Tournaments | Story | 7/9/2015

17u WWBA Day 6 notes

Andrew Krause        
Photo: Perfect Game

Day 1 Recap | Day 2 Recap | Day 3 Recap | Day 4 Recap | Day 5 Recap

Pitching for the SoCal NTT Blue team
Graham Ashcraft (2016, Brownsboro, Ala.) threw an impressive seven inning complete game on Wednesday morning. Ashcraft participated in the National Showcase last month in Fort Myers and ran his fastball up to 93 mph. The strong-bodied Ashcraft has a sturdy build and some thickness and strength in his torso and legs. He works to a three-quarters arm slot and can drop down a bit lower occasionally.

In the early going Ashcraft had some issues repeating his delivery and was a bit stiffer at landing, but he did show the same low-90s velocity that he had displayed at the PG National. His heater shows natural tailing action from the lower slot, although at times the pitch can flatten out or run too far to the arm side when he falls out of his delivery.

As the game progressed, Ashcraft got into a better rhythm and was able to repeat his mechanics and throw more strikes. He showed some feel for a mid-70s breaking ball that had some depth and two-plane break with predominately 10-to-4 shape. At times he lost the pitch to his arm side as he got on the side or underneath the offering, but he did flash some sharp, late-breaking pitches that induced swings and misses. He also flashed a few developing changeups in the mid-80s.

In the later innings Ashcraft ramped up his velocity and began to empty the tank as the righty hit 95 at least once in each of his last three innings pitched and lived more consistently in the 92-94 mph range. Even more impressively was the fact that he was able to still throw strikes and keep the ball down in the zone within that velocity band.

Ryan Rolison
(2016, Jackson, Tenn.) also pitched well at the National Showcase, and he threw a typically efficient and clean four innings on Wednesday afternoon. The 6-foot-2, 190-pound southpaw has a projectable frame with a lean build, high torso and tapered waist. The Ole Miss recruit has good feel for his simple, repeatable delivery and the ball comes out of his hand pretty clean. As he did last month, Rolison showed an advanced feel to locate his fastball to both sides of the plate and he looked extremely comfortable throwing to his glove side, something that many pitchers need to develop later in their college or professional careers.

While he was able to cruise through his four innings largely off of the location of his 87-90 mph heater, Rolison has shown feel for an upper-70s curveball with 1-to-7 shape and a low-80s changeup. He has advanced pitchability for his age, with an astute ability to change eye levels and move the ball around to either side of the plate with any of his three offerings, but most especially his fastball.

Delvin Perez
(2016, Loiza, Puerto Rico) made quite the splash at the PG National, displaying some of the loudest overall tools in the entire event. He showed off great foot speed, turning in a 6.53 60-yard dash and impressed in the defensive workouts with good range, soft hands, and plus arm strength. At 6-foot-3, 165-pounds, Perez has an extremely projectable frame and lots of present quick-twitch athleticism. He has good present bat speed that allows him to whip the barrel through the zone with authority, and while at times he can work around the ball, he displays juice to his pull side with the ability to impact the baseball.

One can expect Perez to flash in the field, and he’s made a number of plays look easy over the course of the tournament. He has a quick first step, extremely smooth actions, soft hands and a predilection for flash and flair that makes him a fun player to watch. With such high-level tools and a lean, projectable frame Perez has one of the higher ceilings in the 2016 class, and he could make some serious noise with additional experience, maturation and strength.

Perez’s teammate at the International Baseball Academy and on the SoCal NNT Blue,
Alan Marrero (2016, Bayamon, Puerto Rico), also showed off intriguing defensive tools. The compactly built 5-foot-8, 185-pound catcher certainly looks the part behind the plate and he showed good lateral movement, footwork and the ability to explode out of his crouch. Marrero threw out a runner trying to steal second base early in the game, showing off a strong, accurate arm and turning in a 2.0 second pop time. He also showed that he wasn’t scared to throw behind runners, doing so on a number of different occasions. That aggressiveness paid dividends as Marrero was able to take advantage of a high and outside fastball and quickly fire down to second base in just 1.83 seconds to backpick a runner that had taken an aggressive secondary lead. The righthanded hitter also has some hitting tools, with some bat speed and strength and he flashed the ability to use the entire field, hitting a single to right field in his first at-bat.

Trey Morris
(2016, Katy, Texas) is a long, lean projectable righthanded pitcher committed to Texas Christian. At 6-foot-5, 200-pounds, Morris has long levers and to go with broader shoulders and he should be able to add significantly more muscle mass over the next few years without any issues. Morris has a high leg lift delivery out of the windup with a slight hunch over the raised knee, and his arm works pretty well to an arm slot at three-quarters or just slightly above three-quarters. The lanky righty showed good stamina and arm strength, sitting consistently in the 88-89 mph window over much of his start. The heater showed good downhill plane and angle and was especially tough for hitters to pick up and do anything with when he was able to locate it at the knees, which he did particularly well in the middle innings.

Morris also has a deeper release, really driving out off of the rubber, so his fastball jumps on hitters and resulted in some uncomfortable swings. While the fastball was his predominant pitch, Morris flashed some quality breaking balls in the 69-72 mph range, with the offering mostly showing 11-to-5 shape and solid depth. He also worked in a few rare breaking balls in the mid-70s, in which he was able to maintain decent arm speed and generate some fading action that played well off of his fastball plane and movement.

After throwing one inning in relief earlier in the tournament,
Tyler Baum (2016, Ocoee, Fla.) earned the victory with six strong innings in Scorpions Prime’s first-round playoff victory. Baum’s exploits earlier in the tournament were touched upon here and the athletic, slender righthander also worked in the 88-92 mph range for much of his outing on Wednesday. The North Carolina commit still was able to pound the strike zone with his lively heater, which showed good arm-side run and sink down at the knees. His mid-70s breaking ball also flashed more consistent downer action, and while the tilt still varied at times, he showed some feel for spinning it and using it to get both called strikes and chases out of the zone.

While players like Carlos A. Cortes, Chase Cheek, and Drew Mendoza have been touched upon previously a few other Scorpions Prime position players showed well at the plate on Wednseday and helped to provide Baum some run support.

Jared Herron
(2016, Orlando, Fla.) continued his hot hitting in the tournament by ripping a double to left-center field in his first at bat. The physical, strong 6-foot-1, 215-pound catcher has been on a tear for much of the event, showing off an ability to both ambush fastballs and keep his hands back and hit breaking balls sharply as well. The Florida State commit hits from an open stance with a lower hand set, and when he’s able to get into solid hitting position and maintain good timing and rhythm—as he has been able to do all event—Herron displays the ability to impact the baseball and create natural carry off of the barrel.

Spencer Taylor
(2016, Sorrento, Fla.) hit a loud, long home run off of an elevated fastball in the middle part of the plate. Taking advantage of a hittable pitch, Taylor—also a National Showcase participant—showed off some natural bat speed and strength and an ability to generate natural loft from a deeper load.

Andrew Krause

In perhaps one of the more impressive WWBA upsets of recent years, the Evoshield Canes 17u lost on Wednesday morning, eliminating them from contention for this year’s title. Despite the loss, the Canes still put several high-end talents on display, including 2016 righthander
Evan Odum (Lumberton, N.C.). Odum, at 6-foot-3, 180-pounds, is long and lean with excellent physical projection remaining on his frame. He employs an exaggerated long arm action with good arm speed, working in in the 88-89 range with his fastball. He throws from a high three-quarters slot, really driving downhill and generating excellent plane to the plate when he locates his fastball down in the zone. He complemented the fastball with an excellent 11-to-5 curveball, thrown in the mid- to upper-70s with plus depth and spin, generating easy swings and misses when he really got on top of the pitch.

2016 lefthander
Matthew Cronin (Navarre, Fla.) came on in relief, and despite battling his command at times still showed legitimate high-end Division I stuff. He’s a very deceptive lefthander, hiding the ball well until release and generating good hip torque and overall leg drive to the plate. Touching 91 a few times, Cronin worked mostly in the 88-90 range. His arm is very loose and quick, and he creates good angle to the plate from an extended slot, despite sacrificing some plane at times. He showed the ability to command the fastball down in the zone to both sides, as well as the ability to elevate the pitch when necessary. He showed a 12-to-6 curveball with excellent depth to complement the fastball, though he did get to the side of it some and leave it flat and up in the zone. When it’s on, it shows hammer depth and snap, and he got several flails at it.

2016 outfielder
Seth Beer (Suwanee, Ga.) has always flashed intriguing (and exciting) tools, but this week he really put them all together, especially at the plate, making him a very interesting 2016 MLB Draft prospect. He generates excellent leverage and strength in his swing from his 6-foot-3, 205-pound frame, showing off plus raw power with consistency. He pulled his hands in nicely on an inner-third fastball and launched it off of one of the merchandise stands beyond the right field fence in Wednesday’s game, putting a cherry on top of what was a very good tournament showing for him. 

In what was a long-awaited showing, 2016 righthander
Austin Bergner (Windemere, Fla.)—the No. 2 overall prospect in our class of 2016 rankings—took the mound for the Florida Burn in their first round playoff matchup with FTB. Bergner was very good. He worked 91-93 with his fastball throughout his entire outing, showing solid life on the pitch to the arm side and solid command. His arm speed is near plus-plus, and his exaggeratedly short arm action creates some deception. He uses his lower half extremely well and generates excellent drive..

His curveball worked anywhere from 74-78, showing more 12-to-6 shape and get-me-over action at the lower velocities, while the higher velocity breaker had more 11-to-5 shape with very sharp break and lots of swings and misses, even when not close to the zone. He flashed good feel for the change as well, throwing a few that would grade as above average with excellent tumbling action and deception. Overall, it was a very good showing for Bergner, which keeps him in legitimate first-round conversation as we begin to look towards the 2016 draft.

2016 catcher
Jake Sullivan (Valrico, Fla.) continues to impress with the bat, hitting another monster home run to the pull field on Wednesday evening at Lake Point. He has done an excellent job putting his name on the radars of several scouts, with potential plus power to go with a solid overall feel for hitting.

2016 lefthander
Jonathan Gettys (Gainesville, Ga.) has been on Perfect Game’s radar for quite some time now, and it doesn't hurt that he’s the younger brother of 2013 PG All-American and 2014 second-round pick Michael Gettys. At 6-foot-2, 215-pounds, Jonathan is thickly built with excellent strength throughout his frame, and he has plus raw arm strength to go along with it. Working 93-94 with his fastball in a short stint out of the bullpen, Gettys’ fastball can be overpowering all over the zone, and his excellent arm speed and physical build suggest that even more velocity could be in the tank moving forward.

Brian Sakowski

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