Tournaments | Story | 1/15/2017

PG West MLK Day 2 Scout Notes

Matt Czechanski        
Photo: Perfect Game

2017 Perfect Game West MLK Championship Day 1 Scout Notes

In what was a slightly delayed day around the greater Glendale area, action picked back up over at Sierra Linda High School. Righthanded pitcher David Rhodes (2018, White Rock, British Columbia), a Washington commit, took to the mound for Pacific Northwest Regional Baseball and fired an impressive 3 1/3 scoreless innings on the mound. Rhodes has a very projectable frame on the mound, listed at 6-foot-2, 180-pounds with long limbs and lots of room to fill out. He pitched with a short, compact arm action, slightly higher back elbow, and threw from a three-quarters arm slot. His arm worked quickly and well through the back before exploding downhill with a slightly closed landing. Rhodes generated short arm-side life to his fastball that worked in the upper-80s and touched 89 mph a pair times, he also held the velocity well. He used a drop and drive element with an average stride down the mound and was fairly balanced despite some effort at release. He also mixed in a hard breaking curveball with 12-to-6 shape at 76 mph with good depth and late bite out of the zone. He rounded a breaking ball off as well with 11-to-5 shape that showed some slider tendencies at 79 mph only once in the game. Overall the outing was highly impressive, working both sides of the plate and showing present feel to spin.

Playing center field behind Rhodes and the rest of the PNW pitching staff was Jesse Franklin (2017, Seattle, Wash.). Franklin came into the game highly touted and helped build upon that, possibly gaining some steam for this June’s MLB Draft. Franklin has a very physical, 6-foot-2, 210 pounds with strength throughout. Despite his build, he isn’t robbed of high end speed or athleticism. He projects to stay in centerfield at the next level, whether at the University of Michigan or in the professional ranks. Franklin has very high end bat speed from the left side with immense barrel ability. He drove the ball for base hits with a compact stroke for a single and then for a double that went over the head of the centerfielder. His line drive plane and quick hands allow him to handle inside pitching and he delivered the triple on a frozen rope. As noted above, Franklin has very clear strength in his frame, but his speed is another impact tool. He bunted down the third base line for what would become a base hit with a 3.75 time out of the lefthanded batter’s box. The speed shows up in centerfield as well and was present when watching him round the bases on the triple. There is a lot to like for Franklin who made a very strong, and loud impression.

Their opponent was Cintron & Diaz Baseball, and their three-hole hitter, Alexander Lopez (2019, Houston, Texas) showed off a smooth lefthanded swing, delivering a deep home run to right field. The homerun came at an opportune time for his club as it tied the game at two apiece in the sixth inning. Lopez showed good strength through the point of contact with a naturally lifted plane and showed the ability to generate backspin off the barrel.

Moving back over to Camelback Ranch for the mid-morning slate, the always talented roster of Northeast Baseball provided more to pour over. It’s hard not to continually bang the drum of how impressive catcher CJ Willis (2019, Ruston, La.) is offensively. Wills was mentioned during yesterday’s recap and continued his run of not making an out. He collected an additional three hits today including an opposite field double and an opposite field homerun. The homer came in his first at-bat, showing a nearly identical swing to the one that resulted in a triple from yesterday’s game. Willis’ swing from the left side is so fluid and compact to the ball it’s easy to see him adding strength and developing all fields power with the same relative ease he’s showing at a young age.

Pitching to Willis for NEB was projectable righthander Coy Cobb (2018, Katy, Texas). The Texas commit has tons of room to fill out in his very lean 6-foot-4, 185-pound frame with good athleticism throughout his delivery. He utilized a longer arm action, slight stab through the back, and wrist wrap before completing his arm circle. His arm worked quickly through release from a three-quarters arm slot. His fastball showed late wiggle at 86-89 mph, but did straighten out up in the zone. He located well with two-thirds of his pitches working over for strikes. What Cobb did that really impressed was mix his three pitches. In addition to his fastball he also used a 12-to-6 curveball in the low-70s and paired that with a changeup at 76 mph with sink and arm-side fade. He slowed his arm slightly for his changeup, but did well to keep it low in the zone and was willing to throw it in any count. His curveball showed good depth and better spin than the two captured in the video. It was inconsistent at times, but did show as a usable pitch, especially as he used it to challenge hitters and change their eye level in each at-bat. He fired four no-hit innings, allowing just two hits and struck out nine batters.

The offense for NEB, in addition to Willis, is very difficult for opposing pitchers. In their first two games they’ve put up 28 runs. Helping power their 12-0 rout today was outfielder Dexter Jordan Jr(2018, Hattiesburg, Miss.) and infielder Gabe Holt (2017, Bonaire, Ga.). Jordan swings from the right side and a wide set up. His bat speed is his standout tool, and when on time, he has loud drive ability. He delivered a loud pull side double that was mere feet from being a home run with natural lift in his swing. Holt works from the left side with a contact approach and a larger, circling leg kick into his body to start. His hands stay compact well with a linear plane and collected a single and triple. Holt also moves very well on the bases with a quick first step down the line.

Moving back over to the White Sox side of Camelback, talented USC commit Campbell Holt (2019, Las Vegas, N.V.) took the mound for LVR’s underclass team. Holt is yet another projectable arm listed at 6-foot-2, 170-punds with tremendous room to continue to fill out and add good strength. Holt has very whippy left arm that works long through the back with fluidity. He uses next to zero lower half in his delivery, with a short stride down the mound and on-line landing. He threw from an extended three-quarters slot to even low three-quarters with some deception through release. He does use the length of his limbs very well with good extension down the mound. Holt’s fastball worked well in the mid-80s with arm-side life and topped out at 87 mph early on in the game. He mixed in a sweeping slider at 73 mph from the same extended slot which showed good depth and developing feel to spin. As Holt continues to add strength and incorporate his lower half down the mound, he’ll eventually see a bigger velocity jump, making him one of the more projectable arms.

Over at the Brewers complex, the offensive onslaught that the Sticks Baseball Academy deserves mentioning. Both Elijah Trest (White Oak, Texas) and Max Marusak (2018, Amarillo, Texas) turned in multi-extra basehit games that included homeruns. Maursak, committed to Texas Tech, showed a fluid, balanced swing with tremendous speed on the bases. His home run came of the inside-the-park variety and he was able to race around the bases with fluid strides. He also doubled with a confident approach and a quick line drive swing plane. Trest hit a far more conventional homerun during the game with a towering shot that contributed to his five RBI day. Trest used a higher launch angle swing with a power approach with leverage through the point of contact.

After Tristin Lively did his part in firing the first leg of a no-hitter in their game yesterday, fellow New Mexico commit, Mitchell Parker (2018, Albuquerque, N.M.) took the mound and fired five no-hit innings as well. Parker started with a tight leg raise into his body and slight hip turn before coming to the plate. His arm action worked long through the back and wrapped his wrist before driving to the plate. He threw from a higher three-quarters arm slot with quickness and good finish through the ball. He landed on-line to the plate and was balanced through his release. There was a lower effort level overall to his delivery, but did show spine tilt at the point of release. His fastball worked 84-87 mph and topped out at 88 mph from the left side. The pitch showed good arm-side life and sink to the lower third of the zone when he stayed on top of the pitch. His curveball showed good depth from the same higher arm slot with 1-to-7 shape break. The outing was very impressive for Parker who has a projectable frame and continue to improve.

LVR 2020 team continues to turn out promising young arms including righthanded pitcher Cayden Castellanos (2020, Winchester, Calif.) Castellanos fired the first three innings of what would end up being a combined no-hit effort with three scoreless and he notched seven strikeouts in that time. He used a drop and drive delivery with a medium arm action through the back and soft hook before coming through to the plate from a high three-quarters arm slot. His arm worked clean and quick with slight effort at release with a fastball that worked consistently at 79-82 mph. His fastball showed good life and almost exclusively off of the pitch in his three innings. He did flash a 12-to-6 shaped curveball, but only threw it once, at 66 mph with good depth down in the zone.

Helping round out the action in the last time slot was two-way talent in shortstop/righthanded pitcher Seth Halverson (2018, Plymouth, Minn.). Halverson has a very strong build with broad shoulders and strength throughout his 6-foot-1, 180-pound frame. His arm action matched that of what you’d think a primary shortstop would look like, working short and compact through the back. He showed impressive raw arm strength on the mound from a high three-quarters slot and limited lower half incorporation down the mound. His fastball exploded out of his hand with good plane and arm-side wiggle at 86-89/90 mph. He hit 90 mph a pair of times in both his first and second stint out of the bullpen. He also showed a power curveball with 12-to-6 shape and good depth up to 77 mph. He kept the pitch low in the zone and replicated both his slot, action, and arm speed for the pitch. He landed on-line and repeated his overall delivery well given the effort present in the delivery. Halverson has a high level of athleticism that translates from his natural shortstop position, and has a chance to work as a two-way player at Mizzou.

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