Tournaments | Story | 1/17/2017

PG West MLK Day 4 Scout Notes

Matt Czechanski        
Photo: Perfect Game

2017 PG West MLK Championship Scout Notes: Day 1
 | Day 2 | Day 3

Opening up action on the fourth and final day of the PG West MLK Championship PG All-American and LSU commit Jacob Pearson (2017, West Monroe, La.) opened up with a loud showing at the plate for eventual Upperclass champions NEB National. Pearson is a high-twitch player with very fast hands and a quick barrel with his lefthanded swing. His swing naturally works the opposite field gap, staying compact to the ball well and driving it with authority. He opened up their quarterfinal game with a pair of extra-base hits including a double and a triple. Pearson is also a high-level runner as he projects to remain in center field at the next level. His speed shows easily on the bases with quick footwork and long, fluid strides. Pearson posted a strong stat line over the course of the event collecting seven hits total, with four going for extra bases.

Jesus Aldaz (2017, Phoenix, Ariz.) helped pitch All Star Baseball Academy to their semifinal win, firing seven innings of one run ball and striking out five batters. Aldaz is well built with quite a bit of projection remaining as he adds strength. He stands at 6-foot-2 188-pounds with a lean frame and plenty of length to his limbs. He showed a long, fluid arm action through the back and threw from a raised three-quarters arm slot. He pitched with tempo on the mound and attacked hitters with a mid-80s fastball that worked up to 87 mph early on. He used a limited portion of his lower half in his delivery with a shorter stride down the mound. Aldaz did stay on top of the ball well and created good deception. His fastball showed good arm side life lower in the zone and generated chase swings and misses from lefthanded hitters. He also mixed in a power curveball with 11-to-5 shape and good depth from the same raised slot. He only threw the pitch a handful of times and should have mixed it in more as it showed the makings of a quality secondary pitch.

Aldaz was named the Most Valuable Pitcher for the event as All Star Baseball Academy finished as the runner-up at the Upperclass level.

It didn’t take long into the San Diego Show’s quarterfinal game (Underclass division) to get your attention as they started the powerfully built Blake Peyton (2018, Santee, Calif.). Peyton’s delivery was balanced and fairly fluid with a long arm action through the back. He came through throwing from a three-quarters arm slot and average extension. His fastball exploded out of his hand working 88-91 mph in his three innings of work. Peyton did not his lower half much in his delivery with a shorter stride down the mound, but maintained his directionality to the plate. He landed on a stiff front leg and showed a heel turn finish. There was lower effort the Arizona commits delivery and he showed his best command in the first inning. His fastball did work to both sides, but at times he did not complete his hip rotation and missed arm side, as captured in the video. Peyton did show present feel to spin with a 1-to-7 shaped curveball with good depth. Later on in the game as the opponent’s lineup turned over, he started showing feel for a changeup in the low 80’s that showed good fade with replicated arm speed. Peyton has all of the makings of a player who can start at the next level with three usable pitches and a durable, strong build.

The Show made things interesting in their game, rallying from two runs down in the sixth inning and that was started by shortstop Zach Prajzner (2018, Carlsbad, Calif.). The Notre Dame commit has consistently showed an above average glove at shortstop with a strong arm, he threw and worked a fastball up to 87 mph later in the game, but showed fluid actions on the move. He also showed the same very quick bat at the plate, clubbing a home run to get the Show’s first run on the board. Prajzner has a naturally lofted swing and engages his lower half, swinging with intent to drive the ball. He jumped all over a fist pitch fastball and drove it quickly over the fence showing explosive hands from a compact path.

Hitting right behind Prajzner in the order was eventual Underclass championship MVP Cade Brown (Cardiff, Calif.). Brown has a very physical frame, listed at 6-foot-4, 205-pounds and uses his strength well. He gets the barrel out in front with consistent extension and has power to all fields. His swing works with natural loft through the zone. It is rare to see a player with a power based swing be as selective as Brown is at the plate, showing good recognition of spin and willing to wait for his pitch to drive hard in the air. Brown also fired 4 1/3 no-hit innings in the championship game for the Show, striking out six batters and filling the zone with a low-80s fastball.

Helping keep the Show’s game as close as it was down to the end was Nick Nastrini (2018, San Diego, Calif.). Nastrini is another physically built righthander listed at 6-foot-3, 175 pounds with broad shoulders and present strength to his frame. Nastrini showed easy arm speed at 88-91 mph with good arm speed and a drop and drive element to his delivery. His arm action worked long and loose through the back with a bigger arm circle into a three-quarters arm slot for release. He collapsed his backside before driving to the plate and worked over his front side and on a stiff front leg. He did tend to throw across his body, but his athleticism showed being able to work both sides with consistent arm side life. He exploded downhill and really did well to get on hitters and stay on top of his fastball. He only threw one curveball in his two innings on the bump with 11-to-5 shape and at 74 mph. He pulled off for the pitch some and should drive through it more to up its nasty factor and provide him with a usable third pitch. The future UCLA Bruin will have plenty of opportunities to fill out further and build off his already easy arm speed.

On the adjacent field at Camelback, Sticks Baseball Academy and the Padres Scout Team were involved in a slugfest in part because of the thunder packed bat of third basemen/shortstop Hunter Watson (2018, Pottsboro, Texas). Watson hit a pair of balls that were laced off the barrel. His first, a triple to right field where he actually slipped down the first base line and still managed to leg out a three bagger. His second was a line drive home run that pushed the Sticks ahead very late in the game. Watson uses his strength well in his swing with a big of a longer path to the ball, but enough bat speed to come through consistently with a line drive plane. Watson’s bat speed is the standout tool from the left side that is hard to find in a prospect. Watson is listed as a primary third basemen, and has the typical build for it at 6-foot-4, 205-pounds, but played almost exclusively shortstop this weekend for the Sticks. He showed well above average athleticism on the move, especially ranging up the middle and charging the ball. His arm easily plays on the left side with very clean footwork and soft hands. Watson confirmed his status as a high level prospect in the 2018 class with a variety of loud tools.

A pair of talented arms pitched for the Sticks before extra innings got the best of them. The first of them being Ole Miss commit Kaleb Hill (2018, Pine Bluff, Ark.). Hill showed the very short, quick arm action he has shown in the past with easy arm speed from a three-quarters arm slot. Hill relied primarily on his arm speed with limited drive from his lower half. He hops off his back foot some with a shorter stride down the mound. The quickness of his delivery almost makes it seem rushed, but his effort level would appear otherwise. Hill threw very easily in his two innings, working over his front side slightly and landing closed down the mound. His fastball came out of his hand clean at 83-86 mph with short arm side life. He worked primarily off of his fastball, but did work in a handful of sweeping curveballs from the same slot. The pitch showed 2-to-8 shape with good depth and worked across the zone well to righthanded hitters. Refining the curveball and implementing a changeup to his arsenal will help the talented lefthander down the line.

Pitching in relief later in the game for the Sticks was Conner Thurman (2018, Mesa, Ariz.). Thurman has good strength in his frame, listed at 6-foot-1, 190-pounds with broad shoulders and a compact lower half. Thurman showed easy arm strength working his fastball in the upper 80’s for a hair under two innings and topped out at 90 mph several times in the first inning. He showed good extension with a longer, rigid arm action through the back. He threw from an extended three-quarters arm slot with good balance at landing. He started with a full rocker step delivery and looked to challenge hitters up in the zone. His primary secondary pitch he went to was his slider that showed various types of shape, either 11-to-5 or mainly 10-to-4. He did raise his slot on occasion causing the different looks. The slider did show hard bite at 75 mph with later bite. He showed a willingness to double down on the pitch and did get hurt when he left the ball up in the zone. He did show tremendous tempo on the mound and worked downhill effectively at times.

Doing some of the damage against the talented pitching for the Padres Scout Team was again Jared Thomas (2019, Lakewood, Calif.) The Miami commit showed again his very quick twitch swing from the left side hand handled upper level velocity with ease. Thomas stayed within himself at the plate and consistently took the ball where pitched. His line drive swing with a direct to the ball approach allows him to make very consistent, hard contact to all fields. Thomas continued to show off behind the plate as well with a strong arm that gunned down a runner in the Padres’ semifinal game.

Shortstop Jimmy Deleon (2018, El Paso, Texas) is an uncommitted player that saw his tools far outweigh his 5-foot-7 frame. Deleon showed very clean actions at shortstop with a quick, clean transfer while on the move. He ranged well to both sides with soft hands and an adequate arm on throws across the diamond. At the plate he showed very quick hands and even tripled to right field in their quarterfinal game. He moved well around the bases and played the role of the top of the order table setter.

A player who continually found the barrel all weekend was Gavin Mez (2021, Las Vegas, Nev.). Mez is an incredibly young player who stands at the plate with an open base and a hand set away from his body at belt level. For a player not even in high school yet, Mez showed the ability to drive the ball to all fields with good extension. He used an aggressive approach to put together 11 hits in 12 at-bats this weekend including a home run. Mez’s swing gets on plane early, giving every opportunity to drive the ball, and he did, in almost every at-bat. Mez is certainly one to follow given his age and offensive potential.

A pair of LVR 2020 pitchers that pitched again as they moved through the playoffs, and ultimately captured the Freshman championship, impressed again; Jaden Agassi (2020, Las Vegas, Nev.) and Tyler Whitaker (2021, Las Vegas, Nev.). Agassi looked much more balanced and in control than his outing on Friday, spotting up to both sides and showing a changeup as an out pitch. His fastball also showed improved arm-side life around the zone up to 83 mph, but working in the same 79-82 mph range. He fired six scoreless innings and struck out seven batters in LVR’s semifinal win. Whitaker came out after his first outing yesterday and impressed yet again, but this time showing feel to spin that he didn’t show yesterday. Only working an inning yesterday, it wasn’t surprising that he worked mostly off of his fastball, but he worked in a 68-71 mph 11-to-5 offering that showed the potential to be a nasty pitch with continued development. It showed hard, late bite out of the zone and had opposing hitters guessing when combined with his elevated fastball that worked up to 82 mph. Both players have high ceilings with lots of time remaining before they hit their peak.

For Wilson Sandlot, they advanced to the championship game on the back of Bobby Koch (2020, Scottsdale, Ariz.) who delivered consistent hard contact. He dropped the barrel head to the ball with a longer hand path, but came through the ball with strength from his 6-foot, 160-pound frame. He racked up seven hits on playoff day alone, showing excellent barrel feel against a variety of strong arms with velocity that is at the upper band for that level. Koch showed a very confident approach with an easy line drive swing plane and showed a willingness to use all fields. Koch earned Freshman MVP honors for his work at the plate.

In the semifinals of the underclass playoffs, LVR’s older team sent out UNLV commit Jaret Godman (2018, Las Vegas, Nev.). Jaret pitched to his twin brother Jacob who also impressed in today’s action. Godman stands at a projectable 6-foot-2, 187 pounds with long limbs and good strength already. He is listed as a primary third basemen, but his arm action showed very long and fluid through the back. Godman stood out on the mound with a very fast arm that worked up to 88 mph and showed velocity in the mid-80s throughout the entire game. He showed good plane to the lower third of the zone with tremendous tempo on the mound, creating uncomfortable at-bats for hitters, often ready and waiting before hitters stepped in the box. There was some effort to his delivery with spine tilt and a fall off towards first base, but was athletic enough to repeat and work around the zone, with over 60 percent of his pitches for strikes. Godman did show good feel for his curveball that showed 11-to-5 shape. The pitch worked up to 71 mph and showed improved spin in the pitch’s higher velocity band. There were some inconsistences to the pitch including his arm speed, but when on it showed good depth and bite. He was the victim of bad luck in his outing, with only one run earned in six innings.

Rounding out the day’s action was the upperclass championship game where the uncommitted Trey Dillard (2017, Phoenix, Ariz.) took the mound for NEB. Dillard has an extra-large frame, listed at 6-foot-2, 215-pounds with big time strength. Despite his size, his delivery worked easily with big arm strength. He used a short, compact arm action and threw cleanly from a three-quarters arm slot. Dillard repeated himself very well, landing with good directionality towards the plate. He used a shorter stride, despite a drop-and-drive delivery with sight recoil at the point of release. His fastball exploded out of his hand at 89-93 mph with good arm-side life and plane to the lower third. He also showed present feel to spin with a firm 11-to-5 shaped curveball with good depth and late snap. The curveball helped him accumulate several of his eight strikeouts and his 17 swings and misses in just five innings. He also flashed a straight changeup at 83 mph. Dillard, if he continues to use the drop-and-drive element, could extend even further down the mound and likely see a tick up in his fastball velocity.

 Give us your feedback
Copyright 1994-2019 by Perfect Game. All rights reserved. No portion of this information may be reprinted or reproduced without the written consent of Perfect Game.