High School : : General
Friday, March 02, 2018

High School Notebook: March 2

Vincent Cervino         Britt Smith         Steve Fiorindo         Greg Gerard        
Photo: Perfect Game

The high school notebook is designed to share notes and video on players that stand out during the high school season and new features will be released regularly. This will include in-game looks, reports, analysis and video from Perfect Game's scouting staff. If you have news on a player in your area that is performing at a high level that we should have eyes on please reach out to Vinnie Cervino at vincent@perfectgame.org. Also feel free to share your video highlights on Twitter @vcervinopg.

High School Notebook: Feb. 23




Lyon Richardson, RHP/OF, Jensen Beach (Fla.)

One of the early arms in the sunshine state to receive quite a bit of helium and buzz is Jensen Beach righthander Lyon Richardson. The Florida signee has had a very good start to his spring, attracting the early season attention of crosscheckers and higher-ups, and it's easy to see why. Richardson fits the prototypical mold of someone who rises in Florida: athletic and projectable, increased velocity, and command of the arsenal. 

The righthander fits athletic and projectable, as a very lean 6-foot-2 and 185-pounds; the athleticism showed with speed as well as he registered a 4.45 second time to first base. The overall polish and ease of the delivery is what stands out about Richardson as it's up-tempo and athletic and gets excellent push off the rubber at the balance point. Richardson gets downhill consistently with a clean and easy arm action that helps to create a lot of plane on his fastball. The pitch worked up to 96 mph and sat in the 92-95 mph range consistently while garnering a tons of swings and misses. Richardson struck out eight batters in under four innings but also got thirteen whiffs on the fastball. 

The offspeed stuff has some work to do, however, but showed intriguing results. Richardson showed a hard changeup in the 85-87 mph range with some sink to the pitch but was thrown from a lower arm slot that gave away the pitch at the point of release. For the first three innings, Richardson worked with an 11-to-5 curveball with consistent shape in the low-70s. The pitch was effective at being thrown for strikes but lacked significant bite to it. However, in the fourth inning he unveiled a slurve with 10/4 shape in the upper-70s. That breaking ball wasn't thrown too often, but if you're bullish enough you can project average on it due to the athleticism and velocity on the pitch. 

Richardson had a very good start in front of a lot of high-end team representatives and has been living up to the buzz he has created for himself. He is climbing up boards quickly and with a strong spring could be one of the top righthanders in the state when June comes. 




Triston Casas, 3B/1B, American Heritage (Fla.)

PG All-American and third baseman for the no. 1 team in the country, Triston Casas has helped American Heritage get off to a hot start with a 3-0 start to the season culminating with a championship in the St. Thomas Aquinas First Pitch Classic. Casas is plugged in at the no. 2 hole to start the year as the slugging lefthanded hitter is looking to get a lot of plate appearances in for the Patriots. Casas looks leaner and more athletic from last summer, as he plays third base for the Patriots, however most evaluators tend to agree that his professional position is over at first, but a strong defensive season at the hot corner could change that. Defensive questions aside, the carrying tool for Casas is going to be how much he hits and for how much power. The Miami commit has shown over the summer circuit that he’s got big raw power that plays to all fields. The swing path will get long at times, it normally does when utilizing a power approach, however the timing looked to be off a bit during this viewing. Regardless, Casas has shown the ability to hit and hit for power in the past, and if he has a big spring it wouldn’t be a shock to see him rise in draft boards. 




Cory Acton, IF, American Heritage (Fla.)

Cory Acton bats right behind Triston Casas in the American Heritage lineup and the Florida signee is coming off a big summer season that showed off his innate feel for the barrel. The lefthanded stroke is very smooth and easy, and Acton has very good barrel control with the ability to impact the ball while extended out in front of the plate with quickness and strength. Acton's approach is very professional at the plate as he won't expand the strike zone with bad pitches to hit low in the strike zone and is extremely patient in terms of pitch selection at the plate. The bat is one of the more polished bats that a high school hitter can be, however there are still some positional questions that linger. Acton currently plays second base for the Patriots but has shown the ability to play third base in the past as well. He may be best suited for a corner outfield position professionally, however he shows twitchy actions at second base though and could be an asset defensively there. Acton profiles well as a bat who goes to college, rakes, and is selected very highly coming out of college, however all it takes is one team to fall in love with him this year, and Acton's bat is certainly appealing. 




Connor Scott, OF, Plant (Fla.)

The PG All-American ended his summer circuit on a bit of a low note as he missed some time toward the end of the summer following appendicitis. In that regard, Connor Scott has some similarities to 2017 1st round pick Austin Beck in that once he came back healthy and showed it, his draft stock began to sky rocket. The heat was certainly in to see the Plant HS outfielder recently as Scott provides a very intriguing package of skills and tools. 

The tools jump out at the start while watching Scott. He's an easy plus runner, timed at 4.00 seconds to first base from the left side, and the ease and fluidity of his defensive actions when combined with that speed allows the Florida signee to project as a centerfielder at the next level. The instincts and first step quickness stand out when looking for center field traits in a prospect and Scott has showed off excellent arm strength in the past with it being registered up to 91 mph at PG National last year. 

The swing itself is very fluid with lots of natural loft to the swing plane along with present bat speed. He sometimes will get too far onto his front side that will cause him to roll over, however when the swing is right it is a very visually appealing swing. Because of the looseness of the hands and feel for the barrel, some evaluators can project above average or even a plus hit tool if they're extremely high on the bat. The power is endless to project upon with a 6-foot-4, 180-pound frame and tons of room left to add strength. 

Like former 1st round pick from Plant HS, there are a lot of similarities between Scott and former PG All-American Kyle Tucker. The Astros certainly seem happy with Tucker and the ceiling on Scott is similarly endless; he is a prospect to monitor closely as the season goes on and early in the season is already attracting lots of helium and buzz. 

– Vincent Cervino



Max Marusak, OF, Amarillo (Texas)

Describing the explosiveness and quick-twitch actions of Amarillo High School (Texas) outfielder Max Marusak (6-foot-1, 175-pounds) always seems to come up just short in conveying the message. How often do you get to see a double-plus runner in a high school game? That was the description of a national baseball writer after seeing Marusak in action this January in Arizona. He displayed this type of transcendent speed with a 4.29 home-to-first time, on a turn, from the right-side of the plate, on a triple to left field during the Rose City Classic. The breath-taking speed does not stop with just the high end running ability. Marusak is a fearless baserunner, as well as an ever-improving, student of base-stealing. When you put these two traits together it creates such pressure on a defense to execute flawlessly ever single phase of the game. A slight hesitation, bobble, or target confirmation by a defender, is all of the time he will need to attain the next base.

Far from just a speed-guy, Marusak has strength, bat speed, and shows power to compliment his game as well. For such a young player to have all of the tools needed to play the game at its highest level, it is more of question of refinement when it comes to his future. Not forgetting the fact that his arm strength grades on the plus side as well, he is as athletic of a physical specimen that you will ever find on a baseball field. There are some areas of his game that need to be polished. However, he has shown the ability in his past, to do all of the things at one time or another. As he continues to play, the hit tool should continue to advance. His numbers should not lag as this tool continues to strengthen. As long as he can continue to create contact regularly, because of his speed, he will get hits. He will display power presently while being one of the few players that is rewarded when he miss-hits the baseball. With game changing physical abilities, Marusak will be sure to hear his name called in the MLB Draft this June. The question will be, how high of a pick will it take to move him away from his plan to attend Texas Tech in the Fall? 




Jonathan Childress, LHP, Forney (Texas)

On a less than stellar day at the park, from a weather standpoint, Childress turned in a stellar outing on the mound for Forney High School (Texas), in the Rose City Classic. In front of close to twenty-five scouts, the 2017 Perfect Game All-American, who didn’t seem to mind the cool temperatures and steady drizzle that engulfed Mike Carter Field, simply suffocated the opposing lineup. In dominant fashion, the six-foot-four, 215-pound, left-handed pitcher cruised through the Amarillo High lineup with an array of well-located fastballs in the 88-91 mph range, from his usual high-3/4 arm slot. Fastballs that were not called strikes, just off the outer edges of the strike zone, were turned into set-up pitches for a well commanded slider between 79-83 mph and a one-to-seven shaped curveball, that stayed between 73-76 and missed barrels all afternoon.

Childress has a certain feel for spinning, and for that matter, just throwing the baseball where he wants to at any time. Commanding both breaking pitches at will and handling the one run lead he was given early in the game, Childress completed six innings of work in a modest 85 pitches, while allowing a hit and a walk, but not allowing a run. As if his stuff was not strong enough, Childress mixed in some tempo changes in his delivery, including a wind-up without a leg lift. While he did not command the pitches as well, he seemed to enjoy the attempt at disrupting the hitters’ timing. In a matchup of top-5 teams in the state of Texas, Childress seemed more like a kid playing whiffle ball in his back yard with his buddies. There was some talking, some posturing and certainly some intensity in the contest. However, there was never a point in which anything was pushed over the line by either team or any player. Just some good old-fashioned competition of best vs. best in Texas High School Baseball.

Two teams that normally would not see one another outside of a trip to the state championship were trying to prove to each other who was better. Childress, a Texas A&M signee, was clearly the best pitcher on the field this day and all of the players on both teams know it. A game that ended in a 1-1 tie because of a late bullpen collapse, in front of an expiring time limit, did not dampen the dominance of Childress. It is not that his stuff is completely dominant, it is more of Childress’ ability and willingness to throw any pitch in any count that makes him so special. For the scouts in attendance, it was a performance that has been seen before from the senior left-hander. Nothing new, just the ability to stifle a lineup for as long as he is in the game, with seemingly minimal effort. For a high school pitcher that has been up to 94-mph in the past, he is one of the few that does not need to have elite levels of fastball velocity to win. That is what makes Childress such an interesting prospect, not only for the Aggies but for any team that is interested in taking a shot at drafting him this coming June.

– Britt Smith





Carson Lambert, RHP, Newbury Park (Calif.)

The righthanded pitcher, and draft eligible arm, is committed to USC and struck out six batters in six frames while only allowing one earned run in this look. Lambert works with a compact and clean delivery and the arm action works well through the point of release. The fastball hovered in the upper-80s all game and touched 90 mph early on. The velocity isn't necessarily what stands out as the mix and pitchability were very strong. Showed a curveball in the low-70s along with a firm slider in the upper-70s with late, short break to the pitch. Slider looks to have a high ceiling but feel and use of both pitches during the start. More compact delivery from the stretch with fewer moving parts and allowed him to pound the strike zone. 


Sean Sullivan, RHP, Chaminade Prep (Calif.)

Making a return to the mound following missing last season with injury, Sean Sullivan showed a lot of good tools on the bump and what made him attractive for the University of California. The righthander is a very lean and projectable 6-foot-1, 165-pounds with lots of room for additional strength on the frame. Sullivan was on a pitch count early in the season but still managed to strike out seven batters in four innings. The slider was a very good pitch for Sullivan as the pitch worked in the 78-81 mph range and got lots of swing and miss. The fastball was also a good pitch in the 88-90 mph range and also mixed in a curveball in the mid-70s too. This performance was a good start to the spring for Sullivan as he features an easy, athletic delivery and could be in store for a big spring. 




Josh Hahn, LHP, Huntington Beach (Calif.)

One of the top two-way talent and juniors in the country is Josh Hahn, and the southpaw is the no. 33 overall prospect in the country. It is easy to make comparisons to a former Huntington Beach Oiler in 2017 first round pick Nick Pratto. Both feature a loose, easy swing with lots of feel to hit with excellent barrel control. The UCLA commit is the first baseman for the Oilers and moves well at first base, but also has the athleticism and arm strength to play right field in professional baseball. Hahn has a very balanced swing with lots of present power to the pull side that projects nicely to play to all fields upon maturity. Hahn also excels on the mound where he was 88-90 mph on the hill. The curveball has a swing-and-miss curveball in the low-70s and also features a changeup. Hahn is definitely one of the top players to keep an eye on this season and is off to a very good start for the Huntington Beach Oilers. 


J.T. Schwartz, IF, Corona Del Mar (Calif.)

One of the top hitters in the area plays for Corona Del Mar HS in infielder JT Schwartz and he’s gotten off to a hot start early in the SoCal baseball season. The UCLA commit is a physical prospect with a very good feel for the position over at the hot corner, however he shows soft hands and plenty of arm strength behind the plate at catcher; good traits indicative of a future position for Schwartz. The swing is the carrying tool for Schwartz as he shows an easy, fluid swing with an all fields approach. Schwartz shows good power to the pull side and has a really good innate feel for hitting. Should he get to UCLA he seems like a good bet to get plugged into the lineup right away and produce for the Bruins. 

– Steve Fiorindo





Rhett Daniel, RHP, Carrollton (Ga.)

Another day, another arm making a velocity jump in the early part of this spring. This time in Carrollton High School righthander Rhett Daniel. The Coastal Carolina opened up on a rainy night at Lakepoint 88-92 mph with his fastball and bumped a 93 mph pitch in his second inning. Daniel, an extremely projectable 6-foot-5 178-pound prospect, mixed in three pitches during his outing showcasing command of all three. His fastball has plenty of life coming from a long wrapped arm action up to a high three-quarters arm slot. His fastball was his best located pitch showing ability to command to both sides of the plate consistently. His next best pitch was his changeup with some sink. The curveball is still average at this time. Daniel, unfortunately, took the loss in Carrollton's matchup with Hillgrove, but the future Chanticleer should be monitored over the course of this spring as this velocity jump since July may not be the first for the projectable pitcher.

– Gregory Gerard


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