Tournaments | Story | 6/24/2017

17u SE Championship Notes

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SCORE International 17u Tampa’s close 7-6 win Thursday morning was due to a standout performance from their starting pitcher
Will Ohme (2018, Valrico, Fla.). His fastball sitting in the mid-80s immediately got the opposing hitters’ attentions. Despite the good velocity of his fastball, Ohme’s best pitch is his slider. It has true swing-and-miss potential featuring excellent lateral movement. This pitch was most effective when thrown low in the zone. His clean mechanics allowed him to achieve this often. Eventually Ohme will need to throw his slider more frequently as hitters become used to the increased velocity, but right now Ohme is clearly a sterling pitcher.

Ohme was helped out defensively by teammate Zane Tarrance (2018, Odessa, Fla.). He made several impressive plays while manning shortstop including catching a humpback liner in short left field. His range was on full display as he sprinted while making an excellent over-the-shoulder catch. He finished the game 1-for-2 with a walk.

Another impressive pitcher from SCORE was Michael Dominguez (2019, Tampa, Fla.). His 5-foot-7, 155-pound frame is small, but Dominguez makes up for that by throwing hard and accurately. His fastball ranged from 83-87 mph. Dominguez located the ball well to both sides of the plate while also changing eye levels. His strange delivery also adds deception to keep hitters from feeling comfortable. He lacked a dominant secondary offering, which Dominguez will need to add in order to remain competitive at higher levels. But his good arm speed and long arm action will help facilitate this. Over 5 2/3 innings, Dominguez racked up 10 strikeouts.

Mike Ballard (2019, Longwood, Fla.) had no trouble making solid contact. His three hits all came on hard line drives sprayed across the field. His straight, tall stance allows Ballard to load well into his back hip to generate power in a still small frame. Ballard’s swing plane does suggest more doubles than homeruns in the future, though. As he grows physically he should hit plenty balls off the wall while maintaining a high batting average.

SWFL Canes’ worked their way to a 5-0 win with the help of starting pitcher Robert Wegielnik (2018, Fort Myers, Fla.). He showed the ability to keep his delivery in line with a compact arm circle and solid arm speed. His fastball featured a small cutting action that often missed barrels. Wegielnik was incredibly efficient, too. He pounded the strike zone and needed only a couple pitches to retire hitters. Wegielnik could be an interesting two-way player with the way he swings the bat. He has a tall stance, with his hands near the letters. A small leg lift starts his timing. The swing is short and fluid, and sprays the ball to all fields.

Wegielnik was backed by a strong offensive performance from JanMikell Bastardo (2019, Fort Myers, Fla.). You wouldn’t think he is 16 years old by looking at him as Bastardo is already 6-foot-3 and 198-pounds. And when you’re that size, you need to be able to crush the ball. Bastardo absolutely showed that ability. He launched an inside fastball over the left fielder’s head for a double. Despite Bastardo’s tendency to hang his arms over the plate, he was able to consistently turn on inside pitches without problems. When Bastardo learns to fully engage his lower half his power could be limitless.

Of course, the player with the most potential is Riley Greene (2019, Oviedo, Fla.). Greene got things started right away with a booming home run to right-center field. His incredible bat speed and uphill swing plane should cause many more balls to leave the park. If that wasn’t enough to terrify opposing pitchers, Greene showed good knowledge of the strike zone. His potential with the bat is tremendous. Greene has a verbal commitment to play at the University of Florida. On Friday Greene hit his second home run in as many days. This rocket was hit to the opposite field and generously cleared the wall. It came on an effortless swing, but off the bat there was no doubt in anyone’s mind that it would be a home run. Yet again, Greene continues to impress.

Ben Gilbert (2019, Lake Wales, Fla.) also impressed with the bat. He’s an aggressive hitter who doesn’t see many pitches per atbat, but this doesn’t seem to matter when you have the type of swing Gilbert does. His swing is short and compact, with a natural line drive approach. His bat speed will also allow him to sit on pitches longer before making a decision. Gilbert’s athleticism and good arm strength will allow him to continually be comfortable manning centerfield. He finished the day 3-for-4 with a double off the right field wall.

Joshua Emerson (2019, St. Johns, Fla.) caught people’s attention when his fastball touched 87 mph. While it never got this high again, he lived comfortably in the low-80s. Hitters seemed to think he was throwing harder. Emerson’s fastball was steamrolling through hitters. His long arm circle and deep hook weren’t a problem when it came to Emerson’s control; he poured in strikes and put hitters away quickly. His curve showed good depth as well, but was inconsistent. Emerson could be an interesting follow as he continues to mature.

The SWFL Canes 17U featured a number of good hitters. One of the most obviously talented players is Carson Smith (2018, Fort Myers, Fla.). As a big first baseman you definitely need to be able to hit. And Smith does plenty of that. He starts with an extremely narrow stance. As the ball heads towards home Smith takes a big leg kick and a hyper aggressive stride forward. What results is a violent swing with plenty of power packed in. Smith does show good disciple though, and often only swings at strikes. Smith finished the day going 1-for-3.

Smith’s teammate, Derek Rascher (2018, Naples, Fla.), is an excellent athlete. He shined while playing shortstop Friday. His routes to circle behind ground balls were quick and well executed. Once the ball was in his glove Rascher released the ball quickly and had plenty of easy arm strength to beat even the faster runners to first. Rascher’s bat will also help him stick at future levels. This scout even heard that Rascher can hit 85 mph when on the mound.

FTB Tucci-Sindone featured the strongest lineup throughout this tournament. Among the star players was Chris Mondesi (2019, Brooklyn, N.Y.). His swing is extra aggressive featuring a big leg kick and large stride towards the pitcher. He’s already 6-foot, 180-pounds and demonstrates plenty of raw power. He smacked a double to the opposite field, and as he refines his approach at the plate Mondesi should add even more power. He also plays a solid third base.

Jacob Herbert (2019, Lakeland, Fla.) can really hit. As a righthanded hitter he crouches slightly at the plate with his hands around the letters. From his set position, his swing is exceptionally fluid. Herbert has natural lift to his swing and he clearly swings with the intent for extra bases. Herbert showed good control of the barrel throughout the day. Herbert is verbally committed to the University of Florida.

Christian Pregent (2019, Daytona Beach, Fla.) got the start behind the plate with Herbert serving as a designated hitter. Pregent showed good agility when blocking tough pitches in the dirt and had good arm strength when throwing to second. His bat could be special, though. Pregent does an excellent job transferring his weight throughout his swing and creates plenty of torque to hit for power. He never seemed fooled by pitches, even good breaking balls. Whoever FTB Tucci-Sindone starts as catcher is a great choice.

Joshua Emerson (2019, St. Johns, Fla.) pitched on Thursday, but was in the lineup for Friday’s game. He features a pronounced leg kick to start the timing of his swing. The bat flies through the zone and makes good, solid contact. With his bat and feel for pitching, Emerson could be an interesting two-way prospect.

The last spot in the lineup is usually reserved for the weaker hitters. But when that player is Keniel De Leon (2019, Orlando, Fla.) you would be sorely mistaken. His wide hitting stance allows him to transfer his weight well into his back leg during a small stride. De Leon has a line drive swing plane, and he showed he can spray the ball to all fields. His ability to hit and good speed on the bases will absolutely allow him to be successful at future levels.

Sebastien Velez (2019, Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico) struggled to settle in, but once he did Velez looked very comfortable on the mound. His fastball sat in the high-70s and touched 81 mph. His changeup and curveball were both shaky to start the outing by improved throughout the game. Velez showed polished command by easily hitting the corners to both sides of the plate. His combination of pitches and poise on the mound baffled hitters at times. Velez finished his outing going 5 2/3 innings with seven strikeouts.

Another impressive pitcher was Justin Rivero (2018, Lake Worth, Fla.). His fastball was popping the catcher’s glove at 87 mph. He hid the ball well in the back and created plenty of deception. The fastball paired well with his 10-4 shaped curve. He’ll eventually need to trust the pitch more as he rarely through it during the start. He hit his spots early in the outing, but clearly became tired as the innings wore on. Rivero generated plenty of ground balls and finished with four strikeouts.

Jack Szachacz (2018, Melbourne, Fla.) played great defense for Sharks Elite. He made a great play charging a weak groundball hit to third, while offering a strong, off balance throw to easily get the hustling runner. Szachacz did well with the bat, too. The minimal drifting in his hands allows him to hit nearly anything he swings at, and his above average bat speed allows him to make contact even when fooled. His swing plane suggests a future doubles machine if he can continue making hard contact. 

– Kyle Zweng

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