Day 1 Daily Leaders | Feature: Syracuse Sports Zone | Feature: Reds Midwest Scout Team
John Kodros (2017, Coppell, Texas) is the type of
pitcher who can frustrate opposing batters with his funky and
deceptive style. The 6-foot-4 Kodros has a long and wiry frame that
will fill out nicely and he likes to release the ball from a mid to
high three-quarters arm slot. He shows a good amount of arm speed and
the arm stays loose all the way through. With the differing angles
and a slight turn of his torso, Kodros hides the ball well and allows
his fastball to sneak up on his opposition. The LSU commit had his
fastball sitting comfortably 84-86 mph range on Thursday with some
late life, which he showed he can already control. Kodros peppered
the strike zone with knee-high fastballs to both sides of the plate
on a regular basis.
go along with the heater, the crafty lefty showed two other
offerings, a sharp slider in the 78-79 mph range and a changeup that
he keeps around 75-76. At the moment, he appears to have better feel
and confidence with the breaking ball, but he did flash a couple
changeups that showed a lot of promise of a potential third pitch
weapon. With all the deceptiveness and the ability to mix and match
his off-speed with the fastball, Kodros made easy work and generated
a bunch of weak contact.
Turney (2017, Richmond, Texas) was easily one of the most
impressive players of day one at the WWBA World Championship as he
showcased some loud tools for the Texas Scout Team Yankees. The
6-foot 190-pound outfielder is built strong from top to bottom and
still displays some very nice athleticism. He stands in the box with
a slightly opened stance with great balance. He is able to pick up
the ball quickly out of the pitchers hand and let his bat go to work.
With premium bat speed and excellent barrel control, Turney is able
to consistently put a controlled but aggressive swing on the ball.
The lefthanded Arkansas commit keeps a level plane on his swing
through the zone and will add some loft when he gets a pitch he can
drive. The most impressive part of his swing is how he keeps the
barrel in the zone all the way through. He gets loaded quickly and
quietly and then unleashes.
Fellows (2016, Plainfield, Ill.) wasn’t at his best today, but
there was still plenty to like. The Vanderbilt commit has the size
(6-foot-5, 205-pounds) and a three-pitch mix that will allow for
plenty better days ahead. His arm action is long but clean for the
most part and he fires his fastball from a high three-quarters slot
with minimal effort. There is a lot of present arm strength here, and
as he matures he will learn how to harness it. Fellows was sitting at
87-90 mph with the fastball while topping out at 91. Getting a
consistent release point will be key for his development.
possesses two secondary offerings and both showed a lot of promise on
Thursday. His go-to off-speed pitch is a firm power slider that he
can locate and miss bats with. Fellows drops his arm slot to more of
a mid three-quarters angle wit this pitch, and he had it routinely
crossing the plate in the 80-82 range. The slide piece is already a
weapon in any count and with the feel he currently has, it will only
get more dangerous. The third pitch was a changeup that flashed
better than advertised. Fellows was able to throw a few that got deep
and displayed some nasty horizontal movement. The consistency isn’t
there yet, but the velocity seperation from his fastball is. Coming
across at 75-77, he’s getting a good 10-12 mph differential.
Kelenic (2018, Waukesha, Wis.) is already committed to Louisville
and the Cardinals have to like the potential he brings to the table
on both sides of the field. Kelenic is very athletic and has more
strength than a lot of 2018’s. The forearms really stand out as he
stands in the box and grips the bat. This allows him to handle the
bat very well and guide the barrel through the zone. His stance is
upright in his upper body with as slight bend at the knees allowing
him to stay balanced and track the ball with minimal head movement.
Kelenic put a few very aggressive and quick swings on the ball today.
He showed a good idea of the strike zone, but did expand on a couple
Kelenic showed very well. He got great reads off the bat and has a
quick, decisive first step that allows him to cover a good amount of
ground in center field and get to balls that are well struck into the
gap. He made the best catch I saw all day on a hard hit line drive in
the right-center gap. The 6-foot-1 Kelenic read the ball perfectly
off the bat and took a quick, efficient route to the ball and was
able to make the catch with a full extension dive to his left. It was
a very impressive play.
Newton (2016, Oakville, Ontario) throughout day one there were
some very impressive swings and at-bats, and Newton was right up
there with a lot of the bigger names thanks to his compact and smooth
lefthanded stroke. Newton gets loaded and drops the barrel into the
zone very efficiently and keeps it there until contact. He displayed
advanced bat speed and very quick hands which he uses well to keep
the bat inside the ball. Newton showcased the ability to be short to
the ball and turn and drive inside fastballs.
thing Newton brings to the table is high energy and high baseball IQ.
Whether it’s running out of the box, alertly taking an extra base,
when the opportunity presents itself, or just running onto the field
between innings, Newton does it at full speed and it’s the type of
intangible that his teammates can see and feed off of.
say that international free agent and Cuban righthander Yaisel
Sierra drew a crowd at the Roger Dean Stadium might be an
understatement as scouts crammed into the section behind home plate
to grab a first hand look. The crowd was to be expected however as
there were reports circulating about a loose armed, mid-90s free
agent who hasn’t been seen much stateside.
every warmup toss pregame being closely monitored just as his bullpen
was and eventual game throws, Sierra proved those prior reports true
as he came out firing and certainly has teams lining up with offers
in their pocked. Sierra stands close to 6-foot-1 and though there’s
already present strength to his frame there’s also projection
remaining on the loose and quick-twitch righthander. He came out and
immediately showed what the scouts and directors were hoping to see
as he warmed up steadily at 92-93 mph in the bottom of the first
before sitting 94-95 while bumping 96s in the next two subsequent
innings. The velocity was what you were hoping to see but it was how
he generated it and the command he showed of it that were just as
worked with a full arm action through the back side before coming to
a traditional three-quarters arm slot while consistently getting on
top of the ball which not only allowed him to fill up the strike zone
but work both sides of the plate. Pitching mostly of his mid-90s
four-seam fastball, Sierra also mixed in a handful of two-seamers in
the low-90s that featured late running life that could get in on the
hands of righthanded hitters. Showing some whip to his arm action at
release Sierra showed little problem holding the velocity over his
three innings and looked almost as though he was gaining steam each
inning, working to his glove side well and continued to missed bats
with his slider that showed plus.
slider was a pitch that simply overmatched the opposing hitters and
proved to be a steady swing-and-miss pitch. Sierra did a nice job of
repeating his release point and arm speed on the 87-88 mph slider
with late tilting life and occasional two-plane break. Though he
didn’t show a third pitch against batters, Sierra did flash an
87-88 mph changeup in between innings that showed running life to his
personally hadn’t seen infielder Bo Bichette (2016, Tierra
Verde, Fla.) in about a calendar year but with the added physicality
to his frame and the same fast hands he’s always shown the loud
round of batting practice he produced came with little surprise.
Listed as 6-foot, 200-pounds Bichette begins with a rather high hand
set and though he also employs a high leg lift trigger he does a nice
job of staying balanced and on time allowing for hard, barreled
contact to all fields. The bat path is smooth and fluid and as a
result was able to work the opposite gap nicely at the beginning of
the round before turning on a couple that probably would have cleared
the left field fence if not for a strong wind blowing directly in.
Bell (2016, Jacksonville, Fla.) and Francisco Thomas
(2016, Carolina, Puerto Rico) both took quality rounds as well with
Bell showing more of a power approach at the plate while Thomas
showed barrel skills from both sides. A University of Florida commit,
Bell showed a smooth and fluid stroke from the left side with easy
bat speed and quality jump coming off to his pull side. Thomas, a San
Diego State commit, showed some of his better power from the right
side but used an all fields approach from left while be more
contact/barrel oriented as he sprayed hard line drives gap-to-gap.
Herbert Iser (2016, Miami, Fla.) and Max Guzman (2016,
Miami, Fla.) are capable of putting on shows in batting practice and
while the lefthanders like Iser had a little more success putting
balls out due to the wind, Guzman was still able to produce. After
seeing a couple pitches deep and lining them to the opposite field
for barreled contact Iser began to turn on the ball and left it
loose, launching a couple of balls out during his round to his pull
side. Guzman, another Perfect Game All-American on the Astros/FTB
Tucci roster has put his big pull strength on display throughout the
summer circuit and did so again before his final round. Within that
last round Guzman showed a gap-to-gap approach with hard jump off the
barrel and was able to produce it with rather ease thanks to his big
bat speed and physical 6-foot, 215-pounds.
Manning (2016, Elk Grove, Calif.) is one of the top ranked
pitchers in the 2016 class rankings and after his performance
Thursday night for the EvoShield Canes it’s easy to see why. With a
loose and projectable 6-foot-5 frame the Loyola Marymount commit may
not have had the longest outing (two innings) but he made his
presence felt as all six strikeouts came by way of the strikeout.
tone was set for what Manning had in store after his very first
warmup pitch that crossed the plate at 93 mph. Over the course of the
first inning he worked comfortably in the 92-94 mph range showing a
fast and easy arm action without exerting much effort at release.
Though lands closed and a bit cut off with his front foot Manning is
able to still work over his front side and showed the ability to
locate to his glove side with some riding life through the zone. An
athletic righthander who is also a star on the high school basketball
team, Manning did a nice job of staying tall on his backside which
helped him work on top of the ball and generate downhill plane to the
bottom of the zone with his heater.
working comfortably around 92 mph in his second inning of work with
similar velocity out of the stretch, Manning relied mostly on his
fastball to induce the swings and misses for his strikeouts though he
did flash a couple of curveballs both in game and in between innings.
Manning wasn’t able to establish a consistent release point to his
curveball though he did bury one down in the zone at 78 mph for his
second strikeout after locating the previous two fastballs.
Austin Langworthy (2016, Williston, Fla.) had previously been
listed as a primary pitcher at prior Perfect Game events with a
lefthanded swing that had always been undeniable, leading to the
belief that he could be a two-way at the University of Florida. Now
listed as a primary outfielder, Langworthy has continued to swing a
loud swing and set the table atop the EvoShield lineup. Listed at
5-foot-11, 180-pounds Langworthy shows big intent on every pitch he
sees and unleashed on an outer half fastball that he lined through
the six-hole for a hard line drive single in the top of the first.
While his next two trips were as “loud” as he first at-bat he did
still get on base and showed a knowledge of the zone taking the free
passes that were handed his ways.
Carolina commit Bryant Packard (2016, Greenville, N.C.) came
through with one of the harder hit balls of the night and resulted in
two runs for EvoShield, a double that registered 103 mph off the
barrel per TrackMan. With a strong 6-foot-3 frame that has room for
additional strength Packard showed a short and fast path to the ball,
using his strength well to create the previously mentioned hard jump
to his pull side on the two base hit.
as one of the better hitters in the entire country, Joe Rizzo
(2016, Oak Hill, Va.) may have picked up a sharply hit single through
the right side though it was his defensive that proved to be
noteworthy also. A broad shouldered 5-foot-11, 215-pound third
baseman who’s currently ranked No. 11 in the class, Rizzo showed
some range to his backhand as well as footwork and quickness that
helped complete two rather impressive plays. With runners on first
and second and only one out Rizzo received a soft chopper and rather
than attempting to throw across his body and to begin a 6-4-3 double
play the South Carolina commit let his momentum take him to third
before delivering a strike across the diamond despite not having his
feet underneath him. The next play was a bit more routine on a soft
chopper where Rizzo came chagrining in and while showing balanced
delivered a similar type of off balance throw across the diamond.
McCullough (2016, Seattle, Wash.) and Brock Anderson
(2016, Huntsville, Ala.) both wasted little time in Marucci Elite’s
first game to make their offensive presence felt. McCullough, who has
done nothing but find the barrel and get on base this summer,
continued to the trend on one of the first pitches he saw of the
game, turning on an inner half fastball and with a short and quick
stroke to the ball drove it to the right-center field gap for a
standup triple. Brock Anderson is an uncommitted lefthanded bat out
of Alabama who jumped on a 3-2 89 mph fastball and showed a similar
swing to that of McCullough’s with a direct path and loud jump, 97
mph off the barrel per TrackMan, again to the right-center field gap
for a three base hit.
Ethridge (2016, Lilburn, Ga.) looks as though he’s filled out
his 6-foot-5 frame some since earlier in the summer, now listed at
205-pounds and still has room for additional growth. And while the
Ole Miss commit still projects his present stuff is very good and
proved to be more than effective over his five innings of work.
opening up at 91 mph the first handful of pitches and bumping a 92
Ethridge worked comfortably in the 88-90 mph range with consistent
sink that proved to keep his infielders alert for the seven ground
ball outs he was able to produce. He does a nice job of staying all
on his backside and gathering some before coming to the plate with a
quick arm action and some angle at release. Ethridge did a nice job
of working his heater to either side of the plate with the same late
sink from the extension out front and another velocity jump shouldn’t
be too far away. His slider was a pitch he mixed in frequently with
short, tight tilt between 81 and 83 mph though he would manipulate
the ball some and show bigger depth in the same velocity the band.
His 84-85 mph changeup gave him a full three pitch and may in fact be
the stronger of his two off speed pitches. The changeup mimics the
arm action Ethridge shows on his fastball and has just enough
velocity differential to get hitters out on their front foot while
showing late fading action to his arm side.
expanded play on Thursday, designed to give more to the seemingly
never ending crowds of scouts in Jupiter, included not only some
exhibition games but also some deep rostered teams taking an hour
long batting practice. One of those was the Mets Scout Team/Orlando
the most impressive BP from the Scorps was from the righthanded bat
of PG All-American shortstop Luis Curbelo (2016, Carolina,
Puerto Rico). Curbelo has added even more strength since his
impressive summer performance and showed superior raw bat speed
during the pro style BP. Most of Curbalo's very hard contact cames in
the form of line drives to left-center field and shaggers at
shortstop were in peril on many. He's setting himself up for a
potentially huge spring.
Nick Derr (2016, Sarasota, Fla.) has been going to PG events
since he was a freshman but looks stronger, and most importantly, has
a much better swing mechanics than we've seen before. It's short and
crisp to the ball with good extension out front and lots of pull
outfielder Elijah Cabell (2018, Winter Park, Fla.), one of the
youngest players in Jupiter, also showed impressive bat speed and
neither looks nor acts like a sophomore in the batter's box.
All-American outfielder Carlos Cortes (2016, Oviedo, Fla.)
took a strong round and looks able to continue where he left off this
summer as one of the most impressive hitters in the class.
also caught the early part of the Astros Scout Team/FTB Tucci batting
practice and continue to be impressed by third baseman Anthony
Gonella (2016, Riverview, Fla.). The 6-foot-4, 215-pound
lefthanded hitter doesn't have a big national profile but that has a
good chance to change between now and the 2016 draft. He showed the
easiest loft power I saw in the BP's today, with outstanding low
effort leverage in his swing.
Brown recapped 24-year old Cuban righthander Yaisel
Sierra's very impressive exhibition game performance already,
but I found one thing very interesting. In doing some background
reading on Sierra before he pitched, his delivery was described as
being complicated with a big back turn. It's also noted that he
walked 64 hitters in 101 innings in the Cuban League in 2013,
undoubtedly a result of his delivery. That description bore no
resemblance to the pitcher on the mound at the Roger Dean Stadium on
Thursday, nor did Sierra show any hint that he should have command
problems in the future. His delivery defined simplicity and good
direction and he spotted up both his 94-96 mph fastball and upper-80s
slider to both sides of the plate.
is compared to fellow Cuban Raisel Iglesias, who signed a seven-year,
$27 million contract, including a $5 million signing bonus, with the
Reds in 2014 as a 24-year old. I was able to see Iglesias throw
against the USA National Collegiate Team in 2013, and based on the
same one-time look, I like Sierra more. Given that there appears to
be more money awash in baseball for international signings, it's easy
to draw the conclusion that Sierra could be offered a more lucrative
contract in what is likely to become a spirited bidding war.
Squad Prime first baseman Alejandro Toral (2017, Davie, Fla.)
is the No. 1 ranked player in the 2017 class and did nothing today to
give room for argument or discussion on that question. The first
pitch he saw in Elite Squad's narrow 6-5 win over the Syracuse Sports
Zone Chiefs was deposited about 400 feet over the right-center field
fence for a no-doubt home run. Toral also drove home another run
with a single later in the game.
aspect of Toral's lefthanded swing that is so enjoyable to watch is
how well he uses his strong lower half to generate power. It's not a
big or severe action but his weight shift into contact and his hip
coil and lower half explosion are absolutely ideal when he's timed up
on a pitch. Toral was on the home run and it was fun to watch.
Rortvedt (2016, Verona, Wis.) is widely regarded as one of the
most polished high school catchers in the class of 2016, and on
Thursday he displayed some of the skills that made him a Perfect Game
All-American. At 5-foot-10, 190-pounds, Rortvedt is rather compact,
but he is extremely well-built and has tremendous strength throughout
his body. The lefthanded hitter has been praised for his offensive
prowess—and rightly so—as he has hit well in both batting
practice and in game action at a number of Perfect Game events
including the National Showcase in June and the All-American Classic
in August. Rortvedt did not make his mark at the plate on Thursday,
going 0-for-3 with two groundouts and a strikeout (looking), but he
still displayed the bat speed and solid strength in his forearms and
wrists that have impressed scouts all summer.
though his offensive performance was not up to his usual standards,
Rortvedt showed solid defensive chops behind the plate, something
that could help assuage any doubts about his defensive home at the
next level. The Arkansas commit showed good footwork, a quick,
compact exchange and clean release to go along with above-average arm
strength, all of which allowed him to nab three attempted base
stealers, and post a couple of in-game pop times in the 1.8s (1.86
and 1.83). Scouts will surely want to see Rortvedt more, but he’s
flashed solid tools on both sides of the ball throughout the summer
and fall of 2015, and with continued strong performances on the
defensive side of the ball, he could make a strong case to be the
first prep catcher drafted next June.
Manoah (2016, Homestead, Fla) flashed big velocity on the summer
circuit, and the big physical righthander did so again on Thursday.
The 6-foot-6, 245-pound West Virginia commit is an imposing force on
the bump, and he came out of the bullpen pumping in 91-94 mph
fastballs. With a large leg lift above the belt and a slight pause
and collapse on the backside, Manoah has some deceptive elements in
his delivery and the ball comes out his hand pretty cleanly and gets
on hitters’ quickly. The offering consistently had spin rates at
2400 or higher (per TrackMan), which helps explain the seemingly late
jump and life it had even when located up in the zone. While he used
his heater very frequently, Manoah also found some time to mix in a
curveball in the 77-78 mph range and an 84 mph changeup. Both
offerings lag behind his heater, but the changeup showed interesting
potential, as he maintained solid armspeed on the pitch. The
big-bodied Manoah repeated his delivery better out of the windup than
he did when working from the stretch, and his in-zone command still
needs some refinement, but Manoah’s physicality and velocity/life
combination on the fastball make him an interesting 2016 arm to
monitor in the coming months.
Daniel (2016, Montgomery, Ala.) turned plenty of heads at East
Coast Pro when the athletic righty touched 94 mph with his fastball.
The Auburn commit was impressive again on Thursday night, as he
consistently worked in the 91-94 mph range with his fastball over the
course of his two innings of work. The 6-foot-1, 175-pound righty has
previously showed that he will drop down to a sidearm slot and give
hitters a different look, but he has seemingly put that to the side
for now (and if he keeps throwing like he did on Thursday night he
will definitely not to use such methods to get outs). Daniel has a
very quick arm and he consistently pounded the bottom half of the
strike zone from his natural three-quarters arm slot. He also worked
an impressive breaking ball in the upper-70s. The slider was
extremely effective, showcasing above-average potential with tight
spin and late 11-to-4 bite. Daniel’s fastball/slider combo was more
than enough to get outs, but he also worked in a low-80s changeup
with some slight fading action and deception off of the fastball. He
doesn’t have the largest frame, but Daniel certainly has some room
to add strength without sacrificing any of his present athleticism,
and he’ll be particularly interesting to follow this spring as he’s
seemingly already made significant strides in the past few months.
Belcik (2016, Oldsmar, Fla.) started opposite of Davis Daniel,
and the righthanded pitcher made some noise as well. The 6-foot-2,
215-pound Notre Dame commit came out and was 88-89 in the early going
before settling into the 86-87 mph range with fastball. Belcik has
some deception in his delivery with some later hand separation and he
does a solid job of hiding the ball, so his fastball tended to get on
hitters quickly, especially when he was working in the bottom half of
the strike zone. Working from a high three-quarters arm slot, Belcik
displayed quality feel for a 78-80 mph breaking ball with varied
11-to-5 to 10-to-4 break. Later in the game, Belcik lost some feel
for his delivery a bit and opened his front side too early, but he
generally did a good job and competed well against a talented Braves
Scout Team/Ohio Warhawks lineup.
Hurt (2017, Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.) is one of the top pitchers
in the 2017 class, and the big righty pitched well in his two inning
appearance for the Braves Scout Team/Ohio Warhawks on Thursday night.
The 6-foot-4, 205 pound Southern California commit has a large,
well-proportioned frame and athletic build, and he should be able to
carry an additional 20-30 pounds at physical maturity without
sacrificing any athleticism or looseness in his body. As he’s been
for much of the summer circuit, Hurt worked in the 89-92 mph range
with his fastball, showcasing a clean, extended arm-action and a
quick path to a three-quarters arm slot. Currently ranked the No. 3
righthanded pitcher in the 2017 class, Hurt showed big confidence in
his 79-80 mph changeup, using the pitch often and throwing the
offering with conviction and quality armspeed. The pitch flashes big
fading action and can be a true out-pitch when it is thrown hard.
Hurt also flashed a handful of sliders in the upper-70s, with some of
them showing quality finish and slice to the gloveside. While it’s
still his third pitch, the breaking ball looked a bit tighter and
sharper than it had earlier in the summer/fall, albeit in a brief
Figueroa (2017, Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico) may be another 2017
righthanded pitchers that scouts will monitor closely over the next
18 months. The 6-foot-3, 195-pound Puerto Rican native has a large
frame and physical, strong-bodied build that belies his age. Figueroa
has a quick arm and he touched 92 mph with his fastball,
predominately sitting in the 88-91 mph range.
Walker (2016, Carlsbad, Calif.) showcased some quality stuff
while working out of the bullpen and relieving Figueroa. Walker, a
primary catcher, has a good pitcher’s frame and build with a
projectable 6-foot-4, 185 body. The lean, long-limbed righty who is
currently committed to the University of San Diego, creates some
downhill plane and shows the ability to get extended over his
frontside while releasing from his high, overhand arm slot. There is
some head snap and effort at release, but Walker showed that he could
still throw strikes, even locating his 88-90 mph fastballs to the
gloveside rather consistently throughout his brief outing. The heater
flashed quality armside running life and was particularly hard to
barrel and lift when located down in the zone, which he was able to
do pretty often. Walker’s mid-70s curveball is still a work in
progress, as he had some issues generating consistent spin and depth
on the offering, but the best pitches showed loose 11-to-5 shape with
some depth. Walker is often thought of as a catcher first (where he
has quality defensive tools), but with his projectable frame, loose
arm, and downhill fastball, there may be an argument that Walker’s
future home may be on the mound.
Ferri (2016, Norridge, Ill.), another primary catcher, performed
well on the mound on Thursday. Ferri came out of the bullpen for the
Chicago Scouts Association and the 5-foot-11, 175 pound righty
pounded the strike zone with his fastball and slider. While he
doesn’t have the best plane on his 88-90 mph fastball, Ferri has
solid command of the pitch and shows that he can keep the ball down
in the zone, where the offering shows more armside run and late life.
His bread-and-butter pitch however, is his slider a 79-82 mph pitch
with good two-plane depth and late tilt. Ferri shows very good feel
for the pitch, using it often when ahead in the count to induce empty
swings and weak contact. While he may project best behind the dish,
Ferri—an Arizona State commit—has the stuff and feel for his
fastball/slider combo to be a quality bullpen arm in college.
Thompson (2016, Knoxville, Tenn.) is not one of the most
well-known pitchers in the 2016 class, but the righthanded pitcher
has a projectable frame and he ran his fastball up to 91 mph on
Thursday. The 6-foot-5, 190-pound righty is a bit narrow, but he
should still be able to add strength to his slender, lanky frame over
the next few years. His 87-91 mph fastball shows some running life,
and his tight high three-quarters arm slot can present a different
look for hitters.
Troglic-Iverson (2016, Oakville, Ontario) pitched very well
against a quality Chicago Scouts Association lineup, and the
uncommitted righthander has a lean build with very long limbs that
bodes well for future projection in his 6-foot-1, 165-pound frame.
While he’s a bit narrow, he should have room to continue filling
out. He ran his fastball up to 89 mph in the first inning before
settling in the 85-87 mph range. He also flashed some feel for a
low-70s curveball, mid-70s slider, and upper-70s changeup, all of
which could use further refinement but were located for strikes at
various times throughout his outing. He’ll be an interesting arm to
monitor in the coming months.
Schwartz (2016, Merrick, N.Y.) was another interesting
uncommitted pitcher that threw on Thursday. Coming out of the bullpen
for the San Diego Padres Scout Team, Schwartz displayed some
deception and funk from his three-quarters arm slot. The 6-foot-1,
175-pound southpaw has a solid, athletic frame and has some angle and
solid downhill plane from his slight crossfire release. While his
83-87 mph fastball may not wow viewers with raw velocity, he presents
hitters with a different look and is able to keep the offering down
in the zone. Schwartz also worked in a mid-70s changeup with some
quality depth and velocity differential, and it is a pitch that
should induce groundballs when located down in the zone and sequenced
Johnson (Mundelein, Ill.) has long been lauded for his defensive
prowess, and he did nothing to dispel the notion that he’s the best
defensive catcher in his class on Thursday. Consistently popping in
the 1.9-2.0 seconds range in between innings, he wasn’t challenged
on the bases in game, and perhaps wisely so. He’s very well built
with excellent strength and overall physicality, and when coupled
with the athleticism and defensive actions he shows behind the plate,
he’s a no-doubt high round draft choice waiting to happen just
based on the glove alone.
Dominic Clementi (2016, Hartland, Wis.) has continued to add
strength to his 6-foot-2 frame, and the athletic centerfielder put
that strength on display by launching a long triple up the opposite
field gap, displaying explosive hands with strength in his
forearms/wrists into excellent bat speed. He runs well, showing a
complete top-of-the-order toolset.
pitcher Cameron Beauchamp (2016, Peru, Ind.) came on in relief
for the Reds Midwest Scout Team and was impressive. Working in the
86-89 range and touching 90, Beauchamp rotates his hips well and in
unison with his shoulders and gets his body online and downhill well.
He generates good plane to the plate, spotting his fastball to both
sides of the plate with effectiveness and command. The out pitch is
his curveball, however, thrown from the same slot and with the same
arm speed as his fastball, with sharp 1-to-7 shape and plenty of
Mets Scout Team/Scorpions finished as the runner up a year ago, and
they certainly brought an absolutely loaded roster again this year,
along with a pair of new assistant coaches in Carson Fulmer and
Brendan Rodgers. They threw a three-headed monster in their close
opening night victory, in 2016 prospects Tyler Baum (Ocoee,
Fla.), Cole Ragans (Crawfordville, Fla), and Todd Peterson
(Lake Mary, Fla.).
started for the Scorps, and like always, he really stands out for his
ability to uncoil his hips and generate tons of torque and explosion
in his lower half, helping his fastball velocity to sit comfortably
in the low-90s, touching 94 several times. The pitch has solid life
to the arm side, and while he was a bit wild at times, he shows the
ability to get to both sides of the plate in the lower part of the
strike zone, eliciting both swings and misses as well as weak
contact. His out pitch is his sharp, deep curveball with impressive
spin and overall break, projecting to be a true bat-misser at the
Baum on the mound was Ragans, the picture of ideal physical
projectability from the left side. Ragans came on in a tough spot
with a couple guys on base and two outs, and got a weak fly ball off
a curveball after painting 89-90 twice to the glove side. He had some
of the better fastball command this scout has seen from him, working
consistently down in the zone to both sides and showing a special
affinity for getting to the glove side from his extended three
quarters slot. His curveball was also on point late Thursday, showing
excellent shape and depth in the low- to mid-70s. He was able to bury
the curve down and out of the zone as a chase pitch, but also froze a
few opposing hitters by throwing it for strikes.
it out for the Scorps was Todd Peterson, a big, physical righthander
committed to LSU. Peterson has made some serious mechanical
adjustments and refinements in the last year, which have allowed him
to generate a bit more life on his fastball, better overall feel to
spin on his pair of breaking pitches, and in general look more
comfortable and easy on the mound. He did a very good job of throwing
strikes for the most part with his fastball, which peaked at 95 and
worked 91-94, extending well out in front and generating some solid
arm side life. His best offspeed pitch on this day was the slider,
thrown in the mid- to upper-70s with solid tilt, and he mixed in a
slower, deeper curveball and flashed a straighter change as well.
undoubtedly loaded on the mound, the Scorps also feature an
incredibly deep lineup, 1-10. Chase Cheek (Orlando, Fla.) is
one of the fastest players in the country and can definitely go get
it in center field, with leadoff-type contact ability at the plate.
Herron (Orlando, Fla.) is a highly physical catcher with serious
strength and bat speed at the plate, and his approach to hitting has
improved tremendously over the past several months.
Cabell (as detailed above) is as impactful a bat as they come
in the class of 2018, with elite level bat speed and tremendous
strength off the barrel. He’s just now coming into his own as a
hitter, and the results right now are outstanding, but the projection
and future of his game are truly scary to think about.
Cortes (also detailed above) should be among the first
prospects mentioned as far as best pure bats in the class of 2016,
and if there’s a such thing as the “clutch gene,” he has it.
Lining a single the opposite way in the seventh inning, Cortes
brought home the go-ahead run that ultimately proved to be the
winner. His natural bat-to-ball skill is uncanny, and when combined
with the overall strength he creates in his swing and the barrel
control he has to use the whole field, he’s as tough an out as they
come in the prep ranks across the country.
Upstate Mavericks played the Mets Scout Team/Scorpions just about as
close as they possibly could, leading 1-0 until the top of the
seventh, and they did so on the back of some excellent pitching.
Righthander Ryan McDonald (2016, Charleston, S.C.) started,
and was very effective pitching off his fastball nearly 90% of the
time. The West Virginia commit worked consistently in the 86-88
range, hitting 89 several times early on and then tapering to more
85-86 towards the end of his outing. The fastball has good arm side
running life, and is especially effective with some sink on it, which
came when thrown down in the zone. At 6-foot-7 with broad shoulders
and long limbs, even for his height, McDonald still projects on the
body and there’s certainly room for velocity enhancement with added
McDonald was 2016 lefthanded pitcher Richard Gregory (Gaffney,
S.C.), and he had the best breaking ball this scout saw on Thursday,
aside from Yasiel Sierra. Gregory throws a slider—an insanely
sharp, tilting slider in the 76-79 range—and he drew some audible
reactions from the scouts in attendance with the break on the pitch.
He’s got advanced arm speed with athleticism on the mound, and his
fastball worked 86-89, while reaching back for 90-91 a few times when
he needed it.
always, Team Elite Prime brought with them a loaded stable of talent
both on the mound and in the lineup. 2016 shortstop Cam Shepherd
(Duluth, Ga.) continues to improve both in the field and with the
bat every time we see him, and he’s to the point now where he’s a
legitimate option for the draft in June.
shortstop Nolan Jones (Langhorne, Pa.) has one of the best
combinations of speed and strength in his hands that you’ll find in
this event, giving him the bat speed and jump off the barrel to turn
in impressive exit velocities on line drives. His swing is leveraged
with easy power right now that is only going to continue to impress
as we move towards the draft.
Centerfielder Terence Norman (2016, Marietta, Ga.) is a
quick-twitch, excellent athlete with the chops and skills to play
center field at the next level, to go along with the speed and
hitting tools to project to the top of the order at Kennesaw State
when he arrives there next fall. He made a few impressive plays in
center field on Thursday, ranging far in towards second base and
sprawling out to snare a sinking liner, putting on display that speed
and those instincts.