Righthander Gavin Sullivan (2018, Swampscott, Mass.) started for the Cheshire Academy for the first time slot during Friday’s action. Sullivan has a strong frame for a pitcher, being listed at 6-foot-2 and 180-pounds while having additional room to fill out on the frame. He showed a tighter arm action that also had pretty solid arm speed. He had arm hook through the back of his delivery and threw from a higher three-quarters arm slot. When his delivery was on time he was able to create good plane on the fastball thanks to his high slot and the ability to work downhill. The fastball sat from 82-84 mph and topped out at 85 mph for the outing. The pitch was at its best when he was working it low in the zone. He showed a feel for the curveball that had short break and showed similar arm speed to the fastball as well. Sullivan will be an intriguing name to monitor as he continues to refine his tools and develop physically.
Next Level Academy pulled off a walk-off win against the Christ School Greenies and righthander Jacob Gilliland (2018, Ocean Springs, Miss.) came into the game during the sixth inning and shut down the Greenies offense. He didn’t throw many pitches but he made quick work of the opposing batters. The uncommitted junior throws from an extended three-quarters arm slot with an arm action that is loose and is full through the arm circle. The delivery was very easy with little effort and he showed an advanced approach on the mound. Gilliland worked in his curveball often, many times throwing it for the first pitch. Although he didn’t execute every one of them, he showed a good feel for spinning it and it flashed tight shape. The fastball sat from 85-88 mph and touched 89 mph early on. The pitch was true in movement but had difficult angle upon entry to the strike zone. He worked the pitch to both sides of the plate and, in a rare feat, he played the fastball off his curveball.
The hero on the afternoon for Next Level Academy was Myles McKisic (2017, Delray Beach, Fla.) as his majestic three-run shot propelled Next Level to victory. Gilliland helped swing some of the momentum toward Next Level after his efficient, dominant effort in two innings. After being down 2-0, they put together a rally that was capped by McKisic’s shot. He got fully extended through the pointof contact and generated carry on the ball that helped the hit sail over the left field fence. McKisic has been detailed in previous write-ups for his prowess on the mound and defensively, but on Friday his offensive tools shined.
Lefthander Jared Wetherbee (2017, Fiskdale, Mass.) provided a gem for Avon Old Farms in their victory on Friday evening. The southpaw was perfect through three innings and showed sound overall pitching tools. He threw with some effort but the arm was pretty clean throughout the delivery. The arm slot is higher three-quarters and borderline over-the-top. While that makes his fastball straight he generated very good plane when he was able to spot the pitch down in the zone. He has a lanky build and has room on the frame to add strength as he continues to develop, The Elon commit got solid extension downhill toward the batter that allowed his stuff to play up. He attacked hitters with the fastball that sat from 85-88 mph consistently. He did a good job at maintaining his velocity deep through the outing. The fastball would be left up at times but was effective when he was commanding it up in the zone to entice hitters to chase. He mixed in a curveball with true 12-to-6 shape that had some good depth when he got on top of it. Wetherbee gained confidence in the pitch as the outing went on and showed a good feel for mixing his pitches and changing looks as the lineup flipped over.
Wetherbee’s teammate and first baseman William Gersky (2018, Woodbury, Conn.) showed off some impressive raw power during the team’s victory over the Homeplate Citadels. Gersky is a physically imposing 6-foot-4, 225-pounds and his advanced physicality allows his strength to to play well into his swing. He launched two doubles in the game, the latter of which was rocketed off the left centerfield wall. Gersky created leverage in his swing and the overall mechanics were quiet into his load through the point of contact with the pitch. His hands allowed for a good launch angle where he showed off the strength in his swing. Gersky has a fly ball approach at the plate with a small toe tap as a timing mechanism. He is looking to drive the ball high and far out of the park and during Friday’s action he was able to do so successfully.
One of the players who showed off some of the loudest tools of the day was impressive center fielder Ezequiel Pagan (2018, Guayanilla, Puerto Rico) for TSD Black. Pagan has a lean, high-waisted frame with long limbs and projection remaining throughout. Despite the lankiness of the frame he has present strength and that allows him to pull the barrel of the bat through the zone with impressive bat speed. The facet of Pagan's offensive approach that immediately stood out was his confidence in his ability. He was very relaxed and comfortable at the plate showing even a little bit of swagger as well. The barrel stays in the hitting zone for a long time and he has very quick hands with an inside path to the baseball. Pagan showed an awareness of the strike zone and showed the ability to control the barrel of the bat and to hit the ball hard to all fields. He launched a triple deep down the opposite field line and showed off his good speed as well. He was timed at 4.12 seconds to first base from the left side and has run a 6.6 60-yard dash at Perfect Game showcases in the past. The speed was evident on the base paths where he also showed good base running instincts. Pagan made long strides in the outfield and garnered good reads off fly balls. Pagan has very loud tools and they showed during his two games played on Friday.
– Vincent Cervino
TNXL Academy opened play with a convincing 22-0 victory, including an 18-run first inning. There was a cavalcade of noteworthy performances from the TNXL lineup, but once again Elijah Cabell (2018, Fla.) led the way, going 4-for-4 with two doubles (including one off the top of the wall in left center field), along with four RBI and four runs scored as well.
Michael Largey (2017, Fla.) had another big day, picking up another extra base hit (double) along with a pair of walks, two RBI and 2 runs scored. Dominic Scavone (2021, Fla.) picked up the run rule-shortened shutout victory on the mound, collecting five strikeouts over those three scoreless frames.
In what may have been the best game, competitively, of the day; NLA Academy beat the Christ School Greenies 5-2. Christ School starting pitcher Will Fleming (2017, N.C.) was impressive albeit in a losing effort. Working up to 88 mph early before settling in at 83-87 mph for the duration of his start, Fleming’s long, lean build is highly projectable in terms of projecting added mass and strength, and his velocity should take a pretty good jump once he gets into a collegiate strength and conditioning program.
Fleming was very good at throwing strikes, only walking one in his 104-pitch outing, and consistently got the fastball down in the zone. His slider showed quality tilt and it’s thrown with fastball conviction and arm speed, though he will need to tighten it up for it to be a swing-and-miss pitch at the collegiate level.
Knights baseball lost a tough one to Avon Old Farms on Friday afternoon, but their starting pitcher was undoubtedly interesting due in part to his young age. Only an eighth grader, Caleb Warta (2021, Tenn.) took the bump for the first four frames and did his part, filling up the zone and showing an advanced feel for his delivery, repeating it well and staying compact throughout. He scattered five hits and struck out three, and worked up to 79 mph with his fastball. The arm action is clean and he does do a good job getting downhill through the delivery, and as he starts to physically mature will be a name to follow very early in the 2021 class.
– Brian Sakowski