Tournaments | Story | 7/6/2018

17u WWBA Scout Notes: Day 7

Vincent Cervino         Greg Gerard         Perfect Game Tournament Staff        
Photo: JJ Goss (Perfect Game)

17u WWBA National Championship: Event Page | Daily Leaders
Scout Notes: 
Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6

Though Marucci Elite was handed the loss, Texas commit Andre Duplantier (2019, Houston, Texas) came into the game for a relief appearance and he, with a big assist from his impressive breaking ball, came in to stifle the South Texas Sliders lineup and give his team a chance to comeback. Listed at 6-foot-2, 195-pounds, Duplantier has an athletic delivery with a faster, longer arm stroke that generates velocity in the 88-91 mph range on his fastball. The fastball generates very above-average spin rates for a regular fastball, sitting in the 2700 rpm range, which allows him to generate a lot of whiffs on the heater and allow his fastball to play up some. The breaking ball is the out pitch, however, as it showed above average potential with good spin, tight shape, and the ability to land it for strikes. The pitch worked in the mid- to upper-70s primarily, with 11-to-5 shape and flashed some sweep when working down and to the glove side and had above-average spin rates on the pitch as well in the 2400 rpm range. Duplantier has a legitimate out pitch in his breaking ball and with a deceptive fastball he has two present pitches that can get a lot of outs against high school hitters; Duplantier struck out five batters over three scoreless innings.

Uncommitted righthander Derek Beauchamp (2019, Raymore, Mo.) got the nod during Building Champions’ first playoff game and the 6-foot-2, 155-pound arm showed a lot of projectable tools with a sound delivery that looks the part of a Division I college prospect. The high-waisted, long-limbed frame along with the relative ease of the delivery lends the way for very good physical projection as there is a lot of room on his frame for additional strength and physicality. There is fluidity and easy to the motion of the delivery with an online arm stroke with requisite looseness that comes through cleanly and is able to be repeated well. The command was solid early on with his fastball sitting in the 84-86 mph range and bumping 87 mph once early on. The breaking ball was a solid pitch with 11-to-5 shape and some sweep while Beauchamp could land the pitch and the plus projection righthander has a lot of enticing overall pitching tools that correlate to success.

There were numerous high-end arms to go around throughout playoff day at the 17u WWBA National Championship, and one of the more impressive performances came from the No. 20 overall prospect for the class in William Rigney (2019, Woodway, Texas). The Baylor commit was given the loss in this one, he allowed five runs in the final frame, but was practically unhittable for five very strong innings.

The 6-foot-5, 205-pound righthander has the ideal frame and body type that scouts look for when projecting out pitching prospects so Rigney is already checking boxes for the scouting contingency. The frame is long and lean with room left still and that’s what makes his present fastball velocity so intimidating. Rigney gets on top of the fastball very well in the 91-94 mph range and creates short sinking life on the pitch. The delivery is a bit stiff and lands open at times, but Rigney repeats the ability to sink the pitch to both sides with intent.

The difference maker for Rigney, however, is the slider. The pitch showed all the makings of a future plus pitch and certainly flashed that potential all afternoon. The pitch had bite to it in the 80-82 mph range and tunneled well with the fastball and the pitch was a definite out pitch for Rigney. Moving forward, Rigney has already established himself as one of the top righthanded pitchers on the summer circuit with both projection and a legitimate future plus secondary pitch in his hard slider.

Logan Tanner (2019, Lucedale, Miss.) did it all for Team Georgia on Thursday as he started game one and caught games two and three to help propel his team to the semifinals on Friday morning. The two-way Mississippi State recruit had a very strong start on the mound during game one where he ran his fastball up to 93 mph and tossed five shutout frames. Tanner’s delivery appears to be cleaned up some since the last time we had eyes on him as there is less effort and better direction toward the plate. The arm stroke is clean and easy through the back and he touched 93 mph early in the game before settling into the 88-90 mph range throughout. Tanner also flashed a slider, but the bat also paid dividends for the middle of the order presence. Tanner launched a home run off Rigney that traveled 90-plus off the bat and sealed the victory for Team Georgia in their first bracket play game.

Making the biggest jump and showing some of the best stuff he ever has was righthander JJ Goss (2019, Cypress, Texas), as the Texas A&M commit was electric in his stat but was eventually dealt the loss. Goss upped his profile significantly with his fastball touching 96 mph early on before settling into the 92-94 mph range for multiple innings before the velocity ticked lower somewhat.

We have been fortunate enough to see Goss progress throughout his years on the circuit and now the product heading into his senior year combines both raw, impressive stuff and elements of polish. Goss has very good arm seed from a very loose arm stroke and possesses an overall high-energy delivery. He was clearly amped up for this start against one of the favorites in the tournament and bumped 96 mph with lots of life on the fastball throughout.

The breaking ball has always been a quality pitch for Goss and it showed plus potential for him on Thursday afternoon. Goss can manipulate shape, locate the pitch for strikes, and otherwise command the pitch extremely effectively. He has immense confidence in the pitch and it garnered a lot of swing-and-misses as he could add and subtract effectively from it as it worked anywhere from 77-85 mph. Goss was always one of the best pure pitchers in the class and the uptick in present stuff makes him one of the top righthanded pitching prospects for next year’s draft.

BPA against Stix Baseball ended up being a classic pitchers’ duel, with both Cutter Clawson (2019, Laguna Beach, Calif.) of BPA and Kade Bragg (2019, Ennis, Texas) of Stix both exhibiting positive attributes on the mound while Bragg eventually grinded out the victory.

Clawson, a BYU commit, has an extremely polished profile with present command of all pitches and throws a lot of strikes. He generates good momentum toward the plate and releases from a higher, extended arm slot that creates plane to both sides of the plate effectively as he sat mostly in the 87-90 mph range. The polish, athleticism, and repeatability all show out with the delivery and the feel to spin is a difference maker for Clawson. The breaking ball is a very good pitch and it’s easy to project is as a very good pitch with above-average-to-plus potential moving forward. He can manipulate it effectively and has no problem throwing the breaking ball in any count especially for strikes. The curveball sat mostly in the mid- to upper-70s with good shape and consistency to the pitch. Clawson is one of the early leading pitching prospects out west.

Bragg competed and commanded his fastball all game and turned out a complete game shutout to boot. The lefthander is a slender and projectable arm with good athleticism and is committed to Texas A&M. The fastball was Bragg’s go to pitch and it sat in the 84-87 mph range but showed above average life to both sides of the plate and this was a difference maker. He generated a lot of sink and run, from a fairly simple and low effort delivery and arm stroke, which allowed Bragg to generate a lot of ground ball outs. Pounding the zone, projecting well, and showing good feel for a breaking ball all make for a strong profile, especially when you factor in the handedness and the fact that he will be under 18 on the draft, and Bragg has a lot of things to like and project upon.

There’s not a lot left to say about the No. 4 overall prospect for his class Dylan Crews (2020, Longwood, Fla.), except that just when you think he’s reached his ceiling, he keeps finding ways to blow past it. The Louisiana State commit came to the Jr. National Showcase with a clear plan in mind as he had improved on nearly all of his tools by posting a sub-7.00 second 60-yard dash and throwing 89 mph from the outfield. That arm strength was on display during the first game of the day as he cut off a ground ball down the line, turned, fired, and nailed the batter trying to extend a single into a double. The impressive hitting tools are the calling card to the profile with already present plus bat speed and very good bat-to-ball skills. The batting average might not reflect it, but Crews has been hitting the ball on the screws all weekend; one such example comes to mind as he handled 92 mph on the outer edge to line out to right field that left the bat at 100 mph. Crews had a big hit in game one of the day for the Scorps as he took a low 90 mph pitch and drove it off the opposite field wall for a run-scoring triple. Crews is a key cog as an underclassman for the Scorps and could still have a big role to play going forward into Friday.

Jerrion Ealy (2019, Carthage, Miss.) is incredibly toolsy with real hitting tools as well and his athleticism, speed, and overall game helped Team Georgia to the semifinals. The best example of this could be shown by his sequence in the bottom of the sixth in a tie game of the quarterfinals. The Ole Miss recruit beat out an infield single to put the go-ahead run on first base. Ealy then proceeded to steal second base, steal third base, and the get driven in to break the tie as he got himself in a prime position to take the lead. Ealy, an 80-grade runner who broke the PG National record for a 60-yard dash with a 6.13 second time, has incredible speed and already has accumulated 10 stolen bases with a chance for more on Friday. The plus arm was well on display too, Ealy posted a best throw of 96 mph from the outfield at PG National, as he nailed a runner trying to score from second on a single on a seed during the first game of the day for Team Georgia. The hitting tools are there with plus bat speed and potential plus raw power, and though the swing is crude, he generates a lot of whip and has preternatural impact strength through the point of extension. Ealy is an exciting prospect, more than deserving of his ranking as the No. 4 prospect in the class, and the opportunity is there for Ealy, along with his talented Team Georgia teammates, to take the crown of the 17u WWBA National Championship.

– Vincent Cervino

Connor Phillips (2019, Magnolia, Texas) continues to show why he is one of the top arms in this year’s prep class as he took to mound for Premier Baseball Futures. He did not seem to have the outstanding swing-and-miss stuff that we at Perfect Game have seen from him in the past, but the stuff was impressive nonetheless. Phillips did find some bats in this contest, but his command is what really sets him apart as he can fill up the zone and spot up the fastball to either side of the plate. The fastball velocity was 91-93 mph for his first two innings and then declined some as the game wore on. His curveball is his go-to secondary pitch especially to righthanded hitters. The pitch comes from a similar tunnel as the fastball and falls off the table with plenty of 11-to-5 shape in the 77-78 mph range. He flashed a changeup that he liked to offer up to lefthanded hitters getting lots of fade away from their bats.

His delivery is mostly clean as the arm works fully and easily through the backside. He pitches with low effort and a quick arm making scouts believe there is likely still more velocity to come in due time. The LSU commit is an incredibly athletic pitcher as he plays football for his high school team on top of playing baseball. His athleticism is noticeable in his delivery as he stands at 6-foot-2, 180-pounds with plenty more room to fill with added projection. The combination of his ceiling and current talent of locating three pitches makes him a high follow pitcher in this year’s prep class in Texas.

Cameron Repetti (2019, Cypress, Calif.) is one of many talented players on the CBA National team’s roster as he stands out both with his arm on the mound and with his bat in the middle of the order. Repetti first caught this scout’s eye, however, on the mound as he came into the game in relief on Thursday. Repetti sat consistently 90-91 mph with his fastball in the one inning stint of relief as he will likely throw tomorrow as CBA advanced to the semifinals of the event. He created consistent plane down in the zone coming from his tall and very athletic 6-foot-4 frame. The Cal State Fullerton commit is still developing spin but did offer up a curveball with lots of depth. He stays online to the plate with a shorter stride down the mound. He also flashed a changeup that registered 77 mph on the radar gun. Listed as a primary third baseman, Repetti has a high ceiling on the mound if he continues to pursue his talent on the bump at the next level.

Cade Currington (2019, Kaufman, Texas) stood out behind the plate during the Dallas Patriot’s run through playoff day. Currington has a special ability to catch and block balls at an elite level. The uncommitted backstop made frequent plays that prevented runs in big spots during the playoff contests. Playing on a loaded Dallas Patriots team and batting cleanup while manning the catcher position, Currington displays good flexibity and agile movements to both sides laterally. He has soft hands that allow his to pick the baseball with ease and that skill-set was on display often on Thursday as he caught the first two games of the Patriots tripleheader.

Maurice Hampton (2019, Arlington, Tenn.) has all the tools to be one of the top talents in this class. His arm stands out while he is also a plus runner, but what he showed on Thursday’s playoff day at the 17u WWBA National Championship was his ability to hit the ball and with big-time power. The two-way talent committed to LSU for both football and baseball put a ball out to the pull side that hit the scoreboard on LakePoint’s field No. 16. Hampton towered the ball into the air getting significant launch angle from the stroke. His raw pop was on display as he connected with the baseball producing an exit velocity of 92 mph off of the barrel and traveling 359 feet.

Jett Jackson (2019, Burns, Tenn.) had the tall task of getting the start on the mound for Knights Baseball Platinum against Hampton’s East Coast Sox Select team. The verbal commitment to Purdue has an athletic pitcher and has a nice pitcher’s build standing at 6-foot-4, 178-pounds. With some added strength moving forward, Jackson may continue to throw even harder than his already 90 mph fastball. The righthander gets lots of extension out in front and is able to fill up the strike zone enough to get hitters out consistently. His fastball ranged from 87-90 mph but does, as mentioned, project for more down the road. He throws with some effort but the arm is loose working through the back quickly. He mixes in a curveball that gets hitters out in front or to swing through the pitch as it has some depth to it in the 72-76 mph range.

While playing on Elite Squad American, Alexander Aguila (2019, Hialeah, Fla.) really made some remarkable plays all day long during both of his team’s games on Thursday. His actions are so fluid at his shortstop position and his glove plays very nicely. His hands are soft and he transfers the baseball to his throwing hand quickly. Aguila made plays ranging to both directions either up the middle or deep in the 5-6 hole. His arm strength plays as well getting plenty of carry to the first base bag. He can also swing the bat with ease and the uncommitted switch hitter can get down the line quickly. His athleticism stands out all over the field and, while only catching at-bats from his left side, Aguila has a line drive swing plane with the ability to drive the ball to all fields when connecting on time.

Bobby Whalen (2019, Camp Hill, Pa.) made a play in the outfield on the first day of this event that really stood out. Whalen is a high-level outfielder and all around player that has really shown out during this week’s event. Whalen bats leadoff for the US Elite team who played a pair of games in Thursday’s bracket play. His speed is noticeable as well as his quick-twitch athleticism that plays both in the outfield as well as at the plate. During the week, the Louisville commit has run 4.33-seconds down the first base line on turf and 4.59-seconds down the first base line on dirt and he possesses real closing speed in the outfield. The 6-foot athlete has a quick swing that makes hard contact on frequent occurrences at the plate. His leg lift and stride play well into his swing getting good timing on the baseball as he rips the barrel through the hitting zone.

The lone 2020 graduate in today’s playoff action from the south quad’s writeups is Camden Hill (2020, Madison, Ala.). The lefthanded hitting first baseman/lefthanded pitcher has serious juice in his bat that should be recognized. Driving numerous balls on the day, Hill produced 90-plus mph exit velocities off of his barrel seemingly every time up to the plate. He starts with an exaggerated open stance before closing off with a large leg lift into his stride into contact. His hand speed is relatively quick but his wrist strength and sheer hip torque is what allow him to drive the ball with ease. Hill swings with intent at times until cutting down with two strikes. His approach is advanced for his age and it is fun to watch him hit. In Viper Baseball Academy’s first playoff game of three on the day, Hill was the hero as he came up with the game on the line down one with runners at first and second base. Hill drove an 88 mph fastball over the right fielder’s head for a walkoff two-run double that left his bat at 95 mph.

– Greg Gerard

Playoff day at the 17u WWBA dawned bright and sunny, as many teams jockeyed for position in the final four. The Sticks Baseball Academy sent Blake Adams (2019, Springdale, Ark.) to the mound in their playoff game against Viper Baseball Academy, and while they ended up taking the loss, Adams pitched quite well. 

Adams is a strongly built righthander with good size and overall physicality, with lots to like in terms of his pitching ability as well. He worked up to 93 mph early on per TrackMan, settling into the 88-91 mph range for the most part. He gets online with his hips and drives downhill, though the offline hook through the back of his arm stroke can cause timing issues at times, the arm is fast and there’s good extension at times as well. He looks the part of a physical, innings-eating type of starter at the next level, where he’s committed to play for the home-state Razorbacks. 

CBA Marucci National went 3-0 on Thursday to earn their spot in the final four Friday morning, holding their opponents to a combined two runs over those three games. We’ve been sitting on Carter Young (2019, Selah, Wash.) especially all week to get a better look, and he’s done a nice job this week in terms of all-around performance. Young is an above average athlete with a nice all-around collection of tools, though nothing is plus at this point in time. He has good hands defensively in the middle infield with the athleticism, range and overall foot quickness to play on the dirt, though his arm may end up being a bit light to play shortstop at the professional level. However, much in the same way it was for Team USA last summer, Young’s versatility is extremely attractive, as he’s even done some catching in his career. 

Offensively, his hands work well in the swing, creating separation in the load without barring or jerking, getting to a clean launch position and showing the ability to both work counts as well as make contact on pitches to either side of the plate. The swing plane is on the flatter side, built more sprayed linear contact than backspun deep drives, but that fits his overall profile well. The approach is patient, approaching passive at times, but Young knows the zone and has an advanced understanding of how to work counts in his favor to get a pitch he can barrel up. 

Gavin Casas (2020, Pembroke Pines, Fla.) has seemingly been on the PG radar since middle school given how often we saw his older brother Triston at a younger age, and the physical lefthanded hitter has done nothing but hit since then. With advanced physicality and strength, Casas is capable of driving the ball where not many 2020’s do, though he is older for the grade. He drove a ball one short hop off the wall in the opposite field gap power alley on Thursday, a place some players have trouble getting to from the pullside, and all it takes is one swing like that for the aforementioned bat speed and raw power to immediately jump out. He’s going to be fun to follow for the next couple years, for sure. 

Anthony Volpe
(2019, Watchung, N.J.) had an absolutely tremendous week at the plate for the Canes National team, who fell in the quarterfinal round on Thursday night, ending their quest to repeat as National Champions. Volpe hit .517 this week atop the Canes lineup, pacing their offense, which was prodigious until they ran into the Scorpions, collecting an OPS of 1.419 on the week. He has an extremely well-rounded game that has helped him standout in this class, including the type of instinctual intangibles that don’t show up in terms of quantifiable measurements. 

His arm strength is average but his release is lightning-quick at shortstop, allowing for that arm to play up; while his speed is above-average but, again, thanks to his baserunning instincts, plays up beyond that level. He hits to all fields and can drive the ball with more authority than one would think, picking up three doubles and three triples in this event, and when combined with his ability to control the strike zone and work counts, make him an ideal leadoff hitter. 

Kendall Williams (2019, Olive Branch, Miss.) had the Canes’ number early and often on Thursday night, neutralizing their potent attack by mixing pitches and throwing a good amount of strikes, keeping the Canes off of his fastball consistently. He worked up to 94 mph early on, holding 89-92 mph deep into his outing, and showing that consistently plus plane to the plate that forced opposing hitters to just beat the ball into the ground. He struck out only one hitter but never really seemed to be in danger despite allowing six baserunners over his 6 1/3 innings, consistently making a big pitch to get a ground ball when he needed it. Earlier this week, Williams just blew his fastball right by hitters with no problem, so it was especially encouraging to see him still have dominant success even when he couldn’t do that. It really separates him as a power arm who can pitch, more than just throw. 

On the other side, Nolan Crisp (2019, Locust Grove, Ga.) got the ball for the Canes and was pretty standard Nolan Crisp, seeing as we’ve watched him pitch dozens of times over the past 3-4 years. He’s athletic with an up-tempo, high-effort delivery that has some violence to it through release, and he’s done an excellent job developing both his control and his ability to vary his delivery looks over the years. He worked up to 93 mph early on, settling into the 88-92 mph range, showing the ability to generate plus sink down in the zone when he was on top of the ball. The slider ranged from 81-85 mph, flashing above average with sharp, late tilt, but occasionally riding flat and losing bite. Crisp did a good job of throwing strikes but did leave the ball up in the zone a bit much, making it more susceptible than the velocity/life combo would indicate, but he still has the makings of being an impact reliever for Kevin O’Sullivan at Florida, potentially as soon as next spring. 

– Brian Sakowski

Playoff action at the 17u WWBA started with a bang on Thursday with a back-and-forth contest between the San Diego Show and Team Louisiana. Though Team Louisiana would wind up being eliminated from the tournament, starting pitcher Hayden Durke (2020, Abbeville, La.) was dominant in his six innings of work. Durke struck out seven batters and was able to scatter six Show hits. Durke is a 6-foot-1, 190-pound righthander that ran a lively fastball up to 92 mph and he was able to pair that with a plus changeup.

The changeup was the best pitch in his arsenal, and his ability to throw it well in any count is a level of polish that is uncommon in such a young prep arm. Durke created good plane with his fastball, and he was able to generate some sink and run to the arm side. Durke is a guy that can throw three pitches for strikes, and Louisiana-Lafayette is getting a good one in the 2020 class.

The next time slot of the day featured one of the 2019 class’ most intriguing arms in Tyler Owens (2019, Ocala, Fla.). Owens ran his electric fastball up to 97 per TrackMan on Thursday, and he was able to throw three pitches for strikes throughout his entire inning. Owens has a very quick and compact arm stroke, and he is able to use a repeatable lower half to get the most out of his delivery. Owens has a 5-foot-10, 185-pound frame, he is able to create plane with his fastball. Owens showed some arm-side run as his outing went on, and the recently uncommitted righty will be a good get for anyone in the country.

Over on Field 9 on LakePoint, Carter Rustad (2019, Kansas City, Mo.) had a strong start for Royals Scout Team. Rustad tossed 5 1/3 solid innings, striking out three and minimizing four hits. Rustad has a clean and effortless arm stroke that is consistently on time. He keeps the lower half simple, and he is able to repeat his entire delivery consistently on the mound. Rustad is able to create good downhill plane with his fastball, and it looked effortless for him to work at the knees. Rustad has a very still head with helps him throw strikes with all three pitches. As he gets a better feel for his breaking ball, the San Diego commits potential on the mound will continue to rise.

Dylan Simmons (2019, Jacksonville, Fla.) was very impressive on the mound in the Scorpions Founder’s Club round of 16 win on Thursday. Simmons tossed six shutout innings, striking out seven batters and allowing just five hits. Simmons worked mostly in the upper-80s with his fastball, topping out at 91. His breaking ball was much improved from a previous viewing at the 17u WWBA. Simmons showed great feel for the pitch on Thursday, and he was able to consistently throw it with tight spin and for a strike. The breaking ball was consistently in the upper-70s. Simmons is a physical 6-foot-3, 220-pounds, and the Florida State commit also swings a good bat.

In their quarterfinal game, Team GA/MBA Gold 17u starter Brayden Rowe (2020, Warrior, Ala.) was up to 89 with a running fastball before settling in anywhere from 86-88. Rowe has an extended three-quarters release, and was able to get good natural run on with the fastball to his arm side. Rowe has a very good feel for his mid-70s curveball, and the ability to spin in the zone kept hitters off balance. Rowe has a projectable 6-foot-1, 180-pound frame, and he will only continue to develop and get better over the next two years.

South Texas Sliders pitcher Ty Fontenot (2020, San Antonio, Texas) showed many projectable qualities on Thursday. Fontenot 82-86 with his fastball, and he was able to show a breaking ball for strikes during 6 1/3 innings. Fontenot is a tall and long 6-foot-4, 201-pound lefty that will continue to develop as he adds strength in his legs. Fontenot has an interesting arm angle, as he is able to fill up the zone while also coming across his body with a low three-quarters arm slot. Fontenot is an intriguing arm to follow as his career continues on.

– Nate Schweers

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