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Tournaments  | Story  | 3/11/2017

Showdown Day 3 Scout Notes

Vincent Cervino     
Photo: Perfect Game

IMG Academy kicked off the day against the Cartersville Hurricanes for the first time slot of the day. Righthander Kendall Williams (2019, Olive Brance, Miss.) got the start for Ascenders and fired his first pitch of the day at 88 mph. The Vanderbilt commit is extremely long, lanky, and immensely projectable with a high waist and broad shoulders. Williams throws from a long arm action that is slightly hooked through the back but pretty loose throughout. He dips his back shoulder at the top of the delivery but that helps him to get downhill off the mound. The delivery will leave the arm behind at times and as such he will miss up with pitches on occasion. He throws with some effort but his combination of youth and body suggest high velocity levels in the future. The fastball sat 85-87 mph for the majority of the outing with a couple pitches bumping in the 88 mph range. The pitch has some down life to it but will straighten out if left up in the zone. The curveball varies in break and sharpness but some of the better ones had tight spin and sharp downward break with 11-to-5 shape. The changeup was extremely effective as a ground ball pitch for Williams and he elicited a few swings and misses on the pitch as well. The delivery lacks some polish and he could use better utilization of his lower half but Williams has excellent tools and size on the mound and remains one of the top pitchers for his class.

Shortstop Devin Warner (2018, Euharlee, Ga.) delivered the decisive, ultimately game-winning score for the Hurricanes with an impressive home run over the right field fence to give the Hurricanes the 4-3 lead. Warner's impressive power output from the left side continues to wow spectators and scouts alike. The swing from the left and right side are fundamentally different with the swing from the left side being a fly ball-oriented, powerful swing. The Auburn commit has very good bat speed and creates a lot of leverage from the left side and thus will hit a lot of home runs from that side. Warner is also extremely physically gifted with an imposing 6-foot-2, 205-pound frame that he used all of on his home run swing. The swing from the right side also looked good as he knocked in a triple from the right side later in the day.

One of the most consistent hitters for the runner-up Blessed Trinity Titans has been middle infielder C.J. Abrams (2019, Alpharetta, Ga.) whose hot hitting helped drive them to the championship game. Abrams is extremely athletic with plenty of quick twitch and plays shortstop extraordinarily well even through he has been playing second base during the tournament. Abrams stands at a wide base at the plate with a high hand set and high back elbow. The swing is short and directly to the ball with explosive hands and plenty of bat speed. He consistently squares the ball up out in front and is very dangerous in the pull gap and to the pull side down the line. The swing will get a bit slappy at times but that's because he will shorten up with two strikes and let his outstanding speed get him on base. Abrams is easily a plus runner who recorded multiple home to first times in the 4.0-4.1 second range. Abrams is very aggressive at the plate and if he receives a first pitch down the middle, he won't miss it. He is at his best when he is driving line drives to all fields, such as his RBI triple to right field during the championship game. Abrams is certainly a special talent who will be intriguing to monitor as he continues to grow and develop.

Tournament MVP and second baseman for the Providence Stallions Alec Sanchez (2018, Jacksonville, Fla.) was at it again on Saturday as his early home run in the semifinals helped power the Stallions past the Sparkman Senators. One of the cooler things that occurred throughout the tournament was that Sanchez is committed to Florida State and thus, the entire team would do the "warchant" when he was up to bat. Sanchez rewarded his teammates trust with a leadoff home run against Sparkman to set the tone for the semifinals. Sanchez showed his similar barrel skills and bat speed to combine for some good power in his bat. He added a stolen base in the championship game and likely solidified his MVP award with the second home run of the tournament.

Sanchez' teammate righthander Max Holmes (2017, Jacksonville, Fla.) got the start for the championship final against Blessed Trinity and was impressive early on. He earned the save against Cartersville in the round of 16 on Friday night and was up to 89 mph during the outing. Today he was a bit more reserved with the velocity but still showed a loose, lanky arm action with a full arm circle. The delivery was pretty methodical and the arm speed ramped up upon delivery of the pitch. He showed predominantly a two-pitch mix of fastball and curveball. The fastball topped out at 87 mph on the afternoon while sitting in the 84-86 mph range. The fastball command was a bit inconsistent, he hit a couple of batters, but it worked nicely when he incorporated the curveball often. The curveball was his most effective pitch on the afternoon and showed sharp break with good shape and depth to the pitch as well. There were times where he would go to the curveball first instead of the fastball as he threw the curveball roughly a third of the time and it was very effective. The South Florida commit earned the win by going 4 1/3 innings and allowing only two earned runs. 

The consolation game between Redan and Loganville saw some intriguing talents between the two teams. Starting pitcher for the Red Devils Bay Witcher (2018, Loganville, Ga.) and starting centerfielder for the Raiders James Parris (2018, Stone Mountain, Ga.) were both impressive during the game.

Parris is an outstanding athlete who covers a lot of ground in center field. His impressive speed and clean reads of fly balls allow him to range to both gaps to cover fly balls and he has above average arm strength as well. The Pensacola State commit showed off that arm strength on the mound late in the game where he was peppering in fastballs consistently at 87 mph. The fastball had late life and he showed very good arm speed from the mound. The arm action was slightly rigid with an arn hook through the back but he had a good approach on the mound and mixed speeds and looks well in limited action. The changeup in particular was an effective pitch for Parris that registered in the high-70s with similar arm speed to the fastball and was an effective offspeed pitch. At the plate, Parris has a pretty quick bat with a high hand set and high back elbow. He has a contact-oriented approach where he allowed his speed to help him get on base. He registered a 4.29 second home to first time from the right side of the plate and was dangerous on the base path as well.

Witcher has an ideal pitcher's frame on the mound standing tall and lean at a listed 6-foot-5, 190-pounds. He has a stab throughout the back of his arm action that was a bit rigid through the release. He threw from a tight three-quarter arm slot. The Troy commit lands online and his front leg collapses early as he lands. Witcher threw with some effort and his misses were to the glove side when he would overexert himself. The fastball had some life, including some riding life up in the zone, and sat from 85-87 mph, topping out at 88 mph, throughout his start. He did a good job maintaining his velocity throughout the outing and was still hitting 86 mph in the sixth inning. The curveball is a bit loopy with some depth but was inconsistent. When he got on top of the pitch it was effective at generating swings and misses. The changeup showed some potential and although it didn't have much down action it was effective as a change of speed pitch. Witcher showed a good collection of tools with a three-pitch mix that allows for further development as he continues to fill out his frame.