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Tournaments | Story | 7/8/2015

17u WWBA Day 5 notes

Andrew Krause        
Photo: Perfect Game

Day 1 Recap | Day 2 Recap | Day 3 Recap | Day 4 Recap




A few weeks ago at the PG National an interesting roster twist was that the state of Colorado was heavily represented by righthanded pitchers. Names like Sweeney, Weiss, Tillotson, and Eissler all drew rave reviews from the PG Staff, as did 2016 righthander
Travis Marr. The 6-foot-4, 205-pound Marr drew quite a crowd of interested college coaches as he made his start on Tuesday morning at the 17u WWBA National Championship, and didn't disappoint over his first four innings of work.

Working primarily with a fastball in the 84-87 range, Marr touched 89 a few times early on and did an outstanding job of keeping the ball off of opposing hitters’ barrels, resulting in several weak contact groundouts throughout. Delivering his fastball from a medium three-quarters slot with some crossfire delivery action, Marr is able to generate good angle to the plate along with quality heavy life on his fastball, making it a devastating combo to try and square up. He mixed in a breaking ball in the low- to mid-70s with varying shape, though one would hesitate to call it two separate pitches. It’s a curveball look with slurvy 10-to-4 shape, though at times it will be thrown harder and flatten out a tad when gotten on the side of. Marr ran into a bit of trouble in the fifth, but mostly showed a very good ability to work quickly, efficiently, and quietly through a batting order.




After absolutely exploding at National Underclass in the fall—and committing to LSU as a result—2016 righthander
Todd Peterson has been under intense scrutiny both due in part to that performance last fall, as well as the fact that he was teammates with Brendan Rodgers during his high school season at Lake Mary High School. Peterson took the mound on Tuesday for the Scorpions Prime team and had a solid outing. Touching 91 mph with his fastball early on, Peterson settled in around the 86-88 range for the majority of his start, adding and subtracting velocity as he worked to all four quadrants of the zone with the pitch. He’s an extra-large framed, well-built prospect with broad shoulders and strong legs, using all of that strength to drive off his backside well and downhill to the plate. His arm works pretty well throughout despite a bit of hook and wrist wrap, and he did a good job of commanding his fastball. His curveball flashed as a legitimate swing-and-miss offering, with quality spin and power depth, though the command of the offering lagged just a bit on this day.

2016 outfielder and fellow Scorps Prime member
Chase Cheek turned in a blazing fast 6.40 60-yard dash at the PG National, and followed that up with an almost unbelievable 3.69 time down to first base on a jailbreak bunt attempt. Cheek is arguably one of the fastest players in the entire class, and he uses that speed to his advantage in every facet of the game. On defense he patrols center field with reckless abandon, knowing that he has that burner lever of speed to cover as much ground as he may need to. Leading off for the Scorps, he employs an approach of pure contact (along with several bunts) to try and get the ball on the ground quickly so he can use that speed to get on base. Once he’s on base, there’s no stopping him from stealing second and third almost every time.




The Team Elite Roadrunners are highlighted in one way or another in nearly every one of these recaps, and for good reason. With a roster stacked with outstanding talent top to bottom, the Roadrunners can both pitch and hit with anyone in this tournament. One of their leading hitters—and one of the best pure hitters in the state of Georgia—is 2016 outfielder
Garrett Hodges, a Kennesaw State commit. Hodges hits third for the Roadrunners, and the 6-foot, 185-pounder projects to absolutely rake at KSU with legitimate power as well. Presently, Hodges’ power is more of the gap-to-gap variety, but he shows explosive bat speed with strength throughout his swing, as well as the loft and leverage necessary to eventually have potential plus home run power. He hits missiles from gap-to-gap, and certainly doesn't get cheated on any swing. What sets him apart, however, is that to go along with a swing full of intent to damage a baseball, he has excellent barrel control and overall feel for hitting. He’s an exciting prospect with the bat, to say the least.

New York Gothams 2016 righthander
Brian Rodriguez came out of the 'pen for the Gothams in their game on Tuesday night, and despite a relatively short stint, was very impressive as far as raw talent and stuff on the mound, though the overall refinement of pitchability and command may need some work. Rodriguez came out pumping 88-89 consistently early on, with some of the best life/movement on the fastball that we’ve seen all tournament. When down in the zone, the fastball displays plus sink and run, making it not only a barrel-misser but a bat-misser as well. Even when up the zone, despite losing the sink, the fastball still displayed excellent run. From a deceptive delivery highlighted by a hip coil and bit of crossfire action, Rodriguez’s arm works well and is very quick, making it tough for hitters to pick up the ball out of his hand.

Yet another 2016 prospect coming off of an impressive showing at the PG National, shortstop
Grae Kessinger made his presence felt early and often defensively, and followed it up with the bat as well. A long and lean prospect with excellent athleticism, Kessinger projects physically nearly as well as anyone in his class, and puts his athleticism on display in the infield. With above average range to both sides, quick and quality footwork, along with an above average arm, there's no doubt he will continue to play shortstop at the next level. He shows an innate feel for the barrel at the plate as well with the type of swing and approach that will continue to be successful hitting for average and develop into more power moving forward as well, as he continues to develop physically.

Brian Sakowski





Elliott Anderson
(2016, Cartersville, Ga.) was not listed on the original East Cobb Astros Scout Team roster included in the program, but he had scouts and coaches scrambling to find out who was on the mound on Tuesday afternoon. Anderson, a Mississippi State commit, owns a 6-foot-3, 215-pound frame and he has broad shoulders and good build with present strength in his body. The southpaw has a pretty clean arm stroke and path through to his high three-quarters arm slot, and he consistently worked in the 87-89 mph range with his fastball over the course of his 5 2/3 innings pitched. Anderson also has some slight deception in his delivery which features a mild hip turn at the apex of his leg lift, and he has a later hand break. He did a pretty good job of repeating his delivery, although he started to labor a bit in the later innings. Despite a head snap at release and some spine tilt, Anderson was able to throw strikes with his fastball for much of the outing. He also showed some feel for spinning a curveball in the mid-70s. The offering had varied tilt, showing either 1-to-7 or 12-to-6 shape, but both varieites flashed solid bite and finish at or below the knees. Anderson also worked in a few changeups in the upper-70s, and while they were often thrown out of the strike zone, he showed developing feel for the offering with similar fastball arm speed.




While he plays for a team full of mostly Georgia-based players,
Mathieu Gauthier (2016, Quebec, Canada) is an intriguing arm from north of the border. The Canadian righty is currently uncommitted, but he possesses a combination of present stuff and projection that should be of interest to both college coaches and professional scouts. The lean 6-foot-1, 150-pounder has a very slender build, but there is still plenty of room within his frame for him to add an additional 25 plus pounds and not sacrifice any flexibility or overall athleticism. Gauthier has a quickly-paced delivery with a slight collapse on his backside with a bent back knee and slight turn, coil and pause before driving to the plate. He could use his lower half a bit more in his delivery, but he still does a solid job of staying balanced and under control.

Gauthier uses an extended arm action and shows a loose path that allows him to work pretty cleanly to his three-quarters arm slot. In his brief two-inning stint Gauthier sat in the 86-88 mph range with his fastball, touching 89 a couple of times. The heater showed some riding life up in the zone to go along with occasional arm-side run and sink when located down and to the arm side. Gauthier flashed a developing slider in the mid-70s that showed some two-plane break with slight depth and solid glove-side finish. At times he’d get on the side of the ball and leave the pitch arm-side, but the offering shows some promise.

Similarly, Gauthier flashed an occasional changeup in the upper-80s, and he did a pretty good job of repeating his fastball arm action and armspeed. With additional strength and more experience, Gauthier has the makings of another Canadian-born pitcher with the ability to pitch at the next level.




Conor Grady
(2017, Tampa, Fla.) was impressive in his start on Tuesday afternoon. The righty will just be a junior this fall, but Grady showed good present stuff and poise on the mound while he and his Ostingers Baseball Academy Green team defeated a talented Team Elite Prime 17u team. Listed at 6-foot-2, 185-pounds, Grady has good present strength, and with a high waist and long-limbs, he still has the room to get stronger as he continues to mature. Grady worked in the 88-90 mph range with his fastball, which showed mild arm-side run and some late wiggle and life down in the zone. He mixed in a developing breaking ball in the mid-70s that flashed glove-side finish and bite, and an occasional low-80s changeup.

Braden Shewmake
(2016, Wylie, Texas) started things off with a bang for the Dallas Patriots Stout team. Hitting in the two-hole, Shewmake delivered with a two-run home run to right field in the top of the first inning and they would never relinquish the lead. The lefthanded hitting infielder is committed to Texas A&M and he displayed intriguing tools on both sides of the ball that should play at the next level. Shewmake has a lean, slender build on a long 6-foot-4, 175-pound frame, but he has some wiry strength in his forearms and wrists that allow him to whip the bat through the zone. While his swing path is a bit longer and uphill, he has a solid feel for the barrel and enough present strength that he’s able to impact the ball, as he did on Tuesday morning. Shewmake also displayed some impressive defensive chops while playing third base. He charged the ball well and made a very nice play on an attempted bunt for hit attempt that rolled down near the third base line, and he displayed good body control, athleticism and a strong, accurate arm to cut down the runner. As he continues to add strength and muscle to his lean frame, Shewmake should be an interesting player to watch.

Another Texas A&M commit,
Cameron Blake (2016, Round Rock, Texas), has solid hitting tools. The lefthanded hitting outfielder has some present strength in his 6-foot-1, 170-pound frame with a sturdy lower half and broad shoulders that indicate that he should continue to fill out over the next few years. Blake has a confident look in the box and uses an aggressive weight shift and deeper load. He displayed solid pitch recognition skills and tracked the ball very well, with a number of quality takes. When he’s on time and able to keep his strong, quick hands back Blake has the ability to impact the baseball, as he did on a single to center field and on a sharply hit groundout to shortstop.

Pedro Pages
(2016, Doral, Fla.) is one of many talented hitters on the Elite Squad Prime team. Brian Sakowski already touched upon a number of them in previous recaps, but Pages, a 2015 National Showcase participant, impressed again in Tuesday’s game action. The Florida Atlantic commit hit a pull-side home run to left field on an elevated fastball. The strong-bodied Pages hits from a wide base and is pretty short to the ball with a slightly uphill bat path that allows him to loft the ball with strength and authority – as he did on Tuesday – when he’s able to get the barrel to the ball.




Andrew Schultz
(2016, Alpharetta, Ga.) turned some heads in the 18u tournament last week as the righty hit 96 mph on the radar gun. On Tuesday, the uncommitted prospect toed the rubber for Team Elite Prime 17u. While he didn’t showcase the same upper-echelon velocity, Schultz has a lean, projectable 6-foot-4, 180-pound frame and he sat in the 88-92 mph range with his fastball. With an extended arm action, an elongated arm circle, and some inconsistent timing issues with his lower half, there are some things to be cleaned up in his delivery, but there is no denying the arm speed. Schultz’s heater shows some arm-side run and late sinking life from his three-quarters arm slot, and it is a quality pitch when it is located down in the strike zone. He flashed a few changeups and maintained solid arm speed on the pitch, providing some initial deception upon release. Similarly, while it was inconsistent, Schultz’s breaking ball flashes some potential, as it comes out of the same plane as his fastball and can show solid glove-side slice and finish at times. While further seasoning/experience and additional strength to his frame are ideal for his future development, Schultz has some interesting pieces to work with.

Andrew Krause



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