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Tournaments  | Story  | 10/24/2016

World Championship Day 4 Notes

David Rawnsley      Matt Czechanski      Kevin Schuver      Vincent Cervino     
Photo: Perfect Game

Day 1 Notes | Day 2 Notes | Day 3 NotesDaily Leaders | TrackMan Live

Hagen Danner (2017, Calif.) got the ball for the EvoShield Canes in their playoff matchup with Team Citius on Sunday morning, and neither he nor the game itself disappointed in any way. Danner went 4 2/3 innings on 64 pitches, striking out five and allowing three runs (two earned) via three hits and a walk. Danner has been on the prep prospect radar seemingly forever, and as a member of a high profile high school team (Huntington Beach), a high profile travel team (EvoShield Canes) and as a member of Team USA. As a result there have been no shortages of opportunities to evaluate him. He worked consistently at 90-93 mph with his fastball, utilizing a long and full arm stroke through the back, with clean acceleration to a traditional three-quarters arm slot. He generates above average arm speed with whip to the path, and does a good job creating angle to the plate over his front side. The fastball features heavy arm-side life, and early on he did a good job of commanding it down in the zone to both sides. His curveball has been well documented as an advanced offering over the year, and it showed its usual sharpness and action on Sunday. It will vary in shape from time to time but at its best shows two-plane snap with very good spin, and he was able to throw it both for a strike and as a chase pitch.

Opposing Danner the starter for Team Citius was Devin Ortiz (2017, N.J.) was equally good in terms of results, pitching a gutsy five innings while striking out six and allowing three runs on five hits and two walks. Ortiz is an advanced pitcher in terms of feel and pitchability, working with four pitches that he could throw for strikes, and aside from a few mistakes he was able to keep an extremely potent Canes team off balance throughout his start. Ortiz is a physically impressive prospect, with projection as well as present strength, and he uses that strength and athleticism offensively as well, where he’s a legitimate hitting prospect with good raw power. On the mound, he worked 86-90 mph with his fastball, a pitch that featured good running life to the arm side as well as some heaviness when down. The curveball and slider both showed some sharpness with varying degrees of tilting shape while his changeup can be a swing-and-miss pitch to lefthanded hitters.

Jordon Adell (2017, Ky.) is largely considered to be one of the more toolsy, freakishly athletic prospects of the past several years, and the strides he has made with his bat over the summer and into the fall have scouts salivating over his overall future potential. He’s at least a plus runner, with a double-plus arm from right field and double-plus raw power from the right side of the plate, with near elite bat speed to match it. He’s done a better job over the last several months in terms of offensive development, staying on the ball more consistently with his front shoulder and seems to recognize spin better out of the pitchers’ hand. He’s more than capable of driving the baseball with more exit velocity and carry than pretty much any other amateur player in the country, including driving the ball effortlessly over the center fielder’s head for an easy double. The continued progression of his hit tool, in conjuction with the other extremely loud tools and athleticism, give him a seemingly endless upside.

EvoShield won their first playoff game on Sunday morning, and as such moved onto the next rounds where they ended up falling to CBA Marucci. It’s possible that no one has done a better job of moving up the draft rankings list over the course of the last several months than Chris McMahon (2017, Pa.), who started on the mound for the Canes. McMahon went five innings for the Canes, allowing three runs (two earned) on five hits and no walks, while striking out six hitters. He worked an easy 92-94 mph in the first inning, with good running life and command down in the zone, then settled in at 90-93 mph. His changeup is the better of his secondary offerings at this point, with good fading life out of the hand without any noticeable drop in arm speed, and he also flashed a legitimate swing-and-miss breaking ball with sharpness and depth. He’s had an extremely good summer and fall, and has vaulted himself up into early draft consideration.

Tyler Hardman (2017, Calif.) had one of the most consistent swings of the event, consistently barreling up the baseball with authority and power, driving the ball either on a line or deep with carry, and his physicality is that of a big-time righthanded power hitter. He’s extremely strong, and that strength plays well in his swing, with the bat speed necessary to get the barrel out on 90-plus mph velocities, and the feel to hit necessary to wait back on breaking balls and drive them as well.

Daniel Ritcheson (2017, Calif.) got the victory for CBA, allowing only a single run over four frames allowing only one hit and three walks while punching out four. He’s a very physical prospect with lots of arm strength, touching 95 mph early on before settling in at 88-92 mph, reaching back for 93-94 when he wanted it throughout his 62-pitch outing. His arm is very long and very loose, and while the length of the stroke can cause some timing issues in terms of body synchronization, for the most part he was on time and downhill with heavy life. His curveball showed 11-to-5 shape with good depth at its best, and should round into an above average pitch for him as he continues to develop spin and sharpness on it, while his changeup flashed legitimate fading life to the arm side.

Kumar Rocker (2018, Ga.) is the No. 1 prospect in the class of 2018 for a reason, and he continued to show why on Sunday for Team Elite. Rocker gave up one hit and a pair of walks over his three frames, striking out seven hitters and showing just as dominant of stuff as we’ve seen dating back to last year. The arm is extremely loose and works well with plus arm speed, working 90-94 mph with his fastball, and the pitch — as always — featured very good late life down in the zone to the arm side. He’s obviously extremely physical, but what sets him apart from other giant human beings with arm strength is the fact that he’s highly athletic with the body control needed to repeat his delivery and the looseness/arm speed necessary to project even more velocity into the future. His breaking ball flashed above average, with sharp, tilting two-plane snap, missing bats with ease and commanding it pretty well for the most part. The sky is the limit here, but that’s nothing new.

In what was a pretty nice surprise, the Astros Scout Team/FTB club sent out native Dominican Starlyn Castillo to the mound in relief for their consolation game on Sunday afternoon. The extremely young (2020 graduation age) righthander worked 89-92 mph with his fastball, showing a very loose arm action with good arm speed, flashing riding life to the arm side up in the zone and the type of arm speed and projectability than could equate to big-time velocity in the future. He’s nearing physical maturation, but has very good size to begin with, and should only get stronger. He also showed the ability to spin a slider pretty well, getting to the side of it at times but certainly flashing as an average pitch at times in the low-80s with good biting action.

– Brian Sakowski

The East Cobb Yankees had some big offensive contributions from some of the usual suspects, including shortstop Ryan Bliss (2018, Lagrange, Ga.) and Perfect Game All-American outfielder Kyle Jacobsen (2017, Acworth, Ga.), who enjoyed big games at the plate.

Bliss already has a very stellar reputation in part because he is one of the top defensive shortstops of the 2018 class. The Auburn commit is very smooth in the infield and exhibits quickness both in his transfer from glove to hand and with his release on throws. Bliss is extremely athletic and speedy as well. His speed shows well on the bases as he stole second base on an impressive 2.11 second pop time during Sunday’s action and also stole third base standing up. Bliss has a natural feel for hitting and with his quick hands and wrists is able to spray line drives to all fields with some back spin. He finished Sunday’s game going 3-for-3 with one run scored and three RBI. Bliss’ athleticism and strong set of tools continue to make him as one of the more impressive players for the class.

Jacobsen continued his strong campaign at Jupiter with a pair of hits during the East Cobb Yankees’ exhibition game early on Sunday. The South Carolina commit is both extremely athletic and projectable and brings a strong, five-tool package to the table. His calling card is his impressive speed and defensive ability in center field. Jacobsen continues to display good instincts on the basepaths while playing solid defense. On Sunday Jacobsen showed what he could do with the bat as well. Displaying some solid bat speed, he had multiple hits of 95-plus mph on the day including a single in the first inning that registered at 101 mph per TrackMan Baseball. Jacobsen figures to be a top high schooler among MLB draft boards and he continues to build his stock with strong performances.

With playoff action underway the pressure was on some teams to churn out strong performances from their pitching staffs. CBA Marucci was not unlike others, and, after a strong outing from their starter, turned to righthander Roman Phankalsar (2017, Edmond, Okla.) to down the three-time defending champion EvoShield Canes. The skinny righty is listed at 6-foot-2, 180-pounds and had a very easy release of the baseball. The Arizona commit pounded both corners of the plate with fastballs during his outing and worked primarily in the lower third of the zone. His fastball pitch sat in the 89-91 mph range during his time on the mound and the pitch had some life with a very high spin rate of around 2,800 RPM per TrackMan. Phankalsar mixed in a slurve-type pitch in the upper-70s which was not only effective as an off-speed pitch but was downright filthy at times. The pitch seemingly dove out of the strike zone with tilt and late break. Phankalsar’s arm action was pretty full through the back and pretty loose as he whipped his arm across, and his release point added to some movement on his pitches.

Starting on the mound for the Marlins Scout Team in their consolation game was righthander Austin Kelly (2017, Benton, Ark.) and he showed a strong presence on the mound during his short outing on Sunday. Although a bit undersized at 6-foot-1, he has some strength on his body with a quality frame for a pitcher. The Arkansas commit had a shorter arm action and delivered the baseball from a three-quarters arm slot. He had a very quick tempo on the mound, and, in conjunction with his tendency to attack hitters with fastballs, created an imposing presence on the mound. Kelly threw with some effort and his high, coiled leg kick loaded well and allowed his hips to fire forward. His fastball sat at 87-90 mph on the afternoon and he was able to generate some weak contact with the pitch. Kelly mixed in a few different pitches including a softer curveball in the low-70s with some depth to it.

Young righthander and legit two-way player Mateo Gil (2018, Keller, Texas) showed some promise both with the bat and on the mound for the Marlins Scout Team. Batting leadoff in the lineup, Gil has a very lean frame that is extremely projectable for physical growth. He showed a quick bat with a feel for barrel control and the ability to square up baseballs. Ranked No. 58 for the class of 2018, Gil hopped on the mound to close out the game on Sunday. He showed a more compact arm action with good arm speed and displayed some velocity from the hill. Gil has some lower half drive to propel him forward and his fastball sat at 88-90 mph in his one inning of work.

In the opposite dugout, catcher and three-hole hitter Spencer Smith (2017, Bahama, N.C.) oozed talent from the backstop and showed some big-time power potential with the bat. Smith has a very physical frame with a lot of strength on his body at 6-foot-1, 200-pounds. The East Carolina commit had an impressive, in-game pop time of 2.14 seconds to hose a speedy runner trying to advance to second base. Smith has a balanced stance, blocks well and showed some athletic actions at the position as well. Smith had two outstanding hits during Sunday’s actions. The first knock was a double over the center fielder’s head that had an exit velocity of 99 mph with an estimated distance of 323 feet per TrackMan. He showed a slightly open batting stance with a wide base and a deeper hand load. Smith has some bat speed and made loud contact off the barrel all game long while fitting nicely into a present power profile as well. Later in the game Smith launched a bases-clearing double to the left-center field gap that was roped with carry. Smith looks to be a quality player with above average power and providing it at a premium position.

In arguably the pitching performance of the day, righthander Antonio Menendez (2017, Herndon, Va.) tossed a complete game shutout to send the Dirtbags to the semifinals. The Wake Forest commit threw from a true sidearm arm slot and with some looseness as well. He would occasionally switch up his slot and throw from a three-quarters arm slot but he was at the sidearm slot for the majority of his outing. Menendez had outstanding command of his fastball and effectively spotted it on both sides of the plate. The pitch sat at 83-85 mph and topped out at 86 with some late bite to the arm side and sink. The number might be exaggerated, but it appeared that he broke at least four bats over the course of the game and it seemed that he could spot the pitch wherever he wanted it to go. Some of the best fastballs he threw were front door two-seam fastballs that froze lefthanded hitters on the inside part of the plate. Menendez mixed in a slower slider that was inconsistent at times, but was a true weapon when it was on as it had some late break downward.

– Vincent Cervino

When Sunday morning began, there were 32 teams hoping to wear the WWBA World Championship crown come Monday afternoon, but by night fall only four teams would retain that hope.

Starting righthanded pitcher Logan Jarosz (2018, Mebane, N.C). got the Dirtbags heading in the right direction with a complete game shutout early Sunday morning. The 6-foot, 160-pounder showed a full overhead arm swing with a deep arm circle prior to release from a high three-quarters arm slot. The Georgia Tech commits fastball sat between 87-90 miles per house with heavy sinking actions through the strike zone. Jarosz also flashed very good feel for a 11-to-5 curveball with tight rotation consistently generating 2,300 to 2,400 RPM. The future Yellowjacket has some effort to his delivery but was able to repeat his arm action allowing for good command to each edge of the plate. Jarosz completed five scoreless innings while allowing two hits and he struck out out 10 batters.

Davis Schneider (2017, Berlin, N.J.) gave the Dirtbags an offensive jolt in the bottom half of the first inning with a two-run blast to left field. The Dirtbags would go on to defeat the Upstate Mavericks by a score of 8-0 in a run-rule five-inning game.

The Homeplate Chilidogs and Padres Scout Team/Chandler World also met in a first round battle early Sunday morning. Padres Scout Team/Chandler World righthanded pitcher Cort Roedig (2018, Orlando, Fla.) has a highly projectable frame that shows promise to continue to fill out and add strength. The Georigia Tech commit’s fastball primarily sat between 86-90 mph with good sinking action down in the zone. Probably most impressive about Roedig’s outing was his ability to continue to add velocity as the game went on as he did not touch 90 mph until his third inning of work. The 6-foot-2, 170-pound righthander also has very good feel for his 10-to-4 curveball in the mid 70’s and has the confidence to show said curveball at any time in an at-bat.

Austin Gardner (2017, Fayetteville, Ga.) of the Homeplate Chilidogs has a very mature, physically developed frame. The Alabama State commit can absolute punish the baseball when he gets his hands extended at contact. The 6-foot-2, 190-pound outfielder hammered a line drive single to left field against the Padres Scout Team/Chandler World that left thes bat at 105 mph.

The Central Florida Gators and Twins Scout Team/Orlando Scorpions also met Sunday morning in one of the best amateur baseball games this scout has ever witnessed. Jack Leftwich (2017, Maitland, Fla.) and Mason Denaburg (2018, Merrit Island, Fla.) went head-to-head in a classic pitchers’ duel.

Leftwich, who has the frame of a future innings eater, created very good torque in his delivery producing slight front-side coil at gather. The 6-foot-3, 220-pound righthander was able to release that torque well and drive to the plate while staying on line throughout. The Florida Gators commit released from a high three-quarters arm slot that created a heavy running fastball between 89-91 mph. Leftwich’s slider was on point as well with 9-to-4 shape and hard, late tilt between 77-78 mph. He did not allow a single run or hit over his five innings of work while striking out four Central Florida Gators.

Leftwich and Ryan Dease (2017, Altamonte Springs, Fla.) combined to keep the Gators hitless through the first seven innings of the game.

Denaburg, a 6-foot-3, 190-pound righthanded pitcher was outstanding as well completing 3 2/3 innings allowing no runs on three hits while striking out four batters. Denaburg was mentioned for his pitching performance in a previous writeup this week, but this outing really featured the future Florida Gator’s pinpoint fastball control and devastating slider. Denaburg, once again sat between 88-92 mph with his fastball to each edge of the plate, while his slider flashed sharper tilt with more late sweep then we had seen in the past.

Denaburg was eventually relieved by lefthander Matthew Liberatore (2018, Peoria, Ariz.) who was also mentioned in a previous scouting recap. The 6-foot-4 lefthander showed the same long and loose three-quarters arm slot that produced a heavy fastball between 86-89 mph, but he did not seem to have the same sharpness to each side of the plate. Liberatore did however spin a very tight 1-to-7 curveball in the low-70s that consistently missed barrels and induced weak contact.

Conner Thurman (2018, SanTan Valley, Ariz.) was the next man in for the Central Florida Gators. The 6-foot-1, Arizona commit has a low three-quarters arm slot that generates severe run on his fastball that sat between 86-89 mph. The future Wildcat consistently drives his lower half online to the plate with the ability to easily repeat his arm action. Thurman’s 9-to-4 sweeping slider was the main weapon pitch used to produce five strikeouts in only 2 1/3 innings of work.

The Gators and Twins Scout Team remained locked at a 0-0 tie until Connor Ollio (2018, Renfrew, Pa.) broke the tie with a bases-loaded double to deep left-center field that left the bat at 90.4 mph in the top of the eighth inning. Twins Scout Team/ Scorpions would respond in the bottom half of the inning with three runs, including a two-run single by Raymond Gil (2017, Miami, Fla.) with two outs, to tie the score back up at 3-3. The Central Florida Gators would finally go on to win by a score of 4-3 thanks to a bases-loaded walk in the top half of the 10th inning.

Kyle Blendinger (2017, High Point, N.C.) and Sam Weatherly (2017, Howell, Mich.) of the Dirtbags combined for the win in a second round game against Team EvoShield.

Blendinger shows some effort while working to the plate from a high three-quarters arm slot. The 6-foot-2, 180-pound righthanded pitcher continuously pounded the bottom third of the strike zone thanks to his ability to wok over his front side and generate downward angle to the plate. The North Carolina commit will also drop down to a side arm to near submarine arm slot with his fastball offering that generates very good running action. Weatherly relieved Blendinger in the fifth and did not allow a single hit the rest of the way.

Weatherly, a University of Clemson commit, consistently works his fastball down in the strike zone between 85-88 mph with good life through the zone. The 6-foot-3 lefthanded pitcher creates very deceptive downhill angle to the plate with high energy actions on his fastball that flashed heavy actions through the zone as well. The loose-armed Weatherly is highly projectable and will continue to add velocity as he matures.

Alberto Gonzalez (2018, Laredo, Texas) appeared in relief for Team EvoShield against the Dirtbags. The 6-foot-1, 178-pound righthanded pitcher works very quickly on the mound with a tempo that keeps his defense constantly active. The uncommitted Gonzalez generated heavy running actions from a low three-quarters slot and sat between 86-89 mph on Sunday afternoon. Gonzalez primarily produced his velocity due to his excellent arm strength and whip. With future implementation of his lower half there is no reason not to believe that Gonzalez can consistently stay in the 90s with his fastball in the near future. The righthander also employed a changeup in the mid-70s that flashed good late fade with occasional sink to the arm side. Gonzalez’s did not allow a single hit or run while striking out two batters in his 4 1/3 inning of relief.

GBG Marucci righthander Blake Beers (2017, Manhattan Beach, Calif.) made an appearance in a quarterfinals matchup against the Midland Redskins late Sunday afternoon. The future Michigan Wolverine has a very smooth pace side step delivery and hid the baseball extremely up to his release point. Standing at 6-foot-5 and weighing in at 210-pounds, Beers has the physical frame of a typical righthanded power pitcher that any school would love to have. Beers fastball sat between 87-89 mph and consistently produced an arm extension rate of 6-foot-9 to 6-foot-10 at release. Beers kept the Redskins off balanced throughout his four innings of work thanks to his sharp 11-to-5 breaking ball and late cutting changeup, each of which showed a very similar arm action to that of his fastball offering. Beers’ two hit, seven strikeout performance would come up just short for GBG Marucci as they fell to the Midland Redskins by a score of 2-1.

– Kevin Schuver

Chain National's Carter Raffield (2018, Cochran, Ga.) threw four shutout innings to start the game against the strong AZ T-Rex lineup, striking out nine hitters. That would go to waste in the first round playoff game, as T-Rex came back to win 6-4 in nine innings, but Raffield was still very impressive. He has a very physically impressive build at 6-foot-5, 215-pounds and is an intimidating presence on the mound. Raffield's arm action is the type that scouts and pitching coaches alike normally worry about, with a big deep hand hook in back (think Rick Sutcliffe) but he works through it well, and more importantly, very consistently. After the hook in back, Raffield does a very good job of hiding the ball behind his big body and hitters don't get much of a look at the ball until it is coming through from a high three-quarters arm slot. That deception made Raffield's 89-92 mph fastball seem even faster, especially when he was riding it above hitters hands. Raffield's 78-80 mph slider had the makings of a second potential plus pitch with tight, hard spin and occasional deep curveball-like depth.

Raffield's Chain teammate, outfielder Josh Hatcher (2017, Albany, Ga.), is the 124th ranked player in the 2017 class and is a Mississippi State commit. He's also a very projectable athlete and it is very easy to imagine him strongly improving over the next couple years as he physically matures. He showed his tools Sunday with a ringing opposite field double up the left-center field gap and an outstanding throw from right field to nab a runner at the plate during extra innings and keep the game going.

In fact, outstanding outfield throws seemed like the defensive theme of the day. Bo Majkowski (2017, Johns Creek, Ga.), playing left field for Team Elite Prime, ran down a hit on the left field line and made a perfect one-hop throw to the plate that seemed to trace the foul line for 250 feet. It isn't anywhere close to the first time this scout has seen Majkowski make that type of game throw and he's the type of outfielder that is going to throw out more than his share of runners because he's so accurate. Majkowski also had an outstanding day at the plate, going 4-for-8 with five RBI and four runs scored over the course of Team Elite's three playoff victories Sunday.

While we're on the defensive theme, first basemen rarely get credit for outstanding glove work at that position.T-Rex first baseman Nick Brueser (2017, Chandler, Ariz.) has been simply outstanding, however, as T-Rex somehow won four straight must-win games by a total of five runs. Any miscue by Brueser, whether it be in picking a low throw or with his exceptionally soft hands on ground balls, and T-Rex might be going home Monday morning instead of playing in the semifinals.

– David Rawnsley

A player that will always have a spot to play in college is a lefthanded pitcher with deception and ability to spin the ball. LSU locked that up in John Kodros (2017, Coppell, Texas) who stands at a highly projectable 6-foot-5, 175-pounds with a very long, lean frame and near endless room to continue to add strength. Kodros for being so tall and lanky used a very short, compact arm action and very limited extension through the ball. There was very little effort at release, but he did have recoil over his front side. He landed online down the mound after a very high, tight leg raise into his body. His fastball showed moderate velocity, but with the physical projection it’s easy to see him adding to its present 84-86 mph range. The pitch did show good arm-side life though flat up in the zone with the ability to get it to both sides of the plate. What makes Kodros interesting is the lower three-quarters slot he uses from the left side. With that slot he throws a slider with well above average spin and 2-to-8 shape. The pitch is thrown hard at 75 mph with two-plane shape and he has the ability to back foot a righthanded hitter. He’s an incredibly projectable player that will continue to improve once he gets to college.

Turning in some of the biggest offensive impact on the day was Davis Schneider (2017, Berlin, N.J.). Schneider has a very compact, physical build with a good deal of strength in his frame. He has home run power as evident with a two-run home run in their first round playoff win and a three-run homer in their quarterfinal game. He works up to the ball with a higher launch angle and torques well through his lower half. He creates separation and when he finds the barrel he has the strength to drive through the ball. There is some swing and miss to his game with an inconsistent time mechanism and hand load, but when they’re in synch the results are loud.

An underclass arm stood out for the Braves Scout Team in their consolation game. Uncommitted A.J. Stinson (2018, Hattiesburg, Miss.) looked much more in control than in my last viewing. The projectably built Stinson is listed at 6-foot, 170-pounds and looks to be a little bit taller than his listed height. He has a very long, loose arm action through the back with ease at release and an in line delivery towards the plate. He landed balanced and threw with limited effort. More importantly, Stinson threw strikes in his only inning of work with two strikeouts on just nine pitches in a clean inning. His fastball showed short arm-side life at 87-89 mph and as noted in the very brief viewing, was around the zone. He worked with good pace on the mound as well with tempo and rhythm. Stinson also showed impressive feel to spin with a 10-to-4 shaped slider on the mound that showed above average spin. The pitch earned half of his four swings and misses in the limited work, but showed very tight, short shape. He’ll get extended looks this spring on the mound and likely will not remain uncommitted very long.

Taking the mound for Team Indiana in their first round game was Jack Perkins (2018, Kokomo, Ind.). Perkins has a medium build and frame with square shoulders, but can still and some weight and strength to his frame. He tossed 5 1/3 innings of one run ball to give his team their best shot of advancing. The righthanded Perkins used a very quick arm action through the back that was hooked slightly before coming through a three-quarters arm slot. His arm was in a good spot at foot strike with good arm speed through release. He did have varying release points causing his command of both his fastball and curveball to vary. His fastball worked 88-92 mph with varying life as he used both a two and four seam fastball. When using his two seamer he got the very hard run inside on righthanded hitters proving to be the most effective. His fastball was flat up in the zone and did become hittable when left up. His second pitch was his changeup at 84 mph with replicated arm speed and straight action. He threw the pitch early in the game and then began to shy away from it. His third was a curveball that he is still developing and harnessing feel for with 11-to-5 shape that occasionally broke way up out of the hand and other times showed tightness when kept low. The Louisville commit was impressive and turned in a strong outing.

Doing the catching for Team Indiana was Mississippi State commit Hayden Jones (2018, Huntertown, Ind.). Jones has a strong, physical build and looks the part behind the plate with an arm to match. Jones has an incredibly strong arm and shutdown a strong Team EvoShield running game. Jones’ arm action was very short and quick with carry out of the hand. His transfer was quick and showed sound receiving skills with very strong, snap throws around the infield. The catch and throw ability is ahead of the bat, but he does have strength and raw bat speed.

Some of the best bat speed and barrel ability of the entire event has been displayed by Kristian Robinson (2018, Nassau, Bahamas) of the Midland Redskins. Robinson stands out the moment you see him step on the field with a tremendously athletic and projectable build. He has broad shoulders with very long limbs with a youthful look. His swing works through the zone easily after an elastic hand load. The fluidity of his swing as well as his hand-eye coordination were impressive driving balls off the wall with regularity. He actually tripled in each of Midland’s three games on Sunday helping push them to championship day. Robinson is actually going to be eligible to sign as an international free agent in next year’s signing period which begins on July 2. It’ll be interesting to see how he continues to progress in the months leading up to that. There is no doubt he has the tools at the plate as the question of a position comes into play.

For Canada PG Gold, Jaden Brown (2019, Mississauga, Ontario) showed some highly athletic actions ranging to both sides. He got in a tremendous position to field the ball with quick footwork and soft hands through fielding it. His release was quick and efficient when he was rushed and he used a slight gather when he had time. His arm played on the left side with average arm strength for his age. The athleticism he has on the move stood out with good balance and very sound baseball instincts and internal clock.

Another consolation game taking place during the fourth slot showed an uncommitted lefthander in Marlin Willis (2017, Powder Springs, Ga.). Willis is similar to Stinson in his build being long and lean with lots of room to add physical strength. His arm works long and loose through the back with near plus extension through the ball. He generates plane and arm-side run to the lower third of the zone with good downhill action. He did not spin the ball in his very short outing of just over an inning, but showed improved mechanics from even this summer. He was very online to the plate with balance and ability to repeat. He worked only off of his fastball in his time on the mound and sat 87-89 mph consistently. The ability to spin the ball will determine how effective he will ultimately be, but he has the frame, athleticism, and arm speed to project very well on the mound.

Willis’ teammate on the Dodgers Scout Team was Tennessee commit Zach Daniels (2017, Stockbridge, Ga.) Daniels has continued to make strides at the plate from this summer, always showing tremendous raw bat speed, but somewhat locked behind inconsistencies in timing and the hitch in his hand load. In his first at-bat he pulled a ball through the left side on a hanging curveball. In his second at-bat he attempted to call for time, but was denied by the umpire which caused him to shorten up his exaggerated load. The result was a 98.3 mph triple off of his barrel that traveled deep to the left-centerfield wall. He rounded first with a 4.65-second time on his way into second base. Daniels is a very raw player presently, but he has certain things you can’t teach and with adjustments can continue to progress.

Coming in to throw one inning for the East Cobb Astros for the second time in the event was Luke Bartnicki (2018, Marietta, Ga.). Bartnicki has been see quite a few times over the course of the summer, but he showed better than I’d ever seen him. He showed the same longer arm action with a slight stab at the end of his arm swing. He worked over his front side with a closed landing and limited drive from his lower half. What stood out about this very limited viewing was Bartnicki’s fastball sat between 92-95 mph consistently over his 13 pitches. He struck out both of the batters he faced with explosive arm speed and a fastball that showed short arm-side life. The ball exploded out of his high three-quarters arm slot with limited effort at release, different than in past viewings. He also showed a shorter slider with short, lateral sweep at 81 mph. He only threw two of them in his 13 pitches, but the velocity working with that movement was effective in his short burst.

Pitching in the semifinal for Team Elite Prime was Auburn commit Dylan Gentry (2017, Danielsville, Ga.). Gentry has a medium build, listed at 6-foot-1, 190-pounds with a slender frame and some room to continue to fill out physically. He pitched with very impressive tempo on the mound and threw from a very high, over the top arm slot. He used a drop and drive element to his delivery with a longer arm action and landed online towards the plate. There was recoil through his finish and he had trouble repeating his release point between his fastball and curveball. His curveball showed short life at 87-89 mph over his three innings, but flattened out up in the zone. He needed to keep the pitch lower in the zone and work through the ball more to create plane and complement his curveball. What makes Gentry a high end prospect is his ability to spin the ball with a 12-to-6 shaped curveball with impressive spin and depth. It came out of a similar high slot with good break out of the hand that was a weapon to use against the left handed dominant Tri State lineup. He struck out three batters in three innings while not allowing one run.

Making a big impact on the bases and in the game was Pat DeMarco (2017, Winder, Ga). The Vanderbilt commit showed off a very quick, compact swing at the plate and showed speed to impact the game on the bases. He slapped a double in the game and collected a base hit as well. Though he’s only an average runner from the right side of the plate, he uses his speed well with good jumps and aggressive actions. He also snagged two bases in the game.

– Matt Czechanski