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Tournaments  | Story  | 10/21/2017

World Championship Day 2 Notes

Photo: Perfect Game

2017 WWBA World Championship: Daily Leaders | Stats | Day 1 Notes

On what ended up being a relatively washed-out day at the WWBA World Championship, several prospects still stood out, be it before or after the roughly six-hour delay.

Nicholas Schnell (2018, Indianapolis, Ind.), a Perfect Game All-American, continues to show as one of the higher-upside bats in the entire class, as the lean and highly projectable center fielder has the kind of hitting traits that could get him drafted in the first round should he carry what he did this summer into next spring. He has extremely loose wrists with good hand strength and overall bat speed, moving the barrel around to the zone with ease and showing the ability to consistently square the ball up to all fields, including a double down the left field line before the rain came. There’s pretty solid power to the profile already, but considering how lithely built Schnell is at present, there exists the possibility for him to be a pretty significant physical presence at maturity, which scouts in turn believe could allow him to unlock even more substantial power.

Schnell’s Team Indiana teammate Alex Franklin (2018, Bloomington, Ind.) got the start before the weather moved in and was a pleasant surprise in the class of 2018, simply because he’s a player we just haven’t seen very much of at this point. A large-framed righthander committed to his hometown Indiana Hoosiers, Franklin struck out three over his two frames before the rain came. Working up to 93 mph with his fastball, Franklin does a good job generating sinking life to the pitch and—when in command—the pitch was a real weapon for him down in the zone. He’s a little crossbody in his delivery and stiff in terms of rotation, so at times it’s more difficult to work down to the glove side, but he’s extremely effective at pounding the zone down to the arm side with the aforementioned sink, capable of missing barrels for weak contact consistently with the pitch. He showed the ability to vary the shape of his breaking ball as well, sharpening it up to throw as a chase pitch and then backing off of it to land it for strikes, and it has the makings of a potentially above average pitch for him.

Baseball U took the loss to the Banditos Scout Team on Friday afternoon, with Ryan Kircher (2018, Pittsburgh, Pa.) getting the L in the box score, but that’s not to say that Kircher didn’t show some impressive things in his four-inning stint. He struck out six in those four frames, allowing three runs, but still impressed evaluators as a pitcher who has a chance to wreak havoc in the MAC once he gets to Kent State.

Working up to 92 mph early with his fastball from a compact and angled three-quarters slot, Kircher showed the ability to get his fastball down in the zone to both sides of the plate while generating solid arm-side life to the pitch as well. He has some whip to his arm speed and his body projects still, so it’s well within reason to suspect that he might throw harder in a few years. He has a short, Frisbee slider that plays well from that lower slot, landing the pitch for strikes at times and overall demonstrating solid feel for the pitch. The command slipped a bit as he went on, but there are a lot of things to like from his profile.

Early on in the game,
Patrick Winkel (2018, Orange, Conn.) announced his presence loudly, in much the same way as he has all season long at PG events, by taking a middle-middle fastball and launching it 99 mph off the bat on a line over the right field wall to give Baseball U a short-lived lead. Winkel is an athletically-built catcher with physical projection who is committed to UConn, and his overall athletic package should allow him some defensive versatility at the collegiate level long term. The calling card right now, however, is the lefthanded bat, which projects to produce both in terms of batting average and power, especially as he continues to fill out his frame.

On the other side of the diamond, Sanson Faltine III (2019, Richmond, Texas) was absolutely dominant for the Banditos Scout Team, and, aside from the blemish of the Winkel home run early on, was in control the whole way. He threw a complete game in the victory, allowing two runs on five hits and one walk while collecting seven punchouts along the way.

Faltine is an accomplished two-way prospect as a shortstop as well as a righthanded pitcher, and he showed off his hitting prowess as well in this game by collecting a pair of hits, including a double. Where he really stood out in this game was on the mound, where he threw 68 percent strikes over the course of 92 pitches, working in the 85-89 mph range with his fastball and consistently pounding the zone with it. He’s got a quick, athletic delivery with an equally quick arm, hooking through the back with a hint of wrist wrap but being on time coming through. The fastball is highlighted by quality sink when he’s on top of it, and he mixed in a good breaking ball and an advanced changeup. The breaking ball varies in a shape a bit, fattening it up to land it for strikes, then throwing more of a true, tight slider to get chase swings. His changeup is very advanced, thrown with fastball arm speed and good deception while getting some fading action to the pitch.

One of the performances of the day, at least from a scouting perspective, belonged to Drew Rom (2018, Fort Thomas, Ky.), who struck out seven over 2 2/3 innings for the Giants Scout Team on Friday night. Rom is a highly athletic, still-projectable lefthanded pitcher who is committed to play for head coach Erik Bakich at Michigan, and he’s had as good a year as anyone in terms of progression. Rom features an especially low-effort delivery, staying balanced over the rubber before working his way downhill, not even fully engaging his lower half yet but still firing 86-91 mph fastballs with good angle with ease. He was especially in command of that fastball on Friday night, pounding it down at the knees to both sides at will with average life, challenging opposing hitters to square it up, which they could not. He also showed off a much-improved breaking ball in the form of his slider, thrown in the upper-70s and pretty consistently showing 55 (on the pro 20-80 scale), with sharp, two-plane bite that is tunneled well out of his hand. He was able to throw it to spots as well, and while this was a short, pitch-saving outing, he did a great deal to impress the scores of evaluators in attendance.

A few players stood out defensively in this game, as they have for years at PG events. Keegan Fish (2018, Liberty Township, Ohio) did the catching for the Giants Scout Team, and the physical Ohio State commit has really come a long way over the past few years as a defensive prospect, and now looks like he has a chance to step right into Columbus next year and contribute behind the plate. Aside from the fact that he’s a physical, power-hitting offensive prospect, the defensive game has really developed. He’s an adept receiver with a quiet glove, and while he wasn’t really challenged on the basepaths he consistently gave scouts a good look at his catch-and-throw abilities by going at his in between innings thrown downs with game speed and game actions, consistently popping in the 1.98-2.03 seconds range.

On the other side, Ryan Bliss (2018, Lagrange, Ga.) continued to show up as one of the better infield defenders overall in the class. He’s got extremely quick, balanced actions with high-level footwork that never stops, staying balanced throughout and showing off clean hands as well. This is nothing new to those of us who have been watching him patrol shortstop for years now, but the Auburn commit should step on campus there and immediately be an impact defender for the Tigers in the middle infield.

In what will come as a surprise to no one, Cody Freeman (2019, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) found a barrel and played good defense late on Friday night. Freeman, like his brother Tyler before him, has always stood out at PG events for being a righthanded hitter who can really control the barrel well and spray hard contact to all fields while also standing out at any position he plays in the infield. He played third base on this night, but we’ve also seen him stand out at shortstop and second base at different events, and regardless of where he plays the hands, feet, and overall defensive actions always make him one of the better defenders in attendance, regardless of event.

– Brian Sakowski

GBG Marucci righthander Logan Whitaker (2018, Winston Salem, N.C.) showed great command in 3 2/3 innings on the mound against the Tri-State Arsenal Thursday night. The 6-foot-5, 175-pound North Carolina State commit punched out seven hitters without issuing a free pass. With a polished and efficient delivery, Whitaker commanded both halves of the plate with his fastball that sat in the 87-89 range, topping out at 90 mph. He complimented his fastball with a tight-spinning curveball with 11-to-5 shape and solid, late downer action at 71-75 mph. Whitaker showed a high level of pitch-making ability in the outing and will be fun to follow in the future.

PNT Scout Team catcher Phillip Matulia (2018, Kingwood, Texas) has a loose and easy swing with present strength at the plate from the left side. Standing 6-foot-2 and weighing 195-pounds, the Louisiana Tech commit shows a high level of power at the plate. Hammering a triple deep into the right-center field gap in his second at-bat of the day, he also showed better top-end running speed than his 4.6 time from home to first would suggest. Behind the plate, Matulia’s best attribute is a powerful throwing arm. His framing skills are improving but the lefthanded power bat should allow him plenty of opportunity to continue to develop his skills at the next level.

Toronto Blue Jays Scout Team righthander Nick Swanson (2018, Kennesaw, Ga.) showed an explosive fastball that jumps from his hand and gets on hitters. Standing 6-foot and 205-pounds, with a quick arm and clean delivery from a high three-quarters arm slot, Swanson sat 89-91 and topped at 92 mph, with heavy sink and arm-side run. He attacked hitters with a power 11-to-5 shaped curveball at 74 mph that showed depth and late down action. Swanson, a Missouri commit, consistently repeated his delivery and pounded the bottom of the strike zone on both halves of the plate.

Chet Lemon’s Juice righthander Camden Sewell (2018, Cleveland, Tenn.) has a loose arm and plenty of sinking arm-side run. Standing 6-foot-4 and weighing 175-pounds, Sewell uses his longer arms to fire fastballs to the lower parts of the strike zone in the 90-92 mph range. The University of Tennessee commit, who works with a quick tempo and an abbreviated leg lift, also displayed a sharp breaking 11-to-5 shaped curveball with hard-biting late snap. With the amount of life that Sewell has on his fastball, it is easy to envision future success at the next level.

– Britt Smith

Day two of the WWBA World Championship saw many games throughout the course of the day washed away due to the rain, however there were some early games that were able to get in to showcase some talent. One of the early games that got postponed included North East Baseball and righthander Travis Lane (2018, Georgetown, Mass.) who was impressive in an abbreviated performance.

Before the rain came, the Boston College commit was cruising through three scoreless frames. Lane stands with a very physical 6-foot-3, 220-pound frame with a good amount of strength that allows him to generate a good amount of velocity with little effort. The fastball worked in the 89-91 mph range in the first inning and settled in around the 87-89 mph range for the outing. There is a deeper plunge in the back of the arm action in sync with a hip turn at the top of the gather, however, he was able to replicate that well and consistently command the ball around the strike zone to the tune of fiv0e strikeouts in three innings. Besides the fastball, Lane also worked in a hard breaking ball while flashing a changeup to give the prospect an intriguing three-pitch arsenal. The breaking ball was the go-to pitch with two strikes as he used it to strike out the side in the second inning.

Following the rain delays, games were scheduled for three time slots on the Marlins quad where there was some good action on Friday night. One of the harder hit balls of the evening came off the bat of Oklahoma commit Bennett Laurence (2018, Rockwall, Texas). The two-hole hitter has a pretty athletic and strong frame at 5-foot-9, 170-pounds and had one of the bigger hits in the game that ultimately went in favor of D-BAT. He crushed a two-run double to the pull-side of the field and showed good barrel skills throughout the game. The righthanded hitter stayed on plane nicely and roped a 97 mph double that traveled an estimated 320 feet with some carry. Those two runs ended up playing large as D-BAT won the game by a one-run margin.

One of the gutsier performances of the evening came from sophomore righthander Blake Money (2020, Spring Hill, Tenn.) who turned in a complete game in a losing effort. The 183rd-ranked prospect for the class has the ideal frame of a starting pitching prospect at a well-built and projectable 6-foot-6, 220-pounds. That frame can be a little difficult to control at times as there is pure arm talent but he struggled to repeat the delivery at points. The uncommitted arm worked his fastball up to 89 mph early on and did a good job at maintaining that velocity as he still worked in the 85-87 mph range late in the game. Money’s arm action is simple and easy through the back with not a ton of effort either. The lower half could be cleaned up a bit, yet he was still able to locate the fastball well to the glove side of the dish and flashed occasional cutting life. The curveball was a softer pitch in the mid-60s and he would go to it to get called strikes while going to the slider in the mid-70s when looking for chases out of the strike zone.

As the sun set over the Roger Dean complex, some big velocity began to take center stage and one of those power arms was Owen Meaney (2018, Houston, Texas) and the Texas commit showed a lively right arm with an impressive arsenal. The 6-foot-5, 225-pound righthander has a very well-proportioned and strong frame with pretty solid athleticism when considering the sheer size. Meaney moved well off the mound to make a couple of plays and had an up-tempo, athletic overall delivery.

Meaney attacked early on with the fastball which sat at 89-92 mph for the first couple of innings. The pitch as relatively true in terms of life, however with his higher arm slot he was able to create devastating downhill plane to either side of the plate with ease. The arm showed pretty good looseness throughout the stroke and when he wasn’t attacking with the fastball, Meaney was going to his hard changeup. The pitch worked in the 82-84 mph range with good sink and flashed some run off to the arm side. What made the pitch pretty successful was that he threw with a very similar arm speed that was able to throw hitters off; Meaney also mixed in a tight-spinning breaking ball in the upper-70s.

Canes Prospects ultimately came out on top against Premier and two of the offensive leaders of the evening were underclassmen C.J. Rodriguez (2019, Newport Beach, Calif.) and Tyler Demartino (2019, Potomac, Md.). Rodriguez is a strong backstop with impressive blocking and overall defensive skills, however the bat stood out in the first inning of the game on Friday night. The Vanderbilt commit is incredible strong with natural loft through the point of extension and launched a hard hit double to the pull side gap that left the bat at 90 mph and traveled 362 feet. Demartino also barreled up a couple of balls including a smoked single to the left side off a low changeup. The West Virginia commit retained his balance well while out in front and had enough strength in his wrists to still be able to drive a ball to the pull side.

Dylan Delucia (2019, Port Orange, Fla.) toed the rubber for the Canes Prospects and was pretty outstanding through his four-inning performance. Delucia allowed only one earned run on three hits while striking out nine batters and showing off a pretty impressive slider in the process. The 6-foot, 205-pound righthanded pitcher showed a pretty simple and repeatable delivery with some fluidity and follow-through to the finish. The fastball was a pretty consistent offering that worked mostly 84-87 mph while topping out at 88 mph early in the first. The slider was the go-to pitch here as it had sharp, two-plane bite down and away from righthanded hitters. The pitch registered as fastball out of the hand to the opposing hitters and Delucia went to the pitch often in a similar location to where he would throw the fastball, and by the time the pitch broke into the dirt it was often too late.

The evening slot on Friday featured a couple of high-level pitching matchups, one of which saw senior Charles Braxton Cottongame (2018, Hazard, Ky.) of Kentucky Baseball Club square up against junior Hayden Mullins (2019, Gallatin, Tenn.) of the Mets Scout Team.

Cottongame stands tall at 6-foot-4, 192-pound frame with long limbs and strides well down the mound because of it. There’s still room to fill and velocity to add, however, he still worked in the 89-91 mph range in the first inning. The arm action is pretty online through the back and all the way through an over-the-top arm slot release point. There is lots of angle to the fastball and he can generate occasional cut on the pitch when he brings it slightly across his body.

The fastball was the primary attack pitch for Cottongame as he was able to get a good amount of swings and misses with the pitch, especially up above the strike zone. There is a slight crossbody landing to the delivery but it adds in the deception of the fastball and he is able to clear his hips and get over his front side well. The breaking ball was a 12-to-6 offering that he would slow slightly on, but it still worked well for him and was up to 78 mph and got some chases. The Kentucky commit was outstanding as he racked up eight strikeouts in three innings while only allowing one hit.

Mullins was similarly outstanding on his end as he finished with four no-hit innings while striking out six batters. The Auburn commit is a lean 6-foot, 170-pounds with lots of physical projection remaining to the frame. What really stands out on the profile for Mullins is the clean and online arm action with very impressive arm speed. Mullins was able to run his fastball up to 91 mph and sat mostly in the 87-90 mph range for the start. The life on the fastball was also particularly eye-catching as the fastball registered very good spin rates (approximately 2,400 rpm) and had above-average arm-side life.

The breaking ball was another impressive pitch with tight spin and very good depth. The pitch worked in the mid-70s with tight shape and break to it. There is some effort to the delivery but it doesn’t really throw off the command, or the stuff for that matter. There is room for additional strength on the frame to gain some velocity and the arm speed projects extremely well, painting an impressive profile for the junior as he heads into spring ball.

One of the top arms and performances on display Friday night was Tennessee commit Camden Sewell (2018, Cleveland, Tenn.) for Chet’s Lemon Juice. The righthander is an extremely lean and projectable 6-foot-4, 175-pounds with tons of room for growth on the body. The looseness and whip to the arm makes the profile extremely intriguing and the arm speed was able to generate a fastball in the 90-92 mph range while topping out at 93 mph.

The delivery is very fluid and Sewell throws with good intent as he attacks hitters head on. The run on the fastball was able to get a lot of uncomfortable swings, especially boring down and in on righthanded hitters. He gets downhill well and pounded the strike zone all evening long. The first hit Sewell allowed came in the fourth inning and he racked up eleven strikeouts in five innings.

The breaking balls and his overall feel to spin it are advanced as he can throw both the curveball and slider. The curveball was the better offering on Friday night with sharp, downward break in the upper-70s and he would flash the occasional slider at 80-82 with more horizontal action that downward shape. The ceiling on Sewell is extremely high and he could be a riser following his helium thanks to his performance on Friday night.

It is hard to miss when Daniel Ouderkirk (2018, Penn Laird, Va.) takes the mound as the 6-foot-9 righthander is an imposing presence on the hill. The West Virginia commit has extremely long legs and limbs and the higher slot when combined with his size allows him to generate easy downhill plane on the fastball. He pitches exclusively from the stretch with a big leg lift that lands slightly open down the hill and utilizes a lot of his arm strength to generate velocity.

The fastball was up to 93 mph in the first inning but settled in the 88-90 mph range for the rest of the outing. He mixed in a shorter curveball in the mid-70s that he could throw for strikes, but primarily attacked with the fastball. Ouderkirk, in addition to the heavy plane, was able to generate good running life due to the way the ball came out of the hand. Ouderkirk has an extremely high ceiling on the mound with tons of potential and it wouldn’t be strange to see him make a big jump velocity wise in the coming months.

– Vinnie Cervino

Jupiter saw quite a bit of rain on Friday, but the St. Louis Pirates/Elite Baseball Training and Baseball U were able to get most of their game played in the morning. Zack Hunsicker (2018, Wentzville, Mo.) started the game for SLP/EBT and looked good with his fastball up to 89 and solid command as he only walked one and struck out six in four innings of work. Hunsicker has a large frame and broad shoulders, with an energetic delivery. He throws with solid arm action from the high three-quarters arm slot and produces a quality tight-breaking slider with medium depth that has the ability to touch both planes and miss bats. Hunsicker has committed to UCF.

Nick DeGennaro (2018, Toms River, N.J.) started for Baseball U and received the win, throwing five innings and giving up two runs on four hits and two walks while striking out nine. DeGenarro has a slender build, with room to still build muscle. He whips his arm around very quickly in a high three-quarters arm slot that produces a fastball up to 89, that sat mostly at 87. He paired it with a decent slider that still needs some development with tight break and ok depth.

Michael Peterson (2018, Prince George, Va.) is a lean, athletic outfielder with a strong, powerful uppercut swing. Peterson with 3-for-5 in two games for Baseball U and produced solid hard contact from the right side. He showed a great ability to make adjustments at the plate in the second game for his line drive single, as he was late twice on the breaking ball early in the count, but got his timing down for a line drive to left field when he was thrown the pitch for a fourth time in his at bat after being late on the first two curveballs thrown to him. He does an excellent job of creating quality leverage in his swing and does not get cheated at the plate, as he takes large hacks.

Dallas Callahan (2018, Duncan, S.C.) is a talented catcher/outfielder who went 1-for-3 with an RBI in the South Charlotte Panthers win Friday in their morning game. Callahan is a Coastal Carolina commit and will be a key commodity for the team as he possesses a high contact swing with fluidity and good extension through the zone and does an excellent job of keeping his hands inside the baseball and going with pitch. He hits with his hands over the plate and close to his chest and leg kick trigger.

Anthony Volpe (2019, Watchung, N.J.) is a medium, athletic middle infielder with some solid, sneaky pop from the right side of the plate. Volpe is 5-foot-10, 168-pounds, but the bat speed is definitely there as he’s able to whip the bat through the zone so quickly with such a clean path that it generates some very solid contact at the barrel and the ball travels far. The Vanderbilt commit went 1-for-1 with a double, two RBI and a walk. Volpe is impressive at the plate because his medium and lean frame allow him to take such a quick and direct route to the baseball and create quality bat speed and torque in his swing that he displayed on his deep sac fly in the fifth to bring in a run for the Banditos Scout team.

Fred Sisco (2019, Gibsonburg, Ohio) is a hard throwing righty who was up to 89, sitting mostly at 88 Friday for Baseball U. He has a long, lanky projectable frame with very long limbs and a plus change up with excellent fade that ran from 73-77. He starts his delivery from the half with his hands by his belt, then brings them up for the release and throws with fast, over-the-top arm action that produces a fastball with good life. He is currently uncommitted with a good arm that many college coaches should keep an eye on.

Zach McManus (2019, Canton, Ga.) threw three innings and allowed zero earned runs on one hit and one walk while striking out five. McManus was up to 91 with solid life on his fastball and a above average curveball with good depth and big 12-to-6 sharp break that produces many misses that he has a good feel for and commands very well. His velo dipped down to the mid-80s after the first inning, McManus has a large, thick frame with time to still develop and fill out and put on muscle. He has many top schools interested in him and will be a player heavily watched by college coaches as his career progresses.

Diego Ramos (2018, Delray Beach, Fla.) was hitless in Friday’s contest but displayed some very advanced fielding actions at short. He makes excellent reads on hops, has very soft hands and fields the baseball exceptionally well with the ability to throw from different arm angles with solid arm strength. At the plate, he has a very clean path and gets extended well with a projectable line drive swing that should continue to improve as he develops his timing at the plate. He is committed to the Indian River State College junior college.

Two top arms were on the hill during the Friday night contest between the Dallas Tigers and Royals Scout team. Luke Murphy (2018, Springfield, Tenn.) threw three innings and gave up one run on two hits and two walks while striking out three. Murphy throws from the high three-quarters arm slot, with very fast arm action and crossfire delivery which proved difficult at times on righthanded hitters. His fastball was up to 92 with good arm-side run. He attacked the lower half of the zone very well with his fastball. Murphy also showcased a slider but had trouble locating it and getting on top of the pitch at times, causing it to not have quality break and left it up which proved costly as it led to a run-scoring single in the first. He flashed a changeup as well that needs development but sits at 81, and he does a good job to maintain the arm action as his fastball to create deception and mistiming on the pitch. His body projects well and showed solid mound presence with a good sense of how to repeat his mechanics and will be a top name to follow for next year’s draft.

TCU commit Jacob Meador (2019, Burleson, Texas) was phenomenal on the mound as he threw a no hitter and struck out 13 in five innings. He walked his first batter, but settled down tremendously after that, retiring the next 11 hitters in a row via strikeout. Meador’s fastball touched 92, but he sat mostly from 89-92 with a quality 2,400 spin rate.  He worked mostly with a two-pitch mix and showed a plus curveball with fast, sharp 12-to-6 break with excellent spin that hitters could not pick up or touch. Meador has great balance throughout his delivery and throws with a very fast over-the-top arm action. He has a medium frame with plenty of room to still grow and build muscle, which could still lead to an increase in velo. He was impressive against a stacked Royals Scout team as he showed he could maintain his fastball velocity consistently throughout the game and located it well to both sides of the plate to go along with a curveball that flashes major league potential with a high spin rate in the 2,600s.

– Brandon Lowe