Tournaments | Story | 10/22/2017

World Championship Day 3 Notes

Vincent Cervino         Britt Smith         Perfect Game Tournament Staff        
Photo: Perfect Game

2017 WWBA World Championship: Daily Leaders | Stats | Day 1 Notes | Day 2 Notes

Day 3 of the WWBA World Championship picked up right where it left off on Friday night with some serious velocity during the 8:00 a.m. slots. Getting one of the bigger crowds of the event thus far was righthander Cole Henry (2018, Florence, Ala.). The Louisiana State commit had been impressive over the course of the summer circuit this year and took that momentum into a tremendous start on Saturday morning.

Henry’s frame is that of an ideal starting pitcher with a long-limbed 6-foot-4, 205-pound frame with wiry present strength and room for additional gains. The fluid delivery starts is simple and repeatable with a leg lift that helps him gather and drive down the mound to utilize the lower half well. Henry’s arm swing is full through the back with present looseness and generated good velocity on Saturday as he sat in the 91-93 mph range while topping out at 94 over the first two frames.

The fastball showed some life to it, flashing arm side sink to the pitch and rarely being straight. He set up hitters nicely by starting with fastballs to either side and then mixing in his sharp breaking ball. The pitch was up to 80 mph with tight spin and sharp breaking action. The pitch would get slurvy at times but was clearly a weapon and got a good amount of swings and misses. Henry even flashed a changeup at 85 mph with some arm side run, and went to it more as the second time through the lineup passed. Henry was outstanding Saturday morning with nine strikeouts over four one-hit innings and definitely impressed.

Underclassman Tyler Callihan (2019, Neptune Beach, Fla.) came into Jupiter as one of the highest ranked players in the 2019 class at No. 21 and his ability to impact the ball showed again on Saturday morning. The South Carolina commit’s 6-foot, 195-pound frame is well proportioned with a lot of strength and athleticism, which plays well with power to the pull side. The swing itself is naturally leveraged to pull and he barreled a double late in the game to the pull gap with a 93 mph exit velocity. The swing looked good throughout the event and the athleticism shows well too with a 4.43 second turn time to first base. Callihan has two hits over two games, but has hit a couple of balls hard and has taken good swings this weekend.

Another highly touted arm who took the mound Saturday morning was Garrett Wade (2018, Hartselle, Ala.) who showed off the same nasty stuff that he has all summer. Wade battled through some consistency and command issues early on, but the stuff was as good as ever which was extremely impressive.

The frame, delivery, and arm action are all indicative of a high-level prospect with an athletic 6-foot-2, 180-pound frame. The delivery is easy to repeat and utilizes his momentum downhill properly, while the arm path is clean and loose through the point of release. The fastball worked in the 88-91 mph range for the duration of his performance and it showed good life. The Auburn commit would leave the pitch out of the strike zone at times, but he showed excellent command of his breaking balls, which are among the best of the class.

The slider showed plus consistently with biting, sharp action in the 81-83 mph range. The pitch dove down and to the glove side seemingly under every barrel of the opposition. The curveball was just as impressive with big breaking 1-to-7 shape and was good at being thrown for strikes while also functioning as an out pitch. Both pitches graded out with above average spin rates with the slider up to the 2,800 rpm mark and the curveball around 2,500 rpm. Wade’s start reaffirmed his status as one of the top lefties in this upcoming draft and also that he has, perhaps, the best feel to spin the ball out of any arm in this year’s high school class.

The best statistical performance, and flat out dominant outing, came from Team Elite righthander Ethan Smith (2018, Mount Juliet, Tenn.) who twirled a perfect game in only 77 pitches while striking out 14 batters in the process. The Vanderbilt commit has one of the more consistent track records over the course of the summer circuit and showed the strength of his slider, in particular, during his standout performance.

The 6-foot-3, 195-pound righthander has an ideal starter’s frame with a pretty low effort delivery and looked like he was in cruise control. He touched 92 mph with the fastball in the first inning but sat comfortably in the 88-90 mph range, however, the impressive slider was the pitch he went to the most. The pitch worked up to 82 mph with tight spin and short break. Smith went slider in any count and was able to both throw it for strikes and to bury it low and out against the same handed hitters. Smith also flashed curveballs and changeups and was able to mix speeds while the pitchability was off the charts on Saturday morning. Smith has shown the ability to perform well in big starts and he shone the brightest on the biggest amateur tournament stage.

Clemson commit and PG All-American Parker Meadows (2018, Grayson, Ga.) notched two hits to provide some run support for Smith, however, the best example of Meadows’ potential came during his final at-bat. Facing a lefthanded pitcher, Meadows swung and drove a breaking ball over the center fielder’s head to bounce off the corner of the batter’s eye. The raw power is among the best in the class and in any other ballpark that is likely a home run, however Meadows wasn’t about to let a home run slip away. The 6.5 speed was on display as Meadows hustled around the bases to score a stand up, inside-the-park home run. The power and speed are the leading tools on the profile, however,if he can continually square balls he could see a big jump in his draft stock.

GBG Marucci had a big day at the plate as three of their top-of-the-order hitters had excellent days. Michael Perez (2018, Cerritos, Calif.) launched a home run to deep left field with pretty good bat speed on the swing. The no-doubt shot helped add to the GBG lead and Perez showed definite lift to the swing path. Cole Roederer (2018, Acton, Calif.) notched a single and showed pretty good athleticism on the basepaths. He fits the profile of an ideal leadoff hitter with a simple, direct path to contact with good tools in the field. Jake Moberg (2018, Murrieta, Calif.) had a big day and showed off his gap-to-gap strength with a couple of 90-plus exit velocities. He drove a triple to the opposite gap showing off his feel for covering the plate while also highlighting his ability to impact the ball with strength through the point of contact.

BPA stifled the East Cobb Yankees during their first game on Saturday and starting pitcher Ian Mejia (2018, Tuscon, Ariz.) had a lot to do with that end result. Mejia tossed 6 2/3 strong innings while only allowing two hits and struck out eight batters in the process. Mejia is a very lean 6-foot-2, 180-pounds with very good athleticism that oozes off the mound. The arm action was very quick with a soft plunge through the back but he was pretty consistent at getting the arm through the path on time.

Mejia ran his fastball up to 93 mph in the first inning and worked in the 90-92 mph range through the first few innings. The Arizona commit attacked hitters with an up-tempo delivery and challenged hitters in the strike zone. The fastball worked to every quadrant of the strike zone and got on hitters quickly in part to the arm speed. The slider was a weapon for Mejia on Saturday with the pitch up to 78 mph. The pitch showed consistent shape and was particularly impressive buried down and inside to lefthanded hitters.

Another strong performance in terms of raising draft stock was the three perfect innings that Ty Madden (2018, Cypress, Tex.) delivered for the Texas Scout Team Yankees. The Texas commit struck out six batters over those three frames, and what was most impressive was his command of his arsenal and his ability to tunnel his pitches in the lower third of the strike zone.

The 6-foot-4, 205-pound righthander has a well-proportioned frame with room left to fill out with additional strength. The arm action was compact through the back with a higher three-quarters arm angle to create devastating plane on his pitches. The delivery was pretty compact and simple as his stride down the mound generated solid extension. The fastball worked up to 94 mph in the first and sat in the 90-93 mph with pretty straight movement.

Madden’s command is what stood out as he worked the glove side very well with the fastball and mixed in some of his secondary pitches. The changeup is the pitch that stands out on the profile as it was up to 85 mph and thrown with almost the same arm speed as the fastball. The pitch had incredible down action and just look like it fell off the table to get a number of swings and misses low in the strike zone. It looked like a fastball out of the hand, and it was also located in the same spot, so his ability to set up the fastball aided the swings and misses for the changeup. Madden also mixed in a tight, short slider that was also primarily located in the same lower quadrant of the strike zone.

Coming in for a relief appearance and earning the win for Tri-State Arsenal/Blackhawks National was D.J. Jefferson (2019, Las Vegas, Nev.) and the immensely projectable underclassman showed off some impressive tools. The 6-foot-5, 195-pound righthander’s profile is highlighted by the impressive arm speed and immense physical projection remaining on the frame. There is lots of room to add size with the arm action being very long through the back, however the Southern California commit has the requisite arm speed to be on time and get on top of the fastball consistently. He flashed a breaking ball but primarily attacked with his 88-92 mph fastball. It was an abbreviated look but Jefferson was still pretty impressive in only two innings.

Two-hole hitter Jake Gustin (2018, Peabody, Mass.) gave Tri-State Arsenal/Blackhawks National the lead with a big fly late in the game to break a 2-2 tie. The Bryant commit has a pretty strong, present frame with good lift to the swing path. The swing itself was a bit long, however he showed the ability to get the barrel out in front of the plate to generate a hard hit exit velocity at 100 mph. Gustin’s fly traveled 380 feet and was the difference in the game for the victory.

Ty Madden’s high school teammate Matthew Thompson (2019, Cypress, Tex.) came into this event as the No. 7 ranked prospect for the 2019 class and in an abbreviated look showed exactly why that is. The Texas A&M commit has easy plus arm speed that generated what has been the highest velocity for an arm at this event at 96 mph. Thompson gets downhill well and the fastball worked in the 92-95 mph range for the duration of the outing. He showed confidence in a hard breaking ball that was up to 83 mph with short bite to the pitch. The breaking ball could tighten up a bit, but the fastball was electric and got a solid amount of swings and misses. He flashed a changeup as well but only tossed 29 pitches during the outing.

In a tournament full of large crowds for the top prospects, the No. 5 prospect for his class, Brennan Malone (2019, Matthews, N.C.), got one of the bigger draws of the night for the On Deck O’s. There is a lot to dream on with the profile as the North Carolina commit boasts an electric fastball that already works up to the mid-90s. He worked at 90-93 mph while touching 94 mph on Saturday night and showed out well. The path to release was compact and clean through the back with a pretty low effort level throughout the delivery.

The arm speed is the easy facet to highlight, however, he showed a good overall feel for mixing his pitches as well with the ability to go to the curveball If he needed and flashed a changeup as well. The changeup showed some life to the arm side at 83 mph, however, he slowed his arm a bit upon release. Malone was aggressive with his curveball in the first inning with good depth and power break to the pitch. He has a good feel for it but he will have to improve the consistency of which he throws the pitch as he will guide it in at times The profile is strong for Malone and he reaffirmed his status as one of the top arms in the event on Saturday evening.

One of the more consistent hitters over the course of the summer at any age group has been Dylan Crews (2020, Longwood, Fla.) and he just continued to find barrels on Saturday night. Facing Malone, who was sitting in the low-90s, Crews laced two hard hit balls off him to start the game: a 93 mph line drive single to the pull side and a 93 mph ground out that robbed him of a hit. He laced another 94 mph exit velocity later in the game and Crews just has such an innate feel for the barrel of the bat and getting the bat head through the zone well. He has a short, fluid swing with plenty of bat speed presently and always seems to shine brightest against the best competition.

A nice pitcher’s duel broke out during the late slots at the Marlins quad as Will Pfennig (2018, Mason, Ohio) squared off against Joshua Hahn (2019, Huntington Beach, Calif.).

Pfennig had very good stuff all night and a good summation of his performance was of the top of the first inning where he struck out the side with very little effort. Pfennig has a bit of a smaller frame at 6-foot, 150-pounds, however he generates good arm speed from a longer arm action through the back that closes upon release. Pfennig benefitted from pounding the strike zone and getting good life to his pitches which helped to generate a good amount of swing and miss. The fastball worked up to 91 mph early on and sat in the 86-89 mph range for most of the outing.

The Ohio State commit does throw with some effort which brought his velocity down a bit, however he showed a good feel for balancing both his fastball and curveball. The breaking ball was mostly a 12-to-6 shaped pitch with a good amount of spin in the 2,500 rpm range. The pitch had sharp bite once it reached its height to give it tremendous downward life. Pfennig shoved on the mound and got stuck with a hard-luck loss, but still racked up 11 strikeouts in seven innings while only allowing two hits.

Hahn showed immense potential as one of the top underclass performers of the event thus far. The stuff was pretty good and there are certainly some things to shore up, however, the arm talent and the stuff definitely highlights the profile. The UCLA commit has a well-built 6-foot-1,190-pound frame with broad shoulders, long legs and projects very well physically. The arm action is loose and compact with a bit of wrap but he gets it through well enough. The release was a bit inconsistent as he got under the baseball early on which created some tough riding life even if there were some inconsistencies with his command.

The fastball was up to 92 mph early on and worked mostly at 88-90 mph. The aforementioned life held true as he got the release point down to work more pitches in the strike zone. Hahn worked in a slurvy breaking ball with a good amount of depth to the pitch and flashed some tightness to the spin. Hahn looks to be one of the more impressive arms of the junior class out west, and the fastball/curveball mix is a solid starting point for the profile.

– Vinnie Cervino

Team Northeast’s righthanded starter
Cole Patten (2018, Sparta, N.J.) worked 2 2/3 innings on the mound against the defending tournament champion Dirtbags without allowing a hit while striking out three on Saturday morning. Utilizing a solid three-pitch mix he showed the ability to keep the Dirtbags hitters completely off balance. His fastball, which had the movement of a backyard whiffle-ball, darted through the strike zone with unreal arm-side movement and sink. Sitting consistently at 88, he reached as high as 90 mph without losing any of the movement on the pitch. With a loose arm action and a forcibly quick tempo, he showed command of his secondary offerings as well. He incorporates a tight-spinning curveball between 78-79 mph that had late biting down action and a high swing-and-miss rate. His changeup sat between 80-83 mph and was thrown with great hand speed. At 6-foot-3 and 170-pounds, the Seton Hall commit has the present stuff to win at the next level. However, with added strength and size to his frame, he will have an opportunity to see how his stuff fares against professional hitters as well.

Banditos Scout Team righthander Jack Kochanowicz (2019, Bala Cynwyd, Pa.) turned in an impressive performance on the mound to push the Texas-based team to a 2-0 record in pool play on Saturday. Kochanowicz, a 6-foot-6 University of Virginia commit, dominated throughout his outing with a fastball that pounded the bottom of the strike zone. Working to both halves of the plate at will, he sat 88-91 mph with a good amount of downhill angle. Constantly pressuring hitters into early contact by consistently getting ahead in counts and driving a quality 10-to-4 shaped curveball for strikes at will, Kochanowicz was never in any trouble over the course of 6 2/3 innings. With added weight over the past couple of years, the now 210-pound hurler shows a high level of command of the game and his arsenal. With a simple and efficient delivery, it is not hard to project that he will continue to improve as he moves into the spring of his junior year.

Tri-State Arsenal Prime lefthanded pitcher Blake Bennett (2019, Haleyville, Ala.) showed a high level of poise and composure throughout his outing on Saturday. With a smooth and easily repeatable delivery, Bennett worked his fastball comfortably in the 87-89 mph range. The University of Alabama commit used solid command of his arm-side movement, as well as his 2-to-8 shaped curveball that stayed at 77 mph, to keep hitters off balance at the plate. Bennett, who stands 6-foot-2, works from a high three-quarters arm slot and has showed massive improvements since he attended the Southeast Underclass Showcase in August of 2015. Efficient with his delivery and command of his pitches, he appears headed on an upward trajectory in the future.

On Deck O’s righthander Josh Dotson (2018, Ashville, N.C.) worked in relief against the Scorpions Prime on Saturday and showed flashes of high-level stuff. His fastball stayed in between 88-91 mph with a delivery that has some ease to it. Working from a high three-quarters arm slot, Dotson’s fastball showed arm-side run, and on occasion, extremely hard sinking action. He also showed a potentially plus curveball with 11-to-5 shape and late, hard biting action. With 2,532 rpm on the breaking ball, he displays tremendous depth on the pitch. With a simple and compact delivery, his command should continue to improve work more experience. He shows a solid level of athletic ability on the mound and he possesses projectable stuff.

– Britt Smith

Early on Day 3 of the WWBA World Championship the Padres Scout Team/Chandler World and MVP locked into quite the pitcher’s duel, a game that ended 1-0 with the only run scored being an unearned one.

Will Shirah (2018, Blue Ridge, Ga.) got the start for the Padres Scout Team and ended up taking the loss, though he absolutely didn’t deserve such a fate. He threw three innings, allowing only the single unearned run on no hits and one walk, striking out eight along the way.

Shirah has an ideal pitchers’ build, long and lean with broad shoulders and excellent physical projection remaining with good amounts of athleticism throughout as well. Shirah’s arm stroke is long through the back and moderately offline, but his arm speed and body control allows him to be mostly on time with the arm at foot strike, and therefore allows him to have pretty solid command of his arsenal. He worked up to 90 mph with his fastball, generating good plane from a high three quarters slot with solid extension through his release, though there is a hint of some head violence there as well. He worked in the 87-89 mph range for the most part, generating average life to the arm side as well, and working in a potentially above average slider in the 80 mph range with good bite.

On the other side, Kyle Salley (2018, Flossmoor, Ill.) got the start for MVP, and the Duke commit threw three shutout innings, allowing single hits and walks while punching out five while throwing only 41 pitches. Salley showed off a loose, quick arm stroke from the left side, generating fastballs that reached 91 mph and settled in at 85-88 mph, highlighted by plus sink at times down in the zone. He showed both a curveball and a slider, with the curveball being softer and bigger breaking, landing it for strikes at will while the slider was sharper and shorter, buried down in the zone as the strikeout pitch.

Canes National got their first win of the event on Saturday afternoon, moving to 1-0-1 by knocking off DRB Elite, 7-2. PG All-American Austin Becker (2018, Sunbury, Ohio) got the start, going two innings for the sake of potentially saving him for Monday, not allowing a run in the process. Becker is ideally built for a projectable righthanded pitcher, standing 6-foot-6 inches tall and weighing in at roughly 185 pounds right now, with lots of room to continue filing out moving forward.

When his delivery is fully synced, Becker shows up as one of the top pitchers in the class, as evidenced by his No. 17 overall ranking in the class of 2018. It’s always difficult for young pitchers of Becker’s length to consistently repeat their deliveries early in their careers, and Becker has done a great job over the past year-plus of honing his balance and athleticism while getting stronger, and the results can be remarkable.

He worked up to 96 mph early on with his fastball, firing from a three-quarters slot with easy plus arm speed and nearly limitless velocity projection given the arm speed and physical projection remaining. He does sometimes struggle to consistently repeat the directionality of his delivery, which in turn can lead to command looseness and overall bouts of wildness, but he now shows the ability to self-correct on the mound and hone his command back in pitch-to-pitch.

He’s shown flashes of three plus pitches in the past with the fastball, curveball and changeup but didn’t really break out the full arsenal on this day. His curveball once again flashed true hammer potential in the upper-70s, and the fastball was really anywhere from 90-94 mph once he settled in. There exists significant upside here, and it’s going to be extremely interesting watching the Vanderbilt commit into the spring and seeing just where he’ll fall in, in terms of draft projections.

Becker’s Canes teammates had an extremely fun first few innings, scoring six of their seven runs in the first two frames, including a hit-around first inning. Nicholas Northcut (2018, Mason, Ohio) got the scoring started in the first inning, launching a triple up the gap at 100 mph off the bat. He’s done nothing but hit all summer, showing an excellent feel to hit and raw power from the right side of the plate to go along with better-than-you’d-think defense at third base, in fact, he is projected to stay there long term, whether that be at Vanderbilt or in professional baseball.

Spencer Schwellenbach (2018, Saginaw, Mich.) was up to 95 mph recently, and while the velocity wasn’t fully there for the Chicago Scouts Association this weekend, he was still extremely effective on Saturday morning. Schwellenbach has done a great job adding strength to his frame over the past few years while retaining his athleticism, and now is a physical player with good strength throughout. He’s got a relatively simplistic delivery with good direction and drive, with plus arm speed through a quick, compact arm stroke, working his fastball up to 90 mph, generating solid plane down in the zone. His best pitch on this day was his breaking ball, thrown in the mid- to upper-70s with two-plane snap, landing it for strikes at will and using it for the majority of his five strikeouts over two innings.

Perfect Game All-American Jonathan Gates (2018, Brooksville, Fla.) got the start in the FTB/SF Giants Scout Team win, and only threw 23 pitches over his two innings so he should be ready to go on Monday should FTB make it that far. Gates earned his invite to the PG All-American game by being one of the more pitchable lefthanders in the class to go along with obviously quality stuff, and that was on display on Saturday afternoon.

Gates worked up to 92 mph early on with his fastball, showing solid average life to the arm side through the zone, and maintaining 88-92 mph throughout his two innings. He’s best with the pitch when down in the zone, capable of generating weak contact consistently, and then also demonstrates the ability to get swings and misses with the fastball out of the zone. His best pitch on this day was an average slider, thrown right around 80 mph with good late bite and is very adept at throwing it under the hands of righthanded hitters.

On in relief for Gates was Kerry Wright (2018, Montverde, Fla.) an extremely physical righthanded Louisville commit who looks like he has a chance to be a true flamethrower. Wright is broad-shouldered and huge, standing 6-foot-5 and weighing in at 235 pounds, working up to 94 mph with his fastball and getting downhill well with good plane. He also showed a slider in the low-80s that flashed above average, with late bite at times on a true tilting plane.

Over on the Cardinals quad, SWFL Nation beat the Rawlings Regional Scout Team 3-1. Rawlings started Easton McMurray (2018, Bakersfield, Calif.), an LSU commit, and though he was saddled with the loss still showed a lot of things to like. With a delivery somewhat reminiscent of former Michigan pitcher Oliver Jaskie, McMurray struck out four over three innings. There’s definitely some effort to the release, with a bit of a herky-jerky hunched over drive through release, working his fastball up to 92 mph and creating good sinking life to the bottom of the zone. When the fastball was commanded down in the zone McMurray was extremely effective at both missing bats and barrels, but when he left it up a bit it was struck solidly. He showed a tight-breaking slider in the upper-70s that shows as an average pitch when spun correctly.

North East Baseball secured their pool victory with an 11-5 win on Saturday night, getting contributions from up and down their lineup as well as on the mound. Will Gambino (2018, Haddonfield, NJ) got the start, going the first three innings and allowing a few runs, but still showed a lot of things to like. Gambino is a well-built righthander with a good combination of projection and room to fill remaining, with a longer arm stroke through the back that does a good job staying online, though there is some rigidity and effort to the release. He worked up to 92 mph and flashed above average life, and while he was good at throwing strikes, he too often left the ball up in the zone where it flattened out and became innately hittable in spite of the velocity. His breaking ball spins well, consistently clocking above average spin rates on TrackMan, but the shape varied as a result of the release varying. Regardless, Gambino checks a lot of boxes for scouts moving forward and the University of Kentucky commit possesses legitimate upside.

Grant Lavigne (2018, Bedford, N.H.) has done nothing but hit all summer long and absolutely fits the recent mold of Wake Forest hitters who absolutely mash, a testament to the kind of development that takes place there. Lavigne played first base for NEB and picked up two hits, a double and a triple to go along with two RBI. He inside-outed a fly ball down the left field line for his double, a pitch he had no business hitting as far as he did considering it wasn’t really even off the barrel, which speaks to his pure strength. Later in the game he launched a triple up the right-center field gap, a shot that really put on display all of his hitting tools, from the bat speed and strength combination to his ideal launch angle, all of which speak to the fact that Lavigne is going to hit for significant power in his career.

A couple of US Elite/Team Majestic arms stood out on Saturday night, despite taking the loss to the San Diego Show. Thomas Schultz (2019, Mount Carmel, Pa.) got the start, and the Vanderbilt commit showed a real live arm. Schultz really pounded the zone, reaching 89 mph with his fastball and generating good sink, flashing plus sink at times down in the zone. He struck out eight over his four innings while walking only one, and while the fastball command wasn’t on point the control was solid. He landed his softer curveball for strikes with consistency, really doing a good job pounding the zone with both pitches.

Oliver McCarthy (2018, Brooklyn, N.Y.) hasn’t pitched in a PG event since last summer, and the lefthanded Duke commit came on in relief for US Elite/Team Majestic in somewhat of a comeback bid. McCarthy certainly didn’t have the results he was looking for but it was a successful night nonetheless for the young southpaw. He’s long and lean, with a loose arm stroke through the back up a higher three-quarters arm slot, generating good plane down in the zone when he was timed up and in command. The fastball worked up to 88 mph and settled in around 84-87 mph with flashes of average arm-side life at times. It took him awhile to find the feel for his curveball but when he did it was quite good, thrown in the mid-70s with 1-to-7 shape and very good depth and snap. Now that he’s healthy, expect McCarthy to have a significant scout following into the spring in the Northeast, and as he continues to add strength and potentially more velocity, he could find himself rocketing up draft boards in a few short months.

– Brian Sakowski

Anthony Volpe (2019, Watchung, N.J.) continues to impress during this tournament as he went 1-for-1 with a line drive up the middle, two walks and a run scored. Volpe doesn’t have the biggest of frame but has developed a representation for punishing the baseball consistently with hard contact that some teams rather give him the free base then pitch to him as he drew an intentional walk in the third inning of his game against Miami PG Columbia Blue. He continues to showcase impressive bat speed with consistent bat control and quickness through the zone with extreme loose actions in his arms that helps manipulate the bat to consistently drop the barrel on the baseball. Volpe is definitely a bat you should pay close attention to and should be high on MLB teams’ lists as this young man will only get stronger as he grows older which will add to his already impressive swing.

Connor Noby (2018, Kernersville, N.C.) is a taltented two-way player with a lean, athletic build and broad shoulders who has helped the Dirtbags remain undefeated in pool play heading into Sunday’s action. Noby has gone a combined 3-for-8 with consistent hard contact at the plate. He has a hard, level swing with good extension through the zone and he has flashed some looseness in his swing and has some present strength in his upper body that he uses to create solid pop when connecting with the baseball. Noby is also a righthanded pitcher who has been recorded up to 93 mph and is headed to East Carolina next year.

The Twins Scout Team had a plethora of hitters on their roster and two that stood out on Saturday were Jorge Julio Jr. (2018, Weston, Fla.) and Kentucky Commit Trae Harmon (2018, Somerset, Ky.).

Jorge has a very confident, relaxed and loose approach at the plate with some quality torque in his hips to produce some quality bat speed with a lot of fluidity in his swing. He’s 5-foot-10, 147-pounds with an athletic frame and does a great job of creating solid line drive contact at the plate with his hand speed and projects to be a gap-to-gap hitter as he swings on a consistent line drive plane.

Harmon is a large and strong corner infielder with tremendous strength in his hands. If the ball touches his bat it will travel out the infield. He showed an ability to come up in the clutch and continues to hit breaking pitches with ease as he laced a line drive single off a curveball to right field in the fifth inning of the Twin’s Scout team game that contributed to their comeback win. Harmon has consistently hit the ball with authority all year and has the bat speed, size and strength to profile as power hitter. He will get their once he learns how to create even more leverage and use his lower half to hit the same balls he’s currently to the fence over the wall.

Scott Youngbrandt (2018, Tinley Park, Ill.) received the win for the Reds Midwest Scout Team as he came in pounding the strike zone with a solid, competitive mound presence. Youngbrandt came in the seventh and struck out the first two batters he faced with a solid fastball that sat at 88-89 mph touching 90 with good life that he located it well low in the zone. His curveball has good depth and had fast 11-to-5 break as he took care of business and gave his team much needed momentum to grab the walk-off win against the DBack Langley Blaze. Youngbrandt is a Saint Louis commit.

The East Coast Sox Select team emerged from pool play undefeated at 3-0 and are poised to make some noise in the playoffs as they have a pretty solid team full of talented position players and arms. Righthanded pitchers Jacob Gilliand (2018, Ocean Springs, Miss.) and Farmer Abendroth (2019, Vicksburg, Miss.) were impressive on the mound Saturday for the Sox and contributed a lot to their Saturday win.

Gilliand was up to 91 with a loose arm action from a three-quarters arm slot and a full arm circle. He produced a lot of groundball contact as he did a great job of locating the ball down in the zone well. He has a lean frame, with broad shoulders and a strong enough build to consistently maintain his velocity throughout the game. Gilliand has great feel for his curveball and it had solid depth with good 10-to-4 break that consistently broke over the lower part of the strike zone, causing more groundball contact.

Abendroth was up to 93 with a very fast arm action and he does a great job throwing downhill. His fastball showed good life down in the zone and he throws a plus power curve with sharp and fast 11-to-5 break with good depth that sat at 79 mph. He has a slow, balanced delivery that’s easy to repeat and a projectable frame with room to still grow a little bit more and put on muscle. Gilliand is currently uncommitted while Abendroth is headed to LSU in 2019.

Cameron Gray (2018, Cottondale, Fla.) went 2-for-3 at the plate with two line drives to center field. He uses his long arms to get good plate coverage and extension and did a great job of using his lower half to go down to hit a breaking pitch up the middle. Gray displayed great body control as he remained balanced at the plate to be able to square the baseball up with solid contact.

Reese Olsen (2018. Lula, Ga.) is a talented uncommitted righty arm who was up to 92 on Saturday for 5 Star National. He has a medium frame with plenty of room to grow, which adds to the deception of his quick fastball that gets to the plate in a hurry. He showed an ability to create some plane when throwing off the mound and had some arm-side run on fastballs in the lower half of the strike zone. Olsen has a very clean arm action and filled up the strike zone , striking out seven in five innings and giving up just two hits. His curveball displays some potential with good depth and 11-to-5 shape, a pitch that could become even more effective with faster break. He flashed an above average changeup that had late, hard sink that ran at 83 mph. Olsen is an interesting arm to pay attention to and will be someone college coaches will be contacting once this tournament concludes.

Benjamin Specht (2018, Fort Myers, Fla.) performed well against a stacked Tri-State Arsenal lineup en route to recording a win for the Florida Burn Platinum. He pitched five shutout innings and only allowed one hit and one walk while striking out five, and he did an excellent job of mixing pitches. Specht would throw a fastball to the outer half of the plate, then follow that with his curve to the same exact spot, keeping hitters off balance and giving them a hard time to get their timing right and pick up his pitches. He has some strength in his frame with broad shoulders and a wide base, which helps maintain his fastball velocity to go along with some remaining room to fill out. His has a clean, effortless arm action that produces a fastball up to 92 mph. He threw a curveball and slider that sat at the same velo of 77, but the curveball had vertical break with 11-to-5 shape and good spin, while the slider had more of a fast break and solid tilt with continuous run away from righthanded hitters. He commanded both pitches well for strikes and also threw a changeup that had solid fade with some arm-side run in the mid-70s. Specht will be attending the University of Florida next year.

Miami commit Alex Munroe (2019,Davenport, Fla.) took care of business against the East Cobb Yankees and received the win throwing three innings and allowed just one run on two hits while striking out five. Munroe did an excellent job of jamming hitters and creating consistent weak groundball contact. He has an above average fastball that has some very late tail to it and he can effectively run that fastball in on righties and lefties. He throws with a three-pitch mix, as his curveball has good depth, 1-to-7 shape and slow, long break while his changeup has good fade and sits at 77.

South Alabama commit Zach Young (2018, Sebastian, Fla.) looked sharp on the mound for the Indians Scout Team, working three innings of relief with his fastball sitting from 88-91 mph. He has loose, fast arm action from a three-quarters arm slot and he has a pretty good curveball that he used to generate swings and misses as he gave up zero runs and struck out three while facing a talented CBA Marucci team. He fills up the strike zone and his fastball flashed some solid life.

– Brandon Lowe

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