Tournaments | Story | 7/25/2016

17u PGWS Day 4 Scout Notes

David Rawnsley         Gabe Ortiz        
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Infielder Ashton McGee (2017, Goldsboro, N.C.) has quietly had an outstanding tournament, getting at least one hit in all five EvoShield Canes wins and going 8-for-15 with three doubles and a triple for the tournament.  The lefthanded hitter and North Carolina commit went 3-for-4 with a double in the Canes 7-5 come-from-behind win over Premier Baseball Futures Sunday.  The key to McGee's swing, aside from the strength in his 6-foot-1, 200-pound build, is that he keeps his barrel on plane with the ball for an exceedingly long time through the zone.  He mostly works the middle of the field and had two hits up the middle on Sunday, but also pulled a double down the right field line as well.  McGee projects as a third baseman at the next level and scouts, especially under the present signing rules, have shown the tendency to let players with McGee's tools profile go to college.  If that happens, McGee would be one of this scout's picks to re-emerge in the 2020 as a Nick Senzel-type player and a potential first round draft choice.

In Saturday’s scouting notebook (as linked above), we highlighted the Canes second baseman Jeremy Arocho (2017, Glen Burnie, Md.) and his ability to execute on the baseball field.  He did it again on Sunday in spectacular fashion.  The diminutive Arocho came to the plate with the bases loaded and two outs in the top of the seventh inning with the Canes down 5-4.  He quickly went down 0-2 in the count before fouling off a pitch.  Arocho then launched a missile double over the center fielder's head for a bases-clearing double.  EvoShield's spirit in fighting back from a 5-1 deficit after already having clinched a playoff berth was noteworthy.

Center fielder Kamron Fields (2017, Garland, Texas) of the Dallas Patriots is one of the most interesting athletes in Mesa this week.  The 6-foot-3, 185-pound speedster has a high-waisted, long-legged build that is extremely projectable.  Fields is a two-sport athlete as a duel threat quarterback and has reportedly turned down football offers from programs as prominent as Iowa in order to commit to Texas to play baseball.  He has shown outstanding range in center field on defense and has a plus throwing arm that produced a 92 mph fastball at the recent 17u WWBA National Championship (he was up to 88 mph in a two-inning outing on Saturday here).  One area that Fields will have to improve in, although he had an RBI double on Sunday, is his approach at the plate.  A righthanded hitter, Fields hits from a pretty still hand start with a limited lower half shift into contact.  It's a hand/upper body driven swing and Fields' hands, while quick, just aren't strong enough to hit like that at this stage of his baseball career.

North East Baseball got a complete game three-hitter Sunday from lefthander Elijah Davis (2017, Shawnee, Okla.) in a 5-1 win over Elite Squad and finished pool play with a 3-2 record.  The 5-foot-9, 155-pound Davis, who is committed to Kansas, worked in the 85-88 mph range with his fastball and threw a big low-70s curveball about 30 percent of the time to keep the Elite Squad hitters off balance.

The San Gabriel Valley Arsenal also finished pool play with a tidy 3-2 record with a 5-0 win over Team California Warriors and got a very similar pitching performance from righthander Ryan Rodriguez (2017, Upland, Calif.).  Rodriguez threw five shutout innings, allowing only two hits while striking out six, and working in that same 85-88 mph range with a solid curveball as his second pitch.  Rodriguez is a 4.0 student according to the PG records and does not have a present college commitment.

Baseball Northwest outfielder Kevin Watson Jr. (2017, Beaverton, Ore.) was highlighted earlier in the tournament for his speed and defense in center field.  The recent Oregon State commit also stood out at the plate, going 9-for-17 with three triples, six RBI and seven runs scored.  The lefthanded hitter also didn't strike out once in 21 plate appearances.

Another player mentioned earlier but warrants mention again is uncommitted Select Academy Sun Devils third baseman Brett Cain (2017, China Grove, Texas).  The 6-foot-5 lefthanded hitter blasted a home run on Sunday and finished the tournament 9-for-18 at the plate with eight runs scored from his leadoff spot.  Like Watson, Cain did not register a strikeout in 20 plate appearances.

– David Rawnsley

Baseball Northwest righthander Andrew Zmuda (2017, Boise, Idaho) was impressive in only his second outing ever at a PG event, striking out five hitters in five innings and breaking numerous bats with a hard running fastball that worked in the upper-80s and topped out at 91 mph.  The 6-foot-3, 187-pound Idaho product also showed two solid secondary pitches in a mid-70s curveball that induced some swing and misses, plus a respectable 80 mph changeup.  Zmuda does not have a college commitment according to the PG records.

CBA Marucci outfielder Kenny Oyama (2017, El Segundo, Calif.) may be  very small in stature, but he is huge contributor to the success of CBA this weekend. Oyama is a little ball of dynamite and energy at a generously listed 5-foot-6, 150-pounds   An ideal leadoff hitter, Oyama shows tremendous awareness of the strike zone, works deep into counts regularly and is tough to keep off the basepaths. When the future Loyola Marymount Lion is on base he is on the move early and often.  Oyama displays off-the-charts baseball IQ, whether it is taking an extra base as a trail runner, reading balls in the dirt or staying in a run down long enough to advance a lead runner.  His bunt game is very strong with both drag and push being high level, with ability to get in a dig around 4.0-seconds.  On defense he covers gap-to-gap from center field with ease.

GBG Marucci middle infielder Kevin Kendall (2017, La Mirada, Calif.) is a solid piece in an already loaded GBG infield.  Kendall displayed his defensive prowess on Sunday showing clean actions on both sides of the second base bag. At shortstop, the UCLA commit has good reactions and a quick first step.  Kendall’s approach is excellent with his feet in constant motion, allowing him to get good hops and work through the ball in rhythm.  He showed good lateral movement and the aptitude to make all throws from the position. At the plate Kendall possesses a real simple approach.  The lefty has quiet set up with a linear load that always seems to stay balanced with good back-side rotation and a balanced finish.  He showed a line drive plane and knack for high contact rate with the ability to use the whole field.

North East Baseball infielder Chris Lanzilli (2017, Stoneham, Mass.) showed a strong hit tool by constantly making hard contact Sunday. He has a stance very similar to Albert Pujols with a slight crouch, a wide base and a vertical bat.  The Wake Forrest commit has an inward knee trigger load to activate his lower half and unloads his back side without leaking. Lanzilli’s power comes from his hip and shoulder separation for torque.  His bat gets in on plane early with slight lift and good bat speed.  Lanzilli swings with intent without having a big swing-and-miss tendency.

– Gabe Ortiz

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