Showcase : : Story
Saturday, June 14, 2014

PG National: Day 3 recap

Patrick Ebert         Chris Real        
Photo: Perfect Game

Jeff Dahn Day 3 features: John Aiello | Kep Brown

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.

During 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.

Overall, Burrows was pleased with his outing.

I 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.”

Throwing 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.

I 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.”

Before 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.

The 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.

I’ve 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.”

But 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 past season.

I 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.”

For 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.

Chris Real

Live Streaming

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:

National Impressions

Five 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.

The 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 killing.

The 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.

Dakota 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.

Keegan 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.

Jean 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.

Jacob 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.

Pitching 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.

The 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.

Andrew 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.

The 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 seventh.

Game 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.

Wotell 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.

Molnar 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.

Parker 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 Texas righthander.

Although 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 right-center.

A 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.

Righthander 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.

Mike 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.

The 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.

Szapucki 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 mph fastball.

Finley on the other hand worked consistently at 89-90 mph with a 73-75 mph curveball. Both starters have good frames and visible athleticism on the mound.

Another lightning delay occurred mid-way through Finley's second inning of work, and when play resumed more big arms took the mound.

Lefthander Kolby Allard was the most pleasant surprise of this group, and made pitching in the low-90s look incredibly easy. He displayed a very live arm in producing 90-93 mph heat with a smooth and easy delivery, spotting his fastball well to both sides of the plate. He also threw a sharp 77 mph curveball and a promising 84-85 mph changeup.

Another lefthander from the Steel team, Kyle Ostrowski, is all about projection thanks to his wiry strong and slender 6-foot-3, 185-pound frame. He touched 90 while sitting 87-89 in his two innings of work and also threw a sharp low-70s curveball.

Joe DeMers was the last pitcher to take the mound for the Steel team, a righthander with a more mature and strong 6-foot-2, 215-pound frame. DeMers came out firing, delivering several 94 mph fastballs and a handful of 93's in his second inning of work. Both his 81-82 mph slider and 82-83 mph changeup also show promise, and he did a nice job working between these three pitches.

In all, Day 3 was a very good day for pitching in which several big arms stepped up and made the most of their opportunities.

Outfielder Darryl Wilson also made the most of his first taste of game action. A lefthanded hitter, Wilson was able to get to Szapucki in his first inning of work, lacing an RBI double down the left field line. Later in the game Wilson drilled a ball to right field and turned on the jets, and looked like, as one PG scout put it, was running “in fast forward” as he blazed around the bases for standup triple.

Texas Orange first baseman and outfielder Brandt Stallings also proved he could catch up with premium stuff, turning on the first pitch Joe DeMers threw, a 94 mph fastball, and drove it high and deep to right-center field. He would have easily cruised into third base had the ball not gotten lodged under the base of the outfield fence, stopping Stallings at second with a ground-rule double.

J.D. Williams hit a soft flare late in the game to right field and legged it out for a hustle double. He promptly stole third base, and trotted home on an RBI groundout.

Read about all of the game action in the event's scout blogs:

2014 PG National Showcase scout blog

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