the work with extremely efficient, magnetic swing that is free, easy, and accurate. All weekend he’s shown the ability to line the ball the other way, take the pitch right back up the chute for a hit, even the ability to lengthen the stroke a bit and try to leverage the ball for power. There’s not a ton of power yet but there’s still room on the frame for strength and the power isn’t the selling card on the profile anyway. He’s got tremendous defensive actions and feel for the game too, knowing where to be in the right situations and having the twitch and ability to make a myriad of defensive plays. He’s a very advanced prospect in the truest sense of the word and if Milam is able to add strength in the coming years the upside is sky high.

Wombles came through with a double but he’s also been impressing with his aggressiveness behind the dish. An Auburn commit, Wombles has excellent raw catch-and-throw skills behind the dish with the ability to replace his lower half extremely quickly and the arm stroke to pop sub-2.00 second times. He’s been throwing out a good clip of runners this weekend, as though this scout wasn’t ready with the watch, and the couple of times he’s nailed runners haven’t been particularly close encounters. Wombles is a physical right-handed hitter and at the present he works well with gap-to-gap skill off the barrel. The strength at the point of extension is notable and he’s at his best when he’s using all fields like he did in the bracket play game with his double to the opposite field. Wombles is a solid prospect as he’s made strides to improve the ability behind the plate but the catch-and-throw and threat to base runners is a notable skill and one that he excels at.

-Vinnie Cervino 

Daniel Cuvet (2023 Fort Lauderdale, FL) is an outstanding two-way prospect. He has a strong 6-foot-4, 215 pound frame and produces huge right-handed bat speed. He has a mature approach with power to all fields. The University of Miami commit collected a triple to left field during the game. He threw the final frame for Elite Squad, firing heavy sinking fastballs mostly in the 85-88/9 mph range. The right-hander flashed a low 70’s curveball and upper 70s changeup that both show promise. The power bat/power arm combination makes him one of the more intriguing follows in the class.

This is Premium Level content. You must be a Premium subscriber to read the rest.

Sign in CrossChecker Premium level
 Give us your feedback
Copyright 1994-2020 by Perfect Game. All rights reserved. No portion of this information may be reprinted or reproduced without the written consent of Perfect Game.