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Tournaments | Story | 7/26/2016

PG EvoShield Scout Notes

Jheremy Brown      Matt Czechanski     
Photo: Perfect Game

Day 1-2 Notes

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If I told you Trejyn Fletcher (Portland, Maine) was entering his freshman year you probably would think I meant in college based off his physicality. But that would be incorrect as he’ll just be entering his freshman year of high school where he’ll immediately stand out for his physical 6-foot-1, 170-pound build and athletic prowess.

A three-sport standout, Fletcher, like most young players, still has some refining to do to his overall game, but with what he’s already showing and what he could grow into, the end result could be flat out scary. I got my first look at Fletcher last week at an event where he showed no problem back spinning home runs during batting practice on a college level field with the type of bat speed you take note of quickly. He’s continued to do damage while at LakePoint and opened up his tournament with a triple that registered 99 mph off the barrel according to TrackMan, and proceeded to swing it well Monday afternoon. Aggressive, and successful, early in the count during his team’s first game, Fletcher connected for a triple that burned the center fielder on the second pitch he saw and then singled up the middle on the first pitch of his second at-bat.

While there are some timing mechanisms to his swing that he will continue to tinker with, which will lead to a consistent path through the zone, there’s little denying the overall strength and sheer athleticism Fletcher possesses. A talent that college coaches look for and don’t often find at such a young age, Fletcher also showed well at the hot corner, though I’ve also seen him play in the outfield where his speed really comes to life. At third base on Monday he made a few plays that you don’t typically see in a 15u game as he lets his pure athleticism take over to get the job done. One such play that exemplified this quality was on a chopped ground ball which he picked with soft hands, stopped, and ran back to the bag complete with a head first dive to nearly get the lead runner who strayed too far off. In the same inning he came charging in on a slow roller showing off both balance and quickness to his feet, as well as big arm strength as evidence by the 86 mph fastball he showed earlier this spring. If you’re looking for an exciting young prospect, look no further.

I wrote about Clemson commit and 2018 righthander Davis Sharpe (Dacula, Ga.) just a week or two ago, and though he didn’t show the same type of overall command he did show an uptick in velocity early on, just as we all thought would be coming. Opening up and sitting comfortably in the 88-90 mph range, touching a couple of 91s, Sharpe continues to add to his fastball and there’s little reason to believe there won’t be another solid jump or two by the time he graduates. Already standing tall on the mound with an ideal pitcher’s build of 6-foot-3, 195-pounds, Sharpe projects as well as any on a talented East Cobb Colt .45 team and offers plenty of potential. After a leadoff walk forced him to work out of the stretch for most of the first and second innings, Sharpe continued to show the solid velocity, and when he was on time through the backside and on top of the ball he showed pretty consistent cut action to his fastball, the type of life that if he can harness will make his present velocity play up more than it already does. His delivery is simple and fairly compact without many moving parts, complete with a quick and clean arm action, a couple of factors that help spin a quality breaking ball. A cross between a slider and curveball at times, the 78-80 mph pitch mimics the fastball out of his hand with late and hard biting life, some occasionally showing tilt while others offer more depth and 11-to-5 shape.

One team that did get a game in again at the complex was the East Cobb Colt .45s, who sent uncommitted 2018 righthander Stephen Szucs (Marietta, Ga.) to the mound. With a long and lean 6-foot-2, 175-pound frame Szucs obviously projects moving forward with physical strength gains, but he already shows solid stuff on the mound. His arm action resembles that of a whip as it’s plenty long and loose through the back side, and he produced a fastball that sat comfortably in the 83-85 mph range for his couple innings of work. He continuously pounded the strike zone and proved capable of missing bats while mixing in a short sweeping slider in the upper-60s from a similar arm slot.

Georgia Southern commit and 2017 graduate Nolan Tressler (Canton, Ga.) has been mentioned in recaps throughout the summer and he’s worth mentioning once again. He’s strongly built at 5-foot-9, 175-pounds and packs that same type of strength in his lefthanded stroke as he loads with plenty of intent and comes through the zone with solid bat speed. In his first at-bat of the day he did a nice job of getting extended on an outer half pitch and drove it down the left field line for a barreled, stand up double.

Another member of the Team Elite West squad who’s been a familiar face in Perfect Game events is 2017 middle infielder Ivan Johnson (Atlanta, Ga.). A recent participant of the National Showcase and a top-100 ranked prospect – No. 67 to be exact – Johnson has shown a nice handle for the barrel in the handful of bats I’ve seen, most of which have been lefthanded. Though there’s some length to his stroke his hands have proven to be quick enough with steady barreled contact back up the middle.

He’s yet to play in a high school game but young 2020 lefthander Jeff Extor (Swarthmore, Pa.) has already made a name for himself on the travel circuits and college coaches will be certain to get their looks over the next couple of years. Already listed at 5-foot-10, 170-pounds, Extor has broad shoulders and is built stronger than your typical player who just completed his eighth grade year of school.

While the release point and overall delivery are a bit inconsistent from pitch to pitch, almost to be expected with a pitcher this young, his arm action remained very loose and full through the back side, which helped regularly produce advanced velocity. Up to 86 mph with his fastball early in the game, Extor worked comfortably in the low-80s throughout my look and showed no problem reaching back for an extra tick when he needed it. When he stayed on line with his front side and was on time with his arm stroke the ball showed an extra gear towards the plate with solid angle to the bottom of the zone. As with most arms his age Extor was able to get by working mostly off of his fastball, though he did flash a handful of breaking balls in the mid-60s that showed nice potential with short depth out of the hand.

Opposing Extor was the Madison County Thunder 15u club based out of Mississippi and one of the players who caught my eye out on the field was actually their youngest player in 2021 shortstop Tyler Davison (Brandon, Miss.). Looking both taller and stronger than his listed 5-foot-4, 140-pound build, Davison showed no hesitation in turning around an 81 mph fastball showing off quick hands and a direct path which solid intent in each and every swing. And it was actually his play on defense that first stood out as he was the team’s starting shortstop and showed off nice actions to go along with solid arm strength across the diamond.

Another player who won’t enter high school for another year but is already making noise on the diamond is righthanded pitcher and shortstop Nicholas Bitsko (Doylestown, Pa.), who like the rest of the Mid Atlantic Red Sox South team at the 13u level of the event could really hit and consistently barreled balls up. And while Bitsko did his fair share of driving balls to all fields, the already 6-foot-2, 170-pound righthander impressed on the mound despite not having his best command. In a quick one-inning look he sat comfortably in the 83-85 mph range showing off a fast arm and occasional cut action to the glove side. He also showed a feel for some off-speed despite his age, throwing a changeup at 77 mph, which like his fastball showed cutting life, and a curveball in the upper-60s, which he did a nice job of maintaining his arm speed while generating short life.

– Jheremy Brown

As the last round of pool play and the playoffs kicked off during the 17u PG EvoShield Classic several quality uncommitted prospects taking the field.

Before their late night playoff game, Mission Team Baseball sent out primary catcher Will Hardigree (2017, Ga.) to the mound. The uncommitted Hardigree threw from a short, compact arm action with intent towards the plate. He stands at 6-foot, 185-pounds with a compact lower half and good present strength. His delivery worked very up-tempo on the mound with good arm strength working his fastball up to 88 mph. His fastball worked with true action up in the zone, but in the 83-85 mph velocity band it showed better heaviness and sink. His command was questionable, missing up in the zone and finding barrels when not located properly. Hardigree also showed a fringy curveball as well on the mound with short break and 11-to-5 shape that worked in the mid-70s.

On an adjacent field, the Triton Rays sent out recently reclassified righthander Evan Baber (2018, Ala.). The converted infielder showed a longer arm action on the mound with a slight hook through the back, but came through it well. His arm strength on the mound showed well working up to 90 mph and sitting between 85-88 mph. He showed the ability to get the pitch to both sides with good arm-side life when working on top of it. More impressively than his fastball, Baber showed good feel for spin with a tight slider up to 80 mph. He drops his slot from his normal three-quarters for the pitch, but replicates his arm speed well. The pitch showed good, tight spin and Baber got it over for strikes when need be, or buried it low and out of the zone. He missed plenty of bats and kept a talented Team Elite West team guessing at the plate. With the ability to work around the zone with his fastball, he set up his power slider well. Baber struck out six batters in his three scoreless innings on the mound.

A playoff-implicated game took place on the opposite quad in the following time slot between the Ninth Inning Royals Radcliff and the Georgia Jackets. Outfielder Baron Radcliff (2017, Ga.) continued to show off his upper echelon athleticism on the field. He stands at 6-foot-4, 212-pounds with present strength already, but room to continue to add more. The two-sport star is still a bit raw on the field, but will flash his overall potential. His bat speed is vicious through the zone with very quick hands albeit a longer swing path. Radcliff roped a double down the line in his first at-bat of the day with an easy 4.60 time on the turn around first base. As he continues to earn more at-bats, he will continue to see his swings fluidity and timing improve.

The starter for Ninth Inning was uncommitted righthander David Johnson (2017, Ga.). Johnson showed incredible athleticism on and off the mound and is riddled with physical projection listed at 6-foot-2, 170-pounds. Johnson uses a very short stride to the plate and lands closed, getting most of his velocity from his above average arm speed. He throws from a quick, compact delivery with good quickness downhill. His fastball sat comfortably between 87-91 mph and hit 92 in the first inning. When he worked on top of the pitch and finished it, it showed very impressive arm-side life. Unfortunately for Johnson, he left the ball up for much of his outing and had to battle through several innings. He did hold his velocity well, which was encouraging given the head violence and effort in the delivery. Johnson’s curveball worked in the low-70s, slowing his arm for the pitch with softer bend and shape. He generated much better extension for the curveball, coming through the ball and landing online. He also showed a changeup in the mid-70s with good arm-side fade, but did not show confidence in the pitch with two strikes. As he improves his hand speed and generates additional feel for spin, Johnson will see his fastball play up due to the threat of the curveball and changeup.

Making continuous loud contact off of Johnson for the Georgia Jackets was outfielder Jason Rooks (2017, Ga.). The Georgia Tech commit starts with a wider, open base with a toe tap timing mechanism. His hand-set is slightly stiff with a deeper load back, but comes through the zone well with authority. There is impact off the barrel at contact as he collected a pair of extra-base hits to the left-center field gap both leaving the bat at 90-plus mph. The strength in Rooks’ frame is prevalent with good torque through his lower half and separation. Both hits for Rooks were both coming off 88-plus mph fastballs from Johnson and showed little trouble turning around velocity.

Turning in some of the loudest contact of the day was Duke commit, outfielder Steve Mann (2017, Mich.). Mann very quickly made his presence known with a two-run shot on the first pitch of his at-bat in the first inning. His hands exploded into the zone with a positive launch angle and good bat speed. He fired his lower half well to the ball, creating leverage and torque with impressive intent. He followed that up in the bottom of the seventh with the game tied and a pair of runners on to club another homer, this one to left-center field. The ball left the bat at 100 mph and went 390 feet. Mann’s strength in his frame is very well leveraged and his hands work well inside with the aforementioned torque and drive through his lower half.

Furman commit, lefthander Matthew Lazzaro (2017, Ga.) took the rubber for 643 DP Cougars Pralgo in their quarterfinal game. Lazzaro has a medium build with average strength in his 6-foot, 175-pound frame with room to continue to fill out. Lazzaro’s arm action was long through the back with a hook at the end of his circle, but very quick downhill. His fastball worked in the 84-87 mph range and up to 88 mph with good angle towards the plate. There was some spine tilt into his delivery and he threw from a lower three quarter arm slot. He cut his extension down the mound with a closed landing and working over his front side. Lazzaro showed some feel for a changeup with late arm-side fade in the mid-70s. He also showed a curveball in the upper-60s to low-70s with very soft bend that he slowed his arm for. He relied more on locating his stuff, with most of his misses coming out of the zone arm side, throwing 67 percent of his pitches for strikes. He allowed only one hit and struck out six batters over seven sterling innings to help the Cougars advance.

Recently named PG All-American, outfielder Drew Waters (2017, Ga.), played in the same game as Lazzaro, hitting third and playing center field. In his first at-bat swinging from the left side, the switch-hitting Waters got fully extended for a double he flicked down the right field line. Waters has exceptional hand-eye coordination allowing him to wait back with a slightly unorthodox hand load. His hands come straight back from a slightly crouched stance, but get through very well on a dug in front foot. Waters’ ability to make consistent contact will help carry his offensive profile with good bat speed and the ability to do so from both sides of the plate.

A surprise of the evening was uncommitted lefthander Ethan Lindow (2017, Ga.) who pitched for Team DeMarini GA National. Lindow stands highly projectable at 6-foot-2, 175-pounds with long limbs and present athleticism. He threw from a higher three-quarters arm slot with a longer arm action, deep plunge and hook in the back. He got through the back well with good arm speed down the mound working his fastball up to 90 mph. Lindow held his velocity in the upper-80s well, generating good, riding life to the pitch. He lands closed down the mound, but manages to come up with continuous readings of seven-plus feet of extension on his fastball. The perceived velocity on his fastball helped it appear quicker, jumping inside on hitters. His best off-speed pitch was his changeup thrown up to 78 mph with good, late tumble. The pitch was his go-to with two strikes and gave him a legitimate put away pitch. Lindow also used a show-me curveball thrown in the upper-60s with 11-to-5 shape. His command was spotty as the game moved on, but Lindow opened up getting to both sides of the plate and challenging hitters. The swings and misses came on the changeup, with seven over 3 2/3 shutout innings on the mound.

Recent Georgia Tech commit, lefthander Luke Bartnicki (2018, Ga.), came in for the East Cobb Colt .45’s after a rain delay to help secure their spot in the semifinals on Tuesday morning. Bartnicki still remains highly projectable, listed at 6-foot-3, 190-pounds with plus athleticism in his frame. He works with a heavy crossfire element in his delivery, starting on the first base side of the rubber and coming even closer to the bag down the mound. He uses a longer arm action with some stiffness into a soft hook. The ball comes out very clean out of his hand with easy velocity in the upper-80s and hit 90 mph with big arm-side life. Bartinicki threw almost exclusively fastballs on the mound over his three innings where he struck out four batters in three innings. His secondary pitch was a short breaking slider in the low-80s. His stuff was not as electric as it has been in previous events, but was still impressive.

– Matt Czechanski

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