Tournaments : : Story
Sunday, October 15, 2017

Ways to Play Day 2 Scout Notes

Vincent Cervino        
Photo: Perfect Game

2017 Ways to Play Power by MLB & PG: Event Page | Daily Leaders | Stats | Day 1 Scout Notes

Day 2 of the MLB and PG Ways to Play event started with some early consolation slots but featured multiple 90-plus arms. One of those came in the form of East Coast Sox starting pitcher Connor Shamblin (2018, Lakeland, Tenn.) who checked in with his full arsenal on display and a fastball that worked up to 91 mph. The Alabama commit worked only two innings but still showed some of the tools that make him a highly followed prospect heading into next year’s draft.

The fastball was the pitch that set the tone early on and worked mostly in the 88-91 mph range to either side pretty well. Shamblin used his full repertoire, including his curveball, which showed pretty consistent shape and tilt to the pitch. He would also show a slider that had less two-plane break but was up to 80 mph and had horizontal life. Shamblin flashed a changeup as well in the abbreviated appearance as he looked to get some work in heading into Jupiter.

Opposing Shamblin on the mound for 5 Star was Florida State commit Chase Wilkerson (2019, Headland, Ala.) and he flashed some electric stuff in two innings of work. Wilkerson battled through some command issues, and granted, three-ball walks will lead to more walks in general, however the first inning was pretty impressive from the righthander.

Wilkerson worked 90-92 mph in the first inning of work and did not register a fastball below the 90 mph mark until the second inning. He would attack hitters with it early on in at-bats, however, thanks to the modified rules, Wilkerson was able to spin a couple of first-pitch breakers to rack up quick strikeouts (based on the rules of the event, as a hitter, if you took a called strike you were out so the hitters had to be aggressive). Wilkerson has a tight spinning 12-to-6 curveball that was a bit inconsistent in terms of command, however, the few he spun off while on top were pretty impressive. The changeup was a nice pitch as well as it worked in the 78-79 mph range with some fade and sink that was effective against lefties.

Following the conclusion of the semifinal round the third place game took place between the Upstate Mavericks and the East Cobb Astros. The two arms on the bump have been impressive all fall as Upstate’s Zachary Ottinger (2018, Marietta, Ga.) squared off against The Astros’ Garrett Wade (2018, Hartselle, Ala.).

Ottinger has been one of the more consistent starters in the state over the past couple of months and the 6-foot-2, 175-pound righthander is very projectable with a lot of positive indicators in his profile. Ottinger made a big jump this summer by working his fastball in the upper-80s and sitting around 87-89 mph in the early portion of his starts. The slider has also been a pitch that has seen tremendous gains and was an effective offering again on Sunday. Working in the low-80s, the pitch has late tilt and bite and is incredibly difficult to square up from the right side. The arm action works well as it is both loose and online, however, the back elbow will creep up at times. The fastball was mostly true in life but he held his velocity well as the pitch still touched 89 later in his start. The West Virginia commit held a strong East Cobb Astros offense at bay through four innings as he surrendered only two hits.

Similarly, Wade has been very consistent over the summer and fall seasons while showing excellent stuff. The lanky lefthander was once again very good on Sunday afternoon, and while the change in the rules for the Ways to Play tournament gives an advantage to pitchers, it can hurt them as well. The obvious positive from the rule change is the potential for the one-pitch strikeout. However, three-ball walks puts more pressure to throw strikes. Wade had three walks over the three innings of work, however, what truly stood out was the impressive slider. The Auburn commit was tossing plus sliders through the first few innings in the 82-84 mph range and an extremely high spin rate up to 2,968 rpm, a very difficult marker to achieve on the pitch. Wade had at least five swings and misses on the pitch through the first two innings and his feel for it truly makes him stand out in this draft class.

One of the more physical hitters at this event, Sonny Dichiara (2018, Hoover, Ala.) did nothing but hit throughout the course of the weekend to walk away with a batting average of .545 over the course of the two-day tournament. The Samford commit has tons of strength that comes from his 6-foot-2, 205-pound frame, and the righthanded hitter was the most dangerous when he was able to get his arms extended out in front of the plate. Dichiara crushed a deep double to left-center field to show off some of his raw pop while also adding five singles over the two days, a number of them well-struck base hits. Dichiara also has a very interesting, situational two-way potential. With his lower, borderline sidearm slot and whippy arm he is able to run his fastball up to 89 mph with good run to the arm side. He saw limited time on the mound, only 1 1/3 innings, however, the velocity, angle, and run all make the pitching potential intriguing.

The table was set for pitchers to entice hitters to swing at pitches out of the strike zone, or intended for weak contact, and Logan Jarosz (2018, Mebane, N.C.) did a good job at exploiting that. Early on, Jarosz was able to get weak contact and allow his defense to work behind him. The Chipola commit is always a joy to watch with his old school delivery and feel for pitching on the mound. The delivery starts with an exaggerated rocker step back on the left of the rubber with an over-the-head gather before rocking back into his delivery and firing to the plate. He retains his balance well and repeats the delivery too, with his fastball working up to 91 mph with heavy life. Jarosz displayed confidence throwing his slider well as the pitch had tight, sweeping break to it wit the ability to throw it for strikes.

Tournament MVP Anthony Seigler (2018, Cartersville, Ga.) had a very strong day at the plate, notching a couple of 95-plus exit velocities on the day while also showing a very patient approach. The Auburn commit had a fantastic day on Saturday as well, and also added to his versatility by playing third base. Seigler didn’t let the threat of a one-pitch strikeout entice him to chase bad pitches either, as Seigler showed off his impressive plate discipline and waited for pitches he could drive. The PG All-American grades out well in multiple facets of the game, and in a pressure-filled environment showed out strong once again.

Georgia Tech commit Jack Friedman (2018, Decatur, Ga.) opposed Jarosz on the mound and brought a no-hitter late into his start and his success stemmed from the opposing hitters’ inability to read the ball out of the hand. Friedman’s arm action is compact and short through the back allowing him to get some quality arm speed while not allowing the hitter to pick up the ball until it is too late. He has been up to 92 mph over the summer, but worked up to 90 mph on Sunday afternoon with the ability to create good plane on the pitch. The curveball has been an impressive pitch for Friedman and it was so again on Sunday. The pitch gets true 12-to-6 shape with a good amount of break and depth to it. He left the pitch up at times, but when he gets on top of it and buries it low in the strike zone there are few good swings against the pitch.

Turning in a four-hit performance on championship day for the champion East Cobb Yankees was Ryan Bliss (2018, Lagrange, Ga.), who collected two doubles in the championship game. Bliss shows a strong, gap-to-gap approach at the plate and collected a double to each gap during the game. Bliss’ trigger into his swing is very simple and relaxed as he allows the quickness and twitchiness of his hands to drive the barrel to the ball. The Auburn commit’s actions in the field are also very impressive with the athleticism and quickness to play either shortstop or second base. Bliss made all of the plays look easily including turning a couple of nifty double plays.

Racking up four-hits in a game is a rare and impressive in and of itself, however, having that fourth hit serve as the walk-off blow is exactly what Logan Fink (2018, Kathleen, Ga.) did on Sunday morning to down the East Cobb Astros and advance to the championship game. The Kennesaw State commit showed a feel for the barrel with fluidity to the overall swing path. The frame has room for additional strength, and Fink torques well through his lower half into the swing. He finished the event with a .333 average and out of the 5-hole was one of the more important hitters to the Yankees’ championship run over the course of the weekend.

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