Tournaments | Story | 7/18/2016

15u WWBA Day 3 Scout Notes

Matt Czechanski        
Photo: Perfect Game

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What D-BAT Elite Gowins’ shortstop Bobby Witt (2019, Texas) did through Sunday’s pair of games was nothing short of remarkable. The highly athletic Witt, son of former Major Leaguer, Bobby Witt, showed out in just about every phase of the game possible. In their early morning game he showed off easy range up the middle with quick footwork and smooth actions. He moved very well to both sides and showed off soft, sure hands. At the plate was where Witt really stood out. He walked in his first plate appearance then proceeded to double to left field. He then collected his second double of that game to left that left the bat at 100 mph that hit the top of the wall. Moving to his second game, he took the first pitch he saw in the No. 3 spot in the order and turned it around at 103 mph off the bat over the left field wall, again. He proceeded to triple in his second at bat, another 103 mph exit velocity, with a 4.33 turn around first base. Witt has extremely quick hands at the plate with a consistent line drive swing plane. His hands and his front elbow give him an advanced ability to match that plane with the bat speed to deliver the loud impact off the barrel we’ve come to expect. He torques well through his hips with good rhythm and leverage out in front. The total package of upper echelon athleticism, defense, and advanced hit tool make him a truly outstanding prospect.

Read Vincent Cervino’s feature on Witt and D-BAT Elite here.

D-BAT’s leadoff hitter and table-setter for Witt and the rest of the offense was outfielder Austin Wallace (2019, Texas). Wallace has good strength in his frame listed at 6-foot-3, 180-pounds, and looks the part of a bat-first corner outfielder. He showed good strength and feel for timing at the plate with a simple set up and load. His barrel worked through with good plane and the barrel showed good whip through the zone. Wallace had a trio of hits in their two games with consistent loud contact off his barrel and got to all fields with authority.

Continuing to make an impact up the middle for FTB Kudagra was shortstop Danny Bautista (2019, Fla.). Bautista showed more ability at the plate in Sunday’s game than in my first viewing, showing off good hand speed through the zone and being able to pull the ball. His swing is still linear through the zone, but has enough barrel quickness and ability to generate some backspin to lift the ball over the infield. As Bautista adds strength he’ll see more doubles power with his current approach. Where his prowess truly rests is with his glove where he continues to show impressive defensive actions and technique. His footwork around the bag and the quickness in his release impressed yet again.

Moving to the opposite side of LakePoint, the Florida Burn sent out Danny Rodriguez (2019, Fla.) to the mound. The very lean, skinny righhanded pitcher showed a longer arm action with some looseness and a soft stab at the end of his arm circle. He had slight spine tilt at the point of release with good extension down the mound and some head violence. His fastball worked in the low-80s consistently and topped out at 85 mph on the mound with cut action, especially to his glove side. The pitch leveled out up in the zone some, which is where he missed the most and where he found barrels. He showed a shorter stride to the plate, relying mainly on his intriguing arm speed over full body mechanics. He showed an 11-to-5 shaped curveball with more get-me-over action and some depth. At times the pitch flashed good spin in the upper-60s, but was under thrown with a slowed arm action. His command came and went on the mound, but his longer arm action at this age proved tough to repeat. He was effectively wild on the mound striking out nine batters over 4 1/3 innings.

A bit later in the day, lefthander Hudson Sapp (2020, Ga.) took the mound for the Georgia Jackets National 14u team and thoroughly impressed for his age. Relying very much on arm strength alone, Sapp threw well with a long arm action and hook at the end of his circle. There was some fluidity through his overall motion and he threw enough strikes over his three innings to keep hitters guessing. He worked three no-hit innings on the mound and struck out eight batters. He primarily relied on his fastball that worked 83-85 mph and even touched 87 mph from a smaller frame. His velocity dropped some in his third inning of work, holding more in the low-80s range. Sapp did do well to generate some late wiggle to the pitch and effectively used it up and out of the strike zone for a swing and miss. He worked over his front side and dropped his back shoulder before coming to the plate with a very short stride. He also showed a curveball that showed some depth, but inconsistent bend. With cleaned up mechanics and continued physical development, Sapp will continue to make strides on the mound.

An uncommitted arm that garnered serious attention from top colleges was righthander Tristan McDonough (2018, Md.) of the Mid Atlantic Red Sox. McDonough started with an unorthodox motion, bringing his leg up and contorting his lower half down before shifting his weight to his backside. He showed a short, compact arm action on the mound from a three-quarters arm slot and landed closed with minimal drive off his backside. He still managed to generate good extension, exceeding his height down the mound by working through the ball. McDonough showed good arm strength working his fastball in the mid-80s on the mound for most of the game after sitting in the upper-80s and touching 89 mph on the first pitch of the game. When he was at his best, he was locating his fastball to his glove side with good cut action in on lefthanders and away from righthanders. With the pitch flattening out up in the zone, the late cut away from hitters offered him a swing-and-miss pitch with two strikes. On lefthanders, he broke a pair of bats working well in on their hands. He also showed some feel for spin on the mound, but slowed his arm for his 11-to-5 shaped curveball. The pitch had above average spin, but he needs the same intent and effort he shows on his fastball to improve it. There was effort in the delivery with recoil and some head violence. What he did most effectively was lay off the barrels of hitters, getting lots of weak contact on rollovers and shallow pop flies.

Another projectable arm taking the mound during that slot at LakePoint was righthander Ryan Keeley (2019, Ill.) of Team DeMarini. Listed at 6-foot-3, 190-pounds, Keeley will eventually have good physicality on the mound with long limbs and a body that can handle additional weight. Keeley showed a longer arm action with some hook tendencies through the back. He threw from an extended three-quarters arm slot and landed online, working over his front side some. His fastball worked 81-84 mph and was up to 85 with some heavy tendencies to the lower third of the zone. What surprisingly worked as his wipeout pitch, Keeley showed good feel for a big, sweeping curveball up to 72 mph with 10-to-4 shape and huge arc. The pitch often landed near the lefthanded batter’s box, but had righthanded hitters swinging out of their shoes. He was willing to double and triple up on the pitch to get a swinging strikeout. He also showed a changeup in the upper-70s with modest feel and slight arm-side fade. He struck out four batters in his six strong innings.

Another shortstop that showed out defensively was Team DeMarini shortstop Jared Cushing (2019, Ill.). Cushing is a glove-first player, and is slightly listed at 5-foot-8, 125-pounds, but looks to be much more physical than that. The glove absolutely plays up the middle with a very quick first step and smooth transfer. His range to both sides was incredibly impressive as he made a diving stop up the middle to get up and get the runner out at first for the last out and save further damage. The fact he even got to the ball, which parents were already celebrating as a base hit, was impressive and then had the arm strength and wherewithal to to quickly get up and fire it across to complete the bang-bang play.

In what appeared to be an endless run of projectable, raw arms, lefthander Chris Newell (2019, Pa.) took the mound after starting the game in right field for ASBA Futures Atlantic 15u. What stood out with Newell, aside from the raw arm strength, was his plus, plus extension down the mound. He routinely reached eight feet down the mound, working exceptionally well through the ball. His arm action was very long through the back and he worked downhill well, given the extension. He started with a deeper hip coil and threw from an extended three-quarters arm slot with head violence at release. His fastball had heavy tendencies as he threw it in the 81-84 mph range and up to 85 with arm-side life. He showed a curveball as well with raw 1-to-7 shape, showing some depth, and a changeup up to 73 mph with subtle fade. Both off-speed pitches were a bit raw, but given the athletic 6-foot-2, 160-pound frame and extension there is plenty to work with.

On a different spectrum then some of the aforementioned arms, righthander Michael Dominguez (2019, Fla.) for SCORE International 15u impressed with his ability to command the ball to both sides of the plate. Dominguez is very slightly built and listed appropriately at 5-foot-7, 155-pounds. He showed a longer, mostly loose arm action with good whippy action through the back. For the first three innings he held his fastball velocity at 81-84 mph and ran it up to 85 mph cleanly and to both sides of the plate. His fastball dipped some in the latter stretches of the game, but he maintained his command. He struck out 10 batters over six innings of one-run ball and threw 69-percent of his pitches for strikes. Dominguez had no trouble getting to both sides of the plate with little effort. He changed the eye level of hitters, working from his fastball to his 11-to-5 shaped curveball, too. The pitch showed depth, but he got it over for strikes and used it efficiently. When he was not striking out batters, he generated lots of groundballs with good wiggle to his fastball.

Rounding out the night’s action was righthander C.J. Neese Jr. (2019, N.C.) for GBC Prep Stars 15u. Neese Jr possessed a tremendously slender frame with a high waist and loose, long limbs. Listed at 6-foot-3, 160-pounds, Neese Jr. has almost endless room to fill out his frame with good strength. His arm worked well from a three-quarters arm slot and a long, loose arm action. He possesses good arm speed at present with a fastball running up to 85 mph and working in the 82-84 range effectively with arm-side life. The heavy action of the pitch with his crossfire deception worked best low in the zone, but he could not replicate his delivery enough to keep it there, often missing up in the zone. It was a very limited effort delivery from the righthander who worked over his front side with almost no stride down the mound. He showed a changeup in the upper-70s with very short depth as he choked it and lacked overall feel for it at present. Neese Jr. stayed off barrels allowing just three hits over his 5 1/3 innings. He showed the the ability to generate above average spin to his 10-to-4 curveball with softer bend at 70 mph. Working through it with replicated arm speed for his fastball would help make the pitch more effective. He garnered 12 overall swings and misses on the mound and effectively mixed his pitches.

– Matt Czechanski

Louisville consistently finds themselves in the higher reaches of the Perfect Game recruiting rankings, and the class of 2019 is shaping up to be no different. Righthanded pitcher Joe Wilkinson (2019, Ind.) battled with his command early on, but shows the size, arm speed and spin needed to be considered a high-ceiling talent. The arm stroke is mostly clean through the back with a bit of a hook, but the acceleration is quick and clean to a high three-quarters arm slot, though there is spine tilt presently at foot strike and ultimately at release. The arm speed is very advanced, and he did a good job of holding his velocity at 84-87 mph across upwards of 80 pitches, and as a result projects to throw harder at peak maturity. He also showed a weapon of a curveball when commanded, a sharp, two-plane breaking pitch with 11-to-5 to 10-to-4 shape and hammer spin. It has the potential to be a plus pitch down the line with continued consistency, refinement and command. As a whole, it wasn’t necessarily the best game in terms of results, but he certainly flashed enough physical tools and checked enough boxes to be considered a high-end prospect moving forward in the class of 2019.

Opposing Wilkinson were the Dallas Tigers, who ended up throwing a combined no hitter with 13 strikeouts. Combining on the no-no were Chase Lummus (4.1 innings), Jacob Meador (1.2 innings) and Dillon Carter (1 inning). Carter also started in center field and hit in the three-hole for the Tigers, and showed some intriguing tools. He’s a lefthanded hitting outfielder with a solid build on a 5-foot-11, 180-pound frame. He has quality bat speed as well, with a compact swing that has some leverage at contact, geared for extra-base power to all fields. He roped a single through the right side and walked in this game, and finished 1-for-3 in four trips to the plate, but the swing he took and the tools which go into that swing warrant additional looks at him moving forward.

Some of the loudest contact of the day belonged to William Hamiter (2019, Ala.), a middle infielder playing on the East Coast Sox Select team, who moved to 4-0 Sunday night by way of a victory over KBC 15u Red. Hamiter’s lefthanded swing produced two missile triples, one to the pull field gap and one directly over the center fielder’s head, both 90-plus mph off the bat. Despite not being physically imposing, Hamiter has big-time strength and bat speed in his swing, matching planes well and showing the ability to drive the baseball deep on a line to all parts of the field. He’s also a good runner, clocking 4.4-4.5 second run times on the turns around the first base bag, en route to those two triples.

Speaking of triples, East Coast Sox Select No. 2 hitter Cade Bell (2019, Miss.) had an impressive one as well, getting up in the zone and driving a high fastball way up the opposite field gap, an impressive piece of hitting without a doubt.

East Coast’s starting pitcher was Tyler Bell (2018, Ala.), and he turned in 3 1/3 innings of shutout ball. His body and arm speed project well to the next level, and he worked 81-84 mph, topping at 85 a few times en route to his shutout performance. He mixed in a change-of-pace curveball in the mid-60s that he could throw for strikes in addition to a changeup that he showed good feel for, with a clean release out of his hand and good arm speed.

At 6-foot-7, 215-pounds, lefthanded pitcher Luke Little (2018, N.C.) is anything but “little,” and neither is his stuff once he steps onto the mound. With a super long but super easy arm action and a minimal-effort delivery, Little looks like he’s playing catch on the mound, but hums it to the plate anywhere from 82-86 mph, topping out at 87 several times in the early going. He’s very adept at creating angle from an extended three-quarters arm slot, and when he throws against lefthanded hitters it looks as though it’s coming from behind the hitter’s front hip. It’s tough to pick up out of his hand, and when he’s commanding within the strike zone he’s very tough to square up. He worked 4 2/3 innings on the mound, giving up only an unearned run, tallying eight strikeouts and allowing only five total baserunners. While there is undoubtedly some work to do as far as the delivery consistency and command go, lefthanded pitchers with his size, stuff and ease of arm action don’t exactly grow on trees, making Little one of the few seemingly unknown commodities at this stage of the game for the 2018 class. He mixed in a quality slider with shorter break, but it still flashed sharpness and some solid depth as well. He showed feel for his changeup as well. The pitch is straight but he is deceptive when throwing it and maintains his arm speed well, which still results in uncomfortable swings on the pitch from opposing hitters.

– Brian Sakowski

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