Tournaments | Story | 7/14/2016

16u WWBA Day 6 Scout Notes

Jheremy Brown         Matt Czechanski        
Photo: Perfect Game

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Day 6 of the 16u WWBA National Championship marked the end of pool play with a shift towards the playoffs and the final 43 teams taking the field. To open the last pool play slot, the EvoShield Canes 16u team sent out third baseman and righthanded pitcher Cade Hungate (2018, Va.) to the bump. The Florida State commit is a primary position player, but showed good promise on the mound Wednesday morning as well. He fired two clean innings on the mound and struck out three batters with a strong three-pitch mix. The projectable righthander is listed at 6-foot, 170-pounds with good room to fill out with long limbs and broad shoulders. He used a medium arm action on the mound with a slight stab at the end of his arm circle and threw from a three-quarters arm slot. When working downhill his fastball showed plane with very late arm-side wiggle at 85-87, topping out at 88 mph. He did well enough to get to both sides, albeit missing high at times. The future Seminole also featured a tight spinning cutter at 80-83 mph. The pitch offered a weapon to get inside on lefthanded hitters with late bite. For a third pitch he used showed a slider with 11-to-5 shape at 77 mph. The pitch showed good depth and came out of the same high slot.

The Houston Banditos Black secured their spot in the playoffs with a win in their 10:30 game sending out TCU commit and righthanded pitcher Adam Kloffenstein (2018, Texas). Kloffenstein is a physical presence on the mound with tons of strength in his 6-foot-4, 210-pound frame. He starts with a slight spine tilt in his delivery with a clean arm action and short stride to the plate. He landed closed and worked across his body some with some head violence at landing. He showed impressive arm strength working his fastball up to 93 mph to open the game and worked comfortably in the upper-80s, hitting 90 mph routinely through his three innings. The TCU commit generated good late life to his fastball, but did better when he stayed on top of it. He flashed feel for a curveball at 77 mph with big bend and above average spin. He lacked feel to get the pitch over for strikes at present, but with adjustment it could prove to be a weapon. Over his four innings on the mound, Kloffenstein did not allow a hit while striking out five batters and generating nine swings and misses.

A teammate of Kloffenstein at Magnolia High School as well as on the Banditos Black, shortstop Jordan Groshans (2018, Texas), showed very well defensively in both their pool play game in the morning and in their playoff game in the later slate. The highly athletic Groshans projects well with additional strength and should stick up the middle at a premium position. He moves and charges very well on the ball with soft, sure hands a quick transfer. Impressively, Groshans showed the ability to throw across the diamond from a variety of arm slots with accuracy and good arm strength. At the plate, he showed impressive hand and bat speed with a simple line drive swing through the zone that drives the ball easily.

The Banditos Black continued running out their impressive collection of college commits with future Texas A&M righthander Mason Englert (2018, Texas). The long-limed projectable righthander showed a long arm action with a slight stab at the end of his arm circle, a high lever delivery, and landed closed. He wrapped his wrist slightly through his arm action with some spine tilt through his delivery. It was a minimal effort delivery for the righthander with good balance and repetition throughout. His fastball showed good heavy action when working downhill and helped the future Aggie get lots of weak groundball outs. His fastball worked comfortably between 86-90 mph and hit 91 mph in the first inning. When he created plane the pitch showed very late arm-side life and worked well in on righthanded hitters. His top secondary offering was a curveball that worked in the low-70s with softer bend as he slowed his arm for the pitch. He did generate swings and misses from it and showed the ability to get it over for strikes. When working to lefthanded hitters, Englert started them away often with his breaking ball and then came at them low and inside with his fastball to get them to roll over.

Over at East Cobb for their second time slot of the day, a pair of uncommitted arms showed well on two of the three fields. US Elite 2018’s righthander Phillip Dull (2018, Pa.) came out in relief of their starter and shoved over 3 2/3 scoreless innings, striking out six batters. Dull was effectively wild on the mound mixing four pitches on the mound and being around the zone enough to get opposing hitters to chase or slap at the ball. He used a very short, quick arm action on the mound with good arm strength with good extension down the mound and an open landing down the mound. His fastball worked between 85-89 mph and he popped 91 mph in his last inning of work. The pitch showed short arm-side life and came out of his hand clean. He showed feel for spin with a sharp, short-snapping slider at 77 mph and then a softer curveball at 73 mph. The slider was the much better of the pair of curveballs and offered a swing-and-miss offering. Dull’s fourth pitch on the mound was a changeup that showed good fading life, but with inconsistent feel up to 83 mph. Often times the pitch ran away from lefthanders and landed in the righthanded batter’s box. The pitch could be a viable option with increased feel.

On East Cobb 1, CAB Soldiers Underclass and the East Cobb Astros 16u faced off with an impressive pitcher’s duel that held both sides to a combined five hits. CAB’s starter was uncommitted righthander Joe Ammirato (2018, Calif.). Ammirato started on the mound with a deeper hip coil and a lean back before coming down the mound. He showed a shorter arm action with a bigger arm circle, good arm strength and created some downhill plane when getting on top of his fastball that worked 85-89 mph and hit 90 with short arm-side wiggle. Ammirato showed a softer bending curveball on the mound at 70 mph that worked more as a get-me-over offering with 11-to-5 shape. The much sharper offering was a slider that showed 10-to-4 bend with late bite at 77 mph. He replicated his arm speed much better for the slider and generated swings and misses with it.

For the Astros, another uncommitted righthander took the mound as he carved seven scoreless innings and struck out seven batters on 73 pitches with over 70-percent for strikes. Righthander Thomas Girard (2017, Conn.) filled the zone with a closed landing and repeatable arm action. He worked over his front side some with effort from a smaller build. His fastball velocity held between 84-87 mph and hit 88 mph with arm-side wiggle. The pitch really worked in hard on righthanded hitters and he was able to get it to both sides. He threw a hard curveball up to 77 mph with replicated arm speed and 11-to-5 shape that he got over for strikes, too. The pitch had average spin from his high slot, but when complemented with his fastball kept hitters off balance.

As the playoffs got started, the catch-and-throw actions of catcher Connor Pavolony (2018, Ga.) stood out for Titans Baseball in their play-in victory. Pavolony has a good bit of athleticism behind the plate, moving side-to-side well with soft hands and strong wrists. He keeps his thumb under the ball well and adds strikes with present framing skills. Where he really stood out was on the throws down to second. Pavolony showed off his strong arm and very quick transfer and takeaway. He routinely turned in pop times around 1.90 seconds to the bag with accuracy.

Rounding out the night’s action was lefthanded pitcher and outfielder Joseph Menefee (2018, Texas) for Twelve. The talented two-way prospect committed to Texas A&M collected a trio of hits at the plate including a double to the right-center field gap in the first inning. He creates good leverage out front with a simple weight transfer and leg kick timing mechanism. Menefee has good bat speed and strength and his frame and has good feel for timing. He showed the ability to pick up and spit on bad spin out of the zone, waiting for fastballs. The ball came off loud from the barrel with lift and simple separation to the ball.

– Matt Czechanski

Despite being an underclassman in last week’s 17u WWBA World Championship, rising junior righthander and shortstop J.T. Ginn (Brandon, Miss.) made an impression as he ramped his fastball up to 94 mph in one appearance and then proceeded to work into the low-90s again this week. And Wednesday was more of the same story for the Mississippi State commit who came in from shortstop to record the final two outs of the game and help his East Coast Sox team punch a ticket into the playoffs. Listed at 6-foot-2, 192-pounds, Ginn’s frame is pretty well built with physical strength throughout and especially in his forearms.

Ginn came into the game and immediately began pumping in fastballs at 91 mph and proceeded to sit there during his time, once bumping a 92 and rarely dipped below 90. The arm action is a short but fast one coming through the ball and he was able to consistently generate late sinking life with hard two-seam action when down in the zone. And as much of a weapon as the fastball was Ginn’s best pitch is his curveball, an offering that would match up against almost any other breaking ball in this tournament. With an above average spin rate and extremely tight rotation Ginn’s last two breakers came across at 80 and 81 mph showing late biting life while replicating everything in his delivery expertly.

Ginn came in to reliever Alabama commit and 2017 lefthander Dakota Bennett (Eva, Ala.) who was practically on cruise control over the first six innings of the game and actually grew strong with each passing inning. A long and lean 6-foot-3, 170-pounds, it’s easy to envision Bennett growing stronger at the next level and with it will undoubtedly come more velocity. As it is now, Bennett sat and cruised in the 80-84 mph range with his fastball over the first couple frame and then began to live in the 85-87 mph range over his final few innings looking as though his arm was getting fastball through the back while showing the same angle and ability to command either side. Though not overpowering Bennett was able to have the fastball play up as he consistently mixed in both a changeup and curveball for strikes, each showing life out of the hand in the upper-60s to low-70s.

Outfielder Austin Hendrick (Pittsburgh, Pa.) hasn’t even begun his high school career yet but college coaches certainly know who he is and if they didn’t they now do after putting his swing on display last night at LakePoint during the opening round of the playoffs. Looking closer to 6-foot-1 than his 5-foot-11 listed size in his Perfect Game profile it’s clear this isn’t your typical rising freshman as he’s batting in the three-hole and starting in center field for a talented West Hills team and didn’t look out of place. And all it took was a single swing (as shown in the video) to make the coaches looking on fully take notice. Beginning his swing with an Ichiro-esque leg load in which he curls in his front knee and pauses during the load, Hendrick comes out of it well and attacks the ball with quick hands and a well-leveraged path, leading to hard contact when he barrels it up. That’s exactly what he did in his second at-bat of the game as he drove a ball deep over the right-center field gap, traveling an estimated 402 feet according to TrackMan with an exit velocity of 91 mph. Simply put, a player who hasn’t even entered high school yet shouldn’t be hitting a ball that far but then again it appears Hendrick isn’t your typical rising freshman.

Cal State Fullerton commit and 2018 catcher Kameron Ojeda (La Mirada, Calif.) has the type of talent to leave a lasting impression on you after just one look and that’s exactly what happened to me yesterday after watching the Placentia Mustangs’ final game of pool play. Checking in at 6-foot-1, 185-pounds, Ojeda offers plenty of looseness and athleticism to his profile, each of which are evident in his actions behind the plate. Loose and flexible in his setup, Ojeda did a nice job of receiving yesterday with rather soft hands and showed the ability to stick pitches that were borderline strike and have them go his pitcher’s way. His arm however is his biggest weapon and one that plays not only in between innings (consistent sub 2.0-second pops times) but also in came as he threw out the only runner that attempted to steal after a ball in the dirt and nearly back picked a runner at first base with strong, accurate throws. Ojeda’s no slouch with the bat either as he digs into the lefthanded batter’s box and made his presence felt almost immediately with a towering home run over the right field fence, jumping off the barrel at 93 mph. His hands are quick and the swing is plenty fluid with natural leverage out front, all ingredients that should help Ojeda continue to develop into a high level prospect.

A recent reclassification bumped outfielder Christian Robinson (Melbourne, Fla.) from the 2018 class to the 2017 class which of course means he’ll be young for the grade while also possessing a boatload of talent, two things that pro scouts typically look for. Physically advanced at 6-foot-2, 208-pounds, the University of Florida commit shows off very quick hands in the box and is able to generate nice whip to the barrel, just as he did Wednesday afternoon as he turned on an inner-half fastball for a well struck triple to the right-center field gap while showing off the same big speed he did at the National Showcase last month (6.62 60-yard dash).

If you just looked at 2018 uncommitted righthander Cristian Sanchez (Centreville, Va.) you wouldn’t necessarily assume he’d run his fastball up to 90 mph as he stands at a long and lean 6-foot-2, 160-pounds with a young look to his face, but he quickly erases any doubt with a single pitch. Coming through the backside with a very full arm action, Sanchez opened up his relief appearance sitting in the 87-89 mph range, bumping a 90 with hard running life down in the zone. The ball came out of his hand cleanly while exerting little effort while working down, and though he didn’t show the same velocity in the second inning it’s certainly in there as he continues to mature physically. He flashed a couple of low-70s changeup in the opening frame and then went more curveball in the second, showing short depth to either along with the ability to throw each of them for strikes.

Already committed to the University of North Carolina, 2018 infielder Will Schroeder (Leesburg, Va.) is an interesting young prospect who plays the game hard and will have to be monitored over the next two years. Strongly built, Schroeder manned the hot corner on Wednesday for the STARS Baseball 16u team and he showed off athleticism that would make it easy to envision him at shortstop as he ranged to his left, picked the ball, spun and delivered a strike to first base with plenty of arm strength all in one motion and without breaking stride. At the plate the righthanded hitting Schroeder put together a nice at-bat in which he showed an approach and when he got his pitch he attacked with a long and fluid swing that resulted in a line drive single to the pull-side gap, rounding the first base bag at 4.42 seconds.

Uncommitted 2018 righthander Spencer Arrighetti (Katy, Texas) got the ball in the opening round of the playoffs after a strong start during pool play and he certainly didn’t disappoint Wednesday night as he carried a no-hitter in the fifth and final inning (shortened via run rule). Strongly built Arrighetti proved capable of carrying his velocity well over the course of a game, living comfortably in the 85-88 mph range with his final pitch of the night registering at 88 mph. The tempo to his delivery is slow and methodical, allowing for nice balance along with the ability to repeat while showing a full, whip-like arm action through the backside. He did a nice job of consistently working down in the zone with short sinking life creating nice plane and projects for additional velocity as he continues to incorporate more of his lower half into his drive to get over his front side. Along with the fastball Arrighetti was able to keep hitters off balance throwing both a changeup and curveball for strikes with the curveball showing depth in the low-70s while the changeup was a bit more firm in the upper-70s with a nice feel for the offering.

– Jheremy Brown

A yet uncommitted rising senior and talented righthanded pitcher, Conner Young (2017, Ga.) showed well for the Georgia Jackets on Wednesday afternoon at LakePoint. With a highly projectable body that is built for additional strength gains, Young is already strong and showed off the raw stuff to match. He touched as high as 89 mph with his fastball, working in the 85-88 range for the most part, with good command to both sides of the plate. He hooks his arm slightly in the back of the arm circle but accelerates out cleanly, and creates angle from a mid three-quarters slot, especially when throwing glove side. His curveball, which he’s very comfortable throwing regardless of count or opposing hitter, buckled a few knees in my viewing, with good depth and spin and projection to be a hammer pitch once it tightens up a bit.

C.J. Abrams (2019, Ga.) seemingly has the entire country interested in him as a prospect, and the rising 2019 absolutely looks the part of an impact middle-of-the-diamond player at the next level. He played center field in my viewing, looking the part with very impressive athleticism and speed, and though he wasn’t challenged defensively, the routes seemed clean and he definitely has the necessary speed for the position. He’s a quick-twitch player with a supremely projectable frame who already may be among the fastest players in the country in the class of 2019, routinely clocking 4.1-4.2 second times down the line without even really turning on the jets, and showing a simple, contact-driven swing at the plate that results in sprayed, line drive contact to all fields.

FTB (Florida Travel Ball) won the 17u WWBA National Championship, helped by rolling out a cavalcade of extremely talented arms, and the 16u FTB WebGemz/Tucci squad has the same kind of ability. Aidan Frye (2018, Pa.) looks to be another future flame-thrower within the FTB program. His delivery is quick-twitch and highlighted by a spine tilt at foot strike that results in the arm getting all the way up to a near over-the-top arm slot, generating solid plane to the plate when commanded down in the zone. He worked 85-88 mph on his fastball with some wiggle to the arm side, throwing strikes pretty consistently and doing his best to establish the fastball to both sides of the plate. The slider is very deceptive out of the hand with fastball arm speed, showing good sharpness to the bottom of the zone and getting swings and misses even when bounced.

Another program with a storied history of success and talent, the Houston Banditos Black are loaded once more throughout both their everyday lineup and pitching staff. Justin Quinn (2018, Texas) is no exception to the rule, and he already checks a lot of boxes that coaches and scouts alike want to see from young righthanded pitchers. He worked comfortably in the 86-89 mph range, with a clean arm stroke and simple, near effortless delivery, driving downhill and generating good plane on his pitches, highlighted by heavy sink on his fastball. His curveball is sharp and a weapon pitch, with sharp downward break and great spin, missing bats with ease on the pitch.


– Brian Sakowski

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