Juco : : Story
Thursday, February 16, 2017

Tourn. of Champions scout notes

Britt Smith        
Photo: McLennan Baseball


Listed below are scouting reports on some of the top prospects that stood out at last weekend's Tournament of Champions junior college event held in and around the Houston, Texas, area. The number in parenthesis notes the player rank on Perfect Game’s preseason top 150 junior college prospect list. The first three reports are available for free and the rest can be accessed with a PG Insider of College Baseball Ticket (CBT) subscription. To learn more about Perfect Game's subscription packages and to sign up today please visit this link.


Cameron Sanders (10), RHP, Northwest Florida State
Sanders has entered the 2017 season with a body that is starting to mature. The stability of the body, especially the lower half, is beginning to fill out. Long known for a loose, quick and easy arm he has improved the consistency of his delivery with the added strength. Sanders uses his lower half well and has a solid hip turn. Working from a true three-quarters arm slot with a short takeaway and arm circle that slightly wraps behind his body, he gets to an extended release point to the plate. With nice rhythm and tempo to his delivery, plus a slight crossfire direction, which creates some deception, there is uneasiness for righthanded hitters. A fastball in the 94-95 mph range that sinks and bores in from his arm side might be a contributing factor to this as well. The command of the fastball can waver at times but more due to the movement presently and the increasing velocity. When he is on point, his slider flashes plus potential. His arm slot creates the 10-to-4 shape of the pitch, that at times will have more hard late bite than the sweeping direction you would picture from that shape. The changeup has improved as he has developed the ability to maintain his hand speed consistently with it. At 82-83 mph, when started on plane, it is a swing-and-miss pitch more than a groundball getter. The change does have some sink and slight arm-side run to it. Sanders continued growth as a pitcher is on track. His progress over the last three years is noticeable and if he continues on this path his future will be bright.

Brendan Venter (15), 3B/1B, McLennan Community College
Venter profiles as one of the best bats in junior college baseball. At 6-foot-1, 215-pounds, he is a physical presence in the middle of the lineup. His ability to drive the ball with advanced barrel-to-ball skills combined with his strength creates a difficult matchup for opposing pitchers. Venter has good strike zone discipline for a power hitter and is not prone to chase balls outside of the strike zone. Starting from a slightly open stance and a slight crouch, he shows the ability to keep his swing short while generating good bat speed. Although he would prefer to focus his power to the pull side, he has shown the ability to drive the ball the other way and handles the bat situationally well when needed. Venter is a solid baserunner and possesses good speed on the bases for someone of his size, partly due to his good instincts. Defensively, a move to first base is probably in his future at the pro level but he shows the ability to defend at a solid level presently. The plus defensive plays are not what have Venter ranked where he is currently, it is the current ability and future potential with the bat.

Blake Pflughaupt (17), LHP, Galveston College
Solidly built at 6-foot, 210-pounds, Pflughaupt has a big arm from the left side. Working in the 91-93 mph range with a fastball that has arm-side run and slight sink, Pflughaupt is aggressive with this pitch. He has an attack mentality and does not overly focus on trying to trick the hitter. The curveball is in the 75-76 mph range and flashes potential with 2-to-8 shape and late break. The rotation of the pitch is tight and will create some late-snapping downer action. Adding the use of a third pitch will serve him well in a starting role. The delivery is clean, with a short arm circle in the back he gets to a high three-quarters slot for an extended release. Pflughaupt uses his lower half well with a good hip turn while showing balance and good direction to the plate. With improved consistency of his release point the command should improve and allow him to realize the potential he has with the arm strength.


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