Tournaments : : Story
Wednesday, July 11, 2018

16u WWBA Scout Notes: Day 5

Vincent Cervino         Jheremy Brown         Greg Gerard         Brian Sakowski         Perfect Game Tournament Staff        
Photo: Aeden Finateri (Perfect Game)

16u WWBA National Championship: Event Page | Daily Leaders
Scout Notes: 
Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4

Nothing about righthander Aeden Finateri (2021, Watertown, Conn.) would suggest that he’s yet to turn 15 years old from his physical 6-foot, 205-pound build, to his ability to bump 90 mph and maintain his velocity, nor his overall demeanor on the mound. Yet, he is all that and won’t turn 15 for another month despite just finishing his freshman year at Avon Old Farms in Connecticut.

Finateri, who pitched early in the tournament and topped out at 90 mph was back on the bump yesterday for The Clubhouse Elite and was fantastic in his near complete game effort, taking the ball 6 2/3 innings in which he punched out 12 and allowed just one base hit. Possessing a quick arm stroke through the backside, Finateri sports a rather simple set of mechanics on the mound, staying on line and directional with his lower half while working on top of the ball from an over-the-top release to generate consistent plane to the bottom of the zone. On the day all three of Finateri’s walks came in the first three innings, though after that he was locked in and continued to pound the strike zone.

The stat line is great for pitcher Finateri’s age as he’s essentially playing up two years but consider this: the first pitch of the game registered at 88 mph on the gun and his 95th and final pitch of the game in the seventh was also 88 mph. Throughout the course of those bookend 88s Finateri topped out at 90 mph and lived within the 86-89 mph mostly, generating the velocity without too much effort while maintaining the same attack mode mentality. The slider was a difference maker for the uncommitted righthander as he threw it with power, working into the upper-70s with a tunneled release and later biting life which hitters didn’t seem to pick up out of his hand and led to many of those 12 strikeouts.

With a large gathering of college coaches behind the backstop Finateri certainly impressed and though he doesn’t have any additional events listed on his PG profile, coaches will be making sure to see him again in the near future.

On a team full of physically advanced rising sophomores, third baseman Slate Alford (2021, Madison, Ala.) certainly ranks near the top in regards to the strongest players on Dulin’s Dodgers 15u Prime and it’s an element of his he put on display Tuesday afternoon. And to stay Alford has been swinging a hot stick may not be doing his offensive performance much justice as his two-hit day raised his average to .733 on the tournament. It was also his fourth of six games in which he picked up a hit in every at-bat. In his first at-bat Alford did a nice job of staying direct to the ball and creating extension out front at he shot a line drive single back up the middle, registering 98 mph off the barrel. He again went to center field in his next at-bat, this time clearing the center fielder’s head for a two base knock which plated two and came off the barrel at 97 mph. As just a rising sophomore the 6-foot-2, 215-pound Alford will be in attendance once again next week at the 15u WWBA World Championships and is certainly a bat to watch moving forward.

Of all the commitments on the East Coast Sox Select, third baseman G Allen (2020, Little Rock, Ark.) is the only one who has committed to a school outside the southeast as he’s a future TCU Horned Frog. Allen more than looks the part of a power hitting third baseman as he stands at a broad and physical 6-foot-3, 210-pounds and thanks to his abilities with the bat is already ranked No. 125 in the class. Tuesday’s game against the Middle Tennessee Outlaws was a big day for Allen who had gone hitless the few games prior, going 2-for-3 though it was his second hit that grabbed everybody’s attention. Getting a fastball in the zone that he could handle, the lefthanded hitting Allen showed plenty of bat speed and natural lift to his swing in driving the ball out of the yard, leveraging the ball down the right field line for a two-run shot.

On a day in which Pittsburgh announced Mike Bell as their new Head Coach, Pitt commit Andrew Clelland (2020, Cadiz, Ohio) took the mound for Team All American and impressed with his present stuff and what he could ultimately develop into, especially given that he’s listed only as a third baseman. At 6-foot-5, 183-pounds Clelland certainly looks the part of a pitcher and one who will only continue to grow and develop physically with plenty of room to fill though he’s also hitting .421 on the tournament with a three double game earlier in the tournament.

Clelland impressed on the mound Tuesday night, ultimately going the distance and throughout the seven innings impressed with his ability to control his long levers on the mound and filled the strike zone, punching out six while walking just one and allowed two base hits. Opening up the game Clelland ran his fastball up to 88 mph and sat 84-87 for the early portion of the game, finishing in the low-80s while still filling the zone. Given his physical length and high three-quarters release, the future Pitt Panther is able to create solid plane to his heater, working on line towards the plate with his lower half while showing a quick arm stroke through the back side. He mixed both a changeup and curveball in throughout the game, showing more 11-to-5 shape to the curveball in the low-70s with his changeup working in the mid-70s.

Everything that third baseman/righthanded pitcher Ethan Long (2020, Gilbert, Ariz.) does on the field revolves around his power, whether it’s in his right arm which has been up to 92 mph on the bump or 96 mph across the diamond, or with his righthanded swing with which he’s able to generate big bat speed through the zone. It was the latter he put on display in Team Elite’s victory Tuesday afternoon, blasting his first extra base hit of the tournament which cleared the left field fence and ultimately went 371-feet per TrackMan. Long, who recently opened up his recruiting process, is listed at a broad and strong 6-foot-2, 228-pounds and incorporates all of that physical strength into his swing, staying short and compact to the ball while generating leverage at the point of contact to send the 2-run shot out with an exit velocity of 93 mph.

– Jheremy Brown

The 643 DP Cougars Sterling head into the final day of pool play atop their pool and starting righthander Aaron Osada (2020, Woodstock, Ga.) earned the win for the team during their game in Tuesday. Osada, a still uncommitted rising junior, showed off some impressive stuff during the win as he’s been one of the more consistent arms for the team over the course of the summer. From a 6-foot-4, 215-pound frame, Osada has the look of a prototypical starting pitching prospect and repeats the delivery well as he accelerates down the mound through the release. The delivery is a bit firm but he repeats it well and the arm stroke is efficient and quick through the back. Osada worked his fastball up to 87 mph and sat mostly in the 84-87 mph range throughout the start. He creates good sinking life to both sides of the plate and gets on top of the fastball very well; he also mixed in a sweeping 11/5 breaking ball that he could land for strikes. Osada posits an intriguing profile from an uncommitted rising junior, and he shows a high ceiling on the mound.

The Upstate Mavz had a big win on Tuesday and two of the standouts featured Wells Gunter (2020, Greenwood, S.C.) and recent Clemson commit Harmon Cox (2020, Hopkins, S.C.).

Gunter is a solid player who isn’t extremely physical, only listed at 5-foot-10 and 145-pounds, but plays the game hard and provides a solid presence in the leadoff spot of the lineup. Gunter notched three hits and showed solid glove work between playing both second base and shortstop on the afternoon. The righthanded hitting middle infielder has a short, controlled swing path and utilizes all fields effectively. He doesn’t just slap at the ball either, his third hit on the afternoon was a run-scoring opposite field triple and he showed off the end-line speed as he hustled around the base paths. Gunter’s athleticism and balance was on display during a couple impressive defensive plays including one where he nailed the runner at first on a soft grounder that saw him gather and fire while moving in and toward third base.

Cox is a very intriguing righthanded pitcher with good present size for projection, listed at 6-foot-1 and 165-pounds, with lots of deception and life on his pitches. The righthander has an exaggerated, cross-fired front landing leg that he gets around well simultaneously as he fires from a very extended three-quarters arm slot. This creates the ability to both hide the ball well and create late running life on the pitch, especially when located down and to the arm side. The fastball worked up to 87 mph and sat mostly in the mid-80s with the aforementioned life and the recent Clemson commit also landed a softer curveball with good spin and shape for strikes.

Academy Baseball Canada has had a strong run thus far in the tournament, though they won’t win their pool, and outfielder Nicolas Tremblay (2019, Mont St-Hilaire, Quebec, Canada) stood out during their loss on Tuesday. The outfielder fits a strong leadoff profile with wiry strength, good speed and athleticism, and a centerfield defensive profile. Tremblay gets his hands extended well through the point of contact and can create impact force such as his first hit of the afternoon, which was a hard hit single up the middle that left the bat at 97 mph. The uncommitted Canadian posits an intriguing profile and is one to monitor.

Elite Squad National certainly has a wide array of talent on their team and it starts at the top with leadoff man, and No. 49 prospect in the class Enrique Bradfield (2020, Hialeah, Fla.). The Vanderbilt commit shows all the tools that a scout could look for out of an amateur prospect as he is a plus runner who glides out in centerfield to go along with extremely loose and fast hands at the dish. The bat-to-ball skills are some of the best in the country, regardless of class, as Bradfield hardly ever swings and misses through pitches, and puts the ball in play often. The swing can get slappy at times but his wiry strength allows him to not simply give in and flare a ball to the opposite field, but he drives the ball with authority as he did twice on Tuesday night with a double and single to the opposite field gap. The power is currently more of a gap oriented approach, however he can turn the barrel with intent and truly works anywhere on the field he wants with the bat. Bradfield is hitting .500 on the tournament with already nine stolen bases as he provides one of the more high-level combinations of speed, hit tool, and defense in the class.

The middle-of-the-order presence for the Elite Squad team is the 6-foot-4, 185-pound Coby Mayo (2020, Coral Springs, Fla.) and the righthanded slugger has already shown a penchant for launching balls this summer. The UCF commit did so again late on Tuesday night with a long shot deep to the pull side that left the bat at 96 mph. Mayo is a very physical prospect, yet there’s tons of room on the frame for additional size which makes the prospective future raw power near limitless with how much bat speed and impact strength he currently has. The load in the swing is a bit exaggerated and backside heavy, and the swing is primarily led by the explosive hand speed and he creates a ton of leverage through the finish of the swing, especially so on the home run he hit. Mayo is a top-flight hitting prospect for the class at this juncture and with two more extra base hits on Tuesday, the other being a smoked ground ball double down the third base line, he continued to show off the hitting tools and some of the best power in the country.

A pair of uncommitted prospects in Matthew Ruiz (2020, Hialeah, Fla.) and Dorian Gonzalez (2021, Miami, Fla.) also had multi-hit days and have impressed over the course of the tournament.

Ruiz, a position prospect from traditional power American Heritage, is a physical righthander bat with broad shoulders and a good present frame. There is strength and loft to the barrel plane, and during a few looks this week Ruiz has made solid and consistently hard contact throughout, even if not all of the hits well. The hands work well into the swing in order for him to get the barrel head out in front of the plate and drive with intent. There is intriguing power there too, and with some possible adjustments and addition of leverage, Ruiz could be a power hitting corner prospect and already should be drawing significant Division I interest.

Gonzalez, a former PG Select 14u Festival alum, is one of the best pure hitters for his grade, with a loose and easy swing path that allows him to generate hard hit contact consistently. Gonzalez doesn’t immediately stand out with a super-physical stature, he’s only listed at 5-foot-9 and 170-pounds, but the approach at the plate is very polished and well advanced for his age. Gonzalez has a compact, repeatable swing that he replicates nicely and can adjust with intent to cover the plate nicely. He smoked a couple of baseballs on Tuesday night, a single up the middle and a hard hit pull side triple into the right field corner, and is hitting a blistering .667 on the tournament thus far with a home run the other day too. Gonzalez might have the best present hit tool in the class and should be monitored very closely as he continues to develop and refine his game.

– Vincent Cervino

A pair of bats in Johnny Ceccoli (2020, Tyler, Texas) and Max Soliz (2021, Houston, Texas) shined for Knights Baseball Premier and led the way for a 10-2 romping.

Ceccoli, a well-filled out, 6-foot-2, 220-pound masher, knocked a pair of doubles in the contest for three RBI while scoring three times. The Auburn commit showed the ability to spray across the field, first hitting a ground-rule double to right field that let the bat at 90 mph before launching an opposite-field two-bagger to left-center. He gets good extension and has some natural loft in his swing, showing a hint at some ability to backspin the ball. The big primary first baseman, ranked fourth at the position in his Texas class, got the start in right field today, but probably doesn’t project there in the long term. He did show some sneaky athleticism for his size in a steal of third, however.

Soliz also flashed some big-time power potential as well. Already at 6-foot-4, 205-pounds, and playing up an age group, he projects nicely and could be a truly physical player in the near future. An Arkansas commit, Soliz employs a high leg kick but maintains good balance and was on time in his swings. Soliz began his day with a long RBI double down the left field line and later displayed a keen eye at the plate in a walk. Unfortunately, the top catcher in the Texas class did not offer a look at his defensive skills today, as he got a chance to rest the legs as the designated hitter.

Masyn Winn (2020, Kingwood, Texas) continues to look like a star player in the making. The Stanford commit boasts some excellent plate skills, controlling the barrel exceptionally well with good bat speed. He also displays great discipline and won’t often be seen swinging at a bad pitch or having a lackluster at bat. He knocked a pair of singles on the day and flashed plus speed in recording a 4.03 second time from home to first. Winn also possesses highly advanced defensive ability, using the speed to cover a wide range of ground at shortstop. He charges balls aggressively and ranges back on infield pops smoothly. Polished footwork, a quick transfer, and a strong arm are all attributes in his defensive skill-set as well. As far as intangibles go, Winn is a noticeably positive and upbeat player and frequently communicates with the rest of the defense between plays at shortstop. The high-energy middle infielder simply doesn’t let his foot off of the gas pedal between the lines and remains a blast to watch. He stands as the top middle infielder, and the ninth-ranked player overall, in the national class.

Winn’s teammate Jonathan Martinez (2020, Mission, Texas) rolled through three hitless innings and didn’t walk anyone either, allowing just one batter to reach on an error. With a strong, sturdy frame and pitching from the windup, he registered 84-88 mph with the fastball, getting some downward plane on it. Martinez got ahead with the fastball frequently and liked to punch hitters out with it, too, as he painted the glove-side corner. The delivery is very clean and repeatable and the control he possessed led to an efficient outing as Martinez pounded the zone with strikes. The curveball is thrown with less arm speed but was consistently located for strikes and induced some weak contact. Martinez is an uncommitted arm at the current time and ranks 22nd among righthanders in the Texas class.

Zane Faulk (2020, Phenix City, Ala.) makes the most of his compact, muscular build, using his strong wrists to generate whip-like bat speed. High exit velocities were seen today from Faulk and should be considered the norm going forward as he consistently punishes the baseball. Faulk’s stance is calm, but his hands explode through the zone. He roped an RBI triple to open up the scoring for his team in the first inning. Faulk, the top catcher in the Alabama class, played right field today, and his athleticism and arm strength he has shown at previous PG events should allow that to serve as a legitimate secondary position. The toolsy Faulk remains uncommitted but should have no trouble finding a home for his college career.

Josh Mallitz (2020, Tampa, Fla.) made a short relief appearance for 5 Star National Burress and was dominant over 1 1/3 frames. The tall and projectable righty was throwing 86-90 mph with the heater and has made some real velocity gains over the past year, as he was around 82 mph this time last year. Mallitz throws with a short and quick arm stroke and filled the zone with strikes to tally a pair of punchouts. He didn’t throw the breaking ball often but was able to freeze a hitter with it for one of his punchouts. He has a confident and fiery mound presence and has not committed to play college ball anywhere yet.

– Cameron Hines

Several teams jockeyed for pool position on Day 5 of the WWBA 16u National Championship on Tuesday, including the Richmond County Nationals and Top Tier Roos American, who tied 4-4, which ran each of their records to 4-1-1 within the pool. 

Carlos Torres (2019, Coamo, Puerto Rico) got the start for Richmond County, and the star of the Perfect Game Sunshine Northeast Showcase a few months ago was pretty solid in this one. He’s a very well-built, physical righthander who is pretty young for the 2019 grade, and will barely be 18 years old by the time the draft rolls around in June. He’s got some mechanical inconsistencies that he’ll need to clean up in order to more harness his command, but the size and arm strength certainly stand out. He worked up to 93 mph with his fastball, settling more into the 86-90 mph range as the game wore on, showing the ability to miss bats up in the zone with the fastball consistently, something that potentially speaks to a high spin rate on the pitch. He shows the ability to spin a breaking ball at present, but the pitch will need further refinement to truly be a bat-misser at the collegiate level. 

Gustavo Sosa (2019, Staten Island, N.Y.) stood out offensively for the Nationals, and the Rutgers commit has the kind of athleticism and positional versatility that makes him extremely attractive to evaluators, not to mention that he’s very young for the class. He’s slenderly, athletically-built and that athleticism stands out behind the plate, where he’s primarily a catcher, but it’ll be intriguing to see him potentially play all over the diamond. Offensively, it’s a quick stroke with good loft to it along with good hands, and he’s stronger than his frame would indicate. He drove a double up the left-center field gap that didn’t even get full barrel, showcasing that hand strength that is capable of driving the ball even if he doesn’t get full barrel. 

On the other side, Camden Minacci (2020, Tampa, Fla.) got the start for the Top Tier Roos American, as he and Torres locked into a solid pitching duel for 4 innings. Minacci has a lot of moving parts to his delivery that both aids in deception but also takes away from his command somewhat, though he did find control once he settled in and did a fair job of throwing strikes in this one. The fastball worked up to 87 mph and projects for more as Minacci is a very projectable, athletically-built prospect; and the pitch features pretty significant life at times. He worked in a slider in the 74-77 mph range with good tilt and late bite, giving him that standard sinker/slider type of profile whose athleticism projects well.

The Duluth Noles moved to 5-1 in pool play in their win on Tuesday, and did so behind the right arm of Jordan Walker (2020, Stone Mountain, Ga.), an uncommitted righthander. Walker didn’t allowed an earned run over six innings, allowing three hits and three walks while striking out six in the process. He’s very lean and highly-projectable in terms of physicality, and is also a legitimate prospect as an infielder/hitter. On the mound, the athleticism stands out as Walker shows the ability to throw strikes despite having a bit of a high-maintenance mechanical profile. The fastball worked up to 89 mph and settled in right around 84-87 mph for the duration, showing the ability to create plane to the plate and doing it all with a whippy, quick arm. The breaking ball varied in shape and he does change the arm direction to throw it, but it still showed some sharpness to the bite, especially in the upper reaches of the velocity band, as his best sliders checked in at 73-75 mph or so. 

Another talented two-way prospect is Najer Victor (2020, Clermont, Fla.), who took the mound for Power Baseball, as they moved to 4-0-2 in their pool with a win on Tuesday. Victor is a highly athletic, quick-twitch prospect who excels both on the mound and with the bat, reminding this evaluator of a young Dazon Cole, the former Central Michigan standout who is now in professional baseball. The arm is extremely fast on the mound, working up to 91 mph per Trackman with the fastball and while there are some command refinements necessary moving forward, the fastball jumps out of the hand and is overpowering in the zone. It features heavy run and sink when down, and he also shows the ability to work north-south with the pitch at times. He worked in a slower curveball as well that has some depth and spin, but, like most young pitchers, will need refinement at the college level. Offensively, he’s a force as well, showing why in his first at-bat as he hit a rocket of a ground-rule double up the left center field gap and made the turn around first base in a scant 4.2 seconds. There’s a ton to like from Victor’s profile, and he looks to be one of the better two-way talents in the 2020 class.  

– Brian Sakowski

Carson Beck (2020, Jacksonville, Fla.) is a name to keep an eye on as his career moves forward. Beck was 1-for-2 and reached base three times on Tuesday. The highlight of his morning in the way of a rocket run scoring single up the middle that left the bat at 94 mph. Beck is a physical kid that uses his 6-foot-4, 225-pound frame well, and certainly hits the ball hard when he catches the barrel. Another piece of Beck’s game I was impressed with on Tuesday was the arm strength from the outfield. Beck made a pair of strong throws that kept runners from advancing during Tuesday’ action, and I believe a corner outfield spot is a great compliment in his game since he is a primary first baseman. Beck is committed to Alabama to play both football and baseball. The three-star quarterback made his choice in late June.

Next door on Field 11, Gehrig Ebel (2020, Signal Mountain, Tenn.) turned in an impressive display of hitting. Ebel went 3-for-4 with a triple and two runs scored on Tuesday morning. Ebel has a good 6-foot, 185-pound frame, and was able to make a couple of really nice plays up the middle. Ebel has quick hands and an athletic stance in the box, and the Mississippi State commit will be a player to watch as he continues to grow and mature both in the field and at the plate.

On the mound, eXposure Prime 16u started an intriguing lefty in Seth Coffelt (2020, Soddy Daisy, Tenn.). Coffelt worked up to 84 with a running fastball on Tuesday, and with some added strength in the legs he could see that number climb. Coffelt had a loose and clean arm action that projects well, and the 6-foot-2, 165-pound frame certainly has room to grow over the next couple years. If Coffelt can be a pitcher that commands the strike zone, he can be a very effective lefty for any team. Coffelt also showed an ability to flash a breaking ball in the low-70s on Tuesday.

The Ontario Blue Jays improved their record to 6-0 at this week’s tournament, and received solid performances from a pair of bats. Dasan Brown (2019, Oakville, Ontario) had the swing of the day as he launched a three-run home run deep over the wall in left. The ball left Brown’s bat at 94 mph, and it was an impressive ball to watch leave the yard. Brown played a strong center field during Tuesday’s action, making a couple of nice plays on the run and nabbing a runner with a phenomenal throw to the plate. Brown is very comfortable in the field, and he also showed an ability to run with a 4.43-second home-to-first time while stumbling out of the box. Brown is uncommitted and a good get in the 2019 class.

Kentucky commit Jaden Brown (2019, Mississauga, Ontario) also had a solid day for the Blue Jays. Brown was 1-for-3 with an RBI single on Tuesday, and he played an excellent shortstop throughout. Brown is a physical player with a 6-foot-1, 180-pound frame that projects well at the next level. He moves well in the field, and his athletic stance and quick hands in the box are something to be excited about. Brown has impressed at events in the past, and the 22nd-ranked player in the class of 2019 will be a name to keep an eye on in the 2019 MLB Draft.

In Tuesday’s last time slot, Ben Vespi (2020, Boynton Beach, Fla.) was as good as advertised in a strong start for Elite Squad 16u National. Vespi turned in five strong innings, and he was able to strike out eight batters while walking none. Vespi ran an electric fastball up to 90 during Tuesday night’s outing before working in the upper-80s for the remainder of his time on the mound. Vespi showed excellent feel for a quality changeup and was also able to throw a breaking ball for a strike. Vespi uses a smooth and repeatable lower half to work down the mound, and he does a great job of working over his front side with a quick and compact arm stroke. Vespi is an exceptional athlete on the mound, and his ability to move well benefits both his delivery and his ability to field his position. The UCF commit will be an exciting arm to follow in the 2020 class.

– Nate Schweers

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