Tournaments | Story | 10/22/2017

Freshman World Day 2 Notes

Jheremy Brown         Greg Gerard         Perfect Game Tournament Staff        
Photo: Perfect Game

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

Throughout the summer righthander Christian Moore (2021, Brooklyn, N.Y.) worked in the mid-80s with his fastball until reaching the PG Select Festival over Labor Day weekend where he repeatedly bumped 90 mph with his heater. Though the physically built, yet still projectable, 6-foot-1, 185-pound Moore didn’t hit 90 mph on Saturday, the group of on-looking college coaches couldn’t help but come away impressed with what he showed and what the uncommitted righthander will continue to transform into.

An excellent athlete who also shows well at shortstop and with the bat, Moore tossed three innings of shutout baseball and managed to punch out seven while yielding just a single base hit. Staying full and quick with his arm action, Moore produced a fastball that sat at 85-87 mph in the opening frame, and with simple tweaks to his mechanics it’s very easy to envision the velocity jumping up very quickly given how clean and easily the ball comes out of his hand. When Moore was on time with his release he was able to produce plane on his heater while showing angle when locating to his glove side. When he realized he didn’t have his sharpest command of his fastball in the opening frame he went to a pair of breaking balls to help miss bats.

Both his slider and curveball were working for him throughout the night and they’re distinguishable pitches, rather than two pitches which blend together. Thrown harder of the two and up to 78 mph, Moore’s slider showed nice tilting actions with short bite as opposed to his curveball which offers more depth and 11-to-5 shape in the low- to mid-70s. The Brooklyn native was able to go to either pitch with consistency and comfort, never afraid to double up at any time.

You can’t help but be drawn in by Blaise Grove (2022, Summit Point, W.Va.) when you see the 6-foot-4, 205-pound lefthander toe the rubber at a freshman event. And then upon glancing in the program and seeing that he still hasn’t turned 14 and won’t enter high school for another full calendar you pause and say, “wait, what?” While he showed some inconsistencies with his delivery at times, both his age and size are two variables that factor into that equation as Grove is an arm you come away very impressed with seeing.

Without many moving parts out of the windup, Grove came out in the first inning showing balance and good timing to his release, sitting in the 83-86 mph range with his fastball while creating angle to his glove side. He’ll continue to refine his delivery and he has plenty of time to do so, both striding more online and implementing additional lower half into his drive, though his arm works plenty well and the velocity comes without much effort. In his three innings of work Grove managed to punch out four and did so mostly off the strength of his fastball, showing life to the pitch down in the zone and to either side of the plate.

He is also a good athlete off the mound as he fielded his position well, both on come backers and chopped ground balls that made him move off his finish point. Grove also flashed a curveball in the upper-60s which he’ll continue to develop with a more consistent release point.

Mason Albright (2021, Thurmont, Md.) got the start for the Dirtbags in their first of two games and he didn’t disappoint, throwing six strong innings while picking up five strikeouts. With strength to his lower half and throughout his 5-foot-11 frame, Albright did a nice job of maintaining his low-80s velocity throughout his start, sitting in the low-80s and peaking at 84 mph from the first to last pitch of the game.

Staying full with his arm stroke through the back and working to a three-quarters slot, Albright shows quickness through the back and stays online throughout his delivery. He did a nice job of creating angle to his fastball and filled the zone while mixing in both a short 1-to-7 shaped curveball and a changeup that peaked at 76 mph.

If Josh Hartle (2021, King, N.C.) weren’t an accomplished lefthander on the bump, and one that most major college recruiters were to commit, they could certainly buy into the bat as he’s a legitimate two-way prospect at this current juncture. At 6-foot-3, 160-pounds, Hartle shows a loose swing with plenty of fluidity to his barrel and leverage in his path, helping to generate backspin to his pull side. With added strength it’s easy to project upon Hartle, both with the bat and on the mound.

Hartle was summoned in from the bullpen to help close out the game for the Dirtbags, working a very crisp and efficient inning with a fastball that lived at 82-84 mph from a low three-quarters release point. Like his swing, Hartle’s arm stroke is easy and clean with which he’s able to create hard running life on his fastball while pounding the zone down at the knees. He also flashed a curveball at 67 mph, and though there isn’t a lot of power to it yet, there’s both shape and depth on the offering and one that should develop into a quality offering for the uncommitted lefthander.

Both Carter Holton (2021, Guyton, Ga.) and Brandon Hudson (2021, Waxhaw, N.C.) both showed velocity of their own while limiting their pitch counts to return later in the tournament.

Holton got the start and impressed as the lefthanded showed a quick left arm that helped run his fastball up to 86 while sitting in the 83-85 mph range. He comes at hitters from an extended slot which helped generate some hard angle on the ball, and he did a nice job of living down in the zone with steady running life. The uncommitted Holton isn’t nearly done in terms of development, though he also shows a feel for spinning the ball, showing two varieties of his breaking ball with a sweeping version in the upper-60s and more of a curveball with depth in the low-70s.

Righthander Brandon Hudson has been a known name since this summer courtesy of his fast right arm, and it’s a trait he put on display once again, running his fastball up to 86 mph. Throughout his time on the mound Hudson showed some inconsistencies in his command which came from getting mistimed with his delivery, though he shows balance through his leg lift and plenty of athleticism in his delivery. When on top of the ball Hudson was able to power it downhill from a high three-quarters release point, showing solid plane with short running life while mixing in a 12-to-6 shaped curveball in the low-70s. With how fast Hudson’s arm is combined with his 6-foot-3, 175-pound frame, and his age, watch for Hudson moving forward as the velocity is undoubtedly going to continue to jump up.

Tommy Hawke (2021, Oak Island, N.C.) might not be the biggest player listed on the Dirtbags’ roster at 5-foot-6, 135-pounds, but that didn’t stop him from handling the barrel from the left side as well as any Saturday afternoon. Staying short to the ball with quickness to the barrel, Hawke turned on a base for a double to the pull-side gap as one of his two hits in the game, giving him a .429 average thus far. With the Dirtbags now 2-0, Hawke is a player we will continue to follow as the Dirtbags look to make a run through the playoffs.

Righthander Brandon Neely (2021, Seville, Fla.) got the start for the Scorpions Prime squad Saturday morning in the 8:00 a.m. slot and he’s an arm who’s without a doubt worth monitoring given his present abilities and the fact that he’s young for his grade and will be eligible to play 14u again next summer. At a lean and athletic 6-foot, 165-pounds, the projection is near limitless, especially when you factor in his athleticism.

Working a complete game effort, Neely surrendered just a single base hit and was in control from the opening pitch, punching out six, though he did struggle with his command at times and walked five. That said, Neely worked comfortably in the low-80s with a loose arm and displayed the feel to drop his slot and go nearly sidearm to provide a different look, which also helped generate hard running life in on the hands of righthanded hitters. With his strike foot landing closed, Neely is able to create angle on his fastball when working from his three-quarters slot while showing a steady feel for his curveball in the upper-60s with 11-to-5 shape and depth.

Looking through Bryant Colon’s (2021, Greenacres, Fla.) stats from the summer circuit you quickly see how the young Miami commit was one of the more consistent performers at any given tournament. It was more of the same for Colon in his team’s first game of the day as Colon ripped a hard line drive double down the left field line, showing a crisp swing from the right side with hard jump off the barrel.

Tyler Fullman’s (2021, Homewood, Ill.) physicality doesn’t reflect his age as the strongly built and broad shouldered 6-foot, 205-pound righthander won’t turn 15 for another few months. His age didn’t keep him from being one of the more impressive arms in the tournament thus far and if he continues trending in this direction it won’t be the last time we hear from the uncommitted Fullman.

Getting the start for Chicago Scouts Association, Fullman impressed from his first pitch to the last as he struck out 10 over his five innings of work, allowing just two base hits while filling the strike zone with an abundance of fastballs. With a clean and near effortless arm action, Fullman produced a fastball that bumped 88 mph in the opening frame and continued to live in the 84-87 mph range early on with running life to his arm side. As he continues to incorporate additional lower half into his drive there’s no doubting the additional velocity that’s going to come, and as he showed Saturday, his stuff is already plenty good.

Fullman worked heavily off his fastball in this look though he did show both a changeup and a curveball, the latter of which he went to more often. Thrown in the low-70s, Fullman would occasionally get under the ball and give it more of a sweeping finish though he was able to land it for strikes and showed confidence in the pitch.

Outfielder Eddie King Jr. (2021, Lynwood, Ill.) was held hitless in his team’s game against Power Baseball but he still showed tools that make him an intriguing prospect on the diamond. With a long and lean, highly projectable 6-foot-1, 160-pound frame, King Jr. found the barrel in each of his first two at-bats, showing a quick, linear stroke through the zone that’s rather simple in execution and easy to repeat. He takes long strides running down the line and around the bases and should only see his speed continue to trend upwards as he continues to develop physically.

It was the quickest of looks at lefthander Matthew Buchanan (2021, Lebanon, Va.), who came out of the Team Elite bullpen to close out the game, but impressive nonetheless as he did his thing for a quick 1-2-3 inning in which he punched out the side. With a balanced, repeatable set of mechanics the young uncommitted lefthander came out attacking the zone with a fastball that sat in the 81-83 mph range from a quick and compact arm stroke, showing short life on the ball while steadily missing bats. There’s a chance we will see him again at some point this tournament given his low pitch count.

– Jheremy Brown

Reese Smith
(2021, Denham Springs, La.) continued where he left off at the 14u National showing a strong performance in the field and at the plate. The Louisiana Knights’ shortstop first displayed his athleticism on a tough slow groundball hit his way that he made look routine. His foot speed is quick as it relates to his actions to the ball. He fielded the ball with soft hands and made an accurate online throw while charging the ball on the run.  Smith also showed good tools at the plate as well while ripping a single to left field in his first at-bat. Smith shows solid foot speed on the bases as well getting down the line quickly. On a triple that he smoked to the left-center field gap, Smith turned a 4.79-second home-to-first time on the way to third base. Smith is a high energy player all around.

Armando Cruz (2023, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic) has shown the most advanced actions in the infield thus far in the 2023 class. At first glance, it is believable that Cruz is a 2023 graduate by his 5-11, 170-pound frame, but then when he is fielding groundballs it is very hard to believe as the sheer fluidity and smoothness in his hands and throws are so beyond his years. Cruz sees the ball in with a lightning fast transfer from hand to glove before zipping into a throw that continually was on target from whatever arm angle he chose to throw from. Cruz is a high-end talent defensively that is only going to get stronger.

Miguel Tejada, Jr. (2021, Distrito Nacional, Dominican Republic) has a name that is well known around baseball. The son of a former Major Leaguer, Tejada has multiple big-time tools on his profile; his bat is one of them. Throughout his swing there is strength and bat speed that correlates to hard contact and good launch angles. The other tool that is outstanding is his arm as he has advanced arm strength and he showed it on Saturday. In the first game of FTB Tucci’s doubleheader, Tejadas fired a strike to the plate from center field. The throw was online with carry and accuracy, and while it was just late it still had a “wow” factor to it. Tejada is eligible for the 2018 signing period and will be an interesting follow moving forward.

Juhlien Gonzalez (2021, Southwest Ranches, Fla.) can flat out rake displaying raw bat speed and strong hands. Gonzalez showed the ability to hit the ball hard to both gaps for potential power in Saturday’s win. The first knock was a sharply hit line drive single to center field and he followed that up with a squared up double down the right field line. Gonzalez has a frame that projects with lots of athleticism throughout and he took that athleticism to both the mound and second base.

The Florida International commit and middle infielder started on the mound earning the win for Elite Squad and ran his fastball up to 82 mph. Gonzalez uses his athleticism to mix in multiple delivery speeds to mess with hitters’ timing. He did so well while not lacking any command and his arm action is full through the back-side and continually on time and released out front with good angle. He showed feel for an average upper-60s breaking ball as well.

After his 2 1/3 innings on the mound, Gonzalez moved to second base where he also displayed excellent infield actions. On the last play of the game, Gonzalez made a play on a tough slow roller look routine as he charged it, fielded it with soft sure hands and threw a strike to first from a low arm angle.

Nick Anello (2021, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) may have an unorthodox delivery but it adds deception to hitters. There weren’t many comfortable at-bats on Saturday versus Anello as his glove pump, up-tempo delivery and multiple moving parts made the at-bats tough. Anello’s arm speed is what stands out. The arm action is long and tight, but the arm continually was on time as he showed good command during his 2 2/3 innings. The uncommitted righthander sat 80-85 mph with his fastball that showed natural life to his arm side. He showed decent command of a curveball in the mid-60s and flashed a changeup in warmups at 67 mph that he likely will mix in more often with time. The changeup showed hard arm-side life similar to the natural life on his fastball. Anello gets excellent drive off of his back leg to get downhill and repeated his deceptive mechanics well. Standing at a legitimate 6-foot-2, 165-pounds, Anello has a projectable frame that should fill out really nicely as he matures.

Benjamin Tate (2021, Sunset, La.) started on the mound for the Louisiana Knights and showed a lot to like as he sat in the low-80s in the first inning and flashed signs of late sink at times. His delivery is very smooth as he stays online and repeats his mechanics very well. The lefthander used a natural high three-quarters arm slot to produce pinpoint command, but when the arm occasionally leaked to a slightly lower angle the command lacked as a result. The arm action is clean throughout the arm circle and Tate throws with little effort giving the indication that there is more in the tank. The southpaw from Louisiana also mixed in a sharp curveball with late downward break and varying action from 12-to-6 to 1-to-7. At 6-foot, 175-pounds and only being a freshman, Tate looks to be still maturing with plenty of room and time to do so.

After Noah Sullivan (2021, Orlando, Fla.) took his first swing it was obvious that he has big bat speed. On the second pitch he saw on Saturday, Sullivan ran into a belt-high fastball for a loud double that one-hopped the wall. The bat speed is apparent in the 5-foot-11, 175-pound prospect’s swing. Some strength is there as well, and with plenty of time to fill out Sullivan should mature into a power hitter with loud tools. The primary third baseman was the extra hitter in Saturday’s win, which helps suggest that his bat is his best tool tool at this moment.

Hunter Elliott (2021, Tupelo, Miss.) has a big build that projects for even more strength with time. Listed at 6-foot, 185-pounds, and most likely taller than that, Elliot stays tall on his backside and gets good extension down the mound. His arm action is quite long and was tough getting through the circle at times on this day, but when it did he was tough to hit. Elliott’s fastball peaked at 86 mph, which he hit multiple times. His secondary pitch was an advanced curveball that he showed feel for, flashing tight 1-to-7 action with depth and promising future projection, as it helped him earn four strikeouts on the day. Elliot’s mechanics are hard to repeat which showed in his command, but when all the parts are on time and the ball is released extended and out in front, Elliott can be a big-time pitcher.

A pair of heavy hitters for Sheets Baseball showed signs of big-time power in their swings, Matthew Russo (2021, Madisonville, La.) and Gavin Kash (2021, Sour Lake, Texas), in Saturday’s night cap at Santaluces Athletic Complex.

First, Russo displayed his talents on multiple occasions as he first hit a single to the opposite field, and then followed that up as he lifted a fastball to his pull side for a double. In his third and fourth at-bats he lifted deep fly balls to the opposite field gap, one for a double and the other that was caught for a deep flyout. Russo looks to lift the ball at the plate with the gap power and present strength to do so. He stands at a noticeably physical 6-foot-2, 185-pounds with raw power aplenty throughout the frame and swing.

Kash, was quiet for the first half of the game after showing a strong display at the 14u National Showcase in August, but he made his presence known late in the game. With his team down a run in the top of the seventh inning and down to their final out, Kash squared up an 0-2 fastball for a two-run home run to the pull side.

Sean Ambrose (2021, Bernardsville, N.J.) has a small build at 5-foot-6, 145-pounds but the athleticism outweighs the size. Showing very good fielding actions on the infield, Ambrose made multiple plays in his team’s game that showed how advanced of an infielder he is. At second base, Ambrose ranged to his left on a sharply hit groundball and made an all-out diving play to field the ball cleanly and fire a strike to first from his knees to take a hit away. He followed that play up with an instinct play turning a 4-3 double play fielding the ball and immediately applying a tag to the runner trying to advance to second and then exchanging the ball quickly to throw out the runner at first.

– Gregory Gerard

It was a tough first inning for Canes Black 2021 lefthanded starter Cyle Phelan (2021, Fuquay-Varina, N.C.), as he gave up two runs, but he settled in nicely and got the win for his team as he threw 3 2/3 innings and collected eight strikeouts. He has a simple over-the-head delivery with a mostly three-quarters arm slot, though he mixes it up some to throw off hitters. His fastball showed good life, coupled with his arm side, and topped out at 83 mph which he was able to keep around the hitters’ knees. He’s able to hide the ball well and generates good arm whip, which makes it difficult for batters to pick up his pitches. When ahead in the count Phelan uses a sweeping curveball with two-plane movement to get a lot of swings and misses.

Another solid lefty on the mound in the first slate of games was Cian Sahler (2021, Olney, Md.) for Dig In Baseball. Sahler is smaller than most pitchers, but what he lacks in power he is able to make up for in command. He uses a fastball with good sink and some run up to 71 mph and he works quickly and throws a good amount of strikes. Sahler also threw a good sinking changeup and a curveball with depth. He mixes all three of his pitches well, allowing him to generate weaker contact, throwing 6 1/3 innings while giving up two earned runs and striking out seven.

After a tough start for the 5 Star National Gold the team would lean on 6-foot-2, 185-pound righty Jackson Baumeister (2021, Jacksonville, Fla.). Baumeister is one of the top-rated catchers in the 2021 class but on Saturday his team would need him to take the mound. He has an explosive fastball that topped out at 84 and hung in the 80-81 mph range. He has a tight curveball in the low-70s and a changeup with sink in the mid-70s. He was able to give his team 2 2/3 innings of no-hit baseball, keeping the opponent at four runs. After striking out four he would put his team in a great position to snag the late lead and come out on top.

Getting an easy 9-1 win the CFL Outlaws 2021 received good offensive production out of their leadoff hitter, lefty Trenton Rexroad (2021, Orlando, Fla.). Rexroad has a short and simple swing that he repeats easily, which bodes well for making good contact, something he appears to do frequently. He collected a couple of hits in this game, a line drive single right back up the middle and a long two-run triple into the gap. While Rexroad has a good leadoff profile he also has some hidden potential to drive in some runs with his raw strength.

Ryan Waldschmidt (2021, Bradenton, Fla.) of the Tri State Arsenal National 2021 team was able to throw a gem and help the shutout offense get at least a tie in the game. Waldschmidt pitched a complete game shutout while allowing just two hits and striking out six. He’s an athletic looking 5-foot-11, 145-pound righty that was able to keep hitters off balance by mixing his pitches well. He has confidence in both the fastball and curveball in any count, in any situation, and his fastball had some occasional arm-side movement that topped at 83 mph. His curveball had 11-to-5 shape with a tight spin and some late movement and Waldschmidt was at his best by keeping his fastball around the edges to generate mostly weak contact with both pitches when he wasn’t getting a swing-and-a-miss.

The MVP Banditos North got a much-needed win on Saturday as they were able to take a 3-0 win. One of the reasons they were able to shutout their opponent was due to the great defensive work by their shortstop, Joseph Phan (2021, Boynton Beach, Fla.). Phan is about as fluid as they come at the 2021 level as his lateral movements are quick and athletic with the ability to get around almost any ball. His transfer is equally smooth and fast as Phan continuously made accurate throws regardless of where the ball was hit. On occasion he will get ahead of himself and start moving his body toward the bag too quickly and misjudge the ball. However, with more experience, and a body that is sure to grow out, his arm should get even stronger and his fielding mechanics even greater.

William Ray (2021, Mars, Pa.), a 6-foot, 175-pound third basemen, helped lead his US Elite 2021 team to a 9-1 victory on Saturday. Ray is a fast-twitch athlete who always seems to be in motion and he’s very quick for his size and for his position. He makes a big impact on the bases as his speed and smarts on the basepaths led him to score from second on a ground out to second base after reaching on an RBI double down the left field line. Ray collected another hit on a ground ball hit hard right back up the middle and he added a sacrifice fly to right field scoring his second RBI of the game. Ray is a good contact hitter who can drive the ball to all fields with good pop, generating his power from a strong rotational lower half and his quick barrel speed.

On the way to a 2-1 victory Thomas Dilandri (2021, Las Vegas, Nev.) had one of the top fastball velocities of the day for team BPA with a 86 mph heater, one of the best in his class. He throws from a high over-the-top arm slot, giving his fastball a good downward plane through the zone. He relies heavily on his power fastball to get hitters out, which is good when he’s able to command it. At times he attempts to over throw it and that’s when he gets into trouble, collecting four walks in his three innings. However, when he locates on the edges, which is what he does often, it’s one of the most unhittable fastballs in the tournament. If Dilandri, who is atop the highest ranked outfielders in the nation, was able to develop a quality off-speed pitch he could be an even more devastating righty.

The MLB Breakthrough Series team took a tough loss to end the Saturday slate of games, giving up a walk-off double. However, to start the game they looked dominant as Andrew Lewis III (2021, Snellville, Ga.) took the mound. Lewis, a 5-foot-11, 160-pound righty, looks bigger than he is on the mound as he’s able to crank his fastball up to 84 mph. He throws over the top getting some downhill plane to his fastball while flashing a changeup that had some fade in the mid-70s. He was able to work both sides of the plate with the fastball, which he used often, and struck out six of the nine outs he recorded in his three innings of work. He allowed just three hits and a run scored in a no-decision.

– Taylor Weber

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