Tournaments | Story | 7/21/2017

15u WWBA Days 7-8 Scout Notes

Jheremy Brown         Vincent Cervino         Perfect Game Tournament Staff        
Photo: Perfect Game

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When it comes to playoff time, teams can cycle through their rotations once again and it leads to a plethora of premier arms throwing all over the quads. Such was the case on Thursday as bracket play was in full swing and while arms were the dominant focus, more than a couple of bats managed to shine and show their ability to handle premium stuff.

To find a player touching 93 mph in a 15u tournament is rare and for that player to have yet entered high school is even more rare. In this instance both apply to righthander Alejandro Rosario (2021, Miami, Fla.) as he opened the game for Elite Squad Underclass Prime sitting 91-93 mph with his fastball. Already committed to the University of Miami, Rosario sports a lean and quick-twitch 6-foot, 170-pound frame that can withstand added strength though he’s already plenty loose and generates premium velocity right now.

Showing a fast and rather compact arm action through the back, Rosario was able to generate nice angle and heavy sinking life when on top of the ball while showing the ability to get to both sides of the plate. Rosario, who has longer arms for his 6-foot frame, is able to generate plane to his fastball and though he wasn’t able to fully harness his heater in this look, his ability and arm strength are more than noteworthy. On top of the fastball the young righthander also turned over a nice changeup at 75-78 mph and it’ll only continue to improve as he maintains his arm speed at release.

Michael Brooks (2020, Lake Worth, Fla.), Dylan Crews (2020, Longwood, Fla.), and Bryan Muniz (2020, Orange Park, Fla.) combined for four of the nine hits the Scorpions against Rosario and all have bright futures ahead of them. With the heavy sinking fastball that Rosario showed, Muniz chopped a ball high back up the middle but put his speed tool on display (4.26 down the line) to beat it out. Brooks and Crews, both 2016 PG Select Festival participants, each picked up a double and showed intriguing components to their offensive approach. In his first at-bat of the game Crews went with an outer half 92 mph fastball and put it down the opposite field line while Brooks, who got jammed on the inner half with a 92 mph fastball, still managed to connect for a ground rule double to his pull side despite not getting the barrel out.

Alex Edmondson (2020, Simpsonville, S.C.) is a 2020 graduate who’s already on the radar of college coaches as he’s been up to 89 mph this summer and again touched 88 for Team Elite in the playoffs yesterday afternoon. Listed at a strong 6-foot-2, 195-pounds, there’s still room for Edmondson to fill throughout which will only make his stuff play up another tick or two. Sitting in the 85-87 mph range rather comfortably, Edmondson works with an up-tempo delivery in which he creates solid angle to his fastball with occasional cut action to his glove side. There’s no doubting the arm speed for Edmondson, who also flashed depth to his 73 mph breaking ball when on top and showed a third pitch in a mid-70s changeup.

Currently ranked No. 53 in the class of 2020, it’s worth noting Edmondson is on the younger side for his class and also played a sound third base for Team Elite, making multiple both on the charge and ranging with obvious arm strength across.

Entering the tournament as the top ranked bat in the 2020 class, outfielder Austin Hendrick (2020, Oakdale, Pa.) did nothing but justify his lofty ranking as he went on a tear with his lefthanded swing. Wiry and full of lean, twitchy muscle, Hendrick managed to go 9-for-12 throughout Team Elite’s three playoff games, five of which went at for at least 92 mph off the barrel, including a ground-rule double (as shown in the video) that registered 102 mph according to TrackMan.

With a unique stance in which he loads his front knee to his back and waits to uncoil into contact, Hendrick proved to be on time as he showed an innate ability to find the barrel, evidence by his stat line at the end of the day. The biggest thing that stands out with Hendrick’s swing is just how fast his hands truly are and the amount of whip he generates with the barrel through the zone. While most of his contact came to the pull side (he even beat an extreme defensive shift) he’s shown the ability to work the opposite field in the past and as he continues to generate leverage in his swing, it’s only a matter of time until he’s leaving the yard with regularity.

Also showing a strong left arm earlier in the tournament as he was up to 87 mph on the mound, Hendrick has the ingredients to play right field at the next level and finished the tournament hitting .727 as he went 16-for-22 with ten singles, four doubles, and two triples.

Already committed to Vanderbilt, Nelson Berkwich (2020, Boca Raton, Fla.) has established himself as having some of the better feel on the mound already in the class of 2020 and his seven innings this tournament agree with just one walk as opposed to his 13 strikeouts. While he wasn’t as sharp against the East Coast Sox as he was earlier in the tournament, he still impressed with a quick left arm that helped run his fastball up to 88 mph early in the contest. Working from a high three-quarters slot the young lefthander is able to generate solid plane and angle when on top of the ball and occasionally cut the ball when locating glove side. His slider was a go-to offering and he showed no hesitation doubling up on the pitch or going to it in any count. Berkwich ran the pitch up to 76 mph with late biting life down in the zone and it proved to be a strong offering against righthanded hitters.

In what turned out to be a Team Elite Prime versus Team Elite Nation playoff matchup, righthander Alex McFarlane (2019, St. Thomas, VI) threw for Nation and impressed against the talented Prime lineup, keeping their big bats rather silent in his 3 1/3 innings of work. A top-flight athlete who has shown above average run times down the line, the 6-foot-2, 160-pound McFarlane ran his fastball up to 89 mph in this look multiple times and did so with a long, loose, and whippy arm action. He generates plenty of arm speed through the backside and showed the ability to create plane with life down in the strike zone. A difference maker for McFarlane in this look was his changeup, a pitch that has a chance to be an above average offering in the mid-70s with diving life, with which he mimics arm action and allows his fastball to play off it well.

In terms of pitchability and overall performance, lefthander Lucas Gordon (2020, Los Angeles, Calif.) ranks among the best in the tournament as he’s gone ten innings over two starts and has struck out 17 while issuing just two walks. Already committed to the Southern California, Gordon took the mound against the highly touted Banditos squad and went the distance, firing six strong innings to propel GBG into the semifinals. Just as he was in his first start, Gordon worked comfortably in the upper-80s early in the start, touching 90 mph, while showing a short and fast arm action with late running life to his heater. The life itself was enough to stay away from barrel, especially given his ability to locate to either side, and when you factor in the fact he maintained velocity, you start to see how he kept the talented bats at bay. His changeup is already a swing-and-miss pitch with late fading life in the 76-78 mph range and his command and feel are more than advanced as he’s able to throw it for strikes at will, regardless the count.

Devan Ornelas (2020, Chatsworth, Calif.) made the trip out East with the GBG Marucci club and he certainly opened eyes, both with his hit tool and his ability to run. Listed at 5-foot-11, 165-pounds, Ornelas finished yesterday with five base hits, raising his average up to .500 on the tournament and has been pivotal in his team’s success. Ornelas, who swings it from the left side, is already an above average runner which when you couple with his bat-to-ball skills and line-to-line approach, you begin to see a prototypical leadoff hitter. It’s a quick, fluid swing for the uncommitted middle infielder who also made a nice play at second base, charging in and made a throw across his body to nail the runner at first base.

It was a brief look at lefthander Liam Norris (2020, Cary, N.C.) who threw the last inning-plus for Team Elite Prime, but he’s more than worth mentioning given his entire package of ingredients. Physically built at 6-foot-3, 195-pounds with broad shoulders and long limbs, Norris came out of the bullpen and ran his fastball up to 90 mph from a short but fast arm action. Though he worked mostly arm side with his heater, when he did bring it in on righties he was able to generate hard angle while staying firm through the zone with short running life. Currently the No. 4 prospect in the 2020 class and the top uncommitted arm, Norris flashed a tight curveball with late biting life and 1-to-7a shape in the low-70s, a true out-pitch as he continues to advance.

– Jheremy Brown

Playoff action got underway on Thursday for the 15u WWBA National Championship and with the opening rounds finished the night prior, the final four would be set on Saturday. Lefthander Jackson Phipps (2020, Dallas, Ga.) came in on relief for the 643 DP Cougars and still showed a high-octane arm. The end result of the game was not a good one for the Cougars but Phipps showed quality skills throughout. The fastball was it’s typical self, topping out at 90 mph and working in the 85-88 mph range, and he showed a willingness and confidence in the pitch to use almost exclusively. The breaking ball was used more sparingly but was still able to be thrown for strikes in certain situations. The fastball showed good life to it with dive and run down and to the arm side. Phipps remains an outstanding talent and although a few things could have broke differently during their game on Thursday morning, he still showed why he is thought of as one of the top arms in the class and ranked No. 25 overall.

The SBA Marucci squad showed a lot of offense over the course of the week and one of the notable bats to stand out was three-hole hitter Trey Truitt (2020, Matthews, N.C.). The lefthanded hitter has very advanced physicality, listed at a very strong 6-foot-1 and 190-pounds, with still room to project for more. Truitt hit a scorching .476 over the course of the tournament and showed as a prototypical middle-of-the-order run producer for SBA Marucci. Truitt showed a short and simple stroke with strong wrists and hands throughout the swing that showed solid bat speed. He showed the ability to drive the ball to either gap and impacted the ball with tremendous strength. Truitt launched two triples during the opening game on Thursday. The path to the ball is through the inside, as he keeps his hands close to his body and turns over the inside well, however he still displayed quality plate coverage by showing a willingness to go to the opposite field and not sacrificing any of the strength. He had one of the more impressive showings over the week and will be a name to watch coming out of the state for this class.

The No. 1 overall player for the class Victor Mederos (2020, Miami, Fla.) closed out the Banditos win during the opening game for the team on Saturday morning. With a one run lead, the Banditos were not taking any chances and Mederos came in to shut the door. The talented righthander stands at a physically advanced 6-foot-2, 190-pounds with good strength throughout and especially so within the lower half. The arm stroke through the back is incredibly loose and easy firing through his full arm circle with minimal effort and recoil. The fastball was used almost exclusively during his short time on the mound, a pitch that worked 90-93 mph and topped out at 94 mph on the afternoon. The delivery does not utilize a ton of moving parts with a leg lift up to the belt as he stays tall through his backside and downhill. Mederos battled through some release point issues, but bore down and sent the Banditos onto the next round thanks to his high-powered fastball.

North Carolina State commit Coby Ingle (2020, Reidsville, N.C.) showed a lot of toughness on the mound and had excellent stuff during the Dirtbags’ victory over CR Baseball. The 6-foot-1, 150-pound righthander projects very well physically with a very lean frame and extremely long limbs. Ingle uses the length of his limbs to his advantage as he is able to extend down toward the mound well and releases closer to the batter. The arm action is long through the back as it travels throughout a full arm path and Ingle showed a feel for three pitches. He used mostly the combination of fastball and curveball with a rare changeup mixed into the repertoire. The fastball worked 84-87 mph throughout the performance and worked ahead of the count often. He showed good confidence in the curveball which was thrown for strikes well and he kept it primarily on the arm side of the plate. Ingle scattered nine hits across the board and the stuff was legitimately swing-and-miss type as he racked up eight strikeouts and helped push the Dirtbags to the final eight teams remaining.

Not often does a team have two of the top prospects in the class, but a game after class No. 1 Victor Mederos threw, his teammate and No. 2 overall prospect Jared Kelley (2020, Refugio, Tex.) started for the Banditos. The righthander closed out their game a couple of nights ago and got the start in an important playoff game.

The TCU commit has a very physical frame, with significant upper body strength while standing at 6-foot-2, 200-pounds. The ease of the delivery cannot be understated as it looks like he is out there playing catch and still touching as high as 91 mph during his performance. The arm itself is very easy and is clean throughout the arm circle while delivering the fastball that showed heavy run down and to the arm side.

Kelley has multiple pitches at his disposal showing a short curveball and a changeup that has fade to the arm side. He used all three but pitched with his fastball the most, however the advanced nature of his repertoire, physicality, and arm all indicate a top prospect and his No. 2 ranking shows that.

It feels as though he has been seen by Perfect Game a ton of times, but Carlos Rodriguez (2021, Miami, Fla.) is still young for this event and continues to improve every time he steps out onto the mound. Rodriguez occupied the fireman-type role for the Banditos on Saturday as he was used in both games and came in when the game was at its most vital. The Miami commit has excellent projection with very long arms on the mound and shows very good arm speed. Sitting in the upper-80s for the most part, Rodriguez amped up during his second game on the mound, sitting 90-92 mph for one inning when he needed to get important outs in the ball game. He showed a high potential on the mound, as he always has, and the No. 3 overall player for his class continues to show new wrinkles to his game, in this case his maintenance of velocity and the ability to ramp it up if need be.

Another top prospect for the class, No. 16 overall, Carlos Perez (2020, Miami, Fla.) showed big time juice and advanced hitting tools during the playoff round on Thursday. The primary catcher has shown solid tools behind the plate highlighted by his excellent arm strength, but also saw some time as an extra or designated hitter in order to keep him fresh. The bat is too good to keep him out of the lineup entirely, however, as the cleanup hitter went yard for the Banditos late on Thursday afternoon. Perez has an extremely physical 5-foot-11, 186-pound frame but that even looks like a conservative estimate at times. The Miami commit does a good job at leveraging to the pull side and allows the lift in his swing and bat speed to impact the ball extremely hard. The home run was a no-doubter for Perez as the pitch left the bat at 94 mph to quickly escape the fence. The power also plays to the gaps as he racked up three extra-base hits during the event and hit over .400 for a potent Banditos lineup.

Pitching excellently and advancing Midwest Elite to the quarterfinal round was primary outfielder Blake Robertson (2019, Edmond, Okla.). Despite not pitching at PG Junior National, Robertson showed interesting tools and advanced pitching tools for being a secondary arm for the class, with a fastball touching 87 mph early on and working efficiently. He needed only 77 pitches to get through the opposing lineups throwing from a full and complete arm circle in the back. Robertson was very effective at getting weak, ground ball contact primarily thanks to his fastball that was located well low in the zone and flashed heavy life to it. He mixed his pitches well and tossed a low-stress gem that allowed Midwest Elite to advance to the final day of the tournament.

Jumping onto the scene this event for the East Coast Sox Select has been Slade Wilks (2020, Columbia, Miss.) who has done nothing but mash the entire week. Wilks has been detailed in the scout notes previously and just when you think he will stop hitting he goes ahead and crushes some more baseballs. The lefthanded hitter has an extremely physical frame, listed at 6-foot-2 and 200-pounds, while not sacrificing any athleticism. The swing shows excellent whip through the zone while the barrel remains in the hitting zone for a long period of time. He leverages well through his lower half to allow his hips to fire through which creates good torque and helps add power to the pull side.

Wilks blasted another no-doubt home run, his third of the week, during the quarterfinal round as the ball left the bat at 100 mph and traveled an estimated 375 feet. An underrated, but equally impressive, aspect of Wilks’ game has been his ability to work the count. The at-bats that come to mine have either been Wilks jumping on early mistakes or working the count effectively to get to a lot of three-ball counts. He hasn’t had many poor swings and showed pretty solid plate discipline to work multiple walks as well. Wilks has put together one of the stronger tournaments out of anyone during this event and the bat as a carrying tool makes him very interesting as we look forward to getting more looks at him as he continues to develop as a player.

Another player who has helped spark the run to the championship for the East Coast Sox has been Dylan Carmouche (2020, Denham Springs, La.). The lanky lefthanded hitter has shown good contact skills with the ability to go to all fields during the playoffs. The Louisiana-Lafayette commit was outstanding during his start earlier in the event by going the distance and only allowing three hits, however his hitting has stood out hitting near the middle of the lineup. The frame is extra-long and projectable and he is listed at 6-foot-5, 192-pounds. The swing itself has more of an even plane to it, but that allows him to keep the barrel of the hitting zone while being able to go to all fields with a gap-to-gap approach.

The Texas Bombers have had a lot of strong performances but Masyn Winn (2020, Kingwood, Tex.) has been a big reason for his success and he helped close out multiple games of the playoffs while getting the nod to start the semifinal game. Winn pitched earlier in this tournament and what jumps off the page is his arm speed combined with the velocity jump he has made from the last time that Perfect Game has had eyes on him.

The 5-foot-8, 155-pound pitcher does not show the prototypical size one would expect from a power armed righthander, however the arm speed alone more than makes up for it as he has been 89-91 throughout. Winn throws with some intent, however the delivery is very quick and compact as is the arm action. Winn’s fastball worked well to both sides of the plate and he showed good pitchability by mixing in his tight slider.

The slider was outstanding as it only came in the mid- to upper-70s, however the tight rotation and late break caused it to buckle multiple knees. The pitch had spin rates in the 2700-2900 rpm range and was extremely effective at being thrown for strikes and inducing chases. He showed outstanding confidence in the pitch and located well particularly to the arm side of the plate. Winn is an outstanding overall talent and continues to be one of the more exciting arms from the class.

– Vinnie Cervino

Though they ended up falling short in the playoffs of the 15u WWBA National Championship the Georgia Jackets 15u put on quite a show over the course of the week, including a top-to-bottom lineup that could really hit.

Hudson Sapp (2020, Dawsonville, Ga.) continues to show as a high-end offensive player in the class of 2020, displaying big-time hitting tools from the left side of the plate along with an advanced approach and both plus speed and athleticism. He tripled in their playoff matchup with Team Elite Prime, shooting a firm line drive over the shortstop’s head that made it to the wall, making the turn around first base in a mere 4.33 seconds. His combination of barrel skills, speed and athleticism in the outfield make him a high-level prospect; a good reason why he’s ranked No. 65 overall in the class of 2020.

Sapp’s Jackets teammate John Anderson (2020, Grayson, Ga.) has just hit all week in this tournament, and though he is currently carrying the ‘NR’ (not ranked) designation on his PG player profile, that surely won’t last for long, as Anderson has anchored the middle of the uber-talented Georgia Jackets lineup. Anderson collected two hits and three RBI — all three of the Jackets’ RBI in this game — by way of a homer and a liner single up the middle that left the bat at better than 90 mph. He’s a strong prospect for his age, with good bat speed that allows his functional strength to play up, giving him a big time offensive ceiling.

On the other side of the ballpark Team Elite 15u Prime reigned victorious in their opening round matchup with the Georgia Jackets, and they did so with a balanced offensive attack that got contributions from nearly everyone. Trejyn Fletcher (2020, Portland, Maine) has shown his loud, playable tools throughout the event, really going off on playoff day (Thursday) throughout all of Team Elite’s games. He hit two homers on Thursday, adding a double as well, consistently going to the plate with confidence and his mind locked on doing damage. He’s absurdly toolsed-out at this stage, with high-level tools in his athleticism, speed, arm strength and raw power, with more to come. He’s done a tremendous job over the course of his development in the past year just allowing his power to play more in game situations and the sky is the limit for his upside.

Midwest Elite got all the way to the semifinals on Friday morning before bowing out, but they showed off some tremendous pitching on Thursday to make it that far. Trevor Martin (2020, Byars, Okla.) got the ball for the Elite’s Round of 16 matchup with Excel Blue Wave and was excellent, coming one out shy of a complete game shutout, throwing 6 2/3 scoreless frames allowing only three hits and striking out nine. He’s a very physical prospect on the mound, standing 6-foot-4 and weighing in around 200 pounds, with broadness to his shoulders and quality strength throughout.

He worked up to 91 mph with his fastball, still reaching back for 88-89 mph when he needed it in the later innings, and showing the ability to throw his fastball to both sides of the plate with quality arm-side life. He was comfortable mixing in his curveball as well, willing to throw it in any count and to hitters of either handedness, generating quality depth with 11-to-5 shape. He showed that he could throw it for strikes consistently as well. He has very high upside in the class of 2020.

Cade Horton (2020, Norman, Okla.) came on to get the one-out save for the Elite, working 85-86 mph with his fastball from a compact, quick arm and recording the final out by throwing a nasty backdoor slider over the outside edge for the backwards K.

– Brian Sakowski

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