Tournaments | Story | 7/17/2017

15u WWBA Day 3 Scout Notes

Jheremy Brown         Vincent Cervino        
Photo: Perfect Game

Daily Leaders | Player Stats | Day 1 Notes | Day 2 Notes

Starting off Day 3 of the 15u WWBA National Championship was talented southpaw Jackson Phipps (2020, Dallas, Ga.) and he was outstanding in a three-inning stint. The 6-foot-4, 195-pound lefthander was dominant through three scoreless innings as he allowed zero walks, only two hits, and struck out four batters during the performance. He filled up the strike zone and induced a lot of weak contact with minimal three-ball counts Sunday morning.

The frame is extremely physically projectable with very long limbs, a loose and wiry frame, and a high waist. Phipps worked with a pretty easy arm action and overall delivery as there was not a ton of effort exerted physically upon release from a lower three-quarters arm slot. Phipps’ combination of fastball/curveball was very effective and the stuff was excellent as well.

The fastball started out at 87-89 mph and topped out at 90 mph in the first inning. Phipps pounded the low, arm-side corner of the plate and the fastball was extremely effective with heavy life and was thrown with a difficult angle to the plate. He settled into the 85-88 mph range for the rest of the outing and the breaking ball was used effectively for strikes and for swings and misses within the strike zone. The second-ranked player in the state had one of his best performances of the summer to date and remains one of the top uncommitted talents in the entire country.

On the field directly adjacent to Phipps, another power-armed pitcher was getting loose as righthander Brooks Rice (2020, Madison, Miss.) showed very intriguing tools to go along with excellent projection. The righthander had pitched earlier in the tournament, but his velocity was at new highs for this start as he sat in the 87-89 mph range in the first inning of work.

Rice projects very well, with a 6-foot-2 and 170-pound wiry frame, as there is a lot of room on the body to add continued strength and size. The arm action is long through the back and releases from a high three-quarter arm slot in order to leverage the ball and create plane low in the zone.

He showed multiple breaking balls that included a curveball with good depth and a slider that had late bite to it. The curveball was an effective pitch at being thrown for called strikes and the slider feel is still developing, however it was effective when buried low in the dirt for chases. Rice is a very high ceiling talent and has taken a clear jump from a year ago; the velocity should hold better as he gains strength and there are definite tools to build off.

The third pitcher, in the same quad no less, to be touching 87 mph during the first time slot was the Dirtbags’ Koen Moreno (2020, Cary, N.C.). The righthander is skinny and lean with plenty of room to add strength with continued physical development. The arm stroke is loose through the back and the arm was consistently on time with the lower half as the extension down the mound was excellent. There is a multi-pieced leg lift that helps with timing and there is good arm speed with the delivery. With such a high-maintenance delivery, there can be timing issues at times but he showed good determination by battling through the issues and still being effective. The fastball worked in the mid- to upper-80s primarily and that was his pitch of choice to attack hitters. Moreno showed pretty solid tools and will be an arm to monitor on a team with a multitude of those.

Rice’s teammate and third baseman Slade Wilks (2020, Columbia, Miss.) had himself a day that included a mammoth home run deep to the pull side and over the tent. The blast was a no-doubt shot off the bat that traveled 375 feet and came off the bat at 96 mph. The path was uphill and flyball oriented which gears well for the raw power that he showed. Wilks’ bat travels quickly through the hitting zone and is pretty smooth, all of which were coordinated at the same time to produce a mammoth shot and show that the depth of the East Coast Sox lineup is immense.

Another power hitter showed off during the games on Sunday as former 14u PG Select Baseball Festival participant Yanluis Ortiz (2020, Grapevine, Texas) showcased his tools from both the batter’s box and the mound. The Miami commit is incredibly strong, listed at 5-foot-11 and 210-pounds, and that strength allows him to generate very good bat speed through the hitting zone. Ortiz gets his lower half involved as well and helps coordinate the swing on plane in order to make consistent hard contact, which included his 98 mph home run to deep left field. He hopped on the mound to close out the game and his time on the mound did not last very long. The fastball was explosive and sat 88-90 for the outing. There was some effort in the delivery but the stuff was very effective in a short stint that featured exclusively fastballs. Ortiz excels at a lot of facets during the game and he is always one of the more exciting players to watch.

Another big-time performer today was Briar Stinson (2020, Rustville, Ill.) during the win for the Missouri Gators on Sunday afternoon. The outfielder showed very good power with a couple of rockets which included a no-doubt moonshot that left the bat at 100 mph and traveled an approximate 388 feet deep over the wall in left-center field. The strength jumps off the page when you consider the 6-foot-1, 180-pound frame with broad shoulders and still room left to fill in and add more physicality. Stinson has god present bat speed through the hitting zone with a full path and can generate immense strength through the point of contact. The swing is short and his quick hands guide the bat well with a present power approach. Stinson laced another hard line drive in his second at bat that was caught off the bat at 95 mph. Stinson showed very promising and projectable tools at the plate and the power will certainly play now and in the future.

Myles McDermott (2020, Braintree, Mass.) worked up to 89 mph during his start on Sunday afternoon and there were good things to take away going forward from his performance. The righthander has a very strong and durable frame coming in at a listed 6-foot-2, 210-pounds with broad shoulders and well-proportioned strength throughout. The arm action is tight through the release from a higher three-quarters slot and McDermott flashed the ability to generate plane. The fastball worked in the 86-89 mph range early on and he showed the tendency to attack hitters with the pitch, especially up in the zone. He racked up a lot of swings and misses with the pitch up in the zone and is flashed life to the pitch as well.

There were some command issues early on but showed good determination at still executing on every pitch even as the pitch count ticked up. McDermott also showed a changeup and curveball to complete the three-pitch mix. His jump from last summer was evident during the start and can be one of the top arms in the class as he continues his development on the mound.

One of the younger players in this event in terms of grad year in righthander Brandon Hudson (2021, Warsaw, N.C.) and he was electric during his five innings on the mound. The 6-foot-3, 170-pound pitcher has immense physical projection on the frame but even right now he is a talented arm with very good pitchability as well. Hudson’s best weapon is his fastball that he will use to generate really weak ground balls. He gets really good sink on his pitches and that combined with the excellent downhill plane generated makes it almost impossible to elevate the pitch. The fastball worked mostly in the low-80s but could ramp it up to 86 mph or 87 mph if he needed but he was in control the whole way. Hudson finished the outing by only allowing one run on no-hits and no-walks.

Logan Schmidt (2020, Orange Park, Fla.) took the mound for the Coastal Prospects and had himself an outstanding outing while also showing very projectable pitching tools. Schmidt stands very tall at 6-foot-4, 190-pounds on the mound with present size and room on the frame to add continued physicality. The arm projects well with a very clean arm stroke that included a long and high front glove lever. The fastball and his ability to maintain velocity were both very consistent as he was able to work 80-84 mph throughout the afternoon and his combination of fastball and curveball was very effective. He showed advanced feel for the breaking ball and although he got around a couple of them, when he was on top he was able to snap off ones that showed good depth and sharp break. The two-pitch mix worked excellently to the tune of five innings while only allowing one run and striking out thirteen batters. The curveball is a good weapon and everything is trending upward for the young arm.

PG Select Baseball Festival participant Johnny Castagnozzi (2020, Massapequa Park, N.Y.) took quality swings at the plate and has good overall bat-to-ball skills. The righthanded hitter has good contact skills and feel for the barrel of the bat with a short stroke throught he zone. The bat head travels through an even swing plane and Catagnozzi utilizes an inside hand path to keep the swing short and to the ball. He does an excellent job at creating hard line drive contact which included a scorching line drive to the third baseman that deflected off the fielder for his only hit. He also knocked two line drives that were well struck but couldn’t find the outfield grass. The frame and present quickness are both indicative of a power potential but will be interesting to see if Castagnozzi adjusts his approach at all, as the line drive to all fields approach is working well for him right now.

– Vinnie Cervino

Dylan Crews (2020, Longwood, Fla.) is a young righthanded hitter, and former PG Select Festival member, who has already established his name on the national circuit as one of the top bats in the 2020 class, a notion that’s confirmed by his current No. 18 national ranking. Crews has added noticeable strength since last summer, leading to even quick hands in his swing which is an area that already stood out in his offensive tool set. With the barrel whip he’s able to generate through the zone now and the added strength, Crews can impact the baseball to all fields with feel for the barrel and left the yard entirely early yesterday morning. Crews got the barrel head out on an 84 mph lefthanded fastball and with natural leverage to his path he spun on the pitch for a no-doubt solo shot over the left field fence, registering 95 mph off the barrel.

Currently ranked No. 7 in the class of 2021, catcher Ian Moller (2021, Dubuque, Iowa) put his skills on display from both sides of the ball as he started behind the plate and hit in the middle-third of the Top Tier lineup. At 6-foot, 170-pounds Moller isn’t built like your typical rising freshman and that physical strength plays in his hands offensively too as we saw in his first at-bat of the day as he got jammed inside and still managed to muscle a double down the pull side line. In his next at-bat the Iowa native got extended and showed his feel for the barrel by doubling to the opposite field, giving him four RBI on the afternoon. He’s more than a one-dimensional player however as he shows advanced catch-and-throw skills behind the plate with a quick transfer and strong throwing arm, as well as clean receiving actions with the glove.

Not far behind Moller in the 2021 rankings is California prep Roc Riggio (2021, Simi Valley, Calif.) who checks in at No. 13 who picked up his first hit of the tournament yesterday and did so in a big way. After walking in his first at-bat on four pitches, Riggo came out aggressive in his next trip to the plate swinging on the first pitch and he certainly didn’t miss. With loose wrists and plenty of whip to the barrel through the zone, on top of the natural leverage in his bat path, the young lefthanded hitting UCLA commit connected for a home run that managed to just stay fair, sailing over the foul pole and well past the 320’ marker on the wall. The bat is the current standout tool for Riggio though he also runs well on the bases and shows a strong arm, traits which could project him as an outfielder long term.

A prospect like Charez Butcher (2020, Kokomo, Ind.) quickly catches your eye even when playing long toss in the outfield as physically he would fit onto a collegiate roster right now, standing 6-foot-3, 196-pounds with square shoulders and extra-long arms. All those features, plus his easy arm action, help Butcher produce some of the easiest velocity of the tournament, and the scary part is he’s not done developing.

On the mound Butcher shows a clean and tension-free arm stroke which helped run his fastball up to 92 mph in this look and sat in the 88-91 mph range in the opening frame. The velocity would fluctuate for Butcher, though he could seemingly reach back for 90 mph whenever needed, and part of the reason is for the different looks in his delivery pitch-to-pitch. There were times where he’d change his tempo, give a higher leg lift or check the runner for an extra second and they’re all little components that led to an inconsistent release point. That said, Butcher is a special arm and more than athletic enough to refine his delivery which in turn will allow for an increase in velocity, more strikes and the consistent ability to miss bats.

When everything was on time and in sync during this appearance, the uncommitted righthander worked on top of the ball, producing plane as well as short sinking life which resulted in weakly chopped ground ball contact. The velocity and arm action are super easy, and when you factor in the frame, long limbs and overall athleticism, Butcher is the type of arm that could explode at any moment and see another big tick up in terms of his fastball.

One of the youngest players in attendance at 13.7 years old, Jeffery Waters (2020, Mableton, Ga.) is a standout talent on the diamond and though he’s listed as a primary outfielder, where he’s excelled in the past, this write up is in regards to his pitching. Listed at a strong and still projectable 5-foot-11, 188-pounds, Waters came in out of the bullpen to extinguish a bases loaded threat, striking out the first batter he faced.

Even with no runners on base Waters worked exclusively out of the stretch, showing a full and fluid arm stroke through the back to produce a fastball that topped 88 mph a couple of time and sat comfortably in the 85-87 mph range. Waters is able to generate solid extension out front and produces the velocity while looking as though he’s playing catch, something that bodes well moving forward in terms of projectability. Another aspect of his delivery that point to more velocity is how little he currently utilizes his lower half in his drive though he does create consistent sinking life down in the zone.

Joshua Williams (2019, Morgan Park, Ill.) and Alec Gonzalez (2020, Chicago Heights, Ill.) both threw for the DP A’s and impressed with fastballs that each ran into the mid-80s, topping out at 86 mph apiece. Williams, a lefthander, projects well physically given his 6-foot-2, 187-pound, long limbed frame and with his quick arm action it’s easy to envision the velocity continuing to climb. Gonzalez provided the relief for Williams as he came out in attack mode with his fastball, sitting in the 83-86 mph range and did a nice job of living low in the zone. With a broad shouldered, stronger build in comparison to Williams, Gonzalez also picked up a loud double to his pull side gap (left-center field), showing strength to his hands and off the barrel.

While Ryan Clifford (2022, Raleigh, N.C.) will just be entering his eighth-grade year of school, there’s nothing that he does on the field that would suggest his age and that begins with his 6-foot-2, 185-pound build. Still not 14 years old, Clifford has made his presence felt this tournament already connecting for two home runs and though he didn’t go deep in this look you can’t help but come away impressed. With balance and rhythm to his swing, Clifford isn’t afraid to dig in against arms a couple years older as he shows a long and fluid path through the zone, generating solid extension out front. He picked up a single in his first at-bat of the day before drawing a walk and popping out and is a young talent who needs to be followed closely given what he’s already able to do on the field and what is still to come.

A primary shortstop, Kelly Crumpton (2021, Jackson, Miss.) is a name who has already made some noise on the travel ball circuit and will continue to do so as a two-way talent. Already listed at 6-foot-3, 160-pounds, the physical projection is obvious with a high waist and long limbs, as is the athleticism given his movements and actions at shortstop. Crumpton shows solid balance and footwork moving towards the ball with solid arm strength, another tool he’ll put on display when he takes the mound later in the tournament. And though he didn’t pick up a base hit in the game, he did connect for one of the harder pieces with a line drive at the third baseman that jumped off the barrel thanks to a quick, linear stroke through the zone.

There are a lot of things to like when it comes to Jack Bulger’s (2020, Bowie, Md.) game as he shows well both at the plate and behind it, something college recruiters have taken note of. Physically advanced at 5-foot-11, 195-pounds, Bulger retains looseness to his actions behind the plate and couples it with sound receiving skills and standout arm strength on his throws down to second base. Currently the No. 37 player in the 2020 class, Bulger’s bat could very well end up being his loudest tool with lots of looseness and rhythm to his hands. With natural loft off the barrel and his physical strength, it wouldn’t surprise if the uncommitted Bulger continues to tap into his raw power potential and starts driving balls out of the yard.

– Jheremy Brown

Liam Norris (2020, Cary, N.C.) is currently ranked as the No. 4 player in the class of 2020 per Perfect Game following a litany of spectacular performances dating back to last summer and including both the inaugural 14u PG Select Baseball Festival and the Jr. National Showcase. The highly projectable young lefthander has a bevy of high-level colleges hot on his trail and they’ll continue to be, as he’s yet to commit among those in the class of 2020.

Norris has an excellent pitcher’s build with broadness to his shoulders tapering through an athletic frame, with very good projection remaining overall. His delivery is pretty easy loading well into his back hip and driving downhill while getting his hips mostly online and finishing well over his front side. The arm action is very clean as well on time at foot strike with the arm coming through and creating excellent plane and extension through a high three-quarters slot release.

His fastball worked up to 88 mph on this day settling in around 84-87 mph and showcasing the ability to work the fastball to both sides of the plate. He has tremendous velocity upside given how his arm works and how much his body projects and it’s pretty easy to imagine him sitting in the 90s in the not-too-distant future. He’s got very good early feel for his curveball as well, thrown in the low-70s right now with 1-to-7 shape and very good spin, flashing sharpness with the ability to throw it for strikes to both sides of the plate. He’ll also work in a changeup right now as well thrown in the low 80’s with good feel to turn it over out front and generate quality fading action.

The entire Team Elite 15u Prime is loaded, top-to-bottom, with high-end talent and Trejyn Fletcher (2020, Portland, Maine) is no exception. The sixth-ranked player in the 2020 class, Fletcher possesses high level tools throughout his profile not the least of which is his athleticism. He’s consistently shown the ability to put his plus speed on display, both on the basepaths and when patrolling center field and he absolutely looks like he’s going to be an impact defender at the next level. At the plate he features extremely loose wrists with whippy bat speed impacting the ball with authority consistently to all fields with big time power projection as well.

Behind the plate Alek Boychuk (2020, Buford, Ga.) did a very good job of receiving Liam Norris showing off athleticism and advanced defensive tools overall. He’s a very good receiver at present sticking and presenting pitches down in the zone and off both edges of the plate for strikes, a tool that is often underdeveloped in players of this age. He’s a very good blocker as well, moving side to side with relative ease and having no trouble smothering breaking balls in the dirt.

Later on Sunday afternoon the Georgia Jackets National 15u moved to 4-0 in Pool Play via a 5-0 victory over Team Steel. Hayde Key (2020, Missouri City, Texas) got the win, throwing five shutout frames, allowing only two hits and no walks while striking out six in the process. Key is a solidly built righthander with projection remaining through his frame featuring a compact, hooked arm stroke through the back that does a good job hiding the baseball while creating good leverage. He worked up to 88 mph with his fastball, settling into the 83-87 mph range for the duration of his outing, and just pounding the strike zone with the pitch, featuring heavy sinking life as well. He was very content to just pound the lower half of the strike zone with the sinker, just letting opposing hitters beat it weakly into the ground but also was able to throw the pitch up in the zone to generate swings-and-misses. He was consistently in command of his fastball throwing it to all four quadrants of the strike zone with that heavy life, and really did a good job of getting on collegiate radars in the process.

Hudson Sapp (2020, Dawnsonville, Ga.) really stood out offensively for the Jackets hitting in the two hole and playing his usual excellent center field as well. He made his offensive presence known in a loud way, tripling over the center fielder’s head then showing off his very good speed around the base paths. He’s got strong hands and loose wrists into his lefthanded swing an excellent combination when projection both future hit tool and power tool. He’s an early commit to Ole Miss where he has a chance to be an impact player both offensively and defensively in the middle of the diamond in center field.

– Brian Sakowski

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