Tournaments | Story | 5/30/2017

Memorial Day LP Days 3-4 Scout Notes

Vincent Cervino         Perfect Game Staff        

Lefthander Hayden Mullins (2019, Gallatin, Tenn.) toed the rubber for Rawlings Southeast Prospects and showed off interesting potential from the left side. Mullins is a very lean and projectable 6-foot, 170-pounds and although he is not extremely tall he showed a very easy and repeatable delivery. He has a big leg lift high above the belt and he extends his hands high above his head into the second half of his delivery. There is a stab in the back of the delivery but he has a very quick arm action that shows off his impressive arm speed. The fastball currently sits in the 85-88 mph range and the pitch has good life to it. He excelled when throwing the pitch to the glove side, especially to righthanded hitters. The curveball flashed potential but it was a bit inconsistent during this showing. When he got on top of it well it showed 1/7 shape and was effective at garnering swings and misses.

One of the early dominant performances came from the arm of righthander Blake Dockery (2018, Harrisburg, N.C.). The uncommitted righthander has a very wiry frame with strength and projectablilty throughout. Dockery utilizes a drop and drive mechanic in order to generate lower half drive toward the plate and does so consistently. The arm action was hooked through the back but he was able to get it through on time consistently and he released from a true three-quarter arm slot. He is still able to get downhill on the fastball, which showed a ton of life and late break to the arm side consistently; the pitch worked primarily in the 89-91/2 mph range. Dockery pounded the zone on Sunday afternoon and he was racking up swings and misses with both the fastball and the breaking pitches. The curveball flashed high potential. The pitch had short break to it and was most effective when buried in the dirt and was almost impossible for hitters, particularly those of the same handedness, to lay off. Dockery appears to be one of the premier arms left uncommitted for the 2018 class. The summer is still young, but if Dockery continues to pitch like he did on Sunday, he won’t be uncommitted for much longer.

The 17u East Cobb Colt .45s have a cavalcade of Division I commitments, and two of those players who shined during this event, primarily on the defensive side, were Troy commit Jacob Cendoya (2018, Alpharetta, Ga.) and Tennessee commit Connor Pavolony (2018, Woodstock, Ga.)

Cendoya was slotted as the starting shortstop all weekend for the Colt .45s and he displayed advanced defensive tools. Cendoya is remarkably athletic, listed with a frame of 6-foot-1 and 180-pounds, and the athleticism shows well particularly in the infield. He has good lateral quickness and his instincts and reactions at shortstop are top-notch. The Troy commit made a number of plays to both sides including a few plays that required him to move in and throw on the run. On those specific plays, Cendoya displayed the ability to throw, with quality arm strength, from multiple slots and remained balanced throughout the play. At the dish, Cendoya stands with a spread open stance with an inward toe tap into his stride. The load is elastic and in constant movement which allows him to retain his momentum throughout the swing. The defensive ability combined with his athleticism makes him one of the highest level shortstops in the class and his ceiling is extremely high.

Moving on from shortstops to catchers, Pavolony has some of the best catch-and-throw skills in the 2018 class. Behind the plate, Pavolony has a very strong, physical frame at a listed 6-foot, 200-pounds. That strength does not hinder his athleticism however, as he moves well behind the plate and is able to reach both sides of the plate fairly easily. The arm strength and ability to limit the aggressiveness of opposing baserunners is the big appeal behind the plate. Pavolony has an absolute hose of a right arm and the throws have excellent carry to any base. He routinely posted pop times in warmups in the 1.8-1.9 second range.

eXposure 17u Prime had a lot of talent throughout the roster and a couple of players who stood out over the final couple of days were righthander  Camden Sewell (2018, Cleveland, Tenn.) and catcher Chaz Bertolani (2018, Alpharetta, Ga.).

Sewell got the nod for a playoff start against the Georgia Giants and immediately came out of the gate firing. The Tennessee commit has a very lanky, projectable build at 6-foot-4, 175-pounds with plenty of room to add strength to the frame. Sewell’s arm action was extremely loose, almost whip-like and he delivered the ball from a three-quarter arm slot. The righthander showed off an impressive three-pitch arsenal with secondaries that were just as impressive all afternoon. The fastball started out in the 88-91 mph range for the first few innings. The pitch showed occasional arm side run and he would use that primarily to bust righthanders inside, as he broke a couple of bats during his outing. Both of the secondaries, a slider and curveball, were pitches that he went to often. The slider showed short break with occasional two-plane action and tilt. It would sometimes just sweep across the zone but was very impressive when buried down in the dirt for chases. The slider had a 2700 rpm spin-rate and the curveball, which had tight 11/5 shape albeit lower velocity, had a 2400 rpm spin-rate. The Tennessee commit has ramped up his velocity since the last time that Perfect Game has had eyes on him and it all culminated in a big playoff victory for Sewell and eXposure.

Bertolani did most of the catching over the weekend for eXposure and displayed a skill set that one would not assume to see out of a catcher. Bertolani has a shorter frame but has strength throughout his body with ample athleticism and twitch. That speed and athleticism profile well as Bertolani hits out of the leadoff spot for eXposure. The approach at the plate is contact oriented as he is looking to get the barrel of the baseball and drive it to any field. Bertolani showed good hand speed and wrist strength in order to handle most pitches at the plate and his pitch recognition allows him to find barrel on most swings. One such example of this came when he fought off a pitch to the opposite field and he still got enough on it to drive it into the gap for a triple. Behind the plate, the Lipscomb commit’s athleticism shines. He smothers nearly everything in the dirt and posted pop times in the 2.00-2.10 second range during warmups. The lower half mechanics through his catching shine as he is very polished and strong as well.

Two righthanders for the Triton Rays displayed high levels of velocity during the tournament as tournament MV-Pitcher Louis Davenport III (2017, Tucker, Ga.) and Daniel Espino (2019, Hinesville, Ga.) both were around the 90 mph mark.

Davenport put on an absolute show during the weekend, totaling 15 Ks in ten innings while allowing only two hits and no earned runs. The Pensacola State commit is incredibly projectable with plenty of room to fill on the frame. Davenport shoved during the semifinals against Young Guns where he tossed a complete game shutout. The arm action is long through the back and he gets it through the arm circle very consistently and on time. What stood out in his performance was his outstanding command of the fastball, particularly to the glove side of the plate. During the second inning, he hit the same spot on the plate, the low-glove side corner, five or six times in the row and hitters were just unable to even make contact with the pitch. The fastball worked up to 89 mph and comfortable in the upper-80s for the majority of the afternoon. Davenport has ample arm strength on the mound and combined with the command was a big part of the reason why he only gave up two hits over the tournament. The slider showed short movement but he also showed very impressive command of the pitch and was able to get it in the strike zone on almost any count.

Espino pitched on Sunday afternoon and immediately lit up the radar gun. The frame is lean and projectable and he threw from an over the top arm slot. Espino’s arm action was very long and extended and he brought it through a full arm circle and worked with very good arm strength. The fastball was the pitch he went to most often and he attacked hitters in the strike zone with it. His fastball sat from 87-90 mph on the afternoon and it was at its best when it was located low in the zone. Espino generates excellent extension down the mound that came in ~eight feet consistently on the afternoon per TrackMan. Espino’s command of the fastball was noteworthy as he was able to keep it in the lower third of the strike zone for the most part. Espino’s feel to spin the ball is still developing but the curveball he showed flashed potential during the outing.

The MVP of the 16u age group was outfielder Steele Chambers (2019, Alpharetta, Ga.) and in addition to having an 80-grade name, he showed off high level tools throughout the event. Chambers has a very large, physical frame with quick twitch athleticism throughout. He hit in the two-hole for the Georgia Bombers throughout the event and showed exemplary bat-to-ball skills to go along with feel for the barrel of the bat. The swing itself is on a level path and showed occasional loft. His hand speed stood out as he is able to whip the barrel of the bat through the hitting zone quickly. Almost everything came off the bat hard and he used his legs and speed to turn in multiple extra base hits. Chambers knocked in two triples throughout the weekend and was a threat to opposing pitchers nearly every time he stepped in the batter’s box.

One of the top hitters for the 16u tournament was Colt .45s catcher Jake Gooch (2019, Cartersville, Ga.) as he was turning in routinely hard hit balls in the 90+ mph range. Gooch has a strong, physical frame and uses that frame to tap into power at the plate. Gooch had a home run earlier in the event and put together a strong second half of the event as well. The swing path is compact and there is natural loft to his swing plane that allows him to drive the ball in the air. What stands out about the swing is the amount of strength that he transfers through the impact point with the ball. He laced a 92 mph double in the championship game as well. Gooch has excellent arm strength as well. During the 2016 Main Event Showcase, Gooch was up to 89 mph from the outfield and this weekend he touched 87 mph on the mound. The arm strength plays very well behind the plate as well.

Speaking of catchers with outstanding arm strength, catcher and Clemson commit Adam Hackenberg (2018, Palmyra, Va.) showed off his cannon multiple times over the course of the event. Hackenberg has a very physical 6-foot-2, 225-pound frame with strength presently throughout the build. The arm strength behind the plate is exceptional and he utilized that to throw out numerous ill-fated runners. In a game on Sunday, Hackenberg posted a 2.01 second pop time to throw out a runner with room to spare. At the dish Hackenberg has a very strong swing that allows him to drive the ball with strength through impact. He has power potential as well and can leave the park with the drop of a hat.

The MGBA Brewers had numerous standouts during the course of the weekend and two players in particular who impressed were Cabera Weaver (2018, Decatur, Ga.) and Lawrence Butler (2018, Atlanta, Ga.).

Weaver is an excellent athlete with immense physical projection on the frame. Listed at 6-foot-4, 185-pounds Weaver has a lot of room to fill out with muscle to the frame, however he already is a very impressive athlete with good speed to boot; he recorded a 3.7 second time to first base on a bunt earlier in the event. Weaver is an excellent defender in centerfield with easy actions and outstanding range. He travels very easily to fly balls on both sides with long, graceful strides that allow him to reach fly balls easily. The Georgia commit’s swing will get long sometimes, but he has very good hand speed and whips the barrel through the zone quickly. He has a knack for finding barrel and can drive the ball very hard, having registered a double with a 94 mph exit velocity during the playoffs. Weaver is one of the highest upside talents in the class and should he continue to get better, the sky is the limit.

Weaver’s teammate and first baseman Butler showed a similarly impressive skill set over the weekend. The West Virginia is a similar, plus athlete with immense projection. Listed at 6-foot-4, 185-pounds with impressive speed, 4.14 seconds to first from the left side, Butler is athletic enough to play across the diamond at third and potentially in the outfield as well. He has a bat wag to create rhythm in the swing and he strides well into contact. The swing itself is very fluid and is naturally lofted allowing for power potential. Butler displays good plate discipline as well and does well to lay off pitches that aren’t conducive to hard contact. Butler has a strong overall package and is an asset to any team, especially with the bat in his hands.

One of the top ranked players in the class, Jeremiah Jackson (2018, Mobile, Ala.), stood out all weekend and has a complete, top level assortment of tools. Coming in ranked no. 34 overall in the class, Jackson is a polished athlete with a very projectable frame as well. He plays a very easy shortstop with solid range and remains balanced on all the plays he makes. He has great instincts and is always thinking multiple plays ahead while on the field. The Mississippi State commit has an incredibly easy and fluid swing. He can drive the ball to all parts of the field and makes consistent hard contact. Jackson also pitched during the weekend and showed off his exceptional arm strength by reaching up to 92 mph.

The champion 643 DP Cougars received contributions from multiple players throughout the weekend, but catcher Carson Taylor (2018, Duluth, Ga.) stood out. Taylor has a very strong frame, listed at 6-foot-1 and 188 pounds, and utilizes that strength well. The lower half is very strong and he uses good rear leg drive into the swing to allow for power. The Richmond commit can create topspin on the ball to hit very hard line drives or add carry to the ball when trying to go for home run distance. Taylor showed very good bat speed which only increases the potential for his power to play in game; he explodes through the start of the swing and allows the barrel to stay in the hitting zone for a long time. Behind the plate, Taylor had very good arm strength posting warmup pop times in the 1.95-2.05 second range.

Two pitchers had outstanding outings over the weekend as Gunnar Norwood (2016, Cleveland, Tenn.) and Zach McManus (2018, Canton, Ga.) tossed no-hitters.

Norwood silenced a tough Mission Team Baseball squad as he racked up seven strikeouts in seven innings. The Cleveland State commit mixed three pitches effectively as he worked his fastball, curveball, and changeup to opposing hitters. The fastball sat in the mid-80s and topped out at 86 mph on the outing.

McManus lit up the radar gun and the strikeout column as he was up to 90 mph and struck out fourteen batters. He finished with MV-Pitcher honors and made quick work of a BigStix opponent. The uncommitted McManus has shown an increased velocity of his fastball and remains an appealing target for Division I schools. 

-Vincent Cervino

Another exciting day for some baseball during the Memorial Day Classic at Lakepoint with the Mission Team 18U defeating the NOCA Select Seniors by a score of 4-0. Georgia Tech commit Crews Taylor (Lawrenceville, Ga 2017) stood out today going 1-2 with a triple, a walk and a run scored. Taylor handles the short stop position well making every playing and showcasing soft hands and a great ability to field tough in between hops and still get the runner out at first. He has a athletic, medium frame and hits with a closed stance and small leg kick. He looks to get his arms extended and drive the ball in the gap.

Andre Tarver (Ringgold, GA 2019) also had  a decent day for the eXposure 16U Prime as he went 1-3 in the Primes win over the 643 DP Tigers. Tarver has a strong, medium frame and a mature build at such a young age. Tarver has a strong lower half that he’ll be able to use more with his swing as he progresses. He’s a patient hitter with a good understanding of the strike zone, but can look too relaxed at times at the plate. He has a nice, easy load with a balanced, level swing and gets on top of the ball well and leg out singles as well as turn base hits down the line to easy stand up doubles with his speed and strides.  

-Brandon Lowe

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