Tournaments | Story | 7/2/2016

17u WWBA Day 1 Scout Notes

Matt Czechanski        
Photo: Perfect Game

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One of the more impressive overall athletes to take the field was USC commit Je’Von Carrier-Ward (2017, Calif.). The Evoshield Canes left fielder showed a very fluid and athletic swing with very impressive hand speed. Carrier-Ward’s swing is linear in nature, but his present strength and impressive hand speed through the zone help him make solid contact to all fields. He drove a double to the opposite field gap in the Canes’ first game of the day showing impressive extension and plate coverage. On that play, he moved well out of the box and rounded first base with a time of 4.45 seconds into the turn. In the second game he collected another double showing off the bat speed with enough strength to drive the ball in the air. As he continues to add strength to his highly projectable frame, he should continue to project for more power.

The first Canes’ starter of the day was Stanford commit Austin Weiermiller (2017, Ga,). Landing online from a three-quarters slot with good arm speed and a quick, compact arm action, Weiermiller filled the zone and attacked hitters with a two-pitch mix. He worked his fastball 86-88 mph around the zone with good arm-side life. He utilized a slight drop-and-drive in his delivery with a shorter stride to the plate and minimal lower half. He also mixed in a 1-to-7 shaped slider that showed depth and flashed tilt on the mound as a swing-and-miss pitch. Weiermiller did well to create good angle towards the plate and mixed his pitches. He filled the zone with both and laid off hitters' barrels creating week contact.

Tim Elko (2017, Fla.) opened up pool play with several exceptionally loud, well-hit balls. The first was a triple to the wall and then he followed that with a grand slam home run over the left field wall. Elko creates very good leverage with a simple bat-to-ball swing with lots of strength in his frame. The Ole Miss commit showed impressive barrel feel and control during the PG National and has continued that and proven it translates in games. He separates well and torques through his lower half simple weight shift and explodes to the ball with intent to drive it.

Carrying over his success from the 17u Elite Round Robin was Matheu Nelson (2018, Fla.). Clubbing his second homer in the last three days, the FSU commit continued to show off his loud strength and raw power. He generates lots of backspin with loud barrel contact, consistently coming from pull side. Nelson is clearly seeing the ball exceptionally well, hunting fastballs over the middle of the plate with natural lift in his swing from a line drive plane with the aforementioned strength. He generates good torque and leverage from his lower half working quickly to the ball.

Another powerful catcher that showed well in game was Philip Clarke (2017, Tenn.) who delivered a walkoff home run for the Dirtbags in the bottom of the seventh. The Vandy commit works with a simple stride to the ball and uses his lower half well. He fires his hips with good strength in his upper-half and showed the ability to generate backspin. Clarke has a very quick swing plane through the zone and it showed with lots of intent to drive the ball presently.


Recently named as one of the initial selections to the 2016 PG All-American Classic, Kyle Hurt (2017, Calif.) took the mound for the San Diego Show. Hurt is highly projectable standing at 6-foot-4, 205-pounds with good room to fill out. Working from a three-quarters arm slot with a longer arm action that’s slightly rigid, Hurt showed very impressive arm speed. His fastball worked at 88-91 mph and touched 92 with very good angle and plane in the lower third of the zone with arm-side life. His stride is ultra short to the plate and lands closed with reason to believe with cleaned up mechanics he could see his fastball tick up. Hurt struggled with his command some in his outing but battled and located his fastball when he needed to with better command to his arm side at present. Like most pitchers, Hurt looked his best when getting downhill and filling the lower third of the strike zone, missing a lot of barrels and bats in key situations. He also mixed in a curveball he threw for strikes with 11-to-5 shape and flashed depth with some slurvy tendency. Hurt’s changeup that helped set him apart at the National Showcase flashed on this day with good depth and replicated arm speed for the potential to be an above average pitch.

Sam Weatherly (2017, Mich.), a Clemson Tigers commit, pitched for the Dirtbags in their first game. Projectably built at 6-foot-3, 155-pounds, Weathlery worked downhill well from a short, compact arm action and slight drop-and-drive into his delivery. He showed good arm speed on the mound with a firm fastball that worked at 85-88 mph, touching 89, with slight arm-side wiggle. He worked his fastball around the zone well enough and mixed in a 1-to-7 shaped curveball with depth. Weatherly also flashed a changeup at 79 mph in a limited look. He landed on a stiffer front leg, cutting off his extension slightly with his finish and a fall off towards third base. He got extended well down the mound and kept hitters off balance with both pitches, striking out five batters over four no-hit innings.


Another promising righthander pitching in the last time slot was South Carolina commit Logan Chapman (2017, S.C.). Chapman showed a quick arm action with a slight hook in the back and threw from a higher three-quarters arm slot. He had good arm speed with a minimal stride towards home plate and a closed landing. Chapman’s fastball worked 88-91 mph and hit 92 mph in his first inning on the mound. The best life on his fastball came early on with the higher velocity band as it wiggled more to his arm side, but straightened out some throughout the outing. He struggled working to his glove side, but successfully challenged hitters up in the zone, getting swings and misses off his fastball. He elevated his slot slightly to almost over-the-top for his 12-to-6 curveball showing depth. He maintained his arm speed well for his curveball and used it in any count with the ability to get it over for strikes. He also flashed a changeup in warmups that showed sink, but did not rely on it in game.

– Matt Czechanski

On Day 1 of the 17u WWBA National Championship several big arms stood out as teams tried to work their rotations out so as to get their respective aces two starts in this potentially eight-day event.

Jack Leftwich (2017, Maitland, Fla.) has really jumped onto the national radar in the past few months, first at the PG High School Showdown back in March, and again recently at the PG National Showcase. The 6-foot-3, 225-pound righthander was excellent again on Friday morning, showcasing the size, mechanical profile and stuff that has him a hot commodity after reopening his recruitment recently.

He worked 88-92 mph with his fastball, peaking at 93 mph, and generated plus extension at release (upwards of seven feet at times, per TrackMan), allowing that raw velocity to play up a few ticks in terms of effective velocity. He worked downhill to both sides of the plate with the fastball, missing bats relatively easy and doing an excellent job establishing control of the strike zone with the pitch. He mixed in an excellent changeup, turning it over out front and replicating his fastball arm speed, generating good fade down in the zone. The changeup is the weapon pitch, with the comfort and confidence to throw it in any count and to command it wherever he wants it.

Leftwich’s Orlando Scorpions teammate, Justin Farmer (2017, Riverview, Fla.) has been considered one of the best pure hitters in his class for a while now, and such distinction can indeed be justified. From a highly athletic and projectable frame, Farmer combines very loose wrists with fast hands into a loose, strong swing with very good bat speed and overall barrel control. He generates impressive exit velocities, including on Friday morning when he managed to pull a changeup on the outer third on a line off the wall in left field. He was a bit fooled by the change in speeds, but managed to keep his hands back just enough to barrel the ball up, and even with being onto his front side a bit, his bat speed and hand strength still allowed him to do a significant amount of damage.

Starting game one of the event for an extremely talented Banditos Black team, righthander Mason Englert (2018, Forney, Texas) took the mound as an underclassman, not uncommon in this event though it is mostly rising seniors. From a highly projectable, lean frame, Englert topped at 91 mph and worked in the 87-90 range for the majority of his start. He has very good arm speed, and with that arm speed, in addition to the physical projection he has remaining on his frame, it’s very easy to project velocity gains in the future for him.

A pair of hitters stood out for the Academy Select Sun Devils, a team based out of Plano, Texas. Tristen Lutz (2017, Arlington, Texas) possesses an excellent combination of size, strength, athleticism, and bat speed, making him a legitimate draft prospect in the 2017 class. The outfielder moves well for his size (at 6-foot-4, 225-pounds), and profiles extremely well defensively in an outfield corner. His swing is direct with great bat speed and a clean path, complete with legitimate power, giving him an intriguing overall profile. He has the ability to turn on inside pitches with authority, and also does a good job of recognizing spin.

Lutz’s teammate, Adam Oviedo (2017, Grandview, Texas) also looked solid in several facets of the game. Playing shortstop, the actions work and he’s clean to both sides with solid range, showing off the ease of actions that scouts like to see from defenders of any position, but especially up-the-middle guys. At the plate, above average bat speed, strength, and a lofted swing path allow him to produce at least gap-to-gap power now, backspinning an extra-base hit deep into the gap in the Sun Devils’ first game on Friday.

Squaring off over at Allatoona High School, Houston C2 Select and Scorpions South Prime both sent high-end prospects to the mound.

Devin Fontenot (2017, The Woodlands, Texas) was his usual solid self for C2 Select, working mostly 85-88 mph, generating solid sink on his fastball when down in the zone and showing quality deception in his delivery as well. He’s mostly around the plate but the command within the zone is a bit loose. The delivery has a bit of funkiness to it, and while it’s not violent, may be the cause of some of the command concerns. His weapon pitch on this day was the slider, which, at it’s best, shows very sharp tilt with two-plane break, a bat-misser vs. righthanded hitters and a bat-breaker vs. lefties.

On the other side of this one, Scorpions South Prime sent Freddy Tarnok (2017, Brandon, Fla.) to the mound. Tarnok is committed to South Florida as a two-way player, and he’s indeed a quality infielder with intriguing hitting tools, but this evaluator was very interested in what he projects as on the mound. With a very long, very loose arm action, Tarnok gets on top from a high-three quarters slot and powers downhill with good plane. Touching as high as 92 mph, Tarnok was consistently 88-91 mph with his fastball, showing solid command to the arm side on the pitch. He mixed in an 11-to-5 shaped tumbling curveball that flashed good spin, demonstrating the ability to spin it consistently, and he was able to throw the curve for strikes to both sides of the plate. With his physical projection, looseness of arm and arm speed combination, he’s undoubtedly one to watch moving forward throughout this summer/fall and into the spring as we begin the march towards the 2017 draft.

After a sterling showing at the Perfect Game National Showcase a few weeks ago, lefthander Hugh Fisher (2017, Eads, Tenn.) generated a good buzz heading into his start at LakePoint on Friday afternoon. With a long and lean highly projectable frame, Fisher’s arm works well with good arm speed, and his velocity has been on a consistently upwards trajectory over the course of his high school career. In this outing, he peaked at 90 mph early before settling in at 86-89 mph, and got a significant amount of swings and misses on fastballs, even within the strike zone, due to the deception in his delivery and the fact that hitters just don't pick up the ball out of his hand until late. He was able to get his fastball to both sides of the plate and elevated it at will, which proved to be his most effective pitch on the day. He has some feel to spin his curveball, showing good downer shape when on top of it, freezing a few hitters on the pitch, though more so due to the change in speeds than the sharpness of the pitch.

Late Friday night, CBA Marucci National took the field at LakePoint and quickly escaped with a 10-0 victory, showing themselves to be one of the more fundamentally sound teams in attendance — something that isn’t surprising at all considering they are the defending champions at this event. Shortstop Nick Allen (2017, San Diego, Calif.) was his usual exciting self, collecting an infield single in his first at-bat (4.12 down the line), stealing second on the following pitch, and then coming around the score on the very next pitch, which resulted in a throwing error. His calling card is his defense, where he is among the very best pure defenders in his class, but he’s made strides forward over the past year in terms of strength gains, which has resulted in the strengthening of his offensive profile.

CBA starter Jonathan Stroman (2017, Albuquerque, N.M.) was simply dominant, taking the victory in a run-rule shortened complete game shutout. His delivery is interesting, to say the least, with an extremely closed-off landing that creates big crossfire action, resulting in tons of deception from the perspective of the hitter, allowing his fastball’s effective velocity to play up big time. He started out 86-88 mph on his fastball and settled in around 84-87 mph, consistently finding the bottom of the zone to the glove side and creating a ton of angle thanks to that delivery, and opposing hitters struggled against that fastball. He mixed in a slurvy-breaking curveball with varying shape, but there’s good spin there and at it’s best it’ll show two-plane break with sharpness and command.

– Brian Sakowski

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