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Tournaments | Story | 7/8/2016

17u WWBA Day 7 Scout Notes

Matt Czechanski         Jheremy Brown        
Photo: Perfect Game



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In an unsurprising turn of events, the absolutely loaded FTB Tucci team is headed to the semifinals Friday morning, and they did so by willing in convincing fashion on Thursday. In their round-of-16 game against Knights Baseball, a game FTB won 6-4, they used a winning combination of timely hitting and quality pitching.

Mitchell Stone (2017, Okla.) started on the mound and made his second appearance of the tournament in this game, and was solid, if unspectacular, in his time on the mound. He’s a massive physical presence at 6-foot-9, 240-pounds, and throws with the ease of delivery and arm action that one would not really expect from someone of his size. He worked 88-90 mph in his first inning of work before settling into the 86-89 range for the duration of his start, throwing strikes but only flashing consistent command with the fastball. He can generate significant plane to the plate and shows good, natural heaviness down in the zone as well. On this day, his best secondary offering was his changeup, thrown with good arm speed replication and fading action out of his hand. One the rare occasion where he left the changeup up in the zone, he became vulnerable on the pitch, but when he kept it down in the zone he consistently got swings-and-misses or weak contact off the pitch.




Coming on in relief of Stone, also in his second appearance of the tournament, was righthanded flamethrower Tanner Burns (2017, Ala.). Burns possesses some of the best raw arm strength and arm speed in the event, all from a compact and strongly-build 6-foot, 205-pound frame. Touching as high as 96 mph and settling in at his pretty usual 91-94 range, Burns’ fastball possesses solid arm-side life and works to miss barrels consistently; and his go-to out pitch is an elevated fastball above the letters.

Several FTB hitters also stood out, which is no surprise given their talent level.

Shortstop Matthew Golda (2017, Fla.) has been extremely impressive all week with both the glove and the bat, and the more strides the bat takes forward is going to determine his ultimate draft stock. He’s undoubtedly one of the top 2-3 defensive shortstops in the class, with lots of quick-twitch range and actions to both sides with unbelievable footwork and hands, and while the raw arm strength isn’t the traditional howitzer across the diamond that scouts like to see, his release is so lightning quick that the arm strength plays up nearly a full grade. He has an advanced approach at the plate and recognizes spin well, and he has begun to hit the ball with more authority as well. If scouts can become convinced over the next 11 months or so that Golda has a chance to be an impact offensive player as well as defensive, then the sky is arguably the limit for how high his draft stock may climb.

Outfielder Conner Uselton (2017, Okla.) is another native Oklahoman playing on the FTB team, along with the aforementioned Mitchell Stone. While Stone is a gargantuan pitching prospect; Uselton is an athletic outfielder and hitter, with some of the best offensive upside in the entire class. He has a highly projectable frame with plenty of strength at present; and may pack on another 20 pounds of muscle over the next few years. The bat speed is impressive and his swing plane allows for the barrel to be in the zone for a long time, giving him two legitimate tools that speak to potential with the bat. Add in his strength and he’ll easily flash the projection for hitting for both average and power; something many scouts are projecting him to do.




FTB’s opponent in the semifinals, coming on Friday morning, will be HomePlate Maldonado, who feature one of the most impactful and fear-inspiring hitters in the entire event in Terriez Fuller (2017, Ga.). Fuller has been talked about quite a bit in the past few months, and justifiably so given his awe-inspiring plus-plus raw power from the left side, but he impacts the game from the batter’s box in more ways than just power. Opposing teams justifiably fear his power, so Fuller is often walked, and sometimes intentionally. This adds another base runner in front of what is a talented Home Plate lineup, and Fuller has come around to score after those walks with frequency. He’s also a quality athlete, especially given his prodigious size, and handles a corner outfield spot well. Even when he’s not driving the ball 400-plus feet out of the ballpark, he’s impacting the game in some way.

Another native Georgian who had a loud day was Georgia Southern commit and outfielder Nolan Tressler (2017, Ga.). Strongly built and compact at 5-foot-9, 175-pounds, Tressler has the wheels to cover the necessary ground in the outfield in addition to getting down the line in a hurry, and also showed legitimate pop in his bat, hitting a home run in the final game of the East Cobb Colt .45’s tournament run. He has natural bat-to-ball skills with a short, compact stroke, and his approach is back up the middle. He does show the ability to turn on the ball with authority, as he did on Thursday, giving him a well-rounded skill-set across all phases of the game.

– Brian Sakowski





Starting off with playoff games insured several high quality arms would be on display as teams looked to advance from the thinned out field of 48. The Florida Burn sent out several talented players including playoff round one starter, righthander Sam Keating (2017, Fla.). The Clemson commit is highly projectable on the mound with lots of room to fill in his frame. He has a longer, loose arm action on the mound and should project for additional velocity with added strength. Keating has shown a strong ability to throw strikes and do so with all three of his pitches. He threw from an extended three-quarters arm slot and landed online down the mound. His fastball worked 85-87 mph and hit 88 mph with good arm-side life. He missed bats in the zone with his fastball which made his off-speed and breaking ball offerings that much more effective.

His changeup showed very impressive traits with replicated arm speed and good, late depth. Keating also showed an 11-to-5 shaped curveball for strikes with big depth. An impressive athlete on the mound and in the field, Keating moves very well off the mound fielding and in center field. In one of their later playoff games, he made a diving catch to save a base hit covering a lot of ground with a quick first step. The combination of the three pitches and feel for repeating his mechanics make Keating a name to watch in the spring if his velocity ticks up.

Backing Keating and the rest of the Burn pitching staff were a pair of talented bats, Shortstop Brady McConnell (2017, Fla.) and catcher Samuel McMillan (2017, Fla.). McConnell continued to show a smooth swing from the right side and worked to all fields. He has strength and good rhythm at the plate with well above average bat speed to rope the ball. He has enough lift and power to work the gaps at present that should translate to home run pop with added strength. McConnell has also proven to some evaluators that he may be able to stick at shortstop showing very smooth actions with a quick release and strong arm up the middle to go with his plus speed.

McMillan turned in a home run in the Burn’s first game and a triple in the quarterfinals that one-hopped the wall. He has very clear, present strength in his 6-foot-1, 185-pound frame and it translates well in games. Using a line drive plane that creates leverage in his swing through his lower half, he drives the ball around the field with power.

Taking the mound for the Southern California Bombers in their eventual upset win over the EvoShield Canes was righthander Carlos Lomeli (2017, Calif.). The St. Mary’s College commit was profiled earlier in the 17u daily recaps, but showed much, much better beyond his raw talent. He still worked from a lower three-quarters arm slot with good arm speed and a very long, loose arm action. Using a drop-and-drive delivery he filled the zone and attacked hitters with an 89-92 mph fastball, which peaked at 93, that he held firmly over five strong innings. He missed several more bats and showed much more polished feel for his pair of breaking balls. His slider showed much sharper spin with good depth and he displayed confidence to go to it with two strikes to get a much needed out. When he relied on his fastball he laid off barrels and generated weaker groundball contact. All in told it was a dominant performance against one of the more offensively gifted teams.




Toeing the rubber against Lomeli and the Bombers was lefthander Makenzie Gore (2017, N.C.). The Eastern Carolina commit was very impressive with four perfect innings of relief and six strikeouts with a dozen swings and misses. He’s very long and lean on the mound with a lot of physical projection remaining. He threw from a three-quarters slot with a longer arm action and slight stab at the end of his circle. Gore starts with a very big leg kick, well over his waist, with an online landing towards the plate. His arm works well with good arm speed and a fastball that worked and held at 89-92 mph over his four innings with heavy action. He mixed in a power slider that hit 86 mph with good late bite. The slider proved to be a tough weapon on both right and lefthanded hitters alike with swing-and-miss qualities. In his first inning on the mound Gore also showed a changeup at 84 mph with good late tumble, but used in selectively.

On the adjoining field, lefthander Logan Allen (2017, Fla.) tossed for FTB Tucci in their first game of the day. Allen was his very normal self on the mound with well above average command as he filled the strike zone and worked quickly. From a smaller frame he showed a longer arm action and landed online with a fall off towards third base. His fastball worked 88-91 mph with good arm-side life and and kept it low in the zone, missing barrels. His changeup continues to be his best pitch with replicated arm speed and good, late tumble. His third pitch was a 1-to-7 shaped curveball over for strikes with good feel for spin. As always, Allen will rely on his command and competitiveness on the mound. He showed well with a five inning, one run performance and threw over 60-percent of his pitches for strikes.

Another pitcher that stood out during the playoffs who made an appearance in a previous recap was righthander Cody Greenhill (2017, Ga.). Greenhill came and out and shoved in a very tough matchup against CBA Marucci National, the defending champions. The righthander still worked with a short, compact arm action and heavy crossfire deception. He carved and threw 6 1/3 no hit innings with only one walk and collected 11 strikeouts. His fastball worked 88-91 mph and hit 92 mph with occasional life. He generated lots of weak contact with only one of the balls put in play reaching the outfield. His top secondary offering was a sharp curveball at 74 mph that showed good depth.




In the second round of the playoffs, the Central Florida Gators sent out highly touted two-way talent in righthander pitcher and outfielder Mason Denaburg (2018, Fla.). The Florida commit is impressive physically for an underclassman with lots of room to continue to develop. He worked downhill well with a longer arm action, slight hook in the back and good explosion down the mound. What was most impressive for Denaburg was the number of swings and misses off of his fastball in the zone. Hitters were chasing at the late, arm-side life and that helped him set up his wipeout sider. His fastball worked 92-94 mph in the first inning and he settled in at 88-92 mph for the next six innings. When he wasn’t generating a swing and miss, he was working the lower third of the zone and letting his talented defense behind him make plays. His slider was his go-to pitch with two strikes and he showed the ability to back foot lefties with it. It showed late tilt and he worked it all the way up to 80 mph. It was a very impressive outing over seven strong innings allowing one run and striking out eight batters.

The East Cobb Colt .45’s 16U sent out one of their talented and physically impressive underclass arms in their second game of the night. lefthander Luke Bartnicki (2018, Ga.) started the game with a filled out frame and long, loose arm action that projects well. He uses a crossfire element in his delivery that gets on hitters and fights his front side some in his finish. There was true, firm action to his fastball that worked 85-88 mph on the mound, topping out at 89 mph. Bartnicki mixed in a softer curveball at 74 mph with short depth and also flashed a changeup up to 80 mph.

Elite Baseball Training Academy has put together an impressive run through the tournament with a record of 9-0-1 and look to continue their run tomorrow in the semifinals. In their third round playoff game they sent Austin Marozas (2017, Ill.) to the bump. The 6-foot-7 listed righthander impressed from a lower three-quarters arm slot and crossfire delivery aided deception. He started with a slight spine tilt into his drive with a back-side collapse. He showed good arm speed with a heavy, sinking fastball that worked 89-92 mph and got on hitters quickly. He landed slightly open on his front foot, but repeated well and filled the zone, as 66-percent of his pitches were thrown for strikes. His slider was his go-to pitch for a strikeout and showed impressive feel for spin. The Mississippi State commit often doubled down on it with good tightness to the spin and depth as hitters often chased it low and out of the zone. All in told he struck out six batters in six innings.

The day of impressive arms continued with lefthander Nick Swiney (2017, N.C.) starting the playoff game for the South Charlotte Panthers 2017. Swiney used a very long and loose arm action with a slight pause at the end before coming forward. He extended well down the mound with a crossfire element in his landing and good arm speed. The UNC Charlotte commit landed slightly open down the mound with overall clean mechanics. His fastball worked 87-90 mph with firm, true action. He elevated the pitch for a strikeout and worked it around the zone well, eliciting lots of weak contact. His primary breaking ball was a 1/7 shaped curveball with developing spin that he threw for strikes.

– Matt Czechanski





Just in case the 2018 high school class wasn’t already loaded enough with high-end talent, there appears to be another name to add to the list in righthander Owen White of Mount Ulla, North Carolina. White is the starting shortstop on a South Charlotte Panthers team that is now in the final four, and his athleticism is obvious as he moves well defensively and remains extremely coordinated and balanced for a young 6-foot-3 prospect.

White also appears to be a potential high-end talent on the mound and impressed in his few innings of work after manning up the middle earlier in the game. With a slender, square shouldered 6-foot-3, 165-pound frame the uncommitted White exudes projection though his stuff at present is very loud. Throughout the delivery White remains balanced and does a nice job of getting tall on his backside prior to driving on line towards the plate, though it’s his short and fast arm action that does a good bit of the work. Exerting relatively short effort upon release, the young righthander was able to comfortably work in the 89-91 mph range and the reports of higher are most definitely believable. But it’s his ability to show command of the pitch to either side of the plate that’s even more impressive as he pumped his fastball low in the zone with subtle running life.

White also threw three different off-speed pitches for strikes. Of the three his changeup and slider were most prevalent, and it’s the changeup that is a swing-and-miss pitch at present. Thrown in the 80-83 mph range, White did a nice job of replicating that same fast arm action and was able to generate short, though late, tailing life, and like his fastball was able to keep it down in the zone. His slider was thrown more than the curveball, which was flashed just a time or two in the low- to mid-70s as opposed to the slider which offered late tilting action in the 77-80 mph with tight rotation.

White’s the type of arm that doesn’t typically last in the recruiting process, and with the slew of college coaches looking on he likely won’t be available much longer.

– Jheremy Brown


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