Tournaments | Story | 7/19/2016

15u WWBA Day 4 Scout Notes

Matt Czechanski        
Photo: Perfect Game

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In one of the early slates at LakePoint, outfielder Nick Fajardo (2018, N.C.) led the way in Team Elite 15’s Prime eventual victory. The uncommitted leadoff hitter did a fantastic job setting the table for the rest of the lineup working a pair of walks, stealing a base and slapping an RBI double to the gap. Fajardo started with a deeper hand load from his smaller frame, but got on plane well with a quick barrel through the zone and a compact hand path to the ball. His current approach works the opposite field well and up the middle with the ability to get on base in a variety of ways. He layed off pitches away and then showed good hand speed through the zone on inside pitches.

Moving to the opposite quad during the 10:15 a.m. slate of games, Vanderbilt commit Thomas Schultz (2019, Pa.), took the mound. Schultz is highly projectable righthander listed at 6-foot-5, 185-pounds, but would measure in just under those measurements. He has very long limbs with broad shoulders to handle additional strength. He starts with a big leg kick over his waist and slight upper half tilt before moving into his arm action. The action was long through the back with slight hook through the back. The ball came out clean from his hand with good angle and occasional downhill plane. He stayed tall through his backside generating good extension down the mound, landing online. Schultz fastball worked up to 88 mph in the first inning, but consistently worked around 84-86 mph for his time on the mound with subtle arm-side life. The future Commodore worked to both sides well and was around the zone, but should look to work lower in the zone with some heaviness to his fastball. His feel for his curveball was a bit raw as he slowed his arm for the pitch with average spin towards the plate with 11-to-5 shape. He got the pitch over for strikes, but did not have confidence to throw it with two strikes.

Backing up the US Elite offense was third baseman Will Carlone (2019, N.Y.) with several loud, barreled balls. Carlone has good physicality in his frame, listed at 6-foot-2, 190-pounds with strength that plays. In his first at-bat he cleared the bases with a loud double that left the bat 90 mph plus off the bat. His second was a rocket over the center fielder’s head. Carlone’s hands work very well through his swing with quickness and ability to match plane through the zone. He showed a strong load through his back half with some feel for barrel turn and generating backspin. Carlone at present is a bat-first prospect, although I was unable to get a look at him in the field given that he was listed as an extra hitter on the lineup card.

A talented shortstop for Tri-State Arsenal Prime stood out in their afternoon game, Matt Orlando (2019, N.J.). Playing the field after taking the mound on the first day of the tournament where he worked in the low-80s with a projectable arm action, Orlando showed very slick actions in the infield. He was quick to the ball with an exceptionally quick release of the ball with good arm strength. The range Orlando showed defensively impressed given his size and age. At the plate, he flicked a triple to the opposite field with loose wrists and a positive launch angle. Orlando showed a compact hand path through the zone and hit slightly off of his front side.

An interesting lefthander with feel to spin toed the rubber for EC Sox Prime Snopek in uncommitted lefthander Jackson Kimbrell (2019, Ala.). Kimbrell has a medium build at 6-foot, 175-pounds with room to continue to fill out physically and add good strength on the mound. With a deeper hip coil start, showing his back to the plate, Kimbrell worked from a high three-quarters arm slot and a shorter arm action. He struggled repeating his slot and often spiked his fastball in the dirt when working downhill. Kimbrell showed a quick arm down the mound with recoil in his landing as he worked over his front side. His fastball worked 81-83 mph with slight arm-side wiggle and developing command of the pitch. What he did do well was show feel for spin. He relied on a 1-to-7 shaped curveball with good late snap towards the plate. The pitch showed as a usable swing-and-miss weapon as he struck out five batters in three innings. The feel for spin and the fact he is lefthanded make Kimbrell an interesting prospect on the mound moving forward.

What catcher/outfielder C.J. Willis (2018, La.) did at the plate on Monday evening was nothing short of impressive. He showed very impressive bat and hand speed at the plate with the ability to create leverage out in front. His hands enter the zone with a positive attack angle and the impact off the barrel is clear, and loud. He doubled off the right field wall in his first at-bat before tripling to nearly the same spot in his second at-bat. His third plate appearance ultimately turned into a walk, but he did crush a ball just foul as seen in the video above. His ability to match plane throughout the game was reassuring with the aforementioned bat speed. The recent Ole Miss commit did not have a listed position on the team’s lineup card, but eventually worked his way on on the mound. Using more of his pure athleticism than actual pitching ability, Willis worked 82-84 mph, touching 85, on the mound with good wiggle. There was zero lower half involvement with an ultra short stride and closed landing. He threw from a long arm action with a slight stab at the end of his arm circle. Command was a bit of a nuance, but the arm speed was hard to ignore on the mound.

Another interesting uncommitted arm popped up back at LakePoint in the 7:15 p.m. slate of games. Righthander Jackson Finley (2019, Ala.) took the mound for the Game On Bulls showing a long and lean, projectable frame listed at 6-foot-2, 175-pounds. He showed a longer arm action from a three-quarters arm slot with good arm strength. He swung the gate through his lower half and landed online with slight head waggle at landing. His fastball worked in in the 83-85 mph range in his first inning with some wildness before settling in the low-80s to throw more strikes. His fastball had good riding life up in the zone and that’s where it proved to be most effective. He tried working low in the zone, but with the life working up and into the middle of the zone, he found some barrels. He also showed good feel to spin with an above average spinning 11-to-5 shaped slider up to 75 mph. The pitch had good late snap and replicated arm speed helping its deception. As his command improves, his slider will play up when he locates his fastball up the changes the eye level of hitters.

In one of the last games to go on the day, a very physical righthander, Michael Knorr (2018, Cali.), started for the San Diego Show. Listed at a very believable 6-foot-5, 200-pounds, Knorr showed plenty of strength on the mound with a prototypical starter’s build. He threw from an extended three-quarters arm slot with a longer arm action and deeper plunge into a stab. He threw plenty of strikes on the mound, working to both sides of the plate, but was better to his glove side with his fastball. He showed good arm strength with a fastball up to 86 mph and saw it consistently work 82-85 with good arm-side life. He created good angle to his fastball low in the zone with some heavy action to the pitch. His curveball is a very raw secondary offering throwing in the low-60s with 11-to-5 shape and obvious arm deceleration. With the development of a second and third pitch, his command should allow Knorr to continue to be effective on the mound.

– Matt Czechanski

Perennially extremely talented at every level, the 15u Marucci Elite Black squad won a close 3-2 victory over MSI Bubba 2019 grad on Monday morning in a hotly-contested pool play game.

Listed primarily as a third baseman, this evaluator believes that Chase DeJean (2019, La.) has a pretty bright future on the mound, due to the raw tools with which he pitches and the potential upside that could be unlocked with continued instruction on the mound. He has a very raw delivery that doesn’t even really incorporate his lower half yet as well as an arm action that includes significant recoil. With all that being said, DeJean threw a complete game victory with nine strikeouts, allowing only a single earned run, one walk and two hits. He worked 81-84 for the majority of the game, topping at 85 mph, from a body and frame that have both significant athleticism and projection. He absolutely pounded the strike zone with a three-pitch mix, including a swing-and-miss curveball and a relatively consistent changeup. The draw here is the ceiling, which has the potential to be vast.

Marucci leadoff hitter and second baseman Carson Jones (2019, La.) looked good in both spots on Monday, showing quality range to both sides in the middle infield with a quick enough release to where the arm strength plays up. At bat, the stroke is quick and compact with good plate coverage and raw bat-to-ball skills. He stays back on spin well and will go the other way, and for the most part is comfortable squaring up pitches all throughout the hitting zone, and is a good runner once underway as well.

Righthanded pitcher Chandler Murphy (2019, Ariz.) may have had a bit of a coming out party on Monday afternoon, as the 6-foot-3, 185-pound native Arizonian bumped as high as 89 mph with his fastball and showed a very quick arm en route to a 9-0 victory on the mound. He pitched more in the 83-86 mph range, but throws a very nearly low three-quarters arm slot, generating good arm-side life on the pitch and still maintaining downhill plane to the plate despite not really being on top of the ball. There’s some effort in the delivery, but it’s not what one would call violent, and he seemed to repeat it well. There’s a lot of natural heaviness on the ball, and when he’s not missing bats he’s doing a good job of missing barrels. He also showed good feel for his slider, sharper in the mid-70s, with tilting shape, and also mixed in a good changeup, deceptive out of the hand with good arm speed. His body and arm both project well, giving him a legitimate upside in addition to quality present stuff.

The designated hitter in this game, Jose Gutierrez (2018, Texas), is also a quality catching prospect and is extremely physical at 6-foot-2, 210-pounds. His most damage is done in the lefthanded batter’s box, however, where he went 2-for-3 with five RBI and a mammoth, rising line drive grand slam to right field that got out of Perry Park in a hurry. It’s an extremely physical, extremely strong lefthanded swing, with solid bat speed and big-time leverage at contact, built to hit the ball into the air with authority. He added a hard shot RBI single later in the game, and definitely looks the part of a future middle-of-the-order collegiate threat.

Shortstop Caden Miller (2019, Calif.) is committed to San Diego State, and looks the part of a future middle infielder and top-of-the-order hitter at the next level. With a short, compact stroke that covers the plate well and is built for line drive contact to all fields, he keeps his hands inside the ball and is comfortable working to all fields. He also shows a very quick release defensively, with clean footwork to both sides and good range, and at this very early stage of his projection and development, looks to be a quality shortstop at the next level as well.

The Scorpions 2019 Prime cruised to a 20-0 victory on Monday evening, and did so by pounding out 16 hits—including eight doubles—to go along with seven walks. Sean Goodwin (2019, Fla.) won the run-rule shortened game for the Scorps by throwing three shutout innings, striking out seven and allowing only a single hit. He worked in the 80-83 mph range with his fastball and projects somewhat moving forward, from an extra-large, extremely physical frame. He mixed in a quality slider with tilting shape as well, and the pitch acted more as a change of pace offering than a bat-misser, but it was effective nonetheless.

Several Scorpions hitters stood out in various ways, which isn’t exactly a shock given their offensive explosion. Brooks Rikeman (2019, Pa.) shows some serious bat speed and projectable power, drilling a pair of doubles and collecting three RBI. A native Pennsylvanian, he looks to be a future threat behind the plate both in terms of offense and defense.

Connor Walsh (2019, Fla.) went 2-for-3 with a double and three RBI, and his combination of bat speed, present build, athleticism and extremely projectable frame is very intriguing, as he projects to have some legitimate power at the next level in addition to maintaining his middle-of-the-diamond twitch and athleticism.

– Brian Sakowski

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