Tournaments : : Story
Monday, January 15, 2018

East MLK Scout Notes

Vincent Cervino         Brandon Lowe        
Photo: Perfect Game

Daily Leaders:
12u | 13u | 14u | Freshman | Underclass

Proving to be one of the more active, and talented, pitchers during the event was Nicholas Regalado (2020, Miami Lakes, Fla.) who saw time both in relief and in a starter’s role. With a quick and fluid arm stroke, the Miami commit is able to run his fastball up to 88 mph with some occasional sinking life as well. Regelado showed all three pitches over the weekend including a good curveball in the low-70s with shape and consistently located for strikes.

The plan of attack was simple for Regalado: he would attack with fastballs early and put hitters away with the breaking ball. The pitch was at its best when he buried the curveball in the dirt for swings and misses. What stood out about his performance was the balance and polish to the overall mechanics. Regalado repeated well with good consistency and certainly showed why he is already committed to play in the ACC.

Regelado’s teammate, Lebarron Johnson (2020, Jacksonville, Fla.), started the game for the Banditos in which Regelado relieved, and showed off the immense physical projection and ceiling for the player. The listed 6-foot-2, 185-pound frame may be even a bit conservative as Johnson’s extremely long limbs and lean stature indicate someone closer to 6-foot-5. The arm action is longer through the back, however, the over-the-top arm slot and release, when combined with his size, creates tremendous downhill plane and angle that makes the fastball very hard to square up. Of course, when the pitch is working in the mid-80s, and touching 88 mph, that would also have a factor in generating weak contact. Johnson works on top of the ball very easily and consistently and also mixed in a softer curveball that he could locate for strikes. It’s easy to project on the frame and size and he has already made a jump in velocity from last year.

Elite Squad made their way into bracket play thanks to a complete team effort, highlighted by a very dominant 34-2 run differential, and righthander Nate Thomas (2020, Plantation, Fla.) started their second game on Friday night. The recent Miami commit has a solid pitcher’s frame that projects nicely at 6-foot-3, 205-pounds. Thomas fits nicely into the archetype of a traditional sinker/slider pitcher as those are the two weapons he likes to use most often.

The fastball has tremendous run and sink to the pitch, thanks in part to the quickness of his arm and the lower three-quarters arm slot, and worked in the 85-87 mph range early on in the game. Thomas worked the pitch well to both sides and the amount of life on the pitch was very effective to induce ground balls. The slider was another weapon as the pitch worked as high as 80 mph with biting, horizontal break. The break was short, but late with mostly 2-to-9 shape. Thomas’s delivery itself is very low effort, however he was a bit out of sync in terms of command but still showed quality stuff.

One of the most dynamic players in the country for his class is Enrique Bradfield (2020, Hialeah, Fla.) and he continued to show why during the weekend. The uber-athletic Vanderbilt commit has game-changing speed and agility which played itself out in many forms, whether it being the effortless ground he can cover in center field, the consistent plus run times he can register from the left side or the standup stolen bases that he racks up during the course of a game.

The twitch and speed is obviously a huge tool for Bradfield but so is the ability to control the barrel and his outstanding bat-to-ball skills. He can get extended with loose and lightning quick hands very easily and drives the ball on a line consistently to all fields with relative ease. The eventual MVP of the tournament is always in control of an at-bat and if he has to shorten up with two strikes he can hit the ball on the ground knowing that he has the speed to beat it out for hits. Bradfield continues to improve with each look and is undoubtedly deserving of being ranked as one of the top players in the country.

Full of twitch athleticism and showing good contact skills all weekend was Grant Trinkle (2020, Columbus, Ind.) for Tri-State Arsenal. With a short and compact swing path he’s able to drive the ball well to all fields, which included multiple doubles over the course of the weekend. The baserunning instincts and speed stand out – he’s a 7.0-second 60-yard dash runner – as he is able to read both pitchers and batted balls very well and is not afraid to take the extra base, whether it be advancing to home plate or stretching hits that are normally singles into doubles. The Evansville commit had himself a strong weekend and showed off prototypical leadoff tools in the process.

Tampa Terror had two quality outings from pitchers in back-to-back games with Cooper Nelson (2020, Palm Harbor, Fla.) and Ryan McCauley (2020, Palm Harbor, Fla.) showing strong tools on the bump.

Nelson, an uncommitted prospect, has a very deceptive delivery and is able to create a lot of life to all of his pitches. The arm path is long through the back with an elongated arm circle, however his lower three-quarters arm angle made for an uncomfortable entry angle with his pitches and also added some run to his fastball. The heater was his go-to pitch early on as the offering worked in the mid-80s comfortable while touching 88 mph early with the aforementioned life. The lower arm angle makes it a little bit more difficult to get a consistent grip on the slider, however, the pitch showed sharp action with two-plane break to it. Nelson also mixed in a good two-seamer in the upper-70s that was a real weapon over the inside part of the plate to batters of the same handedness.

McCauley is the picture of physical projection at a large, broad shouldered 6-foot-4 and 210-pounds. The arm path is compact through a higher arm slot, which helps create good sinking life and heavy downhill plane, working in the 80-83 mph range for the most part, when attacking hitters in the lower third of the strike zone. He stays very balanced and under control throughout the delivery which helps to give him command as he delivers toward the plate with intent. The breaking ball is an effective change-of-pace pitch and is thrown on a very similar plane as the fastball. The components for the Tennessee commit are all extremely positive indicators, and he showed good feel on the hill as he worked downhill and followed through very well. McCauley also swung the bat well over the weekend with lots of strength and natural leverage behind the righthanded stroke.

Showing off a lot of bat speed and physicality all weekend was Jorge Beltre (2020, Miami Lakes, Fla.) for the Panama Mutiny. At 6-foot-3, 196-pounds, the outfielder is very strong and athletic with lots of physicality and twitch to the frame. The speed isn’t bad, timed at 4.50 seconds to first base from the right side, and allows him to beat out infield hits too. Beltre shows a lot of patience at the plate, laying off close pitches and taking advantage of the pitches out over the plate. The bat speed is what jumps out as he whips the barrel through the hitting zone effectively and is able to impact the ball very hard. The defensive actions also stand out for the uncommitted prospect as he made numerous plays in center field by making quick, accurate reads and ranging to both sides.

Having a strong tournament all weekend and coming away with MVP honors for the event, Andrew Sundean (2021, Lakeland, Fla.) showed strong barrel skills all weekend for SWFL. The size immediately jumps out for a high school freshman, listed at a lengthy 6-foot-1, 160-pounds with tons of room for added physical development to the frame. As a primary backstop, there are some fundamental tools that project well with the arm strength and quickness of his release standing out, timed at 2.1 seconds on an in-game pop. Offensively, the swing path is full with some strength through extension of the barrel head. He is looking to drive the ball to the pull side and his .583 average over the event certainly shows how the tools translated to base knocks. This showed again during the championship game when he was able to extend out in front of the plate and lace a hard hit double to the pull side.

Hit Factory Pro barely missed out on the championship games but there are a lot of interesting and projectable young arms on the staff including Austin Grause (2021, Tampa, Fla.) and Alden Segui (2021, Tampa, Fla.).

Grause got the start in what would be a back-and-forth contest between Hit Factory and the Banditos. The delivery and fluidity to his motion are advanced for a freshman in high school, and he does a very nice job at gathering over the balance point to get downhill consistently to create plane against hitters. The leanness of the build combined with the whippiness and speed of the arm action are all good indicators of future development of velocity, all of which bode well for Grause, who sat in the low-80s and topped out at 83 mph on the afternoon. The breaking ball was a weapon for Grause on the afternoon working in the low-70s with some bite to it and he threw the pitch effectively for strikes. There are a lot of positive indicators to Grause’s profile and he showed a lot of good tools on Sunday morning.

Segui is another uncommitted and extremely projectable righthander at a listed 6-foot-2, 150-pounds with extremely long limbs. Segui works with a long, loose and whippy arm action that travels through the path to the point of release very quickly and with intent. The fastball gets pretty good plane on it in the 80-83 mph range and he showed advanced feel for command and locating the fastball. He peppered the lower third of the strike zone with the pitch and the overall strike zone as he would challenge hitters and force them onto weak ground balls.

The picture of projection for a young pitcher is what lefthander Devin Futrell (2021, Pembroke Pines, Fla.) embodies: a very lean 6-foot-3, 160-pounds with super long limbs and tons of room to fill out with strength. The Vanderbilt commit also shows a very fluid and well-paced delivery to go along with an effortless arm stroke. The velocity was in the 77-81 mph range but the feel is off the charts for someone of his age. The fastball has life to the arm side and he can command the pitch to either side with relative ease, and the length of his legs allows for very good extension down the hill.

One of the most impressive feats for Futrell was the extent to which he repeated his low effort and balanced delivery for someone of his size. The breaking ball is presently a solid offering with consistent 1-to-7 shape and can be thrown for strikes. Futrell flashed a changeup that showed good fade and has the makings of a very good pitch against righties. Everything looks good for the young lefty and the ceiling on Futrell is nearly limitless as all of his current indicators pass with flying colors.

Another young arm who showed out during the event was David White (2021, Newnan, Ga.), who was entrusted the start in the championship game of the freshman division. White is already very physical for the grade, at a listed 6-foot-1 and 180-pounds, with broadness to his shoulders and present strength. He already has advanced arm speed and velocity for the age, working 82-86 mph for almost the entire outing, but what really stood out was the ease of the delivery and his command of the fastball. The breaking ball was a pitch that only used a handful of times, as he mostly attacked with the fastball, but he showed good feel for the pitch and could locate it for strikes.

The first feature that jumped out when watching White throw was the simplicity of everything. The arm action is clean and concise, the delivery is exclusively out of the stretch (even with a little Craig Kimbrel start mixed in) and there’s little effort or wasted movement. White is certainly one of the top arms to follow in the state of Georgia for the class and he showed a lot of good things in an abbreviated start over the weekend.

Turning in perhaps the strongest performance of the entire weekend was the MV-Pitcher of the underclass tournament: Timmy Manning (2020, Pompano Beach, Fla.). The Florida commit showed tons of swagger and confidence on the mound en route to five strong frames with 12 strikeouts. Manning is no stranger to PG events, and is fun to watch pitch every time he takes the mound. However, on Monday morning Manning showed a new level of dominance.

The fastball showed new levels of velocity, working in the 85-88 mph range while topping out at 89 mph with hard, late life to the arm side. Manning threw each pitch with conviction and commanded the pitch exceptionally well to either side. He also knew when to attack with the breaking ball, which is a very good offering in it’s own right. Working in the low-70s the pitch had sharp tilt and lots of power; he could identify opposing hitters’ weakness with the pitch and would throw it sometimes up to six or seven times in a row.

Manning has long been an accomplished pitcher for the class and Monday’s championship victory was just the latest accolade for the sophomore. However, he showed a new level of stuff that certainly solidifies his status as one of the best arms in the class.

– Vinnie Cervino

Cooper Donlin (2020, Plymouth, Mich.) has a nice, loose and easy swing from the left side and showcased it at the plate for the Little Caesars Baseball 16u team this weekend in Fort Myers. He showed some solid pop to the opposite side of the field and finished the event with a .300 average with a triple and two stolen bases.

Jacob Montrose (2019, Macomb Township, Mich.) flashed some speed with a pair of bunt singles and had five stolen bases in total for the tournament. He also showed a good feel for the shortstop position with great instincts, excellent reads on hops and is able to throw accurately from any angle.

SBO’s Connor Benson had a knack for finding the barrel and was on time often with his swing as he showed a great ability to drive the baseball to the fence of both gaps in the outfield. Benson has a large frame with strong hands and does a good job of getting his arms extended and using his hard, level swing to produce solid contact.

Florida Grinders 2020 Black has some interesting bats who have a high ceiling and promising futures as Luis Marerro (2020, Orlando, Fla.) and John Holl (2021, Sanford, Fla.) were impressive at the plate this weekend.

Marerro is listed at 5-foot-6, 135-pounds, but has a hard, consistent line drive swing and a big leg kick that helps generate consistent bat whip and hard contact from the right side of the plate. He’s also a tough at-bat, as he’s consistently locked in at the plate and patient with a good eye for the strike zone. He had an on-base percentage of .692 for the tournament.

Holl is a lanky, athletic outfielder with plenty of room to grow and get stronger and flashes some bat speed with a quick and balanced athletic swing. He has long arms that help him get great plate coverage and he hit safely in every game. More coaches will be giving a look at Marerro, and expect Holl to make a great impact when he arrives at Florida International as he gets stronger and develops.

Tampa Elite Force had some talented players on their team and they fought very hard this weekend in Fort Myers. Rafael Ramirez (2020, Ft. Meyers, Fla.) has a projectable, long and physical frame with broad shoulders and strength throughout his frame. He has a balanced swing with some solid pop up the middle and to the opposite field. He showed some arm strength and should continue to get better as he plays more games.

Kevin Reyes also looked good on the mound as he was up to 84 with a solid curveball that has quality 11-to-5 late break and big depth. Reyes has a fast arm action and a small frame. With room to grow and get stronger it’s easy to project a velocity increase for this talented righthanded pitcher in the future. He does an excellent job of changing eye levels by throwing his fastball up in the zone and his curveball low in the zone.

– Brandon Lowe

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