Tournaments | Story | 7/18/2017

15u WWBA Day 4 Scout Notes

Jheremy Brown         Vincent Cervino         Perfect Game Tournament Staff        
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If you lined up all the top prospects who are playing in this tournament, it would be hard to find more than a handful who are more impressive in terms of physicality that Tim McHugh (2019, Commack, N.Y.). A member of the East Squad in last year’s inaugural 14u PG Select Baseball Festival, McHugh was the type of bat you could envision hitting for some big power, and now standing at 6-foot-3, 205-pounds, that projection has come to fruition.

Though McHugh is young for the grade his powerful righthanded swing already stands out in the class of 2019 and he wasted little time Monday afternoon reminding everybody of that. Hitting leadoff for MVP Beast, McHugh jumped on the very first pitch of the game and sent it 350-feet, registering 93 mph off the barrel. He’s shortened his swing since last summer, staying more direct to the ball and with the strength he currently possesses in his hands and long-term physical projection, this won’t be the last home run we see from the future TCU Horned Frog at a Perfect Game event.

If you look at the Day 3 recap and read the piece about Roc Riggio (2021, Simi Valley, Calif.), you could essentially copy and paste that into today’s recap as it was more of the same for the young and talented lefthanded hitter. Despite being the lone 2021 grad on the GBG roster, Riggio finds himself hitting in the two-hole and rightfully so after the performance he’s put together with the stick. In his second at-bat of the game Riggio once again left the yard, showing an easy and effortless swing to generate plenty of backspin off the bat on the no-doubt home run. He’s just entering high school this upcoming fall but if this tournament’s performance is any indication, he’s a name we will be hearing about for quite some time.

Alek Boychuk (2020, Buford, Ga.) is one of the more well rounded catching prospects in attendance this weekend as he continues to excel at the plate and behind it. One of the stronger, well-built prospects on a Team Elite roster, which is loaded with talent, Boychuk resides in the three-hole and shows one of the easier, naturally leveraged swing planes on the team. He utilizes a higher leg lift and has been on time more often than not, allowing himself to unlock the physical strength while creating big jump off the barrel just as he showed with a loud double down the left field line. Behind the plate his receiving skills are just as advanced with soft hands and receiving skills you won’t often find at the 15u level. His arm strength, like his catch-and-throw skills, are standout attributes and were exemplified by his 2.03-second pop times in between innings, from his knees.

He hasn’t even entered high school yet but righthander Grant Taylor (2021, Florence, Ala.) has already made a name for himself on the national circuit as one of the hardest throwers of his class and by playing with Team Elite we’ve been able to see him plenty of times this summer. And with those numerous looks, we’ve seen Taylor’s progress on the mound with Monday's performance checking in as one of his best to date.

Physically gifted at 6-foot-2, 200-pounds, Taylor is a presence on the mound and just in case his presence on the mound doesn’t uphold your attention, a single fastball should. Throughout his 75 pitches on the mound Taylor worked very comfortably in the 87-90 mph range, frequently pumping 91 throughout, including on the final pitch of the third inning, a frame in which he threw just one ball. Taylor seems to be figuring out his delivery and repeating it better pitch-to-pitch, leading to more quality strikes as evidenced by his seven punchouts in four innings of work.

The arm action is easy for Taylor and the advanced velocity comes rather easy while showing hard running life when located down in the zone. In this look he’d get out of sync momentarily to a batter but did a nice job of making an adjustment and went back to filling up the zone. His slider also looked like it took the next step forward, a late biting pitch in the upper-70s which he did a nice job of staying down in the zone with. There’s a reason Taylor is already a highly regarded prospect in the 2021 class and if he continues to make strides then opposing teams better watch out.

Tre Fletcher (2020, Portland, Maine) has been a highly regard prospect ever since his Perfect Game debut and since that time he’s only continued to refine his overall game and improve upon his already impressive 6-foot-2, 190-pound build. A primary outfielder who’s currently ranked No. 6 in the class of 2020, Fletcher showed well with the bat Monday afternoon with a few base hits, including a double down the line which registered 92 mph off the barrel. His hands are easy which combines well with his physicality, though he’s much more than just a bat. A premier athlete, Fletcher ran a 4.22-second home-to-first time down the line on a fielder’s choice and probably has a better run time in him, while the arm strength will play anywhere on the diamond, including on the mound. For two innings Fletcher took to the bump and ran his fastball up to 90 mph with a long, whip-like arm action, generating solid angle when locating to his glove side. He sat in the upper-80s with his heater and flashed an upper-70s slider to provide a different look.

The up-the-middle combo for Team Elite – Robert Moore (2020, Leawood, Kan.) and Alex Freeland (2020, Cape Coral, Fla.) – is one you’ll be hearing a lot about moving forward as the actions and overall feel are extremely advanced, especially for the 15u level. Both were 14u PG Select Baseball Festival All-Americans last summer, and the two are interchangeable at shortstop, where Freeland played, and second base, Moore’s home for Monday’s game. Freeland put his glove skills on display more than once and it didn’t matter if it was on the charge or moving side to side, his body control stood out, as did his ability to change arm slots to make the appropriate throw. Moore made one of the more impressive plays of the game on a slowly hit ground ball up the middle in which he showed lots of range, fielded the ball, threw across his body with enough arm strength to finish the play.

Though he was held hitless against Team Elite, it may have been Quade Tomlin (2020, Lynchburg, Va.) who made the most impressive defensive play. On a line drive that took him to his backhand, Tomlin snared the ball and almost simultaneously threw across his body in a Jeter-lite way, quickly getting the ball out of his glove and somehow with enough arm strength to get the runner at first base despite having no momentum or footwork underneath him. He’s an uncommitted lefthanded bat who seems to find the barrel more often than not and does a nice job of incorporating his physical strength at the point of contact.

Detailed in the Day 3 recap for his defense and hitting abilities, Kelly Crumpton (2021, Jackson, Miss.) took the mound Monday for the East Coast Sox and impressed over his five shutout innings. At 6-foot-3, 160-pounds, Crumpton and his long-limbed build more than look the part on the mound and though his delivery isn’t completely refined, he still showed impressive arm strength and offers plenty of projection as he continues to fill out and incorporate additional lower half. Crumpton opened up sitting in the 83-86 mph range with his fastball, plenty notable considering he’s yet to enter high school, showcasing a quick right arm with a higher three-quarters while producing consistent and late running life down in the zone. His athleticism is evident as he can drop down to sidearm at 82 mph while remaining in control of his body and also spun a hard and tight breaking ball up to 77 mph with interesting depth and bite.

Cade Horton (2020, Norman, Okla.) is already a known name among college recruiters largely in part to his two-way abilities and overall athleticism. Listed at 6-foot, 170-pounds, Horton his atop the lineup for the Midwest Elite and has done a nice job of with the bat thus far, regularly finding the barrel with loose wrists in his swing and present bat speed through the zone.

Horton was able to put the other component of his game on display Monday at LakePoint as he took to the mound for a couple of innings where he ran his fastball up to 89 mph while utilizing a simple and easy delivery. Working from a three-quarters slot Horton did a nice job of working on top of the baseball while generating plane to his heater which sat in the upper-80s very steadily. And while the velocity is noteworthy for a player set to enter his sophomore season of high school, it’s his slider that’s the real difference maker. A 76-79 mph offering, Horton’s slider featured very late biting life from the same release point, making it tough for hitter to detect out of the hand. Add in his ability to throw it for strikes and in any count, something he proved on a 3-2 count, and you’re getting a pitch that can be a true difference maker.

It was a quick one-inning look at righthander Nolan McLean (2020, Willow Springs, N.C.) but an insightful one as he came in to close out the victory for the Dirtbags. A two-way type player at the collegiate level thanks to his advanced strength and ability to drive the ball, the 6-foot-2, 205-pound McLean came out pumping strikes and did so with little effort. Sitting in the 88-90 mph range, bumping 91, McLean works around his front side from an extended three-quarters slot, which helped generate steady sinking life to his fastball which he located to either side of the plate. There’s undoubtedly additional velocity on the way for McLean who also showed a short curveball at 72-73 mph with depth, though he could develop a power slider long term.

Coming in to close things out for MVP Beast was righthander Christian Moore (2021, Brooklyn, N.Y.), a primary shortstop who showed intriguing tools on the mound and is certainly an arm to follow moving forward. Strongly built at 6-foot, 180-pounds but not close to physical maturation, Moore showed an easy and full arm action which he used to help produce a fastball up to 87 mph and worked in the 83-86 mph range. With a very quick arm action and a higher three-quarters release point, Moore was able to generate short life to his heater and produced the velocity with relative ease. He also showed a feel for his curveball up to 71 mph which offered 11-5 shape and tighter rotation through the zone.

– Jheremy Brown

The Banditos Scout Team won a nail-biter on Monday afternoon over at North Cobb Christian School wrestling away a 2-1 decision from a high-quality Elite Baseball Training NWI 2020 ballclub. Albert Hernandez (2020, Davie, Fla.) got the start for the Banditos and was pretty solid throwing five innings and allowing only a single run while striking out five.

Hernandez was an ultra-early commitment to Miami and the hard-throwing righthander has done a good job continuing to make strides as he preps for his sophomore year of high school. He’s got a solid build on a 6-foot-1, 190-pound frame with solid athleticism throughout as well as some room to fill remaining. He worked up to 90 mph early on, showing the ability to work down in the zone with good sinking life to the fastball, and settling into more of the 84-88 mph range for his five innings on the mound.

He’s got some effort to his delivery, but there are several components to like to the process. He does a very good job rotating and getting online with his hips in the process of exploding downhill off of his backside generating good drive and taking some of the pressure off of his arm. His arm is very fast coming through and he does a pretty good job of hiding the ball until release as well. He found his curveball feel a good bit throughout the start, with 11-to-5 shape and very good depth when spun well, tunneling it quite well through his release and doing a good job of landing it for strikes as well as burying it down and out of the zone as a chase pitch.

Samuel Infante (2020, Hialeah, Fla.) is, like Hernandez, a 2020 commitment to the University of Miami and the quick-twitch infielder absolutely looks like he’ll be an impact defender at shortstop at the next level. He’s rangy with plenty of athleticism and advanced footwork making plays to both sides with ease and showing off some serious big play ability in this game. He ranged to his left to field a sinking line drive off of a short hop then had to make a complete off-balance spin and throw seemingly without looking to nail the runner at first base with an accurate strike. The bat projects as well as Infante shows quality feel for the barrel with the ability to take the barrel to all four quadrants of the strike zone along with projectable bat speed.

On the other side of the diamond the Elite Baseball Training NWI 2020 club has some serious talent and they competed extremely hard, even leading the game for four innings. Tyler Nemtuda (2020, Chesterton, Ind.) started for EBT and was quite good and though he struggled with some command issues, his pitchability and advanced overall feel were quite good.

Nemtuda worked up to 85 mph with his fastball creating very good angle from a three-quarters arm slot that would occasionally drop a bit to more of a lower three-quarters though the angle remained impressive. He showed the ability to command the fastball to both sides of the plate and when he missed, he wasn’t missing by much. He was extremely advanced in terms of pitchability pitching backwards often and willing to double and triple up on offspeed stuff, really doing a great job of keeping the Banditos off balance throughout his time on the mound. He did walk five but that was more a byproduct of trying to be too fine on the edges of the strike zone rather than wildness. He showed a 208-shaped curveball with two-plane shape though it’s not overly sharp yet. He also showed the ability to turn over a quality changeup, often burying it down in the zone and then going upstairs with the fastball. He’s without a doubt a name to watch in the coming years.

A couple of other Elite Baseball Training players stood out, as well. First, their catcher Zachary McKenna (2020, Crown Point, Ind.) really stood out in terms of his defensive ability and advanced feel for the game. It’s unclear if the coaches were calling pitches but it certainly didn’t seem so, as McKenna only glanced into the dugout a few times throughout the course of each inning but either way, the pitch calling and game management were excellent, leading Nemtuda perfectly and calling the correct pitch in the correct spot time and time again. He’s also a more twitchy athlete than the traditional catcher with lithe actions and easy side-to-side athleticism when blocking balls.

Christian Mojica (2020, Crown Point, Ind.) was very impressive with the bat barreling up a loud double over the right fielder’s head in his first at bat that initially put EBT ahead in the game then hitting a seed that was caught at shortstop in his second at bat. It goes without saying that these at bats came against a very high quality arm and Mojica’s offensive progress should be monitored moving forward.

Over at Paulding County High School later on Monday evening Casper Clark (2020, North Vernon, Ind.) got the win for the Evoshield Canes Midwest, as they ran their pool play record to 3-1 for the week. Clark threw 3 1/3 innings of shutout baseball before being pulled right at 60 pitches striking out a pair across those frames. Clark is very advanced physically, with an extra large frame at 6-foot-4, 200-plus pounds with broad shoulders and long limbs with good strength throughout his body. He’s got a long, loose arm stroke that does get offline through the back but whips through to a very extended three-quarters slot release, working up to 87 mph with his fastball and showing good, late sinking life down in the zone.

He showed the ability to work to both sides with his fastball sinking it consistently and creating good angle as well willing to throw it up in the zone to get swings-and-misses as well. He’s got some feel for his slider at present though it, like with every single 2020 player in the country, does require further development. It’ll flash legitimate hammer tilt with sharp break, looking like a fastball out of his hand though he’ll sometimes get under it and turn it into more of a horizontal breaker. Regardless, the early Indiana University commit has lots of things to like dotting his profile at this juncture.

Camryn Szynski (2020, Granger, Ind.), the younger brother of 2016 fourth-rounder Skylar Szynski, hits in the middle of the Canes Midwest lineup and looks like he’s going to be a big time player in the class of 2020 as a lefthanded bat. He drove a two-run double off of the center field wall on a line showcasing extreme strength and bat speed in his lefthanded swing. He’s got excellent physicality at present and combines that with quality athleticism and certainly is worth following as we move ahead with our evaluations of the 2020 class.

The Yalobusha Giants 2020 went to 4-1 on Monday night at LakePoint via a victory over the East Cobb Pride 15u. Kemp Alderman (2020, Decatur, Miss.) just continues his assault on opposing pitching as the extremely physical catcher has the look of a big time hitter moving forward. He’s extremely advanced physically, with tremendous strength throughout his frame, especially when one considers that he’s still just 14 years old. He smoked a few balls in this game, including one foul that may have gotten out had it not hooked foul to the pull side. There is legitimate bat speed combined with the aforementioned strength here and he’s undoubtedly a bat to pay close attention to moving forward.

– Brian Sakowski

Connor Monroe (2020, Pfafftown, N.C.) is a 6-foot-2 17-pound righthander with lots of room to fill and a lot of upside. Monroe throws easy and the ball jumps out of his hand sitting in the 84-87 mph range, touching 88 on two different occasions. His fastball shows arm-side life coming from a three-quarters arm slot. He seemed to really like throwing inside, as that is where he mainly threw to especially with the fastball. Monroe also showed an 11-to-5 curveball that he has some feel for. Monroe is only going to get stronger as he grows and matures. It will be interesting to see how the North Carolina State commit develops over the span of the next few years.

Kirkland Michaux (2020, Austin, Texas) had one of the best performances thus far this event. Michaux finished off a seven-inning complete game with 10 strikeouts and allowed one unearned run. The primary first baseman showed real talent on the mound pounding the strike zone to all four quadrants. His fastball velocity was maintained throughout the outing in the 80-85 mph range showing occasional sinking action. Michaux has an athletic build with long legs that create good extension on his pitches. The uncommitted righthander also mixed a low-70s curveball with depth. The best aspect of Michaux’s ability on the mound is that he knows how to pitch. He continually pitched to contact and got ahead in counts throughout his complete game.

Andrew Clelland (2020, Cadiz, Ohio) showed off his raw power in his first at-bat for Team All American Select. Clelland hit a home run that traveled 346 feet and left his barrel at 90 mph. Clelland is a very athletic player with lots of room to fill. Clelland stands tall at 6-foot-4 175-pounds with a very balanced stance at the plate. The bat speed is apparent in the swing and the consistent barreled contact is developing. Clelland does have power in his swing and it will be interesting to see how much more can be developed as the 2020 graduate matures and gets stronger.

– Gregory Gerard

Starting out the day of talent over at Allatoona High School was southpaw Dalton Porter (2020, Leander, Texas) as he delivered a sparkling outing on Monday morning. The Texas commit showed outstanding pitchability and the ability to command the strike zone and all his pitches at will in order to keep hitters off balance. The lefthander stands at around 6-foot, 170-pounds but still manages to throw with very low effort and ease from the mound.

Porter has a good pace and rhythm on the mound and that allows him a very fluid and balanced overall throwing motion. The delivery will vary as he will mess with opposing hitters’ timing such as by mixing in an elongated rocker step or separating at differing points. This helped Porter pound the strike zone and mix his pitches which, when combined, was a deadly combination.

The arm is very loose and easy and Porter worked primarily in the low-80s with his fastball but was able to bump up the pitch to 84 mph or 85 mph if he needed it. He also mixed in a big breaking curveball that he had a solid feel for. When the hitters were expecting fastball and the curveball came in, they had little chance to make contact.

Talented two-way player Kyle Casper (2020, El Cajon, Calif.) showed very good tools both on the mound and at the plate during Monday’s action. The Arizona commit has a very high ceiling in both facets and can be an impact piece once he gets to Arizona in a couple of years. Casper is a very physical athlete with a listed 6-foot-2, 190-pound frame with a build indicative of future gains in terms of strength.

However, that present strength allows for some pretty good present power. That was on display in the first inning of Monday’s game when he took a fly ball all the way to the warning track in leftcenter for a triple. The ball had a 6.33-second hang time with a 94 mph exit velocity and the bat speed and path at the plate are indicative of power in the near future.

On the mound, Casper worked quickly and showed a fastball that touched 90 mph early on. The arm was mostly clean throughout the path and he showed the ability to get plane to both sides with the pitch. The arm circle was full and he got on top of the ball consistently to give the pitch some heaviness as well. Casper has high-level tools both on the mound and at the plate and it is not hard to see why Arizona wanted to scoop up his commitment.

The Missouri Gators are off to a very hot start during the event and shortstop Trevor Austin (2020, Jefferson City, Mo.) has been a solid contributor for the team as well. The frame is a bit shorter at 5-foot-8, but he plays the game with a lot of energy and makes a number of plays look pretty easy. Austin has shown sound footwork and actions at shortstop while also making plays to both his right and left with relative ease. The arm strength will continue to improve as he continues to add strength but even right now the actions alone make him a quality shortstop. At the plate, the swing is short and simple with an easy line drive approach. The barrel head stays on plane through the hitting zone and he is able to lace line drives to all fields. Austin’s bat-to-ball skills and defensive actions give him very intriguing potential and he will be a prospect to monitor as he continues the rest of the event.

One of the best performances of the day came from the right arm of pitcher Graysen Drezek (2020, Davenport, Iowa) as he turned in what might be the strongest performance of the tournament thus far. The starter for the 29ers stands with a medium frame and build but worked very quickly and effectively in order to toss six innings of no-hit baseball. Drezek can run his fastball up to 86 mph, as he did on Monday, and commanded the strike zone excellently. Drezek was in cruise control the entire way as he walked zero batters as well, pounding strikes to all four quadrants and mixing his pitches effectively to keep hitters off-balance and off their timing. 

After committing to Miami very recently, infielder Giuseppe Ferraro (2020, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) showed off exactly why he is an ACC commit with his excellent power at the plate. The frame is conducive to a power-oriented approach, standing at 6-foot-3 and 187-pounds, with well-proportioned strength and physicality throughout the body. The swing itself is very easy and fluid as he gets it through the hitting zone with relative ease along with quality bat speed. The ball jumps off the bat and he showed a simple weight shift to transfer the weight from the backside to the front side consistently. Ferraro knocked the life out of a couple of baseballs which included a 98 mph, 380-foot no-doubt home run deep over the wall in left field. He also hit a couple of balls very hard as the game went on as he drove a ball deep to the warning track in center field for a 94 mph flyout.

Righthander Alex Santos (2020, Bronx, N.Y.) has been detailed in the past, but he put together another strong start on Monday night. The 6-foot-3, 170-pound northeast native took a no-hitter deep into the game and the frame, build, and arm speed all suggest that the velocity will continue to increase as it already has from last year. Santos projects very well physically and used an explosive 83-86 mph fastball on Monday night. The delivery creates some deception with a leg lift well over his belt along with some spine tilt which can create some timing issues. The curveball is still a developing pitch, however the fastball was his go-to pitch on Monday night. Santos struck out six batters in five innings and his trajectory is definitely trending upward.

GBG Marucci 2020 has had a very strong start to the tournament, remaining undefeated thus far, and the roster is incredibly deep. Two of the players who helped contribute to their victory on Monday night were Devan Ornelas (2020, Chatsworth, Calif.) and Chris Aldrich (2020, Oak Park, Calif.).

Ornelas fits the mold of a prototypical leadoff man in the fact that he shows very good bat-to-ball skills and has some of the best speed in the class. The swing itself is very short with quick hands directly to the ball and the ability to knock line drives to all fields. The approach is vey impressive as he knows exactly what pitches to lay off and which pitches he can drive into the gaps. His speed allows him to take extra bases and turn singles into doubles; he was clocked routinely in the sub 4.20-second range from the left side. He finished the evening going 3-for-3 as GBG racked up another W in the win column and Ornelas showed excellent potential throughout his skill-set.

Closing out the win for GBG was Aldrich and he showed a lively fastball to go along with his entire repertoire. The 6-foot-1, 175-pound California native has a very quick and whippy arm which allows him to generate velocity in the 83-85 mph range while on the mound. He attacked the strike zone and utilized a pretty simple and straightforward delivery. He would throw across his body, however that would allow his fastball to get some good cutting life to it as it would be very difficult to hit as it broke over the outside corner to righthanded hitters. The breaking ball was thrown sparingly, however the life and velocity of the fastball was good enough to blow by hitters.

– Vinnie Cervino

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