Tournaments | Story | 10/19/2015

World Championship Pool Preview

Andrew Krause         Jheremy Brown         Patrick Ebert        
Photo: Perfect Game

2015 WWBA World Championship Event Schedule

All 17 pools, A through Q, for the 2015 WWBA World Championship will be released and previewed throughout the day on Monday, Oct. 19.  Be sure to check out the Perfect Game homepage as well as the main event page for links to the full tournament schedule, standings, playoff bracket, scout blogs and feature stories leading up to and carrying through this year's WWBA World Championship to be held at the Roger Dean Sports Complex in Jupiter, Fla., Oct. 22-26.

Pool A

Team Top Pos. Player RK Class Top Pitcher RK Class Manager
Astros Scout Team/FTB Tucci Bo Bichette
25 2016 Graham Ashcraft
79 2016 Jered Goodwin
Baseball U Bonsall Bat
Alex Kirilloff
17 2016 Frank Vesuvio
2016 John Wells
Houston Heat
Tim Bechtold
2016 Shane Baz
97 2017 Bear Bay
Midland Redskins
Tyler Duvall
113 2016 Austin Bodrato
178 2016 Brian Hiler
Francisco Del Valle 260 2016 Javier Rodriguez 500 2016
Omar Rodriguez

Projected Pool Winner:  Astros Scout Team/FTB Tucci
Alex Kirilloff, Baseball U Bonsall Bat
The Astros Scout Team/FTB Tucci roster features one of the toolsy, mysterious 2016 prospects in the form of Delvin Perez. With loud tools across the board, the Puerto Rican shortstop has flashed first-round ability at various PG events throughout the summer and he’ll be a highly followed prospect in Jupiter. FTB certainly has the bats to fill out the rest of their order, with Bo Bichette, Max Guzman and Herbert Iser potentially forming the most powerful middle of the order in the entire event. They certainly have the pitching to match up with anyone in the tournament as well, with highly ranked, hard throwing prospects filling out their staff. In any given game, guys like Altoon Coleman, Ryan Zeferjahn or Graham Ashcraft certainly have the capability of winning a game for FTB, and when combined with a veritable “murderer’s row” of power hitters, it’s going to be very hard to pick against these guys to win the whole thing.

Dark Horse:  Midland Redskins
The Midland Redskins, once more of a Midwestern power, has evolved into a national team with players from nearly every corner of the country. They’ll take the field in Jupiter with two of the better middle-of-the-field defenders in the entire event, with Cal Conley manning shortstop and Tyler Duvall behind the plate. Both project to be preeminent defenders at their respective positions at the next level. They’ll be fine offensively too, with Conley and Austin McNicholas presumably setting the table for the power guys like Joe Fitzhugh. On the mound, they’ll be led by a righty-lefty one-two punch in righthander Austin Bodrato and lefthander Nick Bennett, both highly ranked in the class of 2016. It’s going to take quite a performance to unseat the favorite Astros Scout Team/FTB Tucci, but Midland is the team best suited to do just that in Pool A.

What To Watch For: FTB's Power
As mentioned above, the Astros Scout Team/FTB Tucci is going to roll out several of the preeminent power bats in the 2016 class in their lineup. Herbert Iser has long been lauded for his raw power from the left side, Max Guzman has a case for the most righthanded raw power in the class and Bo Bichette hits the ball harder with more consistency than most players in the class. The question, however, is will their power play against the type of pitching they’ll see consistently in this event? Will their approaches be forced to change, even slightly, to adapt to the advanced pitching? It’s certainly an interesting proposition at the very least, and one we’ll be playing close attention to throughout the tournament.

– Brian Sakowski

Pool B

Team Top Pos. Player RK Class Top Pitcher RK Class Manager
Canada PG Gold
Jakob Newton
T1000 2016 Brayden MacRae
HF 2016 Dan Bleiwas
Marlins Scout Team
Trace Bucey
2016 Cole Cardey
182 2016 Mike Leiderman
Orlando Scorpions
Griffin Bernardo
170 2017 Morgan Harrison
500 2016 Tony Mehlich
Rawlings Hitters Jarred Kelenic
10 2018 Jacob Lindemann
240 2017 R.J. Fergus
Texas Scout Team Yankees
Cole Turney
2017 John Kodros
251 2017 Jay Heafner

Projected Pool Winner:  Texas Scout Team Yankees
Cole Turney, Texas Scout Team Yankees
Year-in and year-out the Texas Scout Team Yankees assemble some of the best talent from the Lone Star State and 2015 is no different. Texas Tech commit Ulysses Cantu impressed this summer at the Area Code Games with his righthanded swing and should provide depth on the mound as he’s also been up to 91 mph during the summer circuit. The top-ranked player on the roster still has another two years of high school but outfielder Cole Turney is amongst the best in the 2017 class with arguably one of the loudest overall toolsets in the country. They also will be able to run out 10 arms who are at least 6-foot-2 and capable of running their fastballs into the upper-80 to low-90s, led by 6-foot-6 Trey Morris and LSU bound Devin Fontenot and John Kodros.

Dark Horse:  Marlins Scout Team
A true national team that pulls from all parts of the country, as their roster features talent from Hawaii, Nebraska, New York and everywhere in between. Trace Bucey is an incredibly quick-twitch athlete that has the ability to set the tone at the top of the order. Tyler Lasch might only be beginning his junior year but he’s put his leadership abilities on display behind the plate over the course of several tournaments. A trio of Oregon commits provide quality depth on the mound in hard-throwing righties Connor Cannon, Markus Ramos and two-way Kenyon Yovan, who’s also capable of hitting the ball a long way. Ramos is making the trip from Hawaii for his first Perfect Game event.

What To Watch For: Clash of the Scout Teams
While the two scout team favorites in this pool are assembled in different fashions, both offer an intriguing amount of talent. The Marlins pitching staff offers a nice blend of now-stuff and pitchability types and is complemented by high-end athletes who show tools on either side of the ball. The Yankees offer a steady combination of power, both on the mound and in the batter's box, and when the two clubs square off there's sure to be golf carts lined up from foul pole to foul pole.

– Jheremy Brown

Pool C

Team Top Pos. Player RK Class Top Pitcher RK Class Manager
Dulin Dodgers Thomas Dillard
54 2016 Hugh Fisher
87 2017 Curtis Copeland
FTB Mizuno Alec Sanchez
4 2018 Jonathan Gates
53 2018 Trevor Berryhill
Miami PG Columbia Blue
Raymond Gill
96 2017 Christian Menendez 500 2016 Ralph Suarez
Mountain West Slammers
Maverick Handley
103 2016 Bo Weiss
166 2016 Mark Holzemer
San Diego Padres Scout Team Justin Farmer
2017 Hans Crouse
3 2017 Andrew Salvo

Projected Pool Winner:  San Diego Padres Scout Team
Thomas Dillard, Dulin Dodgers
While the WWBA World Championship is typically seen as an event for high school seniors, an increasing number of the most talented underclassmen have started to infiltrate the rosters in order to test themselves and gain valuable competition against some of the best high school seniors in the country. The San Diego Padres Scout Team has an intriguing mix of seniors and juniors and would appear to be the Pool C favorite. They have a number of ‘veteran’ hitters currently committed to top Division I programs in Nathan Walker (San Diego), Josh Jung (Texas Tech), J.J. Bleday (Vanderbilt) and Luke Bandy (Dallas Baptist), as well as underclass position players with high upside in Justin Farmer and Cash Case. Perhaps the most intriguing players on the roster are Hans Crouse, a righty who can run his fastball up to the mid-90s and is currently ranked third overall in the 2017 class, and Carlos Torres, a righty from Valencia, Venezuela who impressed at the Florida Qualifier and WWBA World Underclass Championships the past few weekends.

Dark Horse:  Mountain West Slammers

The Slammers program is one that has been extremely competitive and they have a well-rounded collection of talent on the roster. Headlined by catcher Maverick Handley, a Stanford commit and one of the top catchers in the 2016 class, they have a solid lineup and group of position players. They also have a plethora of Division I arms in Nathan Sweeney, Paul Tillotson, Bo Weiss, Travis Grech and Travis Marr so they are certainly a team that is well-stocked to make a run to the playoffs.

What To Watch For: Dulin Dodgers Middle Infield
The Dulin Dodgers should also be strong competitors in Pool C. In Grae Kessinger and Cooper Swanson, the Dodgers team have two of the better shortstop prospects in the 2016 and 2017 classes respectively. Kessinger, an Ole Miss commit, impressed throughout the summer at the PG National and East Coast Pro, and Swanson, a Vanderbilt commit, also turned heads at the Junior National Showcase and performed well last weekend at the WWBA World Underclass.

– Andrew Krause

Pool D

Team Top Pos. Player RK Class Top Pitcher RK Class Manager
GBG Marucci
Ben Baird
65 2016 Jack Little
172 2016 Mike Garciaparra
South Florida Bandits Chris Mondesi
2018 Malik Lissone-Brown
2016 Mark Holtzman
Team Wilson Kendall Simmons
6 2018 Jalon Long
61 2018 Guerry Baldwin
Texas Drillers Quincy McAfee
2016 Dillon Delgadillo
2016 Tim Belk
Toronto Blue Jays Scout Team Mario Feliciano
60 2016 Wilberto Rivera
144 2017 Matt O'Brien

Projected Pool Winner:  GBG Marucci
Ben Baird, GBG Marucci
GBG Marucci made a strong run last year, going 4-0 in pool play and shutting out a pair of tough teams in the East Cobb Astros and Marucci Elite in the playoffs before being shut down by the Orlando Scorpions in the semifinals. Many of the same faces return to guide GBG again this year, including PG All-American infielder Ben Baird. Baird will set the tone for an offense that includes Spencer Steer, Christian Jones, Will Proctor and Hunter Greene. The pitching staff is assembled for another deep run, with eight arms listed within PG's top 500 of the class of 2016 high school player rankings – and five more ranked at 500 – and the roster is complemented by a strong group of 2017 players that will gain valuable experience in hopes of carrying the torch again next year.

Dark Horse:  Toronto Blue Jays Scout Team
The Blue Jays Scout Team always has a nice mixture of talent from all over, usually with a emphasis on players from California, South Florida and Puerto Rico. This year's club is no different, made up almost entirely of players from the class of 2016. Ten of the players on the 20-man roster are committed to D-I programs, and 12 are ranked within the top 500 of both the 2016 and 2017 player rankings, with PG All-American catcher Mario Feliciano standing out. This team shouldn't have too big of a problem scoring runs thanks to the presence of Feliciano, Camryn Williams, Andrew Yerzey, Ryan Orr, Landon Silver and Tony Jenkins, so how the staff falls into place could determine if the Jays can knock off the pool favorite GBG Marucci.

What To Watch For: Next Wave of East Cobb Talent
There's no shortage of talent on the Team Wilson roster, but it's hard to project them as a pool favorite considering there's not a single high school senior on the roster. However, the 2017, 2018 and even 2019 classes are well represented. Middle infielders Kendall Simmons (6th, 2018) and Josiah Miller (10th, 2019), as well as outfielder Kevin Dowdell (24th, 2018), are the highest ranked of those players, and considering that none of the 25 players on the roster have yet to make a commitment you can expect a heavy crowd of college coaches and recruiters stationed at every game Team Wilson plays.

– Patrick Ebert

Pool E

Team Top Pos. Player RK Class Top Pitcher RK Class Manager
CBA Marucci Nick Allen
30 2017 Matthew Sauer 37 2017 Joe Paino
Chet Lemon's Juice Garrett Milchin
149 2016 Andrew Baker
143 2016 Chet Lemon
Rays Scout Team Jacob Gonzalez 176 2017 Chase Sandman 500 2016 Dave Hilton
Reds Midwest Scout Team
Cooper Johnson
24 2016 Jimmy Ramsey
132 2017 Andy Stack
Texas Sun Devils Jorge Gutierrez
271 2016 Blayne Enlow
129 2017 Matt Thompson

Projected Pool Winner:  CBA Marucci
Cooper Johnson, Reds Midwest Scout Team
Per usual, CBA Marucci brings an absolutely loaded roster to Jupiter, as they do to all events they attend. After winning the 17u WWBA National Championship and dominating both the Underclass and Upperclass PG/Evoshield National Championships in September, CBA is riding high and with good reason. They will send out one of the best keystone combinations in attendance with Nick Allen manning shortstop and Tyler Freeman presumably handling second base, both of whom are 2017 prospects. CBA is very, very deep, throughout both their lineup and pitching rotation. A trio of Oregon commits highlight their rotation, with James Acuna, Tristan Duncan and Zach Noll all figuring to be huge contributors to the CBA pitching attack. One more to watch is Christopher Lincoln, a highly projectable righthander with advanced arm speed who could explode onto the National scene very quickly.

Dark Horse:  Reds Midwest Scout Team
One of the first things that stands out about the roster of the Reds Midwest Scout Team is that there are very few pitcher-only players on the team. That’s not to say that this is a team light in pitching but more so that the roster is compiled of prospects that can contribute in multiple facets of the game. They also have a deep offensive team, with high-end offensive prospects like Cal Coughlin, Brad Czerniejewski, Dominic Clementi and others filling out their lineup. They will also feature arguably the best defensive catcher in the class of 2016, Cooper Johnson, who will all but eliminate the opposing team’s running game.

What To Watch For: Cooper Johnson
Cooper Johnson comes into Jupiter ranked No. 24 overall in the class of 2016, and for very good reason. He’s an exceptional catch-and-throw catcher with high draft potential behind the plate. He’s done an outstanding job controlling the running game throughout his high school career and has done so rather easily, however what professional scouts will be looking for is to see how he fares at the plate. He’s certainly in the way-too-early first round discussion for next June mostly based on his defensive prowess, but if he comes out and mashes against top tier pitching, he’ll go a long way towards cementing that potential draft stock.

– Brian Sakowski

Pool F

Team Top Pos. Player RK Class Top Pitcher RK Class Manager
East Cobb Yankees Kyle Jacobsen
5 2017 Nicholas Dye
T1000 2016 James Beavers
Ontario Blue Jays Cooper Davis
238 2017 Jordan Balazovic 395 2016 Dan Bleiwas
Palm Beach Select Xavier Edwards 22
2018 Christian Santana 216
2017 Craig Patrick
St. Louis Pirates/Elite Baseball Training Tyler Fitzgerald
37 2016 Drake Fellows 55
2016 Rick Strickland
Tri-State Arsenal Matt Mervis 237
Jason Groome
1 2016 Joe Barth

Projected Pool Winner:  St. Louis Pirates/Elite Baseball Training
Jason Groome, Tri-State Arsenal
The powerful midwest St. Louis Pirates and Elite Baseball Training programs have merged to make a run in Jupiter with a rather large roster that provides depth on the mound. Composed mostly of players from the Midwest and with a steady diet of both 2016s and 2017s, Vanderbilt commit Drake Fellows leads the charge and is at the forefront of the pitching staff with a fastball that’s been upwards of 94 mph. He’s also one of 13 arms who are amongst the program's 22 Division I commits. The top ranked player on the entire roster is another Perfect Game All-American, Tyler Fitzgerald, a shortstop who has continued to show loud tools since his performance at the National Showcase in mid-June. Joining Fitzgerald in providing some thump in the middle of the order are South Carolina commit Joey Polak and Arkansas-bound Jordan McFarland.

Dark Horse:  Tri-State Arsenal
The Arsenal have a different look this year as they have players from outside the Tri-State area and look to be one of the more heavily talented rosters. Lefthander Jason Groome is the No. 1 ranked player in Perfect Game’s 2016 player rankings, capable of running his fastball into the upper-90s with advanced command of the zone and an above average breaking ball. He is just one of several power arms on the roster, being joined by fellow All-American Anthony Locey, Tyler Mondile, D.L. Hall, Malik Spratling and Chase Patrick, all of whom have been up to at least 91 mph. While the bats are young they’re more than experienced and will be led by senior third baseman Matt Mervis who displayed a consistent feel for the barrel and possesses some of the better power on the team.

What To Watch For: Pirates Elite Training/Tri-State Matchup
It's possible that a couple of PG All-American Vanderbilt commits could match up in game two of pool play with Drake Fellows facing Jason Groome. Whether this comes to fruition or not remains to be seen, but nonetheless the game has the makings to be one of the better pool play games on the tournament. While the Pirates/Elite Squad have a couple of other hard throwers to turn too, the noteworthy matchup and key factor to the game will be the power bats in the middle of Coach Rick Strickland’s lineup and how they do against the bevy of big arms the Arsenal have collected.

– Jheremy Brown

Pool G

Team Top Pos. Player RK Class Top Pitcher RK Class Manager
Chicago Scouts Association Ben Rortvedt
21 2016 Nate Brown
276 2016 John Sarna
DBacks Langley Blaze Vincent Ramos
258 2016 Peter Hutzal
2016 Doug Mathieson
Florida Burn Brady McConnell
85 2017 Austin Bergner
7 2016 Mark Guthrie
PG Navy Select Tyler Musselwhite
354 2016 Winston Cannon
T1000 2016 Bob Parks
Team Mizuno Puerto Rico Alexis Torres
49 2016 Yadiel Fonseca
500 2016 Edwin Rodriguez 

Projected Pool Winner:  Chicago Scouts Assocation
Austin Bergner, Florida Burn
With Perfect Game All-Americans Ben Rortvedt and Gavin Lux in the fold, the Chicago Scouts Association seems to be in the driver’s seat for Pool G. Although those two may be the headliners, the squad is extremely deep with 17 of the 20 players currently listed on the roster committed to play baseball at the Division I level. Ben Dragani (Michigan), Nate Brown (Florida) and Matt McCarty (Louisville) particularly stand out as the pitchers all have large, projectable frames and upper-80s fastballs, while Cyrillo Watson (Illinois) continues to improve with a low-90s fastball and hammer curve.

Dark Horse:  Florida Burn
Like the Chicago Scouts Association, the Florida Burn roster is littered with players currently committed to a variety of Division I programs. Perfect Game All-American Austin Bergner is the top draft prospect of the bunch and his exploits on the mound have been well-documented after a long summer at various events, including the National Showcase and the Classic. Luckily, the Burn have plenty of pitching depth with guys like Nick Long, Sam Keating and 2017 southpaw Jordan Butler, who are all more than capable of providing plenty of quality innings.

What To Watch For: Ben Rortvedt
Rortvedt is currently ranked as the top catcher and 21st player overall in the 2016 high school class. This past June, Tyler Stephenson was the first high school catcher selected in the first round since Reese McGuire and Nick Ciuffo both were taken in 2013. While it may be too early to prognosticate where Rortvedt may end up being selected in the 2016 iteration of the draft, there will certainly be a lot of scouts on hand to watch him play as he has early-round potential and it may be hard to see him play very often this coming spring in chilly Wisconsin.

– Andrew Krause

Pool H

Team Top Pos. Player RK Class Top Pitcher RK Class Manager
Baseball Northwest Elliot Willy
335 2016 Cole Lovin
500 2016 Josh Warner
DBAT Matthew Miles
383 2017 Blair Henley
246 2016 Ryan Bonesio
EvoShield Canes Avery Tuck
8 2016 Matt Manning
10 2016 Jeff Petty
Homeplate Chilidogs Cole Jackson
239 2016 Mason Frady
364 2017 Lloyd Thompson
PG Team Northeast Jonathan Windham
195 2017 Emerson Hancock
456 2017 Todd Rizzo

Projected Pool Winner:  EvoShield Canes
Avery Tuck, EvoShield Canes
The Canes are going for the unprecendented three-peat, and could be the event's overall favorite given the wealth of talent on their roster. Just look at the numbers from their 25-man roster: Six PG All-Americans, 23 Division I recruits and 24 players ranked among the top 500 in the 2016 and 2017 rankings. That includes the reigning MVP from last year's championship winning club, catcher Brad Debo. From the deep pitching staff to power in the middle of the lineups and speed at the top there is a healthy balance of just about everything on this club. However, it may be the projected lineup that includes big boppers such as Joe Rizzo, Avery Tuck, Nicholas Quintana and Seth Beer that strikes the most fear on opposing teams.

Dark Horse:  DBAT
It's going to be a tall task for any team to topple the mighty Canes in this pool, however the DBAT squad is an experienced group with a long experience of playing with one another and plenty of accolades to point to. They also are looking to make amends in Jupiter after going 1-3 in pool play a year ago. While they may not have the same robust numbers to point to, their roster is comprised mostly of high school seniors and they have several polished arms to turn to, including a pair of projectable righthanders in Blair Henley and Caleb Kilian. The offense will be led by middle infielder and Texas Tech recruit Brian Klein as well as one of five 2017s in Matthew Miles, who has already committed to Oklahoma State.

What To Watch For: Matt Manning
Matt Manning, a 2015 Perfect Game All-American, is a two-sport star (basketball) whose father, Rich, played in the NBA for two years as a power forward for the Grizzlies and Clippers in the mid-1990s. Since the younger Manning, a native of Elk Grove, still travels and competes at a high level in both sports he hasn't travelled outside of California very often, and as a result his pitching performance in Jupiter is sure to draw an incredibly large crowd of scouts, cross-checkers and scouting directors. Armed with a mid-90s fastball and developing secondaries, how Manning fares with a big spotlight on him is likely to be a crucial step in his development.

– Patrick Ebert

Pool I

Team Top Pos. Player RK Class Top Pitcher RK Class Manager
All Star Baseball Academy Andrew Orzel
T1000 2016 Brady Devereux
153 2018 Mike Manning
Mets Scout Team/Scorpions Drew Mendoza
14 2016 Tyler Baum
38 2016 Matt Gerber
Team Citius Ronald Washington
14 2017 Devin Ortiz
117 2017 Omar Rodriguez
Upstate Mavericks Gabriel Holt
75 2017 Ryan McDonald
500 2016 Chris Nall
Virginia Cardinals Cayman Richardson
157 2016 Noah Murdock
135 2016 Rich Graham
Projected Pool Winner:  Mets Scout Team/Scorpions
Drew Mendoza, Mets Scout Team/Scorpions
Last year’s second place finishers, the Mets Scout Team/Scorpions had a loaded roster featuring MLB Draft first rounders Brendan Rodgers and Nick Plummer. This year, their roster is no different in terms of talent and depth, and features several potential high-round draftees in the upcoming MLB Draft. Their offense is loaded top to bottom, as usual, with a lineup highlighted by prospects like Drew Mendoza and Carlos Cortes. Mendoza has some serious buzz from scouts as an athletic third baseman who can hit and hit for power, while Carlos Cortes does nothing but absolutely rake. Chase Cheek figures to leadoff, while Luis Curbelo was very impressive at the PG National and the PG All-American Classic. On the mound, they’re loaded as well, with potential high round draftees Cole Ragans and Tyler Baum.

Dark Horse:  Team Citius
The Dallas-based Team Citius (Citius being borrowed from the Olympic motto “Citius, Altius, Fortius,” meaning “Faster, Higher, Stronger” in Latin) brings a roster full of talent, both offensively and defensively, to the WWBA World Championship. Their offense should have no issues scoring runs, with highly touted prospects like Brandon Chinea, David Hamilton, Justyn Henry-Malloy, and Jacob Parrott figuring to hit towards the top of the lineup. Ronald Washington should hit somewhere in the middle of the order as well, and the 2017 outfielder has some of the best raw power in the class from the right side. They’ll be able to pitch it as well, with two-way prospects Malloy, Sergio Macias, Drew Medford and Devin Ortiz all capable of throwing quality innings to go along with lefthander Tuck Tucker.

What To Watch For: Can Anyone Unseat the Scorps?
The Mets Scout Team/Scorpions fell in the Championship game a year ago to the EvoShield Canes, but not without impressing throughout the entire tournament. They bring back an equally talented roster this year, with potentially even more pitching depth, making them as dangerous to go on a run as any team in the entire tournament.

– Brian Sakowski

Pool J

Team Top Pos. Player RK Class Top Pitcher RK Class Manager
Cangelosi Baseball Michael Massey
2016 Ryan Kutt
394 2017 Tyler Thompson
Dallas Patriots Stout Michael Neustifter
123 2016 Jonathan Heasley
110 2016 Logan Stout
East Coast Clippers Jack Herman 47 2018
Tom Sheehan 321
Scott Lucas
East Cobb Astros Zachary Daniels
76 2017 Elliott Anderson
267 2016 Jamie Crane
Twins Scout Team/Scorpions South Mason Doolittle
55 2017 Tyler Ahearn
83 2017 George Sandel

Projected Pool Winner:  Dallas Patriots Stout
Jonathan Heasley, Dallas Patriots Stout
The Patriots fell just short of capturing the 17u WWBA National Championship, falling to CBA Marucci in the title game. For the most part they return the same roster which includes the MV-Pitcher of that tournament, righthander Jonathan Heasley. A 6-foot-3 Oklahoma State commit, Heasley is capable of carrying his high level stuff deep into an outing. Jordan Roberts can also dial his fastball up to the low-90s and gives the Patriots Stout a second big arm to turn two. Michael Neustifter is no stranger to performing under pressure as he’s already collected four MVP awards at various PG_based tournaments the past few years. While they may not have the large roster that other teams have assembled, the Patriots always play fundamental baseball and really know how to hit the ball.

Dark Horse:  Twins Scout Team/Scorpions South
With a roster that’s full of experienced seniors and a strong crop of juniors, the Twins Scout Team/Scorpions South is a team that has the overall depth that’s necessary in making a run. After taking the Scorpions Prime team to a 13-inning thriller in the semifinals of the WWBA Florida Qualifier, the South squad comes to Jupiter with an even stronger roster with the addition of several high end underclassmen. That includes junior righthander Tyler Ahearn, who has recently been up to 92 mph with an above average curveball, and Louisiana State bound catcher Mason Doolittle.

What To Watch For: Depth of the Pool
Pool J is one of the deeper pools in the tournament with any team capable of taking pool play games. In addition to the Patriots and Scorpions South, the East Cobb Astros are a traditional powerhouse and the 2015 rendition is no different with several SEC commits and quality depth on the mound. Cangelosi is one of the top teams out of the Midwest that scouts always make sure to watch. Finishing out the pool is a younger squad out of the Northeast, the East Coast Clippers, who have plenty of commits and a strong core of talent.

– Jheremy Brown

Pool K

Team Top Pos. Player RK Class Top Pitcher RK Class Manager
Elite Squad Prime Alejandro Toral 1 2017 Jesus Luzardo 43 2016 Alan Kunkel
Georgia PG Texas Orange Chase Robinson
500 2016 Alex Speas
13 2016 Chris Butler
Lids Team Indiana Jared Poland
104 2018 Michael McAvene
407 2016 Dan Held 
SGV Arsenal Samad Taylor
233 2016 Nick Lodolo
36 2016 Jerry Pena
Syracuse Sports Zone
Leugim Castillo
26 2017
Aaron George
500 2016 Dickie Woodridge

Projected Pool Winner:  Elite Squad Prime
Jesus Luzardo, Elite Squad Prime
Elite Squad Prime always seems to be one of the deepest teams in any tournament they compete in, and this year is no different. A number of players on the roster have big raw power potential including Rylan Thomas, Pedro Pages, Michael Amditis, Gregory Veliz, and Colton Welker. However, perhaps their biggest power threat is junior first baseman Alexander Toral, a Miami commit who is currently the top-ranked player in the 2017 class. There’s no shortage of arms either, as Veliz has been clocked as high as 97 mph coming out of the bullpen, and southpaw Jesus Luzardo may be one of the most polished prep pitchers in the 2016 class.

Dark Horse:  Syracuse Sports Zone
Although Elite Squad Prime would certainly have to be considered the favorite, Pool K is stacked with quality programs and there are a number of other teams that could realistically win the pool. Southern California-based SVG Arsenal has a plethora of Division I talent on their roster, as do the Lids Indiana Bulls. Still, one would be wise to watch out for Syracuse Sports Zone, a team with a lot of physical players on both sides of the ball, including super-athletic 2017 outfielder Legium Castillo, 2018 first baseman Davey Moffit and 2016 pitcher Aaron George, an uncommitted 6-foot-5 righthander that has run his fastball up to 89 mph at past Perfect Game events. Pool play should be extremely competitive and fun to watch unfold.

What To Watch For: Lefties Lodolo and Luzardo
Nick Lodolo and Jesus Luzardo are two of the top lefthanded pitchers in the entire event. Lodolo was a Perfect Game All-American are the two are currently ranked 36th and 43rd in the 2016 player rankings. Lodolo, a TCU commit, has a larger frame and more projection remaining while Luzardo’s pitchability and present feel for locating four pitches may be unparalleled. It will be very interesting to see them perform, and one can only hope for a head-to-head matchup between the two.

– Andrew Krause

Pool L
Team Top Pos. Player RK Class Top Pitcher RK Class Manager
Braves Scout Team/Ohio Warhawks Joshua Lowe
5 2016 Kyle Hurt
10 2017 Ron Slusher
Northeast Baseball Shane Martinez 97 2016 Andrew Belcik 268 2016 Scott Patterson
Richmond Braves National Andre Lipcius
500 2016 Hunter Perdue
48 2017 Eddie Jones 
Sandlot Scout Team Conner Uselton 13 2017 Stephen Keller 82 2017 Clay Overcash
Team Rawlings PBF Jacob Wyeth 278 2017 Hayden Wesneski
T1000 2016 Vince Moore

Projected Pool Winner:  Braves Scout Team/Ohio Warhawks
Braves Scout Team/Ohio Warhawks
The Warhawks, teamed with the Braves this year, are looking for some redemption after losing their final pool play game last year to Perfect Game White, and therefore losing a chance to advance in the playoffs. They will be bringing another loaded roster to Jupiter with talent coming in from every corner in the nation from the 2016, 2017 and 2018 classes. Two-way talent Josh Lowe, who recorded the save in this past year's PG All-American Classic, headlines the roster, and will be joined in the middle of the lineup by some big bats including Clemson commit Carter Kieboom and Bo Majkowski, a rising talent from the 2017 class. Fellow 2017 class member Weston Bizzle has significant tournament experience pitching in big games, and Kyle Hurt adds another promising young arm to a very deep staff.

Dark Horse:  Northeast Baseball
The rest of the pool offers a very solid field, with several tried and true programs including Sandlot and the Richmond Braves likely stacking their pitching staffs in a way to shut down the mighty Ohio Warhawks. Norhteast Baseball may be in the best position to do just that, as all but five players on their 26-man roster have committed to play at the college level, with a unique collection of talent that, not unlike the Warhawks, comes from just about every region of the United States. The club is deep up the middle thanks to the presence of middle infielders Shane Martinez and Will Wilson, to go go along with catcher Michael Rothenberg and outfielders Jarron Silva and Keaton Glover. One of Andrew Belcik and Alex Haynes is likely to draw the starting assignment against the Warhawks in a game that could ultimately determine the pool winner.

What To Watch For:  Josh Lowe
It's not uncommon for two-way talents to generate legitimate discussion as to where their future talents best lie, but it's not common for such a player to be a legitimate top 10 overall pick in the draft as both a pitcher and as a position prospect. Josh Lowe offers an interesting case study for scouts over the next nine months, as he could be the most intriguing two-way player since Josh Hamilton went No. 1 overall in 1999. How Lowe performs playing with and against some of the best players in the nation could go a long way in influencing his eventual introduction to professional baseball.

– Patrick Ebert

Pool M

Team Top Pos. Player RK Class Top Pitcher RK Class Manager
Chandler Baseball Logan Goodnight
373 2016 Wyatt Tyson
500 2016 Jason Slattery
Dallas Patriots Will Frizzell
435 2017 Michael Fischer
T1000 2016 Brandon Sherard
East Coast Grays/Chain Baseball Calvin Greenfield
50 2017 Zachary Strickland
181 2016 Chris Snusz 
Royals Scout Team Trevyne Carter 91 2016 Mason Hickman 81 2017 Keith Connelly
Team Elite Prime Nolan Jones
44 2016 Zach Linginfelter
32 2016 Brad Bouras

Projected Pool Winner:  Team Elite Prime
Nolan Jones, Team Elite Prime
You’d be hard pressed to find a program who has better success top to bottom than Team Elite Prime, ranging all the way from their younger teams up through the 18u Prime team they’ll bring with them to Jupiter. They’re going to bring the heat on the mound with several pitchers who can reach into the low- to mid-90s. Andrew Schultz and Zach Linginfelter have both been up to 95-96 mph in past events, and fellow hurlers Greer Holston, Will Ethridge, Christian Ryder and several others have all been in the low090s as well. They’ll hit as well, with a lineup filled out by PG All-Americans Luke Berryhill and Nolan Jones, as well as quality hitters like Austin Biggar, Terrance Norman and Cam Shephard. They’re without a doubt one of the most well rounded teams in the entire event, and that makes for entertaining viewings from both fans and scouts alike.

Dark Horse: 
Royals Scout Team
A trio of Vanderbilt commits headline this loaded roster, including Alex Brewer, a high level hitter who figures to man the hot corner, Phillip Clarke, who will be behind the dish, and massive 2017 righthanded pitcher Mason Hickman, one of the frontrunners of the rotation. Trevyne Carter is a 6.5 runner who will presumably play center field, J.D. Murders is a quality defender at short who can hit as well and Adam Oviedo has the athleticism and defensive prowess to play both spots if needed. The athleticism and baseball skill of this roster gives them a solid chance to knock off the favorites and win the pool.

What To Watch For:
Team Elite Prime Flamethrowers
Velocity is sexy, and velocity gets attention. These are inarguable facts, regardless of equally important things such as pitchability, command, mechanics and secondary offerings. However, what dozens of professional scouts will be watching will be the pair of righthanded missile-launchers that Team Elite Prime will roll out onto the mound in Linginfelter and Schultz. Both have undoubtedly shown that they can bring the heat, but what about the other equally important factors mentioned above? That’s what we’ll be paying special attention to.

– Brian Sakowski

Pool N

Team Top Pos. Player RK Class Top Pitcher RK Class Manager
Dirtbags Austin Beck
15 2017 Kyle Blendinger
104 2017 Andy Partin
Houston Banditos Alerick Soularie
84 2017 Gunnar Hoglund
17 2018 Ray DeLeon
Kentucky Baseball Club Jaren Shelby
28 2016 Daniel Fischer
404 2016 Kevin Clary 
Mid-Atlantic Rookies Laney Orr
500 2016 Connor Yoder 279 2016
Mike Chroniger
SWFL-Beyel Sabercat Bats Tanner Murphy
342 2016 Cooper Bradford
500 2016 Ryan Horton 

Projected Pool Winner:  Houston Banditos
Jaren Shelby, Kentucky Baseball Club
The Banditos are always recognized as one of the top travel organizations in the country and this summer was no different as they made runs at several tournaments. Adding just two players who haven’t played with Coach Ray DeLeon this summer, the Banditos bring a group of players to Jupiter who have a strong chemistry with one another. Connor Capel and Alerick Soulaire set the tone at the top of the lineup, while Texas commit Andres Sosa solidifies the defense up the middle at shortstop. Two arms who scouts will be certain to lay eyes on are Vanderbilt commit Christopher Machamer and Texas recruit Richard Gilbert, who recently won MV-Pitcher honors at the WWBA South Qualifier and shows a high level of pitchability with advanced command to either side of the plate.

Dark Horse:  Dirtbags
The premier name on the Dirtbags roster is a recognizable one even though he’s just a junior: Austin Beck, who has been on top of the 2017 rankings for quite some time. Outfielder Kier Meredith is a lefthanded hitter with possibly some of the best foot speed in the entire tournament and shortstop Cory Wood isn’t too far behind. Bryson Worrell, a switch-hitting catcher, will provide strength in the middle of the order. Much like the Banditos, Coach Andy Partin and staff have a collective core group of players who have played with each other the last several years and mesh well as a unit. Along with the chemistry, the pitching staff has the depth that’s required with several strong, committed arms.

What To Watch For: Jaren Shelby
Not only does Jaren Shelby have MLB bloodlines but the Perfect Game All-American also has some of the most intriguing athleticism and high-level upside of anybody in the tournament. Ranked No. 28 in the country for the class of 2016, Shelby already shows present tools that warrant top-round consideration. Shelby has the speed (6.85 60-yard dash) to patrol center field and also has the arm strength (95 mph) to play right field, where the power in his righthanded swing will also play. Though he competed at a high level at the National Showcase, scouts will be certain to bear down on his plethora of tools especially when facing high end arms throughout the weekend.

– Jheremy Brown

Pool O

Team Top Pos. Player RK Class Top Pitcher RK Class Manager
Diamond Devils Patrick Frick
500 2016 John Gilreath
228 2018 John Rhodes
Farrah Scout Kevin Brophy
439 2016 Jamil Vanheyningen
267 2017 Frank Montalvo
Marucci Elite Nonie Williams
63 2016 Robert Touron
49 2017 Chad Raley
South Charlotte Panthers Lawson McArthur
235 2016 Nick Bruno
500 2016
Don Hutchins
US Elite
Justin Vought
500 2017 Brian Morrell
107 2017 Mark Helsel

Projected Pool Winner:  Marucci Elite
Nonie Williams, Marucci Elite
Marucci Elite boasts a typically strong roster this fall. The infield should be a particular area of strength with Nolan ‘Nonie’ Wiliams, Morgan McCullough, Zachary Watson, Austin Shenton and Josh Smith all holding Division I scholarship offers. Furthermore, 2017 outfielders Jacob Pearson and Jordan Anderson offer an intriguing blend of athleticism and power. The Louisiana-based organization has impressive pull from around the country and Jordan Jones (Washington), Joe Fulcher (Vanderbilt), Easton McGee (Kentucky) and Robert Touron (Miami) are four highly-regarded power pitchers from the states of Washington, Kentucky, Tennessee and Florida, respectively, that should lead the pitching staff.

Dark Horse:
South Charlotte Panthers
They may not have the national reach that Marucci Elite does, but the South Charlotte Panthers roster is chock-full of quality players from the state of North Carolina. UNC commit Luke Robinson leads the way for a talented lineup that includes fellow Tar Heel commits Ike Freeman and Jake Holtzapple and Clemson pledges Luke Davidson and Drew Donathan.

What To Watch For: Underclass Arms
There is certainly a lot of talent in this pool, but perhaps the most intriguing storyline is the depth of underclass arms. Marucci Elite’s Robert Touron, ranked 49th overall in the 2017 class, headlines the group, but young pitchers like US Elite’s Brian Morrell (Notre Dame) and Antonio Menendez (Wake Forest), Farrah Scouts’ Jamil and Jermaine Vanheyningen, and South Charlotte Panthers’ Austin Love are certainly worth watching as well.

– Andrew Krause

Pool P
Team Top Pos. Player


Class Top Pitcher RK Class Manager
Dallas Tigers Ryan Vilade
2017 Charles King
51 2016 Tommy Hernandez
Iowa Select Grant Judkins
226 2016 Spencer Van Scoyoc
177 2016 Steve James
On Deck O's
Todd Elwood
T1000 2016 Blake Brown
500 2016 Jason Hill
Stars Baseball Marucci Prime Jack Cunningham
500 2016 Anthony Simonelli
115 2017 Carson Carroll
Team Elite Louisville Slugger Will Banfield
16 2018 Ethan Hankins
19 2018 Jeremy Brotherton

Projected Pool Winner:  Dallas Tigers
Charles King, Dallas Tigers
The Tigers claimed their pool a year ago, and even won their first game in the playoffs before getting knocked out in the second round by Team Elite Prime. Many of the names are the same, and all but two of the players on the roster have a commitment to a Division I program. The biggest name listed is righthanded pitcher Charles King, who returns this year with greater confidence after participating in the Perfect Game All-American Classic in mid-August. There is intriguing depth in the pitching staff that should allow them to get through pool play without too much creativity, and Ryan Vilade is one of the highest ranked and most polished hitters from the class of 2017. He will be flanked in the lineup by third baseman Ray Gaither and outfielder Zachary DeLoach, and while it's one of the smaller rosters among the pool favorites, it offers significant versatility given the number of players that fill two-way roles.

Dark Horse: Team Elite Louisville Slugger
This is Team Elite's “junior” program, as 16 of the 28 players on the roster hail from either the 2017 or 2018 classes, and all of the program's top 2016 arms play for the loaded Team Elite Prime squad in Pool M. This team's top two ranked players as listed above are from the 2018 class – catcher Will Banfield and righthander Ethan Hankins – with a nice collection of 2017 position prospects including catcher Gillespie Golston and infielders Ivan Johnson and Tyler Keenan. This team certainly has the talent to compete, and if some of the finer aspects of the game click for these young men they may just find themselves competing in playoff games in Jupiter a year earlier than expected.

What To Watch For: Potential King vs. Van Scoyoc Matchup
The Tigers are likely going to see every team's top arm during pool play, and for Iowa Select that pitcher comes in the form of Arizona State recruit Spencer Van Scoyoc. A lefthanded pitcher who is appearing in Jupiter for the third time, with the first time coming in 2011 when he was just 14-years old, Van Scoyoc has been named to six All-Tournament teams during his PG tournament career and was named the Most Valuable Pitcher at one of those events. The Tigers may be wise to counter that success and experience with King, the 51st ranked player overall in the high school class of 2016 who is appearing in Jupiter for the second straight year for the Dallas Tigers.

– Patrick Ebert

Pool Q
Team Top Pos. Player RK Class Top Pitcher RK Class Manager
Atlanta Blue Jays Brady Shockey
500 2016 Alek Manoah
89 2016 Anthony Dye
Body Armour Titans Nick Grande
T1000 2016 Sam Turcotte
T1000 2016 Sean Manning
Chattanooga Cyclones Hunter Oliver
261 2016 Breonn Pooler
500 2016 George Koontz
Elite Squad Louisville Slugger Mark Vientos 
4 2017 Daniel Rivero
493 2016 Richie Palmer
Team EvoShield Jordon Adell
6 2017 Ethan Smith
109 2018 Dan Gitzen

Projected Pool Winner:
 Elite Squad Louisville Slugger
Mark Vientos, Elite Squad Louisville Slugger
Elite Squad Prime is absolutely loaded with talent, and this is the next wave of Elite Squad talent that will make up the bulk of their Prime team in next year’s summer circuit. They have several of the top players in the country amongst the younger grades, with headliners Mark Vientos (class of 2017) and Triston Casas (class of 2019). Vientos ranks fourth in the class of 2017, and it would be hard to find a player with his overall upside—both defensively and offensively—anywhere else. Casas, as a ninth grader, gets his fastball up into the low-90s in addition to being able to hit the ball out of nearly any park in America with his prodigious raw power. Ian Evans, Daniel Federman and Daniel Rivero will help round out the pitching staff, all of whom are Division I commits. Brandon Dorsey and Jeter Downs should man third and second base respectively and hit somewhere near the top of the order as well.

Dark Horse:  Team EvoShield
In much the same way as the aforementioned Elite Squad Louisville Slugger, Team EvoShield sort of represents the “next wave” of talent that will head to the EvoShield Canes for the 2016 circuit season. That doesn't take anything away from Team EvoShield, as they are absolutely loaded with Division I commits and high-end talent from top to bottom. JeVon Ward and Jordon Adell represent a pair of the highest upside outfielders amongst all underclassmen, and Noah Campbell represents one of the potentially most well-rounded players in the class. Michael Bienlien, Jack Cosca, Jacob Hennessy, Baydon Root, and several others will round out a formidable pitching staff, chalked full with some of the mostly highly ranked underclassmen in the event.

What To Watch For: Youth Movement
Both Elite Squad Louisville Slugger and Team EvoShield are loaded with talent, make no mistake, but what’s very interesting is that the vast majority of both teams are full of underclassmen talent. When these two teams square off, it’s highly likely that we’ll be seeing a preview of two of the best teams of the 2016 summer circuit.

– Brian Sakowski

Andrew Krause's Projected Champion: Texas Scout Team Yankees 
There are so many talented teams to choose from, and while they may not considered one of the true ‘favorites,’ the Texas Scout Team Yankees always have a very solid, deep group of players. This year isn’t any different as there are a plethora of well-rounded position players like Hudson Sanchez, Ulysses Cantu, and Cole Turney that know how to hit and compete against high level pitching. They also have depth in their pitching rotation, with a combination of power arms and crafty strike-throwers, so while they may not boast the star potential of an EvoShield Canes or Team Elite Prime, there is more than enough talent and depth for them to make a deep run in the playoffs and capture their first WWBA World Championship.

Brian Sakowski's Projected Champion: EvoShield Canes
The EvoShield Canes became only the second program to win back-to-back titles a year ago, however no team has ever done it back-to-back-to-back. The EvoShield Canes are poised to be the first to accomplish the three-peat come next Monday. This selection is not exactly a bold prediction, but it’s hard to see any team with more overall depth of talent in every facet of the game, making the EvoShield Canes the favorite to win it all, again.

Jheremy Brown's Projected Champion: GBG Marucci
Coach Michael Garciaparra and father Ramon founded Garciaparra Baseball Group not all too long ago though you wouldn't know that by the impression they've made on the travel ball scene. After making a run into the semifinals last October in Jupiter, GBG returns several familiar faces who gained valuable experience of what it's like to not only compete but succeed on the big stage. The pitching staff boasts plenty of depth with more than half the roster coming as primary arms, though the offense isn't one to sleep on either. Filled with fast-twitch, ultra-athletic players who execute the fundamentals and have a strong understanding of the game, led a PG All-American in Ben Baird, GBG has what it takes to make some noise.

Patrick Ebert's Projected Champion: Elite Squad Prime
It would seem odd not having one of Florida's powerhouse travel programs as one of the favorites to win this event, and this year Elite Squad Prime's roster simply jumps out as a unit perfectly assembled to come out on top. From pitching to hitting to defense and overall versatlity, there doesn't seem to be any glaring weakness on this club. They have one of the best big-game pitchers at this level in Jesus Luzardo with a handful of other power arms (Greg Veliz, Rylan Thomas, Anthony Molina) to back him up. Alejandro Toral, the No. 1 prospect in the class of 2017, is one of the best hitters in the nation even as a high school junior, and there is no shortage of big names that will be hitting both ahead of and behind him in the lineup poised to make an impact.

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