Tournaments : : Story
Saturday, January 13, 2018

West MLK Day 1 Scout Notes

Greg Gerard         Taylor Weber        
Photo: Perfect Game

West PG/MLK Championship Daily Leaders: Upperclass
| Underclass | Freshman

William Morris
(2019, Austin, Ark.) is a physical 2019 graduate with plenty of upside and growing still to come in his already mature frame. The broad-shouldered lefty opened up at 84-87 mph and sat in the velocity range for the duration of his 4 1/3 innings. Committed to the University of Arkansas, the future Razorback has an up-tempo delivery with a glove pump leading to a loose arm action. The arm works well to a three-quarters arm slot getting good lower half drive downhill. Morris shows a tendency to cut himself off slightly causing the arm to drag through the arm circle. He does a nice job of adjusting to this tendency maintaining good command with both his fastball and breaking ball. The Arkansas native showed lots of feel for his 2-to-8 curveball that had slurve-type break and created lots of swings and misses. Morris finished off the day with seven punchouts and no hits or runs allowed. There is plenty to like in Morris’s arm and overall physical projection.

A trio of Sticks Baseball Academy players helped lead their team to an 11-4 victory in the Upperclass tournament. Jonathan Ornelas (2018, Peoria, Ariz.) went 2-for-3 that included a line drive double that one-hopped the pull-side wall. On that double, Ornelas rounded the bag at first with a home to first time of 4.72 seconds that included a turn. Ornelas has a leg lift trigger that continually gets down on time. As the foot is lifted, his hands raise by his ear to a good set position. The hands are very quick moving straight to the baseball with strength and raw bat speed present in the swing. The future Tennessee Volunteer plays very fluidly up the middle as well making all plays with flawless actions.

Logan O’Hoppe (2018, Sayville, N.Y.) swung an impressive bat as well for Sticks, which resulted in a 2-for-4 day with three RBI. O’Hoppe has a knack for squaring up the baseball to go along with good blocking tools behind the plate. The East Carolina commit is a physical presence at the catching position standing at a believable 6-foot-3 205-pounds. O’Hoppe’s righthanded swing creates loud pop off of the barrel and projects for power. Each ball the New York native put in play was struck to pull side and had backspin.

The third player in the trio who made a big impact was Max Marusak (2018, Amarillo, Texas). Committed to Texas Tech, Marusak’s speed is the noticeable eye candy to scouts. Marusak put his arm on display in this game with a missile to gun down a runner at third base. The future Red Raider also showed off the offensive ability with a ground ball single to the pull side. Marusak immediately stole second base with his impact speed, but was tagged out after he lifted himself off the second base bag with an aggressive slide. He plays with such high energy and a constant motor it is hard not to watch the senior from Amarillo, Texas.

Getting the nod against a loaded North East Baseball National team, Arturo Gil (2019, San Luis, Ariz.) held his own and showcased solid pitchability. Gil has a lean frame that projects for limitless physical development moving forward. The local Arizona product featured a quick and whippy arm action that seemed to cause some deception to hitters. Gil struck out six hitters over his five innings but took an unfortunate loss. The uncommitted righthander’s fastball worked in the 83-87 mph range and did peak at 88 mph. Gil’s go-to secondary pitch was his short breaking slider that missed bats frequently.

Gil’s counterpart, Braydon Tucker (2018, Brazil, Ind.), showed his physical presence and overall pitchability on the mound as well. Standing at 6-foot-4 215-pounds, Tucker uses that size well. The Indiana commit gets excellent drive off of his back leg getting downhill well creating heavy plane on his fastball. Working from a full arm action, Tucker’s fastball sits between 84 and 89 mph. He also mixed in a sharp 12-to-6 curveball with good downward tilt. Tucker was on point with virtually every pitch out of his hand in this game striking out the first six batters he faced.

2016 Perfect Game Select Festival participant Jaden Agassi (2020, Las Vegas, Nev.) took the ball for Recruits in their afternoon game. Agassi ran his fastball up to 89 mph with lots of riding life to his arm side, especially when thrown in the lower third of the zone. His fastball is explosive and seems to jump out of his hand. The son of tennis great Andre Agassi has a clean delivery with good tempo throughout. He does struggle to repeat his release point, but the sophomore does show promise with developing still to do and time to do so. When all the pieces come together, the Southern California commit’s command is good.

Agassi has a clean and full arm action with a three-pitch mix that helped him secure three strikeouts in Recruits’s 7-1 win. To go along with his lively fastball, Agassi has a sharp 12-to-6 curveball with good downward dive and a straight deceptive changeup. When all the pieces come together and Agassi continues to grow into his young body, he is going to be a special righthanded arm.

Although not overly physical with a listed 6-foot 175-pound frame, Dawson Netz (2019, Sierra Madre, Calif.) still shows a balanced crossfire delivery and good velocity. Netz has a fast and full arm action with some effort at release. An Arizona commit, Netz has a good feel for pitching overall. Running his fastball up to 90 mph, Netz featured a slider that was a put-away pitch early and often. Showing he could locate the slider well, the Southern California native would use the pitch in various counts to get hitters out especially with two strikes. Ranked 167 overall by Perfect Game, the future Wildcat has a bright future on the mound.

Following Jaden Agassi on the hill for Recruits was fellow Las Vegas native, Tyler Whitaker (2021, Las Vegas, Nev.). As a 2021 graduate, Whitaker shows incredibly advanced pitchability with command that is hard to find better at such a young age. Filling up the zone in the 84-87 mph range, the projectable young righthander got all three outs in his inning of work via the strikeout. Whitaker bends over slightly at the balance point, more so than in previous viewings, but the arm is still quick getting through the back side on time and out in front. The velocity comes easy with Whitaker showing an effortless release.

The University of Arizona commit mixed in a curveball to go along with his fastball. The curveball sits in the mid-70s with good 12-to-6 bite. With his projectable frame, there is plenty of reason to believe that there is more velocity in Whitaker’s tank moving forward.

– Greg Gerard

Team Northwest started the MLK Underclass Championship play at Maryvale Baseball Park with a 9-5 win in pool play. Grant Sherrod (2019, Sumner, Wash.), an infielder and righthanded pitcher, stands at 6-foot-3, 190-pounds as he looks the part of an athletic ballplayer. He showed his ability to help his team in multiple ways, as he went from first base, switched to the mound and then returned to the right side of the infield to play second base. With his big frame and solid work with the glove it seems like first base would be a good fit in the future, but he also showed good ability up the middle making several plays.

Sherrod can also handle the stick, collecting a walk and a hit with an RBI in his five plate appearances. He’s very quiet when in the box and has a simple, line drive swing, making it easy for him to repeat at the plate. As he gets stronger, Sherrod will develop more power, along with a quicker bat to go with his solid approach and good defense.

The Minnesota Blizzard Elite team jumped to an early lead, scoring 10 runs in the first four innings and cruised to their first win of the tournament. Highly ranked Will Frisch (2019, Stillwater, Minn.) set the tone for his team on the bump. The 6-foot-1, 205-pound TCU commit tossed two easy innings, striking out four and allowing just a single baserunner. Frisch is visibly strong on the mound and throws from a three-quarters arm slot with good balance during his delivery, repeating well. A quick arm helps him deliver his fastball with some occasional movement that topped at 93 mph. His secondary slider at 83 has a tight spin and sharp sweep.

Frisch also stood out with the bat as he went 1-for-2 with a loud line drive that two-hopped the fence out in left field for a double. Frisch’s strength shows at the plate as well, as he uses a short, compact swing but is able to generate natural lift with a lot of power.

A teammate of Frisch that stood out was second baseman Marcus Cline (2019, Fall Creek, Wis.). Cline doesn’t have the size of his teammate, at just 5-foot-11 and 155-pounds, but he swings the stick with just as much effectiveness. He isn’t a power hitter, and probably won’t be, but he makes good contact almost every time he swings the bat. Cline collected two hits and a walk while driving in a couple of runs. He has a quick, compact swing and good control of the barrel. It’s very difficult to get a strike past Cline as he’s able to fight off pitches until he gets one he can handle. That, along with a solid eye at the plate, makes him a difficult out.

Another top 2019-ranked player from Minnesota was 6-foot-2 190-pound catcher, Bryce Lovcik (2019, Plymouth, Minn.). Lovcik was an extra hitter in the game and he showed that his bat is a big part of his high national ranking. He went 3-for-4 in his four at-bats and drove in three runs. He has a quick bat and uses his lower half to generate good pop. He looks to elevate the ball with a slightly uppercut swing and makes loud contact when he connects. He has good strength that helps him with the bat and will serve him well defensively behind the dish.

The CV Cardinals took care of business in their first game of the tournament on their way to an easy 12-2 win. The 5-foot-11 170-pound Brett Carrell (2019, Madera, Calif.) was a big part of their blowout win, as he drove in four runs on three hits and scored three times himself. Carrell makes consistent hard contact and makes finding the barrel look easy. He has good power to all fields and is willing to drive the ball wherever it’s pitched. He had a couple singles that went right back up the middle to center field. He also drove a ball to the opposite field that cleared the right fielder on a line for a stand-up triple. During that same at-bat, he crushed a line drive down the left field line that reached the fence but was just foul, showing the ability to drive the ball to the entire field.

Another Cardinal that performed well coming in relief was top-ranked, 6-foot 170-pound shortstop and righthanded pitcher Fisher Pyatt (2020, San Diego, Calif.). Pyatt is a San Diego State commit for his ability at shortstop, but he shined on the mound in this game. He’s not overpowering with a mostly straight fastball at 80 mph, but he consistently finds the edges of the plate. He throws from a three-quarters arm slot, staying in line with the plate and getting over his front leg well. He flipped an 11-to-5 curveball with some good depth and a solid changeup that had some arm-side sink.

The secondary pitchers that showed up and stood out on the mound didn’t end with Pyatt. Justin Deal (2020, Monterey, Calif.) was another shortstop that took the mound and helped his team grab a victory. The 5-foot-10, 150-pound righty for Trosky Baseball gave his team two great innings to start the game. He gets good downhill plane to his fastball that ranged from 79-82 mph. He also has a good 12-to-6 curveball that had some late depth. His rare change showed some arm-side sink. Deal only pitched a couple of innings but he faced the minimum and struck out all six batters he faced.

It was a quick victory for GBG NW Marucci as they finished out the day with an 8-0 win. It didn’t take them long to get going as their 5-foot-9 160-pound leadoff hitter, Taka Horton (2019, San Diego, Calif.), started things off and never looked back. Horton collected three hits in the game, all extra-base hits, and scored twice. Horton finished the day with a double and two triples and he showed off his quickness and solid baserunning ability. He has visible strength and makes loud contact with a fast bat and gets natural lift when he makes good contact. He stays in the middle of the field with some gap-to-gap power, keeping all three hits between the gaps. Horton generates much of his power from his strong legs and rotational lower half.

The starter for GBG, 6-foot-3 155-pound righty Nathan Fitzgibbons (2019, Sammamish, Wash.), pitched two solid innings, allowing just a couple of baserunners. He uses a simple and smooth delivery that he’s able to repeat almost every time. He stays tall and keeps everything in line towards the plate. He flashed some occasional run to his fastball that topped at 84 mph. Fitzgibbons has good projectability with plenty of room for increased strength.

– Taylor Weber

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