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Tournaments | Story | 10/17/2016

2013 Jupiter College Standouts

Patrick Ebert        
Photo: Perfect Game


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Each and every year the WWBA World Championship is full of impact talent and provides a preview of the future stars of Major League Baseball. The Roger Dean Complex in Jupiter, Fla. hosts the annual event which is largely considered to be the most heavily scouted event in all of amateur baseball.

Take a quick scan of the rosters of the teams that are still competing in the playoffs and you'll find several players who competed at a high level on the very same Jupiter fields when they were still in high school. Francisco Lindor of the Indians, Josh Donaldson of the Blue Jays, Kris Bryant of the Cubs and Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers is just a very small sampling of the star power this event provides.

That talent subsequently carries over to the college level as well, and every year I like to look back at past Jupiter participants that are now playing at the college level who also will help form the next wave of future MLB talent. 
This season marks the 11th year that I have assembled such a team. Players included in past entries include Donaldson, Bryant, Alex Bregman, Buster Posey, Bryce Harper, Gerrit Cole, Lance Lynn, Stephen Strasburg and Trea Turner, again, just to name a few.

To visit the past features, year-by-year, click on the following links:

2006 2007 2008 2009 2010
2011 2012 2013 2014 2015


Catcher

J.J. Schwarz, Florida
Cardinals Scout Team/FTB Chandler, 2013; Palm Beach Select, 2012

Schwarz set the bar pretty high during his freshman year in college, hitting .332-18-73 while serving as the cleanup hitter for a Florida team that advanced deep into the College World Series. He picked it up a notch during the postseason that year, hitting .474 with four home runs and 13 RBI in just 10 games. While he didn't have as big of an impact during his sophomore season he still provides a big bat to contend with, and should continue to put up big numbers as a sophomore in the middle of a lethal lineup. He also has the potential to be a first-round pick in next year's draft, especially if his numbers closely mirror, or surpass, what he did as a freshman.

Schwarz' battery-mate at Florida, Mike Rivera (Florida Burn 2012-13), and Evan Skoug (Reds Midwest Scout Team, 2013; New England PG Kelly Green, 2012) provide an interesting depth of talent at the position. The two actually squared off against one another in the semifinals at the 2013 WWBA World Championship, with Rivera and the Burn advancing to face the EvoShield Canes in the championship. Skoug was named the MVP of the event that year for his dominant performance at the plate.


Pavin Smith, Palm Beach PAL, 2013
First Base

Pavin Smith, Virginia
Palm Beach PAL, 2013; Baseball U, 2012

Smith hit .421 in Jupiter in 2013 helping to guide a Palm Beach PAL squad that advanced to the quarterfinals before being knocked out of the tournament by the Florida Burn. Smith's smooth lefthanded swing has always been on display, with a very keen eye and the ability to drive the ball effortlessly to all parts of the field. While he's probably best suited for first base moving forward, where he likely will play for the Cavaliers in 2017, he has played left field as well, and also had promising two-way abilities on the mound while in high school with the ability to pump his fastball into the low-90s. Smith has enjoyed a very productive career in college and is one of the best pure hitters available for the 2017 MLB Draft.

K.J. Harrison of Oregon State (GBG Marucci, 2013), J.J. Matijevic of Arizona (Chandler Baseball, 2013, Mid-Atlantic PG Orange, 2012) make another appearance in this feature after being mentioned last year in the same space. Harrison provides versatility with experience behind the plate as well (where he may see more time in 2017) and Matijevic has played other positions on the infield as well.


Second Base

Dalton Guthrie, Florida
Florida Burn, 2012-13

Dalton Guthrie is the son of former big league pitcher Mark Guthrie, who also serves as the coach for the Florida Burn. Guthrie and current Gators teammate Mike Rivera served as the heart and soul for the middle of the Burn's lineup, and infield defense, for several years, and both received All-Tournament honors at the 2013 WWBA World Championship as they guided the Burn to a runner-up finish. Guthrie now serves as the leader of the Gators middle infield, along with Rivera behind the plate, but slides over to second base on this team as he did during his freshman year at Florida. While he doesn't possess a lot of power he shows a disciplined approach at the plate with a knack for making consistent contact and enough speed to make a difference on the basepaths.


Kevin Smith, Baseball U, 2013
Third Base

Joe Dunand, NC State
Marucci Elite, 2012-13

Dunand, the nephew of Alex Rodriguez, arrived on campus at NC State with an impressive background, graduating from high school as Perfect Game's 111th-ranked player from the high school class of 2014. Although he hit 20 extra-base hits during his freshman year he took a big step forward last spring, raising his batting average by nearly 80 points (.219 to .297) while also playing significantly improved infield defense. He carried that success over to the Cape this past summer and is poised for another big step forward in 2017 as he will look to guide the Wolfpack to the postseason for the third consecutive year after getting knocked out a year ago as a Regional host at the hands of the eventual champion Coastal Carolina Chanticleers.


Shortstop

Kevin Smith, Maryland
Baseball U, 2013

This is Smith's second consecutive year claiming the top shortstop spot of this annual exercise, and don't let his batting averages over his first two years at Maryland (.273 and .259) fool you, he's an up-and-coming all-around talent that could be a very high pick in next year's draft as a shortstop. He did have a huge summer on the Cape for the league champion Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox, and took his game to another level in the playoffs. Smith is the kind of player who makes the game look easy in all phases, with silky smooth actions on defense to go along with a quick righthanded bat at the plate with an overall profile similar to that of J.J. Hardy at similar points in their careers. Smith also was named a First Team Freshman All-American by Perfect Game in 2015 and is poised to add more accolades to his resume during his junior year.

Backing up all three infield positions would be North Carolina shortstop Logan Warmoth (Orlando Scorpions/Mets Scout Team, 2013; Orlando Scorpions Black, 2012), whose overall athleticism gives his intriguing versatility on the field.


Seth Beer, EvoShield Canes, 2015
Outfield

Seth Beer, Clemson
EvoShield Canes, 2015; Marucci Elite, 2013
Jeren Kendall, Vanderbilt
Reds Midwest Scout Team, 2013
Donovan Casey, Boston College
Tri-State Arsenal, 2013

If you had the opportunity to stack an outfield with this trio that would be a pretty fun group of players to watch. Considering Seth Beer was in Jupiter just one year ago playing for the champion EvoShield Canes is pretty remarkable, as what he did as a college freshman (.369-18-70), when he should have been a high school senior, is nearly unprecedented. As a result, he was a unanimous pick for Perfect Game's 2016 Freshman of the Year and also was considered for overall Player of the Year honors. Jeren Kendall is one of college baseball's most dynamic overall athletes who already has a knack for providing the Commodores with some big hits in their last two runs to Omaha. Last season not only did he hit .332, but he showed an exciting combination of power (16 doubles, 8 triples, 9 home runs) and speed (28 stolen bases). Casey may not have the name star-power at the college level that the other two possess but that could change next spring as he too is a good overall athlete with potential game-changing power. He is expected to enjoy a significantly more productive season as a junior.

Adam Haseley (Orlando Scorpions/Mets Scout Team, 2013; Orlando Scorpions Black, 2012) of Virginia and Quinn Brodey (GBG Marucci, 2013; Yak Baseball West, 2012) of Stanford would not only provide depth in the outfield but both would also provide valuable lefthanded arms on the mound as significant two-way contributors in college. The two are likely to continue their careers as position players at the next level given their high-level athleticism.


Utility

Brendan McKay, Louisville
DBacks Team BC, 2013

McKay was named Perfect Game's 2015 College Freshman of the Year and he followed up his huge freshman year with another All-American season, hitting .333-6-41 as Louisville's cleanup hitter while going 12-4 with a 2.30 ERA as the team's staff ace. While it is expected for him to continue his career as a lefthanded pitcher at the next level, some scouts believe his raw power potential might be his single-best tool. However, he can carve up opponents on the mound mixing and matching well with an upper-80s to low-90s fastball that peaks around 94 and a big-breaking curveball to keep opposing hitters guessing. With a career 21-7 record after just two seasons, McKay could close out his college career with 30 or more wins, putting himself in yet another distinguished category.

There is no shortage of talented two-way prospects in college that previously played in Jupiter. Adam Haseley and Quinn Brodey were mentioned among the outfielders, while South Carolina's Alex Destino (South Charlotte Panthers, 2012-13) and TCU's Luken Baker (CBA Marucci, 2013) both have power/power profiles similar to McKay's.


Kyle Wright, Midland Redskins, 2013
Starting Pitchers

Kyle Wright, Vanderbilt
Midland Redskins, 2013
Alex Faedo, Florida
Cardinals Scout Team/FTB Chandler, 2013
Colton Hock, Stanford
Toronto Blue Jays Scout Team, 2013; Mid-Atlantic PG Orange, 2012
Alex Lange, Louisiana State
Marucci Elite, 2013

This staff has some serious size and physicality, as Wright, Faedo and Hock are each listed at either 6-foot-4 or 6-foot-5 and 220-pounds, while Lange is more conservatively listed at 6-foot-3, 201-pounds. Each one has the body to sustain the rigors of starting every fifth day at the next level, although Hock has yet to start in college, at least full-time, although he's expected to do so during the 2017 season. Wright and Faedo enter the 2017 draft season as legitimate candidates to go with the No. 1 overall pick thanks to the combination of size, stuff and command each possesses, with the ability to reach the mid-90s while mixing in a potential dominant breaking ball, throwing strikes and effectively changing speeds. Hock has similar stuff but his command hasn't been as sound, not to mention his lack of experience starting games. Lange may be the most successful thanks to opening his college career 12-0 during his freshman year, although his ceiling isn't as high as the other three.

And again recognizing that Hock has been used primarily as a reliever during his first two year in college at Stanford, this quartet has collectively gone 59-20 with a 2.89 ERA, speaking to the productivity they have enjoyed prior to their junior years in school.

Picking just four starters for this team is never an easy task, as you could easily round out two more dominant staffs with the following pitchers:

Peter Solomon, Notre Dame (Victus/Tidewater Orioles, 2012-13)
David Peterson, Oregon (Cardinals Scout Team/FTB Chandler, 2012-13)
Mitch Hart, Southern California (Marucci Elite, 2013)
Clarke Schmidt, South Carolina (Team Elite, 2012-13)
Corbin Martin, Texas A&M (Houston Banditos, 2013)
Brady Singer, Florida (Chet Lemon's Juice, 2012-14)
Zach Warren, Tennessee (South Florida Bandits, 2013; PG Crimson Bandits)

Mitchell Traver, TCU (Houston Heat, 2010-11)


Relief Pitcher

Dylan Moore, Louisiana-Lafayette
D-BAT, 2013

Moore has enjoyed a very successful beginning to his college career, as he was named a First-Team Freshman All-American in 2015 and followed that up with Third-Team National All-American honors last year. After his freshman year it seemed as though he would be hard-pressed to replicate, much less improve upon his dominant numbers (1.60 ERA, 13 saves), but that's exactly what he did by recording 14 saves while going 6-1 with a 0.91 ERA. Collectively he is 9-4 as the Ragin' Cajuns closer over the last two years with 27 saves, a sparkling 1.26 ERA (only 14 earned runs allowed in 100 1/3 innings) and a 109-to-31 strikeout-to-walk ratio. His stuff has also taken a step forward since peaking at 84 mph for D-BAT at the WWBA World Championship, now regularly attacking hitters with low-90s heat.

Moore got the nod among the "starters" given his dominance in the closing role over his first two years for ULL, but Tyler Johnson (Richmond Braves, 2013) of South Carolina, Chad Luensman (Mid-Atlantic PG Orange, 2014) of Nebraska and Durbin Feltman (Houston Heat, 2013) of TCU are all worthy of closing games given the success they each enjoyed during the 2016 season.

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