Tournaments | Story | 1/14/2017

PG West MLK Day 1 Scout Notes

Matt Czechanski        
Photo: Perfect Game

Opening up the full day of action was
Jaden Agassi (2020, Las Vegas, N.V.) who took the mound and started in a dominating win for his LVR 2020 team. Agassi has a tremendous physical build for his age standing at 6-foot-1, 178-pounds with room to continue to fill out. He pitched with a long, full arm action and primarily off his fastball during his three-inning stint. His arm action did vary through the back in length and in firmness, which caused him to struggle repeating his release point. He showed a quick arm through his three-quarters arm slot with a fairly clean release. He worked aggressively in on hitters with occasional life on his fastball that worked 79-82 mph. He did flash a changeup in the low-70s that showed short fade as well. His delivery overall was very easy with limited effort or lower half drive. Though he’s a primary third basemen and will consistently show well at the plate, he offers promise on the mound. He can continue to incorporate his lower half and drive the ball to the lower third with improved plane. He fired a clean three innings allowing just one hit and struck out three batters.

Working on the left side of the infield during the game were a pair of impressive athletes in Tyler Whitaker (2021, Las Vegas, N.V.) and Bradley Stone (2020, Las Vegas, N.V.). Whitaker is a primary pitcher and in no way looks like a player who just entered eighth grade, listed at 6-foot-1, 175 pounds. He made an incredibly balanced play after a ball glanced off of the pitcher’s glove to charge and show off his strong arm that has been up to 84 mph off the mound in prior events. Stone offers the strong skillset of a player who will be able to stick up the middle moving forward. He has a quick first step and smooth transfer out of his glove with arm strength that should stick on the left side. At the plate he has a very balanced set up and used an aggressive swing with a line drive plane through the zone. Showed raw bat speed with leverage out front. In a trio of plate appearances, Stone was not given many opportunities to drive the ball, working a pair of walks.

Following Agassi out of the LVR bullpen was Shane Stafford (2021, Huntington Beach, Calif.). Stafford does again, not have the look of a plyer yet to reach high school, and showed a quick arm on the mound. His arm action worked very quickly through the back with a compact action and good raw arm speed. He used a crossfire element down the mound with a closed landing, creating deception. Showed good arm-side wiggle to his fastball that worked in the upper-70s and touched 81 on a handful of pitches. He complemented that with a changeup that showed short sink with reduced arm speed. Stafford will see the effectiveness of his changeup and velocity play up as he learns to finish through it. He’s a very projectable arm now and will add significant velocity as he lengthens out his stride and incorporates his lower half to the plate.

Over at the Brewers complex, catcher Ryne Hays (2020, Bothell, Wash.) showed a fluid and loose swing from the right size. Hays has very impressive size and strength for his age with a compact lower half and ability to impact the baseball. He drove the ball well collecting a single in the game with very strong wrists with flick in his swing. Hays was balanced through the ball from a wide base with good rhythm into contact. His timing was sound and looked to take the ball the other way.

A pair of participants in PG’s inaugural 14u Select Baseball Festival made an appearance for Wilson Sandlot’s underclass team. Catcher Logan Paustian (2020, La Grande, Ore.) showed off his highly touted catch-and-throw skills behind the plate. He looked to back pick just about any chance he was given and flashed his strong arm to any of the bases. His receiving skills were another stand out tool for his age, as it isn’t often a player looks as polished defensively behind the plate while so young. The Nebraska commit showed some raw bat speed from the right side, while not getting a chance to swing from his more natural left handed side.

Playing first base for most of the game and coming into close for the Sandlot club was Mick Abel (2020, Portland, Ore.) Abel has a highly impressive frame, listed at 6-foot-4, 170-pounds with nearly endless room to continue to fill out physically and add big time strength. The freshman is currently uncommitted, but that hasn’t stopped schools from trying to lockdown the young arm. Abel throws incredibly easily for his age with a fastball that worked 88-90 mph with good life. He only threw six pitches and collected a pair of strikeouts to close out the game. The velocity was all that he needed against hitters this age. It’ll be exciting to watch Abel continue to develop as he’s likely to grow into big time velocity and do it soon.

Another standout player was Jake Dukart (2018, Lake Oswego, Ore.), an Arizona State commit. Dukart has a very smooth lefthanded swing with easy raw bat speed that plays well. He has quickness to his hands that give a naturally lofted swing plane to the opposite field gap. He has a very elastic hand set into a simple load with tremendous rhythm into each swing. He kept his hands very compact to the ball and showed the ability to impact it off the barrel.

Moving back over from the Dodgers side of Camelback Ranch to the White Sox quad, New Mexico commit, Tristin Lively (2018, Las Cruces, N.M.) took the mound for Sticks Baseball Academy. Lively stood at 6-foot, 190-pounds with good athleticism and strength throughout his lower half. Lively pitched with a short, compact arm action and threw with intent from a high three-quarters arm slot. He created good plane and extension through the ball with finish down the mound. His fastball worked mostly true with occasional cutting life when he worked glove side. His fastball worked consistently in the mid 80s and worked up to 89 mph in the first inning. Lively landed closed down the mound and slightly over his front side with limited effort and good balance throughout. He mixed in a 12-to-6 shaped curveball he threw for strikes with shorter depth. He replicated his arm speed well for the pitch and threw it up to 74 mph, but babied it some through release and should replicate his extension for his fastball. He showed raw ability to repeat his release point, throwing over 50 percent of his pitches for strikes. Lively did challenge hitters to both sides of the plate, collecting five strikeouts in four scoreless, no-hit innings.

Lively combined with Jesse Pierce (2019, Las Vegas, N.V.) to throw a no-hitter through seven innings for the Sticks club.

Throwing on an adjacent field was an incredibly projectable lefthanded arm in Leonardo Palacios (2018, Phoenix, Ariz.). The 6-foot-4, 180-pound lefty showed a very short, compact arm action with a slight hook through the back. Palacios used a near extreme crossfire element down the mound with a wide step towards the lefthanded batter’s box. He landed open as well, but created good deception from an extended three-quarters arm slot. The length of his limbs let him work very hard in on lefthanded hitters, but caused him to push the ball over his front side to get glove side. His fastball worked in the mid-80s and topped out at 87 several times in his three innings. Due to the length of his stride, his fastball showed best life when working arm side. He also used a sweeping Curveball at 69 mph with short depth, but showed good feel to repeat his arm slot and throw the pitch for strikes. Though his delivery was a bit unorthodox, he worked very quickly and effectively in his three scoreless innings and struck out six batters, filling the zone.

Completing the battery with Palacios to open the game was talented backstop, and Miami commit, Jared Thomas (2019, Lakewood, Calif.). Thomas showed a very compact hand path at the plate with impressive hand and bat speed. He showed good barrel feel with a confident approach at the plate and looked to go the other way. His lefthanded swing showed easy fluidity with looseness through the zone. To boot, he also showed a strong arm and receiving skills behind the plate making it easy to envision him sticking there at the next level. He gunned down a runner at second easily with a 1.94 pop time and kept the running game in check. Thomas tripled to the opposite field in his second at-bat before being hit by a pitch.

Showing a very impressive skill-set for the Padres Scout Team was Chandler Freeman (2019, Liberty Hill, Texas). Freeman opened the game playing his primary position of third base showing his very strong arm with clean actions at the position. At the plate, Freeman showed impressive ability to separate and it’s easy to see big future power potential. He swung with big intent to drive the ball in the air. His raw bat speed and higher launch angle swing will show some swing and miss tendencies, but he will show ability to drive the ball off the barrel. He collected a single in his three trips to the plate with big time strength through the point of contact.

He then transitioned to the mound, backing up Palacios, tossing 3 1/3 innings of relief. Freeman showed similar energetic and intent filled actions on the mound as he did at the plate. Freeman used a long arm action and a quick stab through the back before throwing from a three-quarters arm slot. He started with a very high leg raise past his belt and tight into his body after a big rocker step start. He created tremendous momentum to the plate with good arm strength through release. His fastball showed short arm-side life at 85-88 mph, but did have some problems replicating his release point. Freeman’s fastball was not his best pitch. That honor went to his very hard breaking 10-to-4 shaped slider that got up to 79 mph. The pitch, as seen in the video, worked as his strike out pitch once he got to two strikes on hitters. He collected a trio of strikeouts in his time on the mound and all were recorded on the slider. The pitch showed late snap and he did well to replicate arm speed and keep it low in the zone.

After posting a big summer statistically and overall performance, catcher and Ole Miss commit, Christopher Willis (2018, Ruston, La.) continued his impressive run for North East Baseball in their late afternoon game. Willis is impressively built at 6-foot-3, 185-pounds with tremendous athleticism and explosion from behind the plate and at it. What he did at the plate stood out with a very clean, fluid swing that resulted in a trio of hits including a triple to the left-centerfield wall. Later in the game he saw his timing off some, but showed enough barrel control to drive the ball in the air for a single. He has impressive raw bat speed with a line drive swing plane and creates leverage through his lower half at the point of contact. He loses his plane at times, but can barrel up nearly anything thrown his way. Behind the plate, he has work yet to do as a receiver, but will show a very strong arm around the infield on throws down.

Taking the mound for NEB was Michigan State commit Jesse Heikkinen (2017, Holt, Mich.). Heikkinen settled in after a rocky first inning to throw a strong four inning outing and struck out nine batters, while only allowing one hit. Heikkinen showed a medium, hooked arm action through the back and threw from an over the top slot at release. His delivery was very easy and shows the makings of something he’ll be able to repeat once he gets to East Lansing with slight mechanical adjustments. He used a deeper hip turn working on the first base side of the rubber and hid the ball well, while landing closed down the mound. His fastball worked very consistently in the outing at 82-84 mph, but dialed it up seemingly when needed notching an 86 mph bolt in the first inning and one at 88 mph to end the game. Heikkinen showed good cut to his fastball at times with easy arm speed at release. His curveball showed 12-to-6 to 1-to-7 shape up to 69 mph with raw ability to spin and hump out of the hand. The pitch did show good depth when he finished through the ball.

Rounding out the evening’s action was a pair of talented infielders for the San Diego Show. Their leadoff man and starting third basemen, Osiris Johnson (2018, Alameda, Calif.) showed raw bat speed that easily stood out. Johnson, nephew of former MLB MVP Jimmy Rollins, has the bloodlines that are an obvious attraction to scouts. Johnson started with a very tall stance with a quicker toe tap timing mechanism. He separated well with a very quick barrel through the zone and doubled loudly off the barrel to open up the game. Johnson, a middle infielder by trade, played third and showed off smooth, comfortable actions at the position with a strong, accurate arm across the diamond.

Playing next to him and hitting second in the Show’s order was Notre Dame commit Zack Prajzner (2018, Carlsbad, Calif.). Prajzner was highly athletic on the move and around the back while playing shortstop. His footwork was clean and efficient with an accurate arm. Showed a quick bat through the zone as well as a patient approach from an open stance. Was very well balanced and incorporated his lower half well with good torque into contact.

Starting the final game for Joes Bait Shop was another high level eighth grader in Anthony Migliaccio (2021, Wyandotte, Mich.). Migliaccio is listed as a primary catcher, but with the ease of his arm action and arm quickness down the mound, he is regarded as a very strong pitching prospect. He utilized a longer, loose arm action with a big arm circle and threw from a high three-quarters arm slot. He used a shorter stride down the mound with effort at release, but showed enough athleticism to repeat his delivery. What stood out with Migliaccio was his arm speed for his age. His fastball worked 79-82 mph very consistently from both the windup and the stretch. The pitch showed good plane when he stayed on top of the pitch and short arm-side life. He also showed good feel to spin the ball with a 12-to-6 shaped curveball at 69 mph. The pitch showed tight spin and good depth from a replicated arm slot. The hitters on the Show did do well to locate his fastball, but he competed and pitched with good tempo against hitters that were typically three years older than him. Another very impressive aspect of his game was his willingness and ability to pitch hard in to hitters on both sides of the plate, working in and out effectively. He fired three shutout innings and recorded three strikeouts.

Easton McMurray (2018, Bakersfield, Calif.), a 6-foot-4, 200-pound lefthander, threw one inning for eXposure West on Friday and we hope to get another look at him during the tournament as he worked at 90-92 mph with a really quick and compact arm action. McMurray is committed to San Diego.

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