Tournaments | Story | 7/11/2016

16u WWBA Day 3 Scout Notes

Jheremy Brown         Matt Czechanski        
Photo: Perfect Game

Day 1 Notes
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Kicking off what turned out to be a quality day of uncommitted lefthanders was Team Elite’s Oliver McCarthy (Brooklyn, N.Y.), a highly projectable arm who’s coming off his sophomore season and recently impressed at the Junior National Showcase. Throwing in front of a who’s who ensemble of college coaches, the 6-foot-4 McCarthy certainly checks all the boxes as he has the size, the extreme looseness and fluidity to his arm action and the ability to project his stuff moving forward despite it already being very good. The overall tempo and rhythm has continued to improve to his delivery, and along with some added strength he’s seen his fastball gradually tick up to the 84-87 mph range he showed on Sunday while projecting for a good bit more still. Most of the velocity at present comes from the whippiness of his arm action and as he continues to incorporate his lower half and improve his directionality there should be an immediate jump.

But as it is now the fastball comes out of his hand extremely clean and he showed the ability to fill up the strike zone while missing bats and generating subtle, but consistent, running life on his heater. And another area of his game that’s taken a nice step forward is his off speed as he’s spinning a much tighter curveball than he had shown this summer in the 72-74 mph range with better shape and depth and has continued to implement his mid-70s slider which he proved capable of getting to the back foot of a righthanded hitter.

He may be a young one but rising sophomore (class of 2019) catcher Raymond Torres (Charlotte, N.C.) has a set of skills behind the plate that you immediately taken notice of as an evaluator, and it’s a skillset that ranks among the best in his graduation class. Currently ranked at No. 53 in the class, the 5-foot-11, 185-pound Torres is currently uncommitted though that could change quickly given the amount of recruiting coordinators who were on hand to watch his battery mate, hard throwing righthander Owen White, who is mentioned below. For a player who is just coming off his freshman year, Torres showed no hesitation receiving a 90-plus heat and did so rather easily with soft hands out front and strong enough wrists to stick balls on the outer half. He also showed off quick and light footwork behind the plate with comfort squaring dirt balls off his chest, though his biggest asset just may be his catch-and-throw skills as they will rival most catchers in this class. A righthanded hitter, the offensive part of his game will continue to develop with additional strength but right now the defensive tools are standout.

It was a brief one game look but what 2018 uncommitted catcher Matthew Rivera (Egg Harbor, N.J.) showed on Sunday night, both behind the plate and with the bat, call for an additional look or two as the tournament moves forward. Playing for the Ninth Inning Royals despite hailing from the Garden State, Rivera can grab hold of every single person watching with a single throw down to second base in between innings as he shows an extremely fast transfer and some of the better arm strength I’ve seen thus far in the tournament. Popping between 1.97 and 2.05, there’s plenty of athleticism and bounce to Rivera’s actions behind the plate as he receives well with soft hands and showed no trouble blocking up short hopped off-speed. He shows potential with the bat too and still projects a bit as he fills out his 6-foot-2, 190-pound frame showing a long and leverage swing path with quick hands and a sound weight shift through his lower half.

It was a quick look at 2018 Vanderbilt commit and righthanded pitcher Chance Huff (Niceville, Fla.) but there was plenty to like as the 6-foot-4, 185-pounder toed the rubber. The frame is the first thing you notice as he features present strength throughout while retaining looseness to his delivery and should still be capable of adding additional strength over the next couple of years. The next thing that jumps off the page is the arm speed and the consistent ability to live down his fastball, which comfortably worked in the 87-90 mph range early through the outing. Despite the over-the-top slot from which he throws Huff never seemed to lose command of the zone in the early going but was able to generate short cut action to his heater with his finish through the ball. Opening up and attacking with the fastball proved to be an effective method as he missed a solid about of bats, but he also featured as 12-to-6 curveball which could be a true weapon in and of itself. Showing its biggest depth at 75 mph, Huff threw a couple between 78 and 80 mph which were much short, later and tighter and left the hitter with virtually no chance of making making contact, especially as he located down in the zone.

Another day and there was another big arm from the state of Georgia in the 2018 class. Clemson commit and talented righthander Davis Sharpe (Dacula, Ga.) may not have shown the big velocity like Kumar Rocker or Ethan Hankins, but it’s coming and he already shows an advanced aptitude for pitching, plus reports have him up to 91 mph the last time he threw so it’s in there. Listed at 6-foot-3, 195-pounds, Sharpe’s frame is plenty athletic though it should also allow for additional strength gains moving forward which will help sustain his stuff over the course of a start even better. Sharpe lived pretty consistently in the upper-80s with his fastball over the the course of his start, regularly sitting 88-89 mph both out of the windup and stretch, but there’s still a bit more velocity to be had.

Right now his delivery is fairly simple and offers plenty of athleticism as he does an excellent job of repeating his short and fast arm action, which in turn allows for some of the best command to either side of the plate I’ve seen yet. He shows solid comfort and regularly worked both east and west, never missing by more than a ball’s width and showed no fear of challenging in. In terms of life the fastball is rather true out of the hand but Sharpe does a nice job of creating angle to the pitch and the command is more than an equalizer.

While filing up the zone and collecting more than his fair share of swings and misses with the fastball Sharpe also showed a feel for a sharp and tight slider that worked up to 81 mph. The hands speed required to spin a breaking ball at the velocity, plus the frame and arm action, are usually indicators of more velocity en route as well. He would occasionally gets to the side or under the pitch causing some sweep or more curveball depth with 11-to-5 shape, but when he was on top of the pitch it looked to have the potential of an above average pitch down the road with two-plane life to serve as a swing-and-miss offering.

Following up Sharpe was another talented 2018 arm out of the Peach State in uncommitted lefthander Luke Bartnicki who attracted a nice group of college recruiters. More than looking the part with a broad and angular, high-waisted 6-foot-3, 190-pound build, the looseness and ease of the arm action are just as impressive. And while there’s some work to do with his lower half in terms of the stride and strike foot, Bartnicki lived rather comfortably in the 87-90 mph range, bumping a 91 with subtle running life to the heater. Though he worked mostly arm side with his fastball the talented lefthanded did show the ability to challenge in on the hands while flashing a single curveball and slider which came across at 73 and 77 mph apiece.

Playing some defense behind both Bartnicki and Sharpe was uncommitted 2018 shortstop Jacob Cendoya (Alpharetta, Ga.) and he made it look rather clean and effortless. Listed at 6-foot-1, 175-pounds, Cendoya showed balanced and quick footwork on a couple of chopped ground balls that required some range up the middle and made the on-the-move play look rather routine with solid arm strength across the diamond.

What I’m about to say in regards to top ranked 2019 Triston Casas (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) is nothing new; he’s big, extremely strong and immensely talented. And for a player who is already been in the limelight for as long as he has – he was a very early commit to the University of Miami – Casas has not only met the expectations but he’s exceeded them and has continued to develop even with all eyes watching. Nothing about Casas would suggest he just came off of his freshman season in high school as he stands 6-foot-5, possesses some of the biggest bat speed in the tournament and carries himself beyond his years. Digging in from the left side Casas wasted very little time in making an impact as his very first swing of the day resulted in some loud contact. After taking a few pitches and working the count to 2 and 2, Casas, rather than press and look to protect, simply went with an outer half pitch and not only showed the ability to cover the plate but also drive the ball with quick hands, resulting in a loud double to the opposite field despite not barreling it up. In his next trip he got out front a bit on a changeup and punched it to the shortstop for a groundout though it did allow for a 4.28 run time down the line, very impressive when given the physicality.

Hailing from the great state of Texas, 2018 Aggie commit and ultra-projectable lefthander Jonathan Childress (Forney, Texas) cruised through the couple of innings I was able to catch though that tends to happen when you’re lefthanded, throw hard, and pound the lower third to either side of the plate. He also has a slider that serves as a true swing-and-miss pitch. Doing his best to follow up high school teammate and fellow Aggie commit Mason Englert, who threw in the opening day, the 6-foot-4, 200-pound Childress lived in the 87-89 mph range from a very short and compact arm action, hiding the ball extremely well and adding deception to an already difficult pitch. The arm action is both quick and loose and he was able to induce more than a handful of uncomfortable swings as hitters took defensive hacks even in fastball counts as he worked with an up-tempo rhythm and regularly pounded the zone. Childress also threw an upper-70s slider, which left his hand from the same chute, and like the fastball lived down in the zone showing tight, sharp break, which hitters didn’t detect until it was already too late.

Vanderbilt’s recruiting reach has spanned coast-to-coast and they’ve already assembled a quality 2019 recruiting class, two of whom play for US Elite in outfielder Troy LaNeve (Gibsonia, Pa.) and righthander Thomas Schultz (Mount Carmel, Pa.).

Schultz got the start on the bump and performed very well working into the seventh inning until a triple ultimately brought in another arm. A long and loose 6-foot-5, 185-pound righthander, Schultz’s stuff has continued to tick up and Sunday afternoon was his best yet according to his Perfect Game profile, as he worked upwards of 87 mph and lived in the mid-80s throughout. Coming through the backside Schultz shows off a long and fluid arm stroke but more importantly generates solid extension out front allowing for plane on his heater to the bottom of the zone. And though he’ll have to continue to develop consistent arm speed on his breaking ball, he already shows a nice feel for the curveball, which showed nice depth and 11-5 shape working into the low-70s.

LaNeve is a bat I’ve been able to following since the fall of his eighth grade year when he participated in the WWBA Freshmen World Championship, and as expected the power and lefthanded stroke have continued to come along very nicely. Physically built at 6-foot, 190-pounds, the current No. 8 prospect in the 2019 class offers big present bat speed with looseness to his hands, both of which he put on display on Sunday afternoon as he spun on an inner-half fastball for a hard ground ball past the first baseman which then ricocheted off the wall and allowed for a two-base hit. There’s leverage to the swing and it’s not at all hard to imagine the strength allowing for home run type pop, especially coming to his pull side.

– Jheremy Brown

As one of many players for Dulin to make an impact in their 17-0 win, Tate Kolwyck (2018, Tenn.) showed good ability to backspin the ball and find the barrel with consistent loud contact. He drove the ball well, with strength in his 6-foot, 170-pound frame. He lifted a ball deep to the warning track in his first at-bat showing good lift in his swing with separation. In his second at-bat, he drove the ball well to the wall to clear the bases. The Vandy commit extended well with good bat speed and a clean hand path with positive launch angle through the zone. Defensively he fielded cleanly with accurate throws to the bag with enough athleticism to remain up the middle.

Another impact bat for Dulin was catcher Hunter Goodman (2018, Tenn.). Goodman’s raw strength played very well in game. He found the barrel on a couple of occasions, working primarily to pull side. He generates leverage well through his lower half, and his hands work well to the ball with a compact path.

The Houston Banditos Santos sent out a pair of top underclass arms, leading off with righthander Matthew Allan (2019, Texas). The physically mature rising sophomore has good strength and physcalty in his 6-foot-3, 195-pound frame. He worked with a longer arm action that was loose to an extent from a high three-quarters arm slot. Allan effectively worked inside to righthanded hitters with his fastball that exploded out of his hand. It had good, running action at 85-88 mph and hit 89 mph several times in the opening frame. He struggled holding the velo moving through and also changed his release point, hurting his command. When Allan worked downhill and in the lower third of the zone he missed bats and generated lots of weak contact. He showed a pair of secondary pitches including both a changeup and a curveball. His changeup topped at 81 mph with some late tumble, but showed inconsistent feel with reduced arm speed. He slowed his arm for his curveball as well with some depth in the low-70s.

Backing Allan up out of the Banditos’ bullpen was Houston commit, righthander and shortstop Derrick Cherry (2018, Texas). Cherry has a projectable, lean frame at a listed 6-foot-1, 178-pounds with lots of room to continue to fill out. He showed above average arm speed with a shorter stride and slight crossfire action towards the plate. He used a quick arm action with a slight hook in the back and landed on a stiff front leg with recoil. His fastball exploded out of his hand and missed plenty of bats at 89-91 mph and hit 92 with late life. His secondary pitch was just as impressive with a hard 11-to-5 breaking slider up to 80 mph. Between both pitches he generated 11 swings and misses over his four no-hit innings of relief. He struck out five batters and worked very well to the lower third of the strike zone and to both sides of the plate. The feel for spin along with the accelerated arm speed set him apart for the class.

In the following time slot, a pair of arms faced off between the FTB Rockets 16u and the South Charlotte Panthers. FTB sent out uncommitted righthander Ryan Wimbush (2018, Fla.) to the hill. Wimbush is another highly projectable righthander that needs some mechanical fixes, but flashed his potential on the mound. He works with a long levered delivery and a drop-and-drive element, pulling his top half straight back before coming downhill. He has trouble at present repeating his long arm action and throwing from the same high three-quarters to over-the-top slot. His fastball worked 85-89 mph and hit 90 in the first inning. He is a bit of a raw arm on the mound, relying on arm speed almost alone with better arm-side life to his fastball in his lower velocity band. When he worked to his glove side he saw some natural cut to the pitch as he worked more across his body. His curveball was his go-to breaking ball with short depth and average spin and worked in the low-70s. Wimbush raised his slot some for the pitch and struggled locating low in the zone, or out of it. There is lots of potential given the frame and arm speed and he should develop nicely.

The South Charlotte Panther’s top arm, uncommitted righthander Owen White (2018, N.C.), took the mound on Sunday afternoon and delivered a gem. White is ultra athletic, playing shortstop when not on the mound and is highly athletic with a lean, slender build and is listed at 6-foot-3. He shows easy arm speed with a short, compact arm action with quickness through the motion. He threw with controlled effort on the mound and filled the zone and worked well to both sides. White’s fastball worked 87-90 mph and hit 91 with good riding life to the pitch. He generated swings and misses off of it as well as a pair of secondary offerings. He uses a shorter stride to the plate and landing closed, leading to believe his fastball could tick up in the future. White showed very impressive feel for his changeup that showed late fade in the lower third. He replicated his arm speed and threw from the same slot, adding to the pitch’s deception. He threw a curveball and a slider, but it was the curveball that flashed above average. With hard 11-to-5 shape it showed very tight spin from a lower velocity with hard, late bite. With above average command of three pitches, the uncommitted rising junior looks to be one of the more polished arms in the class.

Another talented uncommitted player, shortstop/third baseman Kyler Fedko (2018, Pa.) showed exceptionally well for US Team Elite 2018’s in their evening game. Fedko continually found the barrel at the plate, clubbing a home run in his first at-bat with very good strength in his 6-foot-1 frame. He drives the ball easily with a simple weight shift and rhythm at the plate with good line drive swing plane with a compact hand path. He followed that up with more loud contact with a deep fly out to center field.

On an adjoining field, shortstop Hunter Christopher (2018, N.C.) put together several impressive at-bats for Dirtbags 16u Falcon. He generates good extension with a line drive swing and power potential through his 6-foot-1, 170-pound frame. The ball comes off easy off the bat with lift and the ability to carry the ball to the wall at present and with strength should see home run power down the line. He notched a double that left the bat at 93 mph that one hopped the left field wall.

Rounding out the night in the 9:45 p.m. slot at LakePoint was righthander Hunter Goodwin (2018, Ga.). The Game on Stealth starter threw easy with plus extension down the mound, and an easy release. His arm action had a slight hook in the back, but worked long and mostly loose. Goodwin stands with a physical presence on the mound, listed at 6-foot-5, 215-pounds, with strength and potential to refine the frame more. His clean release and present arm strength and speed give him an edge over his competition. His fastball worked impressively at 88-90 mph in the first with good life when he stayed on top of the pitch. His command came and went as he struggled with his release point, often missing low, or in the turf. He showed a changeup that looked promising in warmups with good, late fade, but chose not to use it in game. His curveball had somewhat loopy tendencies around 70 mph as he slowed his arm for it. What it did do is keep hitters off balance once he began throwing it, given the difference in speeds. One thing to note is Goodwin lost velocity from the stretch working more consistently in the mid-80s. As he refines his arms strength and continues to build up his workload he has a chance to be a high-end arm.

– Matt Czechanski

The Cincinnati Spikes have run their record to 3-1 thus far in pool play, and currently sit behind only the Motor City Hit Dogs atop their pool. Their roster is littered with talent from top to bottom, and a few players stood out early Sunday afternoon.

Shortstop Gage Hughes (2018, Ohio) is committed to Cincinnati, and looks to be a good one for the Bearcats. The still skinny and athletically projectable switch-hitter showed off more juice than his frame may indicate by driving a triple deep up against the wall in right-center field at Cartersville, and consistently showing good range at shortstop with the actions, athleticism, and arm strength necessary to play the position at the next level.

Jared Poland (2018, Ind.) was his usual intimidating self at the plate, and the third baseman looks stronger than he did a year ago, physically. He definitely has the arm strength and the offensive profile for third base long-term at the University of Louisville, and will be extremely fun to watch both with the bat and on the mound in the coming years.

Lefthanded pitcher Joey Perkins (2017, Ohio) is yet-uncommitted in the class of 2017, and the big lefty (6-foot-3, 205-pounds) did his best to change that on Sunday by throwing 6 1/3 shutout innings, racking up four strikeouts and only allowing four total baserunners. He worked down in the zone well, consistently pounded the zone, and worked 78-82 mph, all complemented by a quality curveball that he liked to use.

The state of Michigan has several prospects in the coming classes to be excited about, and class of 2018 lefthanded pitcher Cole Daniels (2018, Mich.) is no exception. Daniels is a really physical prospect at 6-foot-2, 210-pounds who also plays quarterback in the shadow of Michigan Stadium at Saline High School. Daniels worked 84-87 mph, topping at 88 with his fastball, generating good plane to the plate in addition to consistent cutting action on the pitch, though whether or not the cut was intentional or the result of pulling across at release remains to be seen. His delivery is not without effort, highlighted by some head violence and overall extra effort to get over the front side due to the misalignment of his hips at foot strike, but the arm action is clean throughout and he extends well through release, creating good angle. He spins his slider well and shows good feel for his changeup, and while the overall command isn’t plus, he’s aggressive within the strike zone. He projects well at the next level on the mound with the ability to both eat innings and miss bats, and will be a very good get for someone.

Just as they were in the 17u WWBA National Championship a week ago, the Central Florida Gators are absolutely loaded with high-end, potentially high draft talent, and it was put on display again Sunday evening at East Cobb.

Uncommitted righthander Joseph Charles (2019, Fla.) started for the Gators, and in front of roughly 20 coaches, he looked pretty strong. He has advanced arm speed with a highly projectable body, and though the arm action features a hook in the back and there is moderate effort through the delivery, he’s on time throughout and does a good job pounding the strike zone, and projects in every facet over the next 3-4 years. He was up to 88 mph several times and consistently popped 86-87 with his fastball, showing feel to get to both sides of the plate and working down in the zone. He finishes over his front side well with balance throughout the delivery, and showed good feel for both a slider and changeup to round out his arsenal. The slider flashes sharpness with tilting shape, and he can turn over the changeup well out front and generate fading action without sacrificing arm speed or deception. He’s absolutely one to follow closely in the coming years.

The Gators can roll out a Murderer’s Row of hitters, several with the ability to clear the fences, and they do that pretty consistently game-to-game. Mason Denaburg (2018, Fla.) is a primary pitcher committed to the University of Florida who is up to 94 mph with power sink, but he’s also shown big-time raw power and hittability over the past few events, homering again on Sunday evening and making evaluators think twice about where his best future impact lies. Andrew Roberts (2019, Fla.) launched a loud triple in his first at-bat, deep towards the left-center field gap and over the pursuing center fielder’s head, showing impressive bat speed and hand strength with tremendous leverage at contact.

Nolan Gorman (2018, Ariz.) has long been lauded for his advanced hitting tools, and they were on display again on Sunday, working a good at-bat in his first trip to the plate before lacing a single through the right side to score Roberts, and giving the Gators a lead they would not relinquish. This evaluator hasn’t seen faster hands from anyone in the class of 2018, and the Arizona commit absolutely looks the part of an extremely impactful bat at the next level.

The Houston Banditos won an extremely exciting game with Elite Squad Prime at East Cobb on Sunday night, and started an uncommitted righthander in Drayton Harris (2018, Texas) who looks the part of yet another future flame-throwing Texan. He has good size at 6-foot-2, 210-pounds, and is built well throughout with projection remaining as well. He consistently lived at 87-89 mph for his first few innings, pounding the strike zone to both sides and showcasing a delivery and arm action that project well in terms of future velocity and durability as a starting pitcher. He also showed a sharp, downer slider that can miss bats when down in the zone and did a pretty solid job of mixing pitches to keep hitters off balance.

– Brian Sakowski

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