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Summer Collegiate  | Story  | 7/4/2016

Cape Cod notes: Schwarz swats

Jheremy Brown     
Photo: Tim Casey

The Perfect Game National Showcase is the unofficial beginning point of the 2016 summer circuit with the top prep players then making their way from the Tournament of Stars, to the 17u WWBA World Championship, and eventually to the East Coast Pro, Area Code Games and the PG All-American Classic (for the very best). Of course, these are for the high school players and it's on Cape Cod that you'll find most of the top collegiate players, several of whom have already been deemed as "must sees" for the 2017 MLB draft despite still being a full calendar year away. Jheremy Brown will be on hand and to provide several recaps throughout his two weeks in what become the pinnacle of college baseball with top talent (and scouts) coming in from all over the country.

*All references to graduation class refer to their standing in the upcoming school year.

June 27 notes | July 1 notes

If you’re a college baseball fan or closely follow the draft, then you know all about Florida junior J.J. Schwarz after the remarkable freshman campaign he put together before serving as a steady cog in the Omaha-bound Gators this past spring. Originally slated to participate on the Collegiate National Team this summer, Schwarz instead elected for a summer on the Cape where he’d be able to take regular reps behind the plate and prove to scouts he can stay put at the next level. And in his first game behind the plate the other night there were no glaring flaws as to why he wouldn’t be able to stay as he moved well on his feet showing bounce to his actions along with a quick transfer that produced consistent low 2.0 pop times in between innings, getting as low 1.96 though he wasn’t going game speed.

Of course, the calling card with Schwarz has been the big righthanded bat and even through a round or two of pregame batting practice you can walk away impressed. Having not seen him in person since his freshman season in Gainesville, it appears to me anyway that Schwarz has refined his swing some and is looking to simply backspin hard line drives back up the middle rather than crush everything to his pull side. It was evident in his BP as he showed off plus bat speed and always seemed to be in control, consistently driving hard line drives deep all parts of the field while putting together a very professional round with plenty of backspin and carry off the barrel. Once in game little changed as he singled back up the middle on his very first swing of the summer while facing a lefthander who’s been one of the better arms so far this summer. Perhaps even more impressive was his second at-bat, facing the same four-pitch lefthander as Schwarz appeared to read the ball extremely well out of the hand, made pitch-to-pitch adjustments while taking pitches that could easily have most hitters in trouble. In the end he ultimately won the battle and took his base on balls.

I touched upon Southern California righthander Mitch Hart in an early recap and eluded to him helping provide a bounce back year in terms of talent from California and it appears that Cal Poly righthander Erich Uelmen will be at the forefront as well after his showing the other night. Listed a still projectable 6-foot-3, 195-pounds with square, angular shoulders, Uelmen is a highly athletic righthander and he’s more than capable of producing stuff on the mound that most hitters would simply say “no thank you” to when facing him.

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