Tournaments | Story | 10/24/2015

World Championship: Day 2 Recap

Andrew Krause         Chris King         David Rawnsley         Jheremy Brown        
Photo: Perfect Game

Day 1 Recap
| Day 2 Daily Leaders | Feature: EvoShield Canes | Feature: Baseball U

Thursday, I just happening to be walking by a field and stopped to talk to someone at just the moment that Twins Scout Team/Scorpions South first baseman Andru Summerall (2016, Lake Park, Fla.) crushed a long home run to right field.

Friday, I was watching another game to primarily scout the East Cobb Astros and they were playing, by coincidence, the same Twins Scout Team/Scorpions South team. The Astros were throwing Mississippi State commit Elliot Anderson (2016, Cartersville, Ga.), an upper-80s lefty who is ranked No. 267 in the PG class rankings. Summerall, a lefthanded hitter, was the impact player as the Scorpions South, driving in one run on a hard single to right field and lacing a double into the right field corner to plate another in a 4-1 win. His swing was short, crisp and strong against a quality left handed hitter and he showed good discipline in picking out the pitches he could handle and attacking them.

The noteworthy thing about the 6-foot-2, 210-pound Summerall, aside from his talent at hitting the baseball hard, is that he does not have a college commitment per the PG database. That should change quickly, one suspects.

Texas Scout Team Yankees righthander Dustin May (2016, Fort Worth, Texas) was another pleasant surprise. A Texas Tech commit who is ranked No. 476 in the PG rankings, the 6-foot-6, 180-pound May only pitched two innings in a Yankees run rule victory but worked between 89 and 93 mph with his fastball and snapping off a couple of 80 mph power curveballs with tight spin and bite. His delivery is simple and compact and he needed only 23 pitches to get six quick outs.

Another Texas-sized righthander, Trey Morris (2016, Katy, Texas), followed May on the mound and was also impressive during a two-inning stint, working at 89-91 mph with his fastball and throwing some deep breaking 73 mph curveballs that a couple of Texas-based scouts described as the best breaking balls they've seen Morris throw. The 6-foot-5, 200-pound Morris, a TCU commit, has a quick and compact arm action and a simple balanced delivery with a bit of cross body angle to the plate.

First baseman/third baseman Ulysses Cantu (2016, Saginaw, Texas) burst into the national prospect scene in August with a big power performance at the Area Code Games and definitely built on that impression, lifting a deep home run to left center field off a curveball down in the strike zone that he kept his hands back on beautifully and impacted with full bat speed. Cantu is also a Texas Tech commit and, needless to say, the Red Raiders had a coach at the game taking in all the action.

At 6-foot-9, 210 pounds, with an even bigger wing span to borrow basketball terminology, Dallas Tigers lefthanded pitcher Russell Smith (2017, Midlothian, Texas) certainly passes the eye test. He also has a surprisingly smooth and fluid delivery for a young athlete his size and only needed 76 pitches to finish six innings of one hit, no run, nine strikeout baseball. Smith pounded the bottom of the zone with an 85-88 mph fastball that had very nice running action at times. His changeup was his best off-speed pitch and he threw both a slider and a curveball, both of which lacked conviction at present but will undoubtedly improve in the future.

Smith, a TCU commit, showed two things aside from his obvious physical talent and projection that stood out. First, he was athletic off the mound on defense and repeated his delivery well. Second, it was clear that he was emotionally into the game and had lots of positive energy while on the mound. Both those things will help him in his development.

Smith's catcher now and perhaps in the future at TCU, Zachary Humphries (2016, Desoto, Texas), showed polished defensive skills behind the plate with a very quick release on his throws. He also went 3-for-3 at the plate with two runs scored in a 5-2 Tigers win over the On Deck O's.

Outfielder Zach DeLoach (2017, Lewisville, Texas), a Texas A&M commit, also impressed with a quick lefthanded swing that netted him two sharp pull-side hits, one a double into the left field corner.

Outfielder Colin Hall (2017, Alpharetta, Ga.) is not listed as having a college commitment in the PG database. That may seem a little unexpected for the No. 71 ranked player in the 2017 PG class rankings, given that six of his East Cobb Yankees teammates are Georgia Tech commits and that Georgia Tech head coach, Danny Hall, who doubles as Colin's father, was attentively watching the game from a golf cart behind the plate. And Hall had quite a game, falling a home run short of the cycle while going 3-for-4 with four RBI in a 10-0 Yankees run rule win over Palm Beach Select. The left handed hitting Hall, who showed a opposite field hitting approach all game and fouled off perhaps a dozen outside half pitches during his four at-bats, drove his triple to the warning track in deepest left centerfield, an impressive opposite field power display.

GBG Marucci middle infielder Will Proctor (2016, Manhattan Beach, Calif.) was one of the most improved players from June to August on the national summer circuit, with much of that improvement being in the form of right handed bat speed and a big jump in his aggressiveness and pull power at the plate. Proctor put an explanation point on that improvement Friday night in GBG's opening game against the Texas Drillers, absolutely crushing an inside half fastball for a line drive two-run home run that broke open a 1-1 contest in the bottom of the fourth inning in what ended up being a 6-1 GBG win.

David Rawnsley

Tony Locey (2016, Columbus, Ga.) was one of the big attractions on the second day of the WWBA World Championship, as the righty toed the slab for the Tri-State Arsenal in one of the afternoon time slots on Friday. The 6-foot-2, 240-pound pitcher is currently ranked 46th overall in the 2016 class, and he was effective over three innings of work. The Perfect Game All-American had run his fastball up to 96 mph in past PG events this summer, and while his heater predominately sat in the 91-93 mph range, he did touch 94 on a handful of occasions on Friday. Using a full, hands-over-head delivery out of the windup, Locey showed improved balance and fluidity in his mechanics. He was able to pound the bottom of the zone in his first inning, predominately using his fastball in the early going, and the offering shows some life and slight run to the arm side.

He didn’t have the best feel for his breaking ball on Friday, throwing a softer 69-73 mph curveball with varied 10-to-4 to 11-to-5 shape. In the past the offering had shown sharper break and he was more consistent in getting extended over his front side. However, while his breaking ball was not as sharp as it had been, Locey did flash better feel for his changeup than he had for much of the summer circuit. The 74-78 mph offering showed solid fading life and some later finish and depth. At times, he could drop his arm slot a bit on the pitch, but he maintained solid armspeed and the pitch showed quality life and action off of his fastball, so it was a promising development in the burly righty’s progress.

As a New Mexico native, Drew Gillespie (2016, Albuquerque, N.M.) often flies under the radar, but the righthanded pitcher showcased quality stuff in his brief start on Friday night. The University of New Mexico commit has a 6-foot-1, 185-pound frame with broad shoulders and some more room to add muscle and strength to his lean, athletic body. He ran his fastball up to 91 mph in the early going, sitting in the 90-91 mph range in the first inning before settling into the 87-89 mph range over the next three frames. He has some deception in his delivery and release, as he has an up-tempo pace to his delivery and works quickly to a lower three-quarters arm slot. The ball tends to get on hitters quickly and it takes some time for them to adjust to the different look. Gillespie flashed a slider and changeup, with the latter being the more consistent and effective on Friday night. The upper-70s slider shows promise, with some occasional hard biting action to the glove side, but feel for the pitch wavered. The changeup showed similar action to the fastball, tailing to the armside with some late, soft depth and deception. With a solid performance against a very good CBA Marucci lineup, Gillespie certainly provided on-lookers with a reason to monitor his progression this spring.

Adam Laskey (2016, Barrington, N.J.) turned some heads at the East Coast Pro Showcase in late July, and the southpaw took the mound in relief of Tony Locey on Friday afternoon. The projectable 6-foot-3, 190-pounder has the athleticism and looseness that evaluators tend to covet. Laskey performed well in front of dozens of scouts, consistently locating his 88-91 mph fastball to the bottom half of the strike zone and showing solid balance throughout his delivery. The heater has solid sinking life and it can be particularly difficult for opposing hitters to barrel when it is located down in the zone so effectively. Additionally, Laskey flashed a solid changeup and slider, with both offerings sitting in the 80-82 mph ranges. While his feel for both off-speed pitches came and went, they can be particularly effective because they come out of the same plane. Specifically, the slider has tighter, short tilt and depth and Laskey showed comfort in using the pitch to both lefties and righties. Evaluators are always looking for projectable lefties and the Duke commit will surely be tracked closely over the next few months, as he has the frame, arm-action, delivery, and athleticism to intrigue professional organizations.

Daniel Federman (2017, Pembroke Pines, Fla.) is a recent University of Miami commit, and the righty toed the rubber for Elite Squad Louisville Slugger against Team Evoshield on Friday afternoon. Federman has a solidly-built, sturdy, 6-foot, 188-pound frame with good present strength and athleticism. He showed good feel for his delivery, replicating his drop-drive style mechanics pretty well and working to a consistent high three-quarters arm slot. Federman’s fastball clocked 90 mph in the early going, before settling into the 86-89 mph range over the middle innings of his start. The junior also flashed a quality mid-70s changeup, with the pitch showing good, late diving action below the knees that was extremely deceptive. Federman’s breaking ball was a bit more inconsistent--with some curveballs showing true downer action and 12-to-6 shape and others working more cross-body—he has the athleticism and hand speed for it to develop into another quality off-speed pitch.

Anthony Holubecki (2016, Elburn, Ill.) started opposite of Tony Locey, and the athletic righty also threw well. Holubecki, a Notre Dame commit and National Showcase participant, again displayed a quick arm and quality fastball velocity, consistently working in the 91-93 mph range with his heater. The 6-foot-4, 200-pound righty has a projectable frame with long limbs, and he encouragingly showed signs of development with his secondary offerings, notably working in a slider, curveball, and changeup. While all three off-speed pitches still need refinement, the 77-78 mph slider was a new wrinkle that seems to fit better for his arm slot. Although he had to leave the game early due to a minor finger injury (blister), Holubecki pitched well and his blend of projection and present arm speed make him an interesting arm to monitor as he enters his senior season at IMG Academy.

Matt Rowland (2016, Marietta, Ga.) is an interesting under-the-radar arm for the 2016 class. The 6-foot-3, 175-pound righty has a large, projectable frame with long limbs and plenty of room to fill out and add strength. While he’s not tremendously loose Rowland does a solid job of controlling his delivery and staying relatively balanced. At times Rowland could hinge his frontside and spin out to the first base with a stiffer landing at foot strike, but he still showed an ability to locate his 90-91 mph fastball to either side of the plate. Rowland’s primary off-speed pitch was an 80-82 mph slider, which flashed sharp two-plane depth and solid tilt from his three-quarters arm slot. There were instances where Rowland got underneath or on the side of the pitch and left it to the arm side, but he seemed to gain better feel and more confidence for the offering later in the outing, and he was even able to use it effectively to the backdoor to lefthanded hitters. While he’s not a finished product, Rowland – a Kennesaw State commit – certainly has elements that could intrigue professional organizations.

Trevor Holloway (2016, Venice, Fla.) was solid at last weekend’s Florida Diamond Club Showcase, and the righty was impressive in an extremely brief appearance on Friday afternoon. The 6-foot-2, 180-pound High Point University commit has a lean, projectable and athletic frame with a loose, easy arm action and quality arm speed. Holloway was able to locate his 90-92 mph and 74-75 mph breaking ball effectively in his one inning of work.

Mitchell Stone (2017, Shawnee, Okla.) also threw well in a short stint on Friday. The Oklahoma State commit is one of the more interesting underclass arms in the nation, as the southpaw has an extra-large 6-foot-9, 240-pound frame. Stone was impressive back in June at the Junior National Showcase, and he was perhaps moreso on Friday night showcasing an easy, fluid, and balanced delivery and clean, loose arm action. Stone hides the ball well in his delivery, and with his long levers his 87-89 mph fastball appears to jump on hitters. Stone flashed improved fastball command, and still displayed an adept feel for his 75-77 mph breaking ball—a curveball with 1-to-7 shape and good depth and late bite. Currently ranked 79th in the 2017 rankings, Stone may be poised to make another jump this spring with additional strength.

While pitchers have rightly dominated this writeup, there were still a number of hitters that stood out on Friday—even in an event that largely favors the arms. Two highly ranked position players for the 2017 and 2019 classes respectively, Mark Vientos and Triston Casas, displayed the hitting tools that have made both University of Miami commits.

Mark Vientos (2017, Pembroke Pines, Fla.) has good actions and a strong arm in the infield, but he performed particularly well at the plate on Friday, stroking a couple of doubles to left field. He’s added some muscle and strength to his lean frame since he participated in the Junior National Showcase in June, and Vientos has solid bat speed, hand quickness, and feel for the barrel. At times he can get a bit off-balance, but he has continually shown the ability to make in-game adjustments, an impressive trait for such a young player.

Casas (2019, Pembroke Pines, Fla.) is a different style of player, as the freshman has an extremely physical and mature 6-foot-4, 238-pound frame. He’s a better athlete than one would expect for such a young, large player, and the lefthanded hitter has impressive strength in his hands and wrists that allow him to control the barrel and match his swing plane with that of the pitches. He has big raw power, but he’s also a solid all-around hitter and he did a solid job of staying within himself and stinging balls back up the middle and into center field for base hits rather than trying to do too much.

Keenan Bell (2016, Jacksonville, Fla.), Zach Zientarski (2016, Boca Raton, Fla.) and Max Guzman (2016, Miami, Fla.) hit solo home runs for the Astros Scout Team/FTB Tucci.

Bell, a Florida commit, has a solid, well-rounded approach from the left side and he did a good job of bringing his hands inside to keep his homer (off of a 78 mph changeup) just inside the foul pole.

Zientarski, a Pittsburgh commit, smashed a homer over the left field fence and the physical 6-foot-4, 225-pound first baseman also stung a ball in his second at-bat, a sharp single to left field.

Guzman, a Florida International commit, may have some of the best raw power in the 2016 high school class, and the 6-foot, 215-pound righthanded hitter blasted a home run to left-center field to cap off an impressive showing by the deep Astros Scout Team lineup.

Andrew Krause

Righthander Brady Devereux (2018, Glen Mills, Pa.), one of the youngest players at the 2015 WWBA World Championship, certainly didn’t pitch like one. Devereux came out pumping fastballs with a good amount of natural sink. The heater sat easily 84-86 while topping out at 87 a couple of times. With a very quick arm that stays loose, Devereux stays on top and pitches downhill very effectively which was evident by the many weak ground balls he generated. His delivery has good flow and momentum which allows him to repeat and hammer the zone with strikes. At 6-foot-2, 170-pounds, there is some projection left and a few more ticks of velocity on the way.

As impressive as his his mechanics and fastball was, Devereux mixed in two different breaking balls. The first was slow, but tight spinning curveball that he spun across in the 70-71 mph range. He did a good job staying on top of it and not overthrow the pitch. The feel is there and he just needs more reps before it really has a chance to take off. His third pitch was a sweeping 77 mph slider. He didn’t appear to have the same confidence in this pitch, but there is plenty of time left for him to change that before he gets to Wake Forest, which is where he is committed.

Farrah Scout middle infielder Alexander Santos (2016, Woodland Park, N.J.) stood out thanks to his ability to handle the bat and make consistent in-game contact. All day long, Santos proved to be a tough out. He demonstrated a very good feel for the strike zone and refused to help the pitcher by expanding the zone. When the Rhode Island commit let his hands loose and swung the bat, he was able to hit the ball on a line while using the entire field. He stays loose and relaxed at the plate and at 6-foot-2, 160-pounds, he maintains a good amount of athleticism that shows up on offense and defense alike. Playing second base, Santos showed soft hands while fielding the ball out in front. He had good footwork that allowed him to be in good fielding position and displayed clean actions.

Shortstop Kevin Brophy (2016, Randolph, N,J.), a teammate of Santos as detailed above, provided some physicality and leadership to the Farrah Scout team. The thing that really stood out with Brophy besides his well built frame is the way he is able to use his hands at the plate to control and guide the barrel through the zone. A West Virginia commit, Brophy is able to use his strength and hands to put a strong and linear swing on the ball that resulted in some very solid contact. He has an advanced approach that fits his abilities very well. His size might make him move off of shortstop down the line, and he looked very good playing third base on Friday, but for now, he still has the athleticism and range to make it work.

Righthander Michael McAvene (2016, Camby, Ind.) might have been the most physically imposing arm I saw on Day 2 of this event. The Purdue commit stands 6-foot-5 and at solid 205-pounds, he has room to add more strength. His frame is solid from head to toe and should lead to him being a durable horse in any rotation. McAvene stays tall on the mound with good posture and balance. He has present above-average arm speed that allows his long arm action to get through on-time and stay consistent with his release point. The fastball was jumping out of his hand and crossed the plate in the 85-89 range and topped out at 91 mph. The big righthander doesn’t nibble either. He attacks with the heater to both sides of the plate no matter if he’s facing a lefty or righty.

Adding to his heavy and firm fastball, McAvene also mixed in a 78-79 mph power slider with tilt that he can locate for a strike or bury it and get batters to chase and swing over. It was a very impressive fastball/slider combo that will allow him to turn over lineups while missing a lot of bats. Hopefully he can add a third pitch to his arsenal at some point, but for now, he can get by just fine without one.

Rhyse Dee (2016, Phoenix, Ariz.), the eighth-ranked righthander in Arizona, had a very solid start for the Marlins Scout Team on Friday. Dee, who is currently uncommitted, has a very smooth and low effort delivery to go along with a quick, clean arm action. He repeats very well and maintains his balance throughout his windup. He has a strong frame and releases the ball from a high three-quarters slot. His fastball has life and sat easily 86-89 mph while touching 90 mph. Dee showed the ability to move the fastball around the zone to both sides of the plate and did a good job keeping it at knee level early in the count before elevating it as a put-away pitch when ahead in the count. The 6-foot-2, 215-pound Dee is quick to the plate and held his velocity well from the stretch. He incorporates his lower-half well and gets good drive off the rubber.

Dee was mixing things up with two breaking balls. He threw a curveball that had some teeth and depth. The curve crossed the plate at 69-71 mph and he did a good job keeping down and out of trouble. His second breaking ball was a 76 mph slider that was a bit inconsistent, but he flashed enough to make me believe it will a legitimate offering in the near future.

Jake Holmes (2017, Phoenix, Ariz.) committed to Arizona State, the long and lean Holmes had some impressive at-bats today and generated loud contact. The 6-foot-3 Holmes has present gap-to-gap pop in his bat and he is willing and able to use the entire field. He did a good job keeping his head down and staying on the ball all the way up to contact point where his quick stroke can do some damage. The bat speed is there and with the natural loft he possesses and his frame filling out even more, the power will come.

Shortstop Nolan (Nonie) Williams ( 2016, Kansas City, Kan.) is one of the bigger names here in Jupiter this week and deservedly so. Williams is a current Perfect Game All American and committed to LSU. On Friday the athletic and aggressive nature of his game was on full display. Nonie wasted no time at the plate by jumping on the first pitch he saw and hitting a well struck single into left field. Later on Williams once again attacked early and drove the ball to the opposite field. His swing is fast and it comes through the zone with purpose. Williams displayed very strong pitch recognition skills, as he repeatedly spat on tough off-speed and breaking balls.

On the other side of the field, Williams showed improved footwork around the bag, which was very evident on the backend of double play. Williams’ footwork was efficient and quick, allowing him to touch the bag, get his body out of the way of the sliding runner, before firing a strike to the first baseman for a 4-6-3 double play. There is so much athleticism to his game and it’s really fun to watch him run, hit, and play defense.

Shortstop Jose Miranda (2016, Caguas, Puerto Rico) was playing in one of the nightcap games on Day 2 and he made it an exciting end to another exciting day. The 6-foot 170-pound Miranda is a quick-twitch athlete and possesses some sneaky strength. He commanded the strike zone with his good eye and waited for a pitch to his liking. It’s evident he has a plan at the plate and his lightning quick hands and bat speed allow him to execute that plan. He has very strong hand-eye coordination and when coupled with his premium bat speed, the results are were hard line drives back up the middle. Miranda is so short and quick to the ball, he can handle good velocity in on his hands without sacrificing any pop. As he grows and adds more strength, the bat speed will allow the power part of his game to play up and even possibly take off.

Chris King

Lefthanded pitcher Hugh Fisher (2017, Eads, Tenn.) is, at 6-foot-5 and 180-pounds, a very long and very lean, projectable lefthander with the type of whippy arm action that makes future velocity easy to dream on. The arm action is clean, and though the delivery itself has mild effort and gets offline at times, he still managed to show a fastball that reached 90 with solid arm side life. He can generate plane to the plate when on top, and also flashed quality feel to spin a curveball, which results, at best, in sharp downward break with plenty of depth.

Opposing Fisher’s Dulin Dodgers was the ever-loaded FTB Mizuno squad. Shortstop Francis Villaman (2017, Orlando, Fla.) is a physically impressive junior with a college-ready body and overall physicality. He can really swing the bat as well, showing big time natural loft his swing with tremendous strength off the barrel, doubling loudly over the centerfielder’s head. He’s an extremely toolsy underclassman, and one to keep an eye on for the 2017 draft.

Shortstop Brian Rey (2016, Deltona, Fla.) has always impressed with his defense, and the North Florida commit didn’t disappoint on Friday. He pairs a quick release with solid arm strength to maintain his left-side projection, and one would be hard pressed to find many prospects with better feet than he has in the field. In the same defensive vein, 2016 catcher Santino Miozzi (Orlando, Fla.) is an impressive catch-and-throw guy, with a strong, still-projectable frame. He receives well and the transfer is quick, giving him the tools one wants to see in a defense-first catcher.

It wouldn't be a Perfect Game recap without some mention of 2016 Carlos Cortes, so without further ado, here’s your daily Cortes comment: He can hit, and will continue to hit at the next level, whether that’s at South Carolina or in professional baseball. He handles the bat better than most others in the class, and doesn’t just do it in a slappy way, he controls the barrel while maintaining bat speed and leverage, with good gap-to-gap power. Waiting back on a curveball breaking down and away from him, Cortes seemingly just flicked his wrists and hit a double over the centerfielders head into the opposite field gap.

The Mets Scout Team/Scorpions started 2016 righthanded pitcher Tobias Myers (Winter Haven, Fla.) and he worked at 88-90 for the most part through his outing, peaking at 91, and showing slight sink when down in the zone. The arm action is mostly clean through acceleration, but there is some stab in the back of the arm circle that could be troublesome as far as timing moving forward. He flashed the ability to spin a curveball as well, working in the low- to mid-70s with solid depth and shape.

Outfielder Ronald Washington (2017, Houston, Texas) has been high on the national radar for a few years now, with tremendous righthanded raw power and bat speed combined with big time physical strength. On Friday, he showed a better approach at the plate with more of a whole-field idea, lining a fastball back through the box at 101 off the bat. He’s always been very strong and he’s always generated excellent bat speed, but as he continues to refine his approach and use the entire field with more consistency, his upside becomes higher and higher.

Shortstop Alexis Torres (2016, Caguas, Puerto Rico) put on a defensive show at PG National, and then took No. 1 overall prospect Jason Groome off the wall in game action, so he’s been someone we’ve been anxious to see further over the course of the past few months. He’s still very quick-twitch with smooth, easy defensive actions and more than enough arm to project to the left side at the professional level, and the barrel control seems to have improved even more. He can hit to all fields on a line with projectable hand speed. As he gets stronger he’ll more consistently drive the ball, which, when combined with his defensive projection, give him the potential to be a high round prospect.

The CBA Marucci team may be missing a pair of their more high profile players, in PG All American’s Blake Rutherford and Reggie Lawson, but that doesn't mean they’re without star power. Shortstop Nick Allen (2017, San Diego, Calif.) is the best defensive player in the class in this scout’s eyes, but that’s been well documented for a long time now. What is starting to set him apart from the other players in his class is how his offensive game has progressed. He has the approach, pitch recognition, and strike zone command skills of a player much older and more advanced, and he combines all of that with a simple, short swing with gap power that is continuing to show up in game swings. He drove a triple one hop off the wall on Friday night, and as he continues to add strength and physically develop, that power will continue to grow.

CBA Marucci righthanded pitcher Matthew Sauer (Santa Maria, Calif.) started the first of CBA’s doubleheader, and was very good. He has the type of high-waisted, broad-shouldered frame that projects extremely well and has the arm strength and overall stuff to go with it. Working 87-89 with his fastball for the most part, Sauer has big crossfire in his delivery, landing closed with his front foot and then having to throw across his body to get the ball to the catcher. It’s deceptive and it can disrupt the hitter, but it can also cause his arm to drag and disrupt the timing of his delivery.

Relieving Sauer was 2017 righthanded pitcher James Acuna (Cypress, Calif.). Acuna is very interesting for several reasons. At 6-foot-4, 160 pounds, he’s very thin but projects well moving forward, but those long limbs play well into the extension and deception his delivery creates. He lifts his leg and tucks his knee high into his windup, uncoils well and fires his hips into an online landing with his foot. He drops down to very nearly sidearm and releases the ball from seemingly behind the front hip of righthanded hitters, creating an obviously very tough angle. He worked mostly 88-90, touching 91, with heavy running life down and in on righties. He mixed in a very tight, very sharp slider to complement the fastball, thrown from the same arm slot and with the same arm speed as his fastball, making it very hard to pick up out of his hand.

CBA’s team is impressive top to bottom, and few others stood out on Saturday evening. It’s conceivable to believe that CBA has three next-level shortstops in the infield, with Nick Allen manning the position everyday, but also with 2017’s Tyler Freeman (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) playing second base and Ben Ramirez (Chula Vista, Calif.) playing third.

Freeman is quick-twitch with easy actions defensively, and will probably play shortstop at TCU when he gets there, with projectable top-of-the-order hitting tools. Ramirez was very impressive both with the bat and the glove, and at 6-foot-2, 170-pounds, he’s going to keep getting bigger and stronger as he works towards getting to Southern Cal. He’s highly athletic and his bat may project to the middle of the lineup, where he’s beginning to show feel to hit the ball to all fields to go along with some gap power, that is only going to keep developing. Sticking with the CBA middle-of-the-field theme, centerfielder Josh Stephan (Newport Beach, Calif.) is a no-doubt center fielder at the next level, with plus speed and actions playing extremely well in the outfield. He hits atop the CBA lineup, and is not the typical slap-and-run leadoff outfielder with speed to burn. He can absolutely drive the ball, with explosive hands that are very quick to the zone and bring the barrel with authority.

In what may have been one of the most heavily-scouted games of the day, Team Elite Prime took the field in the nightcap, with 2016 righthanded pitcher Zach Linginfelter (Sevierville, Tenn.) taking the mound. Linginfelter has been highly followed all summer after seemingly exploding at PG National and then having another high profile good showing at the 17u WWBA National Championship, so his start was highly anticipated. He’s a big, physical righthander with the size and strength of a hard-throwing pitcher, and when his mechanics are inline and repeated well, he has no trouble blowing through opposing lineups. He worked 89-92 for the majority of his start, touching 93, and flashed the ability to command the fastball down in the zone with solid life. His arm struggles to catch up with his body at times, leading to some command inconsistencies, but when everything is right, the results speak for themselves. He showed a slurvier breaking ball in the mid- to upper-70s, and manipulated the shape of it seemingly dependent on the situation. It’ll go from sweepier in the upper-70s to more deeper, closer to a true curveball in the mid-70s, and he flashed the ability to throw it for strikes as well as down and out of the zone as a chase pitch, giving him a quality two-pitch mix that will certainly play well at Tennessee.

Brian Sakowski

In a tournament that’s fill with such high-end pitching throughout every time slot, lefthander Rian Haire (2016, Hudson, N.C.) may have turned in one of the best performances to this point. With a strong 6-foot-3 and broad shouldered 225-pound frame Haire has continued to refine his mechanics throughout the summer with better balance and online directionality.

Perhaps the most impressive feat of Haire over his five inning was the fact that his velocity never dipped, either out the wind or stretch, and held 88-91 from start to finish with a couple of 92 mixed in along the way. Haire, a University of South Carolina commit, featured solid command of his fastball to his arm side and lived on the outer half to righthanded hitters rather effectively which only made it that much more difficult whenever he decided to bust them in and locate to glove wide. A younger arm for the 2016 class, Haire did a nice job of repeating both his arm action and overall mechanics and was able to generate subtle running life to his arm side.

Throughout his five inning Haire cruised on the strength of his fastball and the command to either side, issuing just a single free pass and no hits while striking out a handful. The shape of his breaking ball varied throughout the outing as he’d occasionally get around the ball at release giving it more sweep as opposed to the depth he was able to show when on top of the pitch. When the pitch was on it was a mid-70s pitch with harder downward life and tight rotation that proved to be a swing-and-miss pitch with the comfort to locate back door to righthanded bats.

Bryant Packard (2016, Greenville, N.C.) was mentioned in the first recap for his hard double to down the pull side line that registered 103 mph off the barrel and was at it again in EvoShield’s second game of the tournament. A very strong yet projectable 6-foot-3 athlete, 103 mph seems to be Packard’s number as he again squared up a ball, this time to dead center field, that registered at 103 mph and drove in another two runs for the Canes.

Another Cane who was mentioned in the opening recap, third baseman and Perfect Game All-American Joe Rizzo (2016, Oak Hill, Va.) is the type of player who can give you something to write about nearly every game whether it’s with the bat or defensively at the hot corner. Friday afternoon the South Carolina commit gave scouts a little taste of his abilities on both sides of the ball and continued to solidify himself as one of the top bats in the 2016 class. With excellent barrel control and an easy, all fields approach in which he doesn’t try to do too much the lefthanded hitting Rizzo was able to do just that in all three plate appearances. In his first two trips to the plate Rizzo connected for a couple of hard line drive singles to the opposite field before smoking a ball up the middle that came off at 100 mph and was snared by the second baseman who was in motion up the middle already to cover an attempted steal.

Ever since outfielder Connor Uselton (2017, Oklahoma City, Okla.) made his Perfect Game debut the Junior National last June the uncommitted junior has been on college coaches radar, as well as a couple of pro scouts in attendance thanks to his able to show five-tool potential. A long and well proportioned 6-foot-3, quick-twitch athlete Uselton has some of the best bat speed in the 2017 class and knows how to use it, shortening when down in the count and letting it fly when the count allows for it. After a strong first game on opening day Uselton found himself in a 2-2 count during his first trip to the plate Friday morning before jumping all over an elevated curveball for a loud solo shot over the left field fence. A 6.7 runner with big arm strength that he showed on a throw in from center field, Uselton is a very sound athlete that will remain on radars of both college and professional scouts alike for the next two years.

Uselton wasn’t the only bat that showed big strength coming off the barrel as both Justin Cooke (2017, Norman, Ok.) and Stephen Keller (2017, Huffman, Texas) followed with loud doubles of their own.

Cooke is a strong 6-foot-2, 190-pound catcher who’s committed the the University of Oklahoma and quickly put his strength on display as he scorched a loud double to the opposite field gap showing impressive bat speed and strength. Keller, another talented junior on Sandlots roster, is known as a primary righthanded pitcher has he’s capable of running his fastball into the low-90s but it was what he did in his first trip to the plate that stood out on this particular day.

A Louisiana State committed who’s currently ranked No. 82 in the class of 2017, Keller squared up a booming double to deep center field that came off as hot as any ball throughout the day and just continued to carry until falling just short of the wall.

Ethan Hankins (2018, Cumming, Ga.) is one of the more widely regarded arms in what’s shaping up to be a very strong 2018 crop of arms out of the state of Georgia. After impressing a couple weeks back in Fort Myers at the Underclass World Championships Hankins was back at it Friday morning and again showed some of the better fastball command in the country for a player his age.

Listed at a very believable 6-foot-5, 193-pounds that’ll only continue to fill out in the coming years, Hankins is currently uncommitted though after his performances throughout the month of October it wouldn’t be hard to see a line of college recruiters looking for his services. With a loose and easy overall set of mechanics that look as though he’s just playing a game of catcher, Hankins shows exceptional athleticism for a player his age and size and is another factor that points to continued gains in fastball velocity.

Though he lands cut off with his front foot and has to works somewhat across his body as a result it doesn’t impact anything Hankins does on the mound as he continued to spot his 86-88 mph fastball to either side of the plate with intent and precision. His overall arm action resembles that of a whip with a clean release and steady arm side run that appeared to jump on hitters late. While the command is exemplary and advanced for a sophomore in high school, Hankins showed a full three-pitch mix and was able to move his two off speed around the zone rather comfortably.

His changeup came across at 79-80 mph and is the better of the two currently as he did a nice job of mimicking his fastball arm action and created enough differential to elicit empty swings or weak ground ball contact. Everything about the pitch says fastball out of his hand until the late fade and short depth to the bottom of the zone and hitters are swinging over the top of it. Hankins also showed a nice feel for his breaking ball in the low-70s, a pitch that offered nice depth when on top and occasional sweep that could get to the back foot of lefties.

It was a quick one inning outing but uncommitted righthander Jordan Adcox (2016, Lawrenceville, Ga.) is worth another look if possible throughout the tournament. Up to 90 mph in past tournaments this summer, Friday was my first time catching Adcox and he came out living in the 86-89 mph range with similar arm quickness and downhill plane to that of Hankins. Listed at 6-foot-3, 175-pounds Adcox incorporates a full arm action through the back side and really strides out front with his lower half helping to create that plane and angle with quality extension. With rhythm to his delivery and a rather easily release there should be more velocity as he continues to fill out and was able to flash a couple of sliders in the upper-70s though he attacked with predominately fastballs.

The best adjective to describe Mississippi State commit Graham Ashcraft’s (2016, Brownsboro, Ala.) fastball is “heavy”. That life alone would be enough for the 6-foot-2 Ashcraft to induce weak and steady ground ball contact let alone the fact that he sat 90 to 93 mph for a majority of his three innings on the bump. The reason for the consistent sink is Ashcraft’s low three quarter arm slot that quickly comes through the backside without much effort at release though he’ll occasionally cut the ball when he gets across his body. His slider features tight rotation on the 76-79 mph pitch with short depth and occasionally showed more like a curveball in the low end of the range with 11-5 shape and more depth. The changeup gives Ashcraft a full three-pitch mix as he’s able to generate nice running life to arm side on the 85-86 mph pitch.

Evan Floyd (2016, Pensacola, Fla.) didn’t have the longest of outings as he did nothing but fill up the strike zone and made quick work of predetermined innings for his start Friday afternoon. An Air Force commit via Pensacola, Florida, Floyd came out and lived in the 91-93 mph range with his fastball showing a quick arm action with sharp downhill plane to the bottom of the zone. Listed at 6-foot-1, 205-pounds Floyd there’s isn’t too much physical projection left on the righthander though he already possesses enough strength to carry his stuff and the athleticism to repeat his compact delivery. His mechanics are short and simple and allowed for Floyd to work either side of the plate with occasional short running life while mixing in both a changeup and breaking ball in the low- to mid-80s.

Pitching in Jupiter as a sophomore isn’t an easy task on its own, let alone against one of the most prolific teams in the tournament but righthanded Jordan Armstrong (2018, McDonough, Ga.) showed stuff to hold his own on the big stage. Listed at a strong 6-foot-2, 185-pounds Armstrong came out and sat in the 85-89 mph range with his fastball and showed minimal effort at release making it easy to envision that there’s more velocity on its way. With a full arm action and some moving parts to his delivery the uncommitted Armstrong was able to generate his best fastball life to his arm side when down in the zone and impressed with his feel for a full three pitch mix. With a strong feel for his low-70s curveball, the pitch featured 11-to-5 shape with nice depth to the bottom of zone while also mixing in a changeup or two at 80 mph.

Two catchers who impressed with their arm strength from behind the plate Friday afternoon and evening were uncommitted Cole Jackson (2016, Tyrone, Ga.) of the Homeplate Chilidogs and Logan Foster (Lincoln, Neb.), a Texas A&M commit. Jackson turned in consistent sub 2.00-second pop times in between innings and when challenged in game he made quick work of the would be theft with a very strong throw directly to the bag beating the runner by about three feet. Foster may be listed as a primary outfielder on the Reds Midwest roster but he looked comfortable and at home behind the plate delivering a 1.94 in game pop with consistent big arm strength and carry down to second base.

While there are some names who are known heading into Jupiter there are other who make their presence felt on the national scene and Northeast Baseball’s Alex Haynes (2016, Knoxville, Tenn.) is a quality example. Though not an unknown player by any means as the 6-foot-3 righthander is ranked as the 287th best player in the 2016 class and already has a commitment secured with Walters State, Haynes did top his previous best fastball velocity of 92 mph on Friday afternoon.

With a projectable frame that can handle the addition on continued strength Haynes came out and popped a handful of 93s and a 94 early in the first while working in the 89-92 mph range throughout his three innings on the bump. His arm action adds some deception to his heater as he’s able to create extension and throws from a lower release point while still able to work downhill and to either side of the plate. The ball comes out rather cleanly from his hand and showed cutting life when located to the glove side as he worked mostly of his heater while flashing a breaking ball in the low-70s.

If you catch a game in which lefthander/centerfielder Andrew Baker (2016, Tavares, Fla.) is on the mound then you’ll be able to see a little bit of everything and what makes him a valuable piece of the Florida Gators 2016 recruiting class. Friday night Baker opened up on the mound for Chet Lemon’s Juice and did nothing to disappoint during his magnificent one hit complete game shut in which he needed just 88 pitches to wrap up.

The two-hole hitter who usually mans center when not on the mound, Baker is a highly athletic, fast-twitch lefthanded hitter who finds the barrel with both frequency and consistency. With a simple and quick hand set and equally as quick barrel Baker drove in each of the first two runs, the first on a hard ground ball that ricocheted off the pitcher for a 1-3 put out but gave them the quick lead. His second at-bat was one of the more impressive batted balls I saw throughout day two as he connected for a loud triple to dead center field, rounding first at 4.50 seconds.

Baker brings the same type of high energy and intensity to the mound as he does every other part of his game and is something that will serve him well at the next level. A true two-way talent, Baker worked in the 86-89 mph range, touching a 90, from the opening pitch the the final strike and bookended the game with a couple of 89s. After getting tall on his backside Baker incorporates a slight hip turn which adds to the deception of his extended and lower three-quarters arm slot, giving hitters an uncomfortable look in the box. To go along with the velocity the Florida commit showed command to either side of the plate with late running life and tough angle for lefthanded hitters.

He certainly proved his ability to miss bats on the strength of his heater as the first ten outs of the game came via strikeout and was able to do so while repeating his mechanics and arm action rather soundly. The comfort and feel he exhibited in slider is another reason Baker was able to finish with 15 strikeouts as he’d throw it in any count, whether for a first pitch strike or in a 3-2 count. With varying shape on the 74-77 mph offering, Baker was able to locate to the back foot of righthanded hitters with solid sweeping shape and also could shorten the pitch with tight tilt down.

Reid Schaller (2018, Lebanon, Ill.), Alec Marsh (2016, Milwaukee, Wis.) and Jack Eagan (2016, Wautoma, Wis.) split the game for the Reds Midwest Scout Team and each showed impressive stuff over their time on the mound.

Schaller is no stranger to Perfect Game events having twice participated in the Junior National and again this summer for the National but it was last night that he showed off his best velocity. A Vanderbilt commit, Schaller came out bumping 93s in warmups and steadily worked in the 89-91 mph range throughout, still showing 92s and 93s. With a rather quick and short arm action Schaller settled in and began worked down to the bottom of the zone better in the second inning with hard and late running life in on the hands of righthanded hitters. His slider was just as impressive with short and hard biting tilt up to 80 mph to go along with another form of a breaking ball in his curveball in the low-70s.

Marsh, an Arizona State commit, ran his fastball up to 92 mph showing a short and quick arm action through the back and produced similar late life to that of Schaller’s. His curveball flashed 12-6 shape with some depth in the upper-60s. Eagan impressed as well with a full and fluid arm action that produced a fastball up to 91 mph with little effort and solid downhill plane. With a quick two inning look Eagan sat in the 88-90 mph range with solid arm speed while working consistently to his glove side.

Mitchell Golden (2016, Marietta, Ga.) has had a nice couple of days thus far into Jupiter as he barreled the ball during his first couple of trips to the plate in Team Elite’s opening game and again found it Friday night. A switch-hitting middle infielder who’s committed to Georgia Southern, Golden lined a couple lefthanded yesterday and connected for a ball down right field line righthanded last night, tipping off the right fielder’s glove for what was an eventual double. Full of quick twitch muscle on his 5-foot-10 frame it looks as though Golden is running in fast forward mode around the bases, accelerating with each step he takes.

Jheremy Brown

 Give us your feedback
Copyright 1994-2021 by Perfect Game. All rights reserved. No portion of this information may be reprinted or reproduced without the written consent of Perfect Game.