Tournaments | Story | 10/26/2015

World Championship: Day 4 Recap

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

Contributing: Jordan Stroschein

Playoff Bracket
| Day 1 Recap | Day 2 Recap | Day 3 Recap
Day 4 Daily Leaders | Feature: Garrett Acton | Feature: Team EvoShield

The Texas Scout Team Yankees offensive machine continued to hum through the end of pool play, clinching a playoff berth with a 9-0 win over the Marlins Scout Team Sunday morning. The Yankees scored 32 runs in their final three games.

First baseman Ulysses Cantu (2016, Saginaw, Texas) has been mentioned frequently in these Jupiter blogs and went 2-for-2 with a walk this game and 7-for-11 with five extra-base hits, including a pair of home runs, in pool play. But his Yankee teammate, shortstop Hudson Sanchez (2016, Southlake, Texas), is also 7-for-11 in pool play and has hit the ball with just as much authority as Cantu.

Sanchez first came to Perfect Game events in 2013 and immediately showed his potential both offensively and defensively. But every time I've seen him since up until this August he's employed what I call a "mechanics over bat speed" approach at the plate that wasn't tapping into his true potential. At the Area Code Games in August, though, Sanchez showed a completely different approach, almost ferociously unleashing his big righthanded bat speed and driving the ball hard to the pull side. He's swung the bat the same way here in Jupiter with the same results. Sanchez is a graceful athlete both at shortstop and third base and if he can carry his approach of the last three months into next spring there is no telling how high his draft stock could soar by June.

Ontario Blue Jays centerfielder Cooper Davis (2017, Mississauga, Ont.) is a well-built 5-foot-10, 170-pound lefthanded hitter with 6.3 speed in the 60-yard dash. He's also a 4.0 student with an early commit to Vanderbilt. Blue Jays GM/Manager Dan Bleiwas has seen virtually every prominent Canadian prospect who has come through the country over the last two decades and considers Davis to have first round potential as he gets more exposure and continues to develop his hitting ability. Davis drove in a pair of runs in Ontario's 8-0 run rule win over the Tri-State Arsenal for their pool championship with a hard hit single to left centerfield. He stole four bases in an earlier Blue Jay victory.

Reds Midwest Scout Team third baseman/righthanded pitcher Cal Coughlin (2016, Lake Forest, Ill.) is still listed as a primary third baseman but that might evolve over the next one to four years, depending on whether he ends up in pro ball or at TCU. He threw three shutout innings Sunday, working between 92 and 94 mph in the first inning and settling down to 90-92 for the rest of the outing. His fastball is pretty true from a high three-quarters to over-the-top release point and he'll have to have good horizontal command of the pitch at the next level. Coughlin flashed a good curveball with sharp snap when he threw it at 77 mph but he would occasionally slow his arm and guide the pitch at 74 mph. He also threw a very interesting changeup, perhaps with a split-finger grip, that consistently had around 800 rpms on the TrackMan radar, an abnormally low spin rate for a non-knuckleball. Coughlin is a broad-shouldered mature athlete who doesn't have much physical projection but he does have plenty of projection in his approach and consistency as he builds up more innings on the mound.

Outfielder Christian Long (2016, Houston, Texas) has a ride to Wake Forest but no number in the PG 2016 class rankings, an oversight that will be corrected after Jupiter. He's here with the Texas Drillers, a team that has been impressive swinging the bats all weekend. Jones is a 6-foot-1, 200-pound righthanded hitter with a plus athletic build and lots of raw bat speed. His approach was sound and he showed both the ability to make hard line drive contact to the middle of the field and to pull the ball with power on the right pitch. He just missed launching a home run Sunday morning when his long fly ball drifted less than 10 feet foul and came back a couple of pitches later to line a single up the middle that was 91 mph off the bat per TrackMan.

Quick Semifinal/Final Hits

Team EvoShield has had an impressive run, both as the second team from the EvoShield organization and as being from one of the two pools that needed to play an extra game to reach this point. They've played seven games and 47 total innings heading into Monday and have won their last two games in their final at-bat. By comparison, GBG Marucci has only played 35 innings due to run-rule victories and one less game.

The Dallas Patriots Stout lead the tournament in dirty uniforms and gritty players and emotion plays an important part in their game. They won't panic or quit if they get behind on Monday, although they simply might run out of players as they entered the playoffs with one of the shortest rosters in the event. This team plays together and with confidence and that's worth a couple of extra players.

GBG Marucci has steamrolled their two playoff opponents 22-0, which is very impressive, and have only allowed two runs in six games. They've also only played the aforementioned 35 innings of baseball in Jupiter. This is a deep team with a history of winning and they won't be intimidated by the specter of playing the EvoShield Canes in the semifinals. It wouldn't be surprising if coach Michael Garciaparra has told his players "You were going to have to beat them sometime, it might as well be in the semi's."

The EvoShield Canes are looking for an unprecedented third straight Jupiter title and it would take either blinders or an emotional attachment to another team to say they aren't the favorites at dawn on Monday morning. They've won their six games by a combined score of 34-1 and handled their only challenge by calmly defeating the Ontario Blue Jays 3-0 in the quarterfinals. Their hitters are hot and their pitching is deep and thus far barely tested.

David Rawnsley

FTB Mizuno teammates Alec Sanchez (2018, Jacksonville, Fla.), Oraj Anu (2017, Orlando, Fla.) and Juan Antonio Pichardo (2016, Dominican Republic) showed some raw, but very intriguing tools. In an event like the WWBA World Championship, where the best talent in the country comes to play, it was nice to see some youngsters show up and show out.

Pichardo has a strong and sturdy frame that he controls and uses to his advantage. He gets good drive off of his back leg and really does a good job incorporating his entire lower half. He ran his fastball to the plate in the 87-90 mph range with a long, clean, and quick arm. Pichardo releases the ball from a high three-quarters slot and the ball jumps out of his hand. The righthanded Dominican will crossfire a bit at times when he’s looking to add a little more juice to the fastball. With a medium amount of effort, Pichardo does a good job creating angles and gets nice sinking action on the heater. Throughout his outing he was feeding his opposition a steady diet of fastballs down in the zone where the fastball had more explosiveness and was able to generate some weak contact on soft groundballs. Occasionally Pichardo would mix in a traditional shaped curveball at 76 mph, but they were scarce. He was a one-trick pony today, but it was a very effective trick.

Editor's note: Pichardo ended up signing with the Yankees after his performance on Sunday and has been assigned to their DSL squad.

Sanchez, the fourth ranked player in the 2018 class and already a Florida State commit, was impressive at the plate. He keeps his hands very high pre-swing, but keeps them very relaxed and gets them loaded with minimal effect to his timing. His entire load and trigger is very smooth and quiet. Once he’s set, the bat gets into the zone quickly and comes through on a level plane that allowed him to get good wood on the ball. As he grows and gets stronger and quicker, the bat speed and swing plane will produce some loud and regular contact ability.

Anu won the MVP at the WWBA Underclass event a couple of weeks ago and his free and easy swing was evident here this week again. The 6-foot-2, 210-pound Anu has minimal effort in his quick swing, but when the barrel finds the ball, there isn’t anything minimal about it. Anu stays athletic in his swing and gets good rhythm all the way to the point of contact where the ball jumps off the bat. He has an advanced approach and eye at the plate. Some of the takes he had were something rare for his age. If he continue to keep these traits as he matures and learns a couple new tricks along the way, Anu will be a household name.

University of Miami commit and the 96th ranked player in the 2017 class, third baseman Raymond Gil (2017, Miami, Fla.), is a strong athlete who likes to attack early and often in the count. Gil posses some very good hands that are strong, fast, and smooth. He’s a rock solid 200-pounds and stands 6-foot-1, with a very powerful lower half. In the box Gil stays tall in his stance and very quiet. There is no wasted movement before or during his swing. His approach is simple, use his free and easy swing early on and look to drive the ball to any part of the field. He was able to square balls up to his pull-side and also while going to opposite field. He gets great extension and uses a two handed finish to smoke the ball off the barrel. There is some real power potential here with Gil if he can put it all together.

Andrew Jones (2016, Sarasota, Fla.) committed to Florida Atlantic the big and strong righthander is an imposing figure on the mound. Jones stands 6-foot-5 and weighs 220 pounds. His tall frame carries the weight well as he was able to consistently repeat his delivery and pound the strike zone with a solid fastball/slider combo. Jones’ arm is extremely quick and the action is short with minimal recoil. His fastball was comfortably 87-89 throughout his outing and it topped out at 90 with some late run to it. Using his height to his advantage by staying tall on the mound and generating downhill plane is something that Jones does well. Jones’ 76-77 mph slider can come at any time and he shows the ability to throw it for strikes, especially to his glove side. Jones made a living working the fastball down, to both sides of the plate and giving the hitters fits with his ability to locate is breaking ball.

Chris King

One of the more interesting two-way players, J.J. Bleday (2016, Panama City Beach, Fla.), showed great promise both on the bump and with the stick in Sunday's 3:00 p.m. game on Cardinals Field 4. Bleday started the game on the hill for the San Diego Padres Scout Team, making quick work during his two strong innings sitting down six of the eight total batters he faced. Sitting in the 85-88 mph range, topping out at 89, Bleday recorded three strikeouts thanks in part to his sharp breaker that repeatedly kept hitters off balance. What may have been even more impressive was his ability to consistently square the ball up at the dish. In his first at-bat, Bleday turned on a fastball that registered 95 mph off the bat to the right-center gap. He later when on to shoot a ball hard up the middle for his second hit of the game.

Another talented member of the San Diego Padres Scout Team was utility man Cash Case (2017 Mount Dora, Fla.). Case started with an open stance and high back elbow and looked to hit the ball with authority every time he stepped to the plate. In his first at bat, Case ripped a ball down the right field line for a double. Case, a switch hitter, batted three times from the left side due to facing only righthanded pitching. With quick bat speed combined and strength in his swing, Case generates natural lift at the point of contact and the baseball consistently comes off hard when barreled.

Jordan Stroschein

James Acuna (2016, Cypress, Calif.) is another talented arm from the CBA Marucci program. The 6-foot-4, 160-pound righthander came out of the bullpen and provided some valuable shutdown innings for CBA in a hard-fought game against Chet Lemon’s Juice. The Oregon commit has long limbs and a very slender build with room to fill out as he matures physically. Acuna presents a difficult look for opposing hitters because of his lanky proportions and a high-energy delivery with plenty of moving parts. While there is some effort at release, Acuna showed a solid feel for the strike zone, filling it up with his 88-91 mph fastball with natural sink and arm-side run from his three quarters arm slot. He also flashed an upper-70s slider with varied tilt, with some showing shorter depth and late bite and others coming in with sweeping action.

Hunter McMullen (2017, Ocala, Fla.) also appeared in the CBA Marucci-Chet Lemon’s Juice matchup and the physical righthander showcased the stuff that has garnered a scholarship offer from the University of Florida. Currently ranked 179th in the Perfect Game rankings for the class of 2017, McMullen has a large, well-proportioned frame with present strength and room to still add more muscle down the road. McMullen’s fastball worked in the 86-89 mph range for most of his brief relief cameo, and it is easy to envision more velocity in the tank with a clean, balanced delivery and loose, fluid arm-action. At times McMullen could spin over his frontside and clear early to the first base dugout, but he generally showed quality feel for repeating his mechanics and maintaining a good line and direction to the plate. His upper-70s breaking ball has good spin and rotation, and while he’s still refining his consistency with the pitch, it flashes good potential and should be an above-average offering for him. Overall, it was another encouraging performance from the righty and it will be fun to watch his development over the next 18 months.

Kier Meredith (2017, Winston-Salem, N.C.) is well-known for his blazing speed, as he’s been clocked in the 6.5 range in the 60-yard dash and under 4.0 seconds in his home-to-first split from the left side of the plate. The 5-foot-11, 175-pound outfielder helped lead the Dirtbags to a thrilling extra innings win over Team Elite Prime with a bases clearing triple, with an exit velocity measured at 95.8 mph off the bat, to the right center field gap. Meredith has a compact frame but impressive strength in his wrists and forearms and obvious quick twitch athleticism in his tightly-wound body. While speed will always be his most obvious tool, Meredith also quality hitting tools with bat speed, quick hands, and a level, line-drive swing plane.

Bo Weiss (2016, Castle Rock, Colo.) pitched as well as he ever has at a Perfect Game event on Sunday morning. Weiss, a North Carolina commit, toed the rubber for the Mountain West Slammers against the San Diego Padres Scout Team in front of a number of scouts at Roger Dean Stadium for the first time slot on Sunday. Currently ranked 166th in the Perfect Game rankings for the class of 2016, Weiss has a good, projectable pitcher’s body as the righthander is listed at 6-foot-3, 180-pounds. With a lean build and broad shoulders, it is easy to envision Weiss adding considerable good weight and muscle mass as he matures. Weiss works to a higher three-quarters arm slot and is able to generate considerable downhill plane. While he is slightly hooked on the backside of his arm-action, Weiss has solid armspeed and is able to work through well and get extended over his frontside consistently. Consistently in the 88-92 mph range with his heater, Weiss was rarely hit hard when he kept the offering down in the zone, as the downhill plane, angle, and solid life was enough to keep it off of opponents’ barrels. More impressively, Weiss had consistent feel for both his changeup and curveball on Sunday. While he had flashed feel for his secondaries in past events, Weiss adeptly mixed in and commanded his 79-81 mph changeup and a 71-73 mph curveball with depth, solid rotation, and 11-to-5 break.

John Flowers (2016, Orange Park, Fla.) pitched opposite of Weiss, and the righty showcased some impressive stuff of his own. Like Weiss, Flowers has a highly projectable 6-foot-3, 175 pound frame and the righthanded pitcher has a long, lean build with broad shoulders. While he’s noticeably hooked on the backside with his arm-action, Flowers has plus armpseed and he gets through quickly to a lower three-quarters arm slot. In the first inning, Flowers repeated his delivery well, coming uncoiled well, but he had some issues finding consistency for his mechanics and landing in his second inning of work. Flowers has tantalizing stuff, with a 87-92 mph fastball that has natural tail and some sink that makes it harder to hit when the pitch is commanded in the strike zone. Additionally, he flashed some feel for both his low-80s changeup and an upper-70s slider. The Kentucky commit still has a ways to go and is a bit raw, but there are plenty of elements to work with and he’ll be an intriguing follow for professional organizations this spring.

Nolan Jones (2016, Langhorne, Pa.) continued to see the ball well and hit the ball with authority on Sunday. Jones, a Virginia commit, has had a tremendous long weekend at the tournament. The 6-foot-4, 200-pound infielder is noticeably stronger and more physical than he was during the summer circuit and he doesn’t appear to have sacrificed any of his athleticism. The lefthanded hitter has very good balance at the plate and he’s seemed to have been on time and in perfect rhythm for nearly every bat this week. He kept his weight back and exploded on a hanging curveball, driving the pitch through the wind and over the fence in right field for a homerun (measured at 98 mph per TrackMan). Jones has impressive strength and his ball carries well, even when he doesn’t catch it clean. There has been buzz among scouts in attendance that no player has done more to help his draft stock this week than Jones, and he’ll certainly be a Northeastern bat to watch this spring.

Cam Shepherd (2016, Duluth, Ga.) is another talented infielder that played for Team Elite Prime this week. The 6-foot-1, 180-pound Georgia commit may not wow evaluators with his raw tools, but his bat-to-ball skills and feel for hitting are very impressive and are among the best in the high school class. Like Jones, Shepherd has solid hands and has shown a consistent ability to keep them back against offspeed pitches. He also has solid bat speed and maintains a good swing plane with the ability to manipulate the barrel and match pitch shape to drive pitches from gap to gap.

Andrew Krause

In terms of pure stuff that was happening in the opening slot you’d be hard pressed to top the high octane stuff of righthander Matt Cleveland (2016, Windsor, Conn.). A name that emerged throughout the summer circuit Cleveland has the type of build that you’d conjure up if you were to create a pitching prospect; long limbs, high waist, and loose, athletic movements in everything he does. With a full and loose arm action Cleveland came out sitting in the 90-93 mph range bumping a 94 and did so without exerting much effort. He does a nice job of getting tall on his back leg and with a slight hip turn at the top of his delivery Cleveland lands slightly cut off with his front foot though he was still able to locate to either side of the plate. When he did work to the glove side however there was some cutting life from the release and did a nice job overall of working down in the zone.

The fastball velocity has the chance to become premium even as quickly as the spring and is certainly a name that will be atop the radar of scout’s lists despite 2016 being a loaded year of arms in the Northeast. His two-seam fastball showed harder running life around 89/90 mph giving Cleveland two different fastballs though he went mostly four-seam/slider in his quick two inning look. His slider came across at 74-76 mph with some sweeping plane though the one that he threw at 76 mph in the second inning was his best with depth and sharp bite.

Nick Mondak’s (2016, Watertown, Conn.) performance on Saturday afternoon can simply be coined as “perfect.” After all, Mondak went the distance and finished off a seven inning perfect game on the biggest stage in amateur baseball. With a smooth and fluid set of mechanics the 6-foot-2, 175-pound St. John’s commit has a long arm stroke through the back following his hand break but consistently gets on top of the ball from a traditional three-quarters arm slot. A name that scouts will be certain to keep eyes on, especially after a performance like the one he turned in yesterday, Mondak is the type of arm who could take off as he continues to gain strength and physicality throughout his frame. The Connecticut native sat comfortably in the 84- 87 mph range, touching an 88 early on and while the velocity may not stand out in a tournament like this the command of his fastball/changeup combo certainly do. With subtle running life to his heater Mondak showcased the comfort to work to either black of the plate and mixed in a quality changeup that was responsible for several empty swings. Thrown with conviction and exact arm stroke as his fastball, the changeup came across in the upper-70s with late fading life and served as a key component for the 11 total strikeouts.

Tyler Baum’s (2016, Ocoee, Fla.) frame may not be the most physical amongst the arms in the class but the overall repertoire he brings to the mound can compete with nearly any and is in part due to his lightening fast right arm. Listed at a slender 6-foot-2, 165-pounds Baum showed very similar stuff during his second appearance as he did his first opening the game with a steady 91-93 mph with late and rather heavy life when worked on top of the ball. He showed comfort working to either side of the plate with his fastball and wasn’t afraid to come and challenge righthanded hitters in on their hands. While he doesn’t fully get over his front side at release Baum was still able to keep the ball low and with the type of life he’s able to generate on his fastball there was a lot of ground ball contact as you’d imagine. The curveball has always been a go to offering fro the University of North Carolina commit and was again yesterday as the pitch showed sharp depth in the mid-70s with tight rotation and bat missing potential.

It’s easy to group Joe Rizzo (2016, Oak Hill, Va.) and Carlos Cortes (2016, Oviedo, Fla.) grouped together as they’re both amongst the top prep hitters in the entire country and have continued to show their offensive prowess throughout the weekend. Both are also lefthanded sticks and serve as key pieces to the 2016 recruiting class of the University of South Carolina. Rizzo got an early start in the batter’s box this morning as he and his explosive hands were able to drive a pitch deep to the opposite field, just clearing the left fielder’s head allowing Rizzo to race around safely to third base. As for Cortes it’s more of a coin flip for what you expect to see out of him offensively whether it’s if he’ll find the barrel or will the ball come of hot. Odds are the 5-foot-10 Cortes will do both more frequently than not and did so in the Scorpions playoff game with his first two singles coming off at 99 and 100 mph respectively per TrackMan.

As recent as last fall Tobias Myers (2016, Winter Haven, Fla.) was viewed as a primary shortstop who had arm strength and could pitch a bit whenever needed. Jump a year and Myers is now a projectable righthander who scouts have taken notice of thanks to the ease and looseness of his right arm that produces a steady 89-91 mph fastball with solid running life to his arm side. With a youthful look and an easy to project 6-foot-2, 175-pound frame the University of South Florida commit isn’t done with adding velocity to his already impressive velocity. He does a nice job of remaining balanced through his delivery and repeats it well as the ball leaves his hand cleanly and tension free. Myers maintains the same whip-like arm action as he throws both his late fading changeup in the upper-70s and flashed a curveball with soft depth and 11-to-5 shape in the low-70s.

Ben Rortvedt (2016, Verona, Wis.) was featured in yesterday’s recap which looked his overall feel for the game, both defensively and with the stick. And while he continued to do his thing behind the plate in his team’s playoff matchup against the EvoShield Canes, it was with the bat that Rortvedt impressed, particularly in his first at-bat of the game. Rortvedt dug in against yet another quality arm and after finding himself in a 1-1 count was given an 82 mph changeup over the middle of the plate. Rather than pulling off or trying to do too much the lefthanded hitting catcher detected and tracked the ball well out of the hand, barreling it back up the middle for a hard line drive single that came off the barrel at 95 mph per TrackMan.

Andrew Schultz (2016, Alpharetta, Ga.) has undeniable arm strength that ranks amongst some of the best here evidenced by the 94-95-94-95 that he opened his appearance with to pick up a strikeout. Committed to the University of Tennessee Schultz employs a full arm action through the back and when he’s on time with delivery and on top of the ball he’s able to work down in the zone with quality fading life without using much effort. Schultz is listed at a strong 6-foot-4, 195-pounds and to complement his fastball that sat in the 93-95 mph range the righthander showed a slider at 77-78 mph with short depth and tilting life.

You could say righthander Michael Ruff (2016, Apopka, Fla.) was able to miss a couple of bats Saturday morning as every out recorded by the Florida Atlantic commit came by way of the strikeout. With a broad shouldered, 6-foot-3, 210-pound frame Ruff also has long limbs and uses his length to create nice whip with his arm action which helps to produce a fastball that sat in the upper-80s, peaking as high as 89. Ruff’s delivery was smooth and methodical, allowing for balanced through out which in turn resulted in consistent strikes with both his fastball and curveball. His fastball featured short running life to his arm side but it was his command to either side of the plate and frequent mixing of his curveball that helped gather the seven strikeouts. The curveball featured 11-to-5 shape and quality depth, coming out of his hand cleanly and from the same chute as his fastball.

Akil Baddoo (2016, Conyers, Ga.) certainly passes the eye test standing 6-foot-1, 195-pounds and also has the tools that’ll make scouts stop to watch and follow up with the Georgian outfielder throughout the spring months. A prominent bat in a loaded Braves Scout/Ohio Warhawks lineup, Baddoo has shown fast hands from the lefthanded batters box all weekend, turning on several balls with both strength and barrel skills. Committed to the University of Kentucky, Baddoo has shown above average foot speed throughout the tournament and yesterday put some of his strength on display as he roped a hard line drive double to the right-center field gap.

He may be young but Lyon Richardson (2018, Jensen Beach, Fla.) is a name that college coaches are familiar with as he was a hard thrower at an early age and has continued to develop both his velocity and command very nicely. Listed at 6-foot-2, 175-pounds Richardson has the type of frame that can handle another 15 or so pounds of weight with a high waist and long, loose limbs. Ranked No. 106 in the 2018 class, Richardson came in and sat 87-89 mph out of the bullpen with a short and quick arm action coming through the back. His mechanics are short and simple and as a result he’s able to repeat well and locate to the bottom of the zone, particularly to his arm side, with occasional cutting life. The uncommitted Richardson works comfortably off his fastball and only flashed a couple of curveballs in the low-70s with short 11-to-5 shape.

Christopher Lincoln (2016, Moreno Valley, Calif.) is the type of projectable arm who will entice scouts come June thanks to his long and projectable 6-foot-4 frame and fast right arm. While his mechanics aren’t quite a finish product as he strides shortly down the mound and lands open with his front side, Lincoln is still able to locate down in the zone with his fastball that sat in the mid- to upper-80s, peaking at 90 mph through the first couple of innings. His arm action is loose and whippy which helps to produce solid running life to his fastball while mixing in both a nice changeup and curveball. Lincoln shows the same arm action on his 77-79 mph changeup with advanced feel allowing for the ability to work backwards and effectively mix. In one particular at-bat Lincoln started the hitter off by doubling up on changeups before showing an upper-70s breaking with depth to freeze the hitter. With a full mix and a highly projectable frame, Lincoln will be a name who will be checked in on throughout the spring by area scouts alike.

Brad Debo (2016, Durham, N.C.) is a catching prospect that has already made some past noise in Jupiter as he took home the MVP trophy from the 2014 edition of the WWBA World Championships. With a short and quick swing Debo continued to find the barrel throughout day four resulting in hard contact to all fields highlighted by a double he drove to the opposite field gap in the Canes first game of the day.

Jheremy Brown

Righthanded pitcher Mason Cole (2016, Round Rock, Texas) is the very picture of projection, standing 6-foot-5 and weighing in at a very lean, very skinny 175 pounds. Cole’s arm is very loose and works extremely well, projecting him to potentially jump up in velocity rather quickly once he adds weight and strength to his frame. He sat at 88-90 in his first inning before dipping to more 85-88 more the majority of his start. He mixed in a slider and a changeup, showing feel for both to round out a potentially solid three-pitch mix to go along with a solid command profile. The slider backed up relatively often, but when he truly got on top and snapped it down, it dove down and in underneath the hands of lefthanded hitters and showed good spin. He mimics his fastball arm speed on the change and flashes the ability to pronate out front, generating solid fading action.

Outfielder Parker Meadows (2018, Grayson, Georgia) is a tall, very lanky and skinny sophomore outfielder with excellent athleticism and plus speed. The younger brother of former Perfect Game All-American and first-round pick Austin Meadows, Parker is certainly showing the beginning of the same kind of high-end tools as his brother. With a quick, smooth stroke that already generates power to both gaps, Meadows could certainly end up with serious power in his bat—to go along with an advanced hit tool—by the time the 2018 MLB draft rolls around.

Righthanded pitcher Christian Ryder (2016, Acworth, Georgia) started the playoff game for Team Elite Prime on Sunday night, and the extra large-framed 6-foot-4 righthander flashed some seriously high upside. His fastball worked 86-89 for the most part, but with above average arm speed and the type of frame that will hold more strength, his velocity is sure to keep climbing as he works his way towards the weekend rotation in Athens at the University of Georgia. He can turn over the fastball out in front a bit and generate solid running and sinking action, and he flashed the ability to command the ball to both sides of the plate and down in the zone. His slider, while inconsistent, showed as a quality swing-and-miss offering at it’s best, with good spin and late break.

Catcher Austin Biggar (2016, Lilburn, Georgia) will be joining teammate Christian Ryder at the University of Georgia next fall, and could very easily be an early contributor due to his potential both behind the plate and with the bat. He’s explosive out of his crouch into his catch-and-throw mechanics, with a quick transfer and solid arm strength combining for pop times often under 2.0 seconds. He also has serious thunder in his bat, with college-level hand strength and leverage in his swing with the ability to generate plus exit velocities to all fields.

Shortstop Mitchell Golden (2016, Marietta, Georgia) is a quick-twitch athlete who has been covered before in these recaps, but he bears being repeated due to his defensive prowess and knack for finding the barrel when hitting. He projects up the middle defensively, either at second base or shortstop, and fits perfectly as a contact-oriented leadoff hitter who can spray hard, line drive contact to all fields.

Righthanded pitcher Kyle Blendinger (2017, High Point, N.C.) opposed Team Elite for the Dirtbags on Sunday night, and ultimately reigned victorious. His frame is broad-shouldered and lean right now, with the projection to add good amounts of build/strength throughout his body, leading to potentially even better velocity than the 87-90, touching 92 velocity he has right now. He’ll also show a sharp, shorter slider in the mid- to upper-70s, with good tilt and the ability to miss bats with it.

Brian Sakowski

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