Tournaments | Story | 7/10/2018

17u BCS: Day 2 Scout Notes

Taylor Weber         Perfect Game Tournament Staff        
Photo: Blake Bennett (Perfect Game)

17u BCS National Championship: Event Page | Daily Leaders | Day 1 Notes

It was a game between two evenly matched teams in U.S. Elite Florida Scout Team and West Florida Scorpions Select. Unfortunately for both teams, neither side took the victory as it ended in a 2-2 tie. Geo Rivera (2019 Williamsburg, Va.) started for U.S. Elite and gave them 3 2/3 innings of really strong baseball. He’s a solid and athletic framed righthander on the mound standing at 6-foot-3, 220-pounds. He works at the first base side of the rubber and throws from a higher three-quarters arm slot with good angle to the plate. Early on Rivera was sitting around 85 mph with the fastball, but after the second inning he really started to crank it up and sat at 87-88 and topped out at 89 mph. The Old Dominion commit also showed a potential plus pitch in the slider. It’s a tight spinner with very sharp bite to it. He commands both these pitches well and got plenty of swings and misses with his off-speed pitches. Rivera also shows a solid presence on the mound as he was able to work out of more than one jam from some lackluster defense behind him. He allowed just one hit in the outing and the run surrendered was unearned.

Coming in to relieve Rivera was another righthander in Jose Taveras (2019 Port Chester, N.Y.). Taveras isn’t nearly as big as his fellow teammate standing at just 5-foot-9 and weighing 165-pounds. However, his stuff didn’t disappoint. He tossed 3 1/3 innings allowed just one hit and a run scored. His delivery is smooth while working mostly from the stretch with good repeatability. He has a quick arm and ran the fastball up to 82 mph with good life on it. Taveras, like Rivera, showed a high-quality breaking ball in his 11-to-5 curveball. His feel for it was top notch and located it well time and time again. He was able to shutdown the Scorpions for most of his appearance while getting some bad swings on the curve.

On the other side of the field for the Scorpions was righthanded pitcher Brenden Hendrick. Hendrick is another strong looking guy on the mound that through well, going 5 1/3 innings allowing just four hits and one run. He shows good feel for his pitches, keeping them down in the zone around the knees. He releases from a three-quarters slot and some quickness in his arm when delivering. The fastball was a very good pitch for Hendrick in the game as it showed sinking action that threw off hitters all game. That pitch, mixed well with a hard biting 12-to-6 curveball allowed him to generate weak ground balls and missed barrels. Hendrick isn’t a guy that will blow pitches by hitters as he topped out at 86 mph, but he does pitch away from contact and has the ability to get outs. This all coming from a guy who never really worked off the mound until a year ago.

The Nos. 4 and 5 hitters for U.S. Elite did most of the damage for them as they both drove in a run apiece. In the four slot was first baseman Hunter Fitz-Gerald (2019 Margate, Fla.). Fitz-Gerald is a 6-foot-4, 210-pounder who’s a big target at first and plays the position well. He’s got a good glove, able to grab balls in the dirt, as well as being able to move around and come off the base well. The Florida Southern commit also handles the bat as he went 1-for-3 on the day with an RBI. His size and strength allow him to generate some good jump off the barrel when timed up and he’s able to turn the barrel well when getting to the ball out front. His hands are strong through contact getting some natural leverage through the ball. The lefthanded hitter had a hard drive into right field for an RBI single to the tie the game.

Hitting behind Fitz-Gerald was righthand hitter and right fielder Gabriel Cabrera (2019 Parkland, Fla.). Cabrera is another hitter with a lot of present strength in his build standing at 6-foot, 195-pounds. He incorporates his strong lower half well in his swing with some rotational shifts into contact. He stays on plane with the ball with quick hands into the swing. The UCF commit controls the barrel of the bat, making strong and consistent contact. He has the ability to hit to all fields as his first hit came on a line drive into right field and his second, an RBI single into left.

Helping his pitchers at shortstop was 6-foot, 170-pound Kameron Guidry (2019 Snellville, Ga.). Guidry has slick hands up the middle and consistently fields the ball cleanly out front and funnels it to his body. His footwork throughout the transfer is advanced and he maintains momentum well through the throws to the bag. He moves athletically to both side with range and can manipulate his arm slot when throwing on the run. While Guidry didn’t make any stellar plays in the game, he was a consistent fielder and showed that when the time comes he would be able to handle making the tough play. He’s about as consistent of a fielder as there is.

Providing offense for the Scorpions and collecting the only extra-base hit for both teams was Dillon Besnier (2019 Apollo Beach, Fla.). Besnier showed off his outstanding pop in his bat as he drove a ball to the opposite field fence and claimed second base on a ground-rule double. The 6-foot-2, 190-pound righthanded hitter can really square the ball up when he’s able to connect with it, though he needs to work on adding some control of the barrel.

It was an easy win for Bodyshop Baseball 17u as they downed the North Texas Bulldogs 17u by a score of 8-0. About the only thing the Bulldogs had going for them was catcher Tristan Pitkin (2019 Baytown, Texas). Pitkin really shines behind the plate and works hard to help out his guy on the mound in several ways. He has extremely advanced blocking skills and doesn’t allow a ball in the dirt to get far away. He also has some explosiveness out of the stance paired with a strong arm that keeps runners cautious to try to swipe bags. Pitkin can also handle the ball well. Though he didn’t have a hit in the game he made solid contact in all his at bats and keeps the ball on a line drive trajectory.

On the mound for Bodyshop was tall lefthanded pitcher Caleb Speedy (2019, Columbia, S.C.). Speedy stands at 6-foot and weighs in at 180-pounds. He’s got long limbs, which help him get down the mound well with extension out front. This allows him to get his 85 mph running fastball on hitters even quicker and makes his pitches look faster. He stays inline down the mound with a clean arm action and releasing from a three-quarters slot. His big secondary pitch is a sinking changeup that also had some short run to it. What really helps is that he can mimic his arm speed and slot on the changeup so it’ll look very similar to the fastball before coming in slower and dropping out of the zone. Speedy went four of five innings and allowed just a single hit.

The Bodyshop lineup was a tough one to get any outs from and they had several players stand out with the bat. None more though than the two Lebron brothers. First the No. 2 hitter in Noah Lebron (2019 Lexington, S.C.) who stands at 5-foot-11 and weighs 160-pounds. Noah shows a lot of barrel turn out front and really looks to drive the ball to the pull side. He has a quick barrel, which allows him to really get around the ball to right field. He maintains a line drive path with leverage out in front of the plate. He drove in three runs on two doubles down the line in three at-bats.

Noah’s brother, Jacob Lebron (2020 Lexington, S.C.), hit a little further down in the order but performed just as well, going 3-for-3 on the day. Jacob is also a lefthanded hitter and stands at 5-foot-11, 155-pounds. Unlike his elder brother, Jacob uses the whole field with a bit more consistency. His three hits on the day each went to a different part of the field as he drove a couple of singles to center field and left field as well as turning on a pitch that doubled in a couple of runs. Jacob is a very athletic ballplayer and his ability to hit to all fields with jump really stands out.

Hitting one spot a head of Jacob Lebron is righthanded hitter Tucker Chapman (2019 Sumter, S.C.). Chapman has a lot of pop of the bat when getting around the ball and driving it into left field. He had possibly the hardest hit ball of the game on a double into deep left. He has an elevated path to contact and really swings the bat with intent. He has a lot of power potential in his swing but will need to show a bit more plate coverage as he struggled on pitches on the outer half. If he can figure out how to battle on those pitches and drive them to the opposite field Chapman will be a tough out for any pitcher.

It was a tight game up until a delay between Go Pro Baseball 17u and Rawlings Stealth FL Underclass as Rawlings grabbed a 4-3 lead before the lightning came in the fifth inning. Rawlings starter Dylan Lloyd (2019 Royal Palm Beach, Fla.) was throwing well before having to get pulled. Lloyd has a strong and bulky build and can use it well while on the mound. He’s able to drive well off the back leg and throws from an extended three-quarters slot. His fastball is heavy with sinking run at the bottom of zone, topping out at 80 mph, though it seems there’s more in there in terms of his velocity. He’s a smart pitcher that isn’t blowing pitches by hitters but he can place his ball on the corners and mixing in an 11-to-5 breaking ball with depth allows him to miss a bunch of barrels. Lloyd standing at 6-foot, 210-pounds had thrown two shut out innings and tried to go out for a third. Unfortunately after giving up a couple of runs he had to leave the game a little shaken up.

Christian Collier (2019 Ozark, Ala.) provided some much-needed offense for Rawlings staying a perfect 3-for-3 in the ballgame. Collier, a 6-foot-2, 195-pound outfielder has excellent control of his barrel and makes lots of smooth contact. He’s short to the ball with a compact swing and keeps his hands in tight though he can still get around pitches and pull the baseball. Collier is also a very athletic runner and shows a lot of speed on the bases. He added a stolen base to his day along with an RBI infield hit, an RBI single into left and an RBI triple in the game.

Doing what he can on both offense and defense to keep his team in the game was Noah Mazza (2019 Plainfield, Ill.). Mazza is an athletic defender who plays a solid second base for Go Pro. He shows soft hands when fielding as well as when receiving. He’s a player that can get the ball out of his glove and in the air quickly while remaining accurate to the bag. He also shows some tools in the box as well. He’s a high contact guy that prefers to stay in the middle of the field but will hit the ball where it’s pitched. Mazza isn’t going to swing and miss a ton and he will make an adjustment in deeper counts in order to put the ball in play.

– Taylor Weber

The Clubhouse Elite team, based in Fairfield, Conn., was off and running during early morning pool play at the Twins’ CenturyLink Complex during Day 2. Jake Deleo (2019, Norwalk, Conn.), the club’s leadoff hitter, is an aggressive hitter out of the one-spot. The 6-foot-1, 180-pound center fielder hunts fastballs early in the count and looks to drive the ball from gap-to-gap. Once on the bases, he sets the tone for the very attack-oriented Clubhouse squad. Deleo’s plus speed and instinctive base running style brings excitement to his club’s offense. Defensively, the fleet-footed Villanova commit gets great jumps and can cover a lot of ground. He has a playable arm that is highly accurate.

Jimmy Evans (2019, Norwalk, Conn.) is a mentally tough player who brings an old-school style to the ballpark. The lefthanded swinging DH, who also pitches for The Clubhouse, is a disrupter on the basepaths. In his club’s pool play game, the stout power swinger and consummate tough guy, took a pitch flush to the cheek, bounced up off the ground and strolled to first base. He then proceeded to steal second, third and home. He reached base three times and stole five bases. The rising senior at St. Joseph HS is a 5-foot-10, 180-pound rock-solid athlete. He swings out of a balanced stance and has power hitters lift at contact.

The Clubhouse started 6-foot-7, 225-pound lefthander Garrett Coe (2019, Lakeside, Conn.) on the mound. Although his command is still a work in progress, the lanky lefty always found enough strikes to get his club off the field and back at the dish scoring runs. His two-seam fastball is a heavy pitch that has plus arm-side run and sink. When his mechanics are in sync, he gets a lot of swings and misses. He complements his two-seamer with a rolling curveball that he tries to work to his arm side. When this big lefthander gets his mechanics working consistently, there is no question he’ll add more velocity and command. Coe has a high ceiling and appears ready to take the next step in his career.

eXposure Baseball out of Chattanooga, Tenn., brought a very talented club to Fort Myers this week. Andre Tarver (2019, Ringgold, Ga.) is a Mississippi State commit who brings advanced skills to the park. The 6-foot-2, 210-pound center fielder hits in the three-spot for the eXposure team and has a power hitter’s swing path. He looks for pitches middle-in and has consistent bat-to-ball contact ability. The ball jumps off his bat and shows consistent carry. He has very easy movements in the outfield and a plus arm that is highly accurate.

Parker Noland (2019, Knoxville, Tenn.) is a solidly built third baseman who won’t be traveling far to play his college ball. The 6-foot-1, 195-pound rising senior at Farragut HS will continue his baseball career at Tennessee. Noland is a true third baseman and consistently displays advanced movements at the hot corner. He has excellent lateral movement, especially to his glove side, with sure, quick hands and a plus arm that shows carry and accuracy. He also has surprising speed and instinctive baserunning ability.

The eXposure club’s catcher is gifted receiver Harrison Travis (2019, Soddy Daisy, Tenn.). The athletically built 6-foot-2, 210-pound Travis is a senior-to-be at Soddy Daisy HS. He is a true leader of his staff and his team’s infield. He is calm and composed and guides his staff through games with the maturity of a veteran player. He uses an easy set-up and sits comfortably in his crouch. Travis’ soft hands and ability to frame pitches are notable. He shows very good transition skills and has a quick trigger on all throws and is an accurate thrower of the baseball. Offensively, Travis swings from a slightly open stance and has easy pull-side power.

Phenom Southeast is a scrappy, never-say-die club that plays hard and plays together. The club’s unquestioned leader is their leadoff hitter and shortstop, Nate Marletta (2019, Marietta, Ga.). The 5-foot-7, 170-pound fireplug sets the stage for the Phenom club and is in attack mode coming out of the on-deck circle. He hunts fastballs, and when he gets his pitch, he doesn’t miss. He uses a flat bat path and a short, compact line drive approach to hit pitches all over the field. Once on base, he is a disrupter. Defensively, Marletta feels he can get to any ground ball. He takes his same aggressive offensive attitude to his position in the field. Although his future may be at second base, the young middle infielder is a tremendous competitor and will bring an edge to any ball club he is on.

Phenom righthanded pitcher, Jaydon Woodward (2019, Titusville, Fla.) tossed a gem for the Marietta, Ga.-based club. All Woodward did was throw a complete game six-hitter, allowing his only run with two outs in the seventh inning. The senior-to-be at Astronaut HS is an outstanding command and control righthander with sound mechanics that he repeats with every pitch. He has a high three-quarters arm slot and pitches with a plan and purpose. His fastball rarely topped 80 mph, and he also never threw that pitch to the heart of the plate. He was never afraid to pitch backwards and varied his pace and rhythm throughout the contest. He complemented his well-located fastball with a curveball (62-66 mph) that he added and subtracted on. He seldom gave a hitter the same look two pitches in a row. His poise was outstanding throughout his masterful performance.

Center fielder Andrue Davis (2019, Valley, Ala.) is the Phenom’s talented outfield captain. The speedy ballhawk can cover a lot of gap-to-gap ground. The 5-foot-11, 150-pound rising senior at Valley HS plays more shallow than many outfielders and is adept at going back on fly balls. He took extra bases away throughout the contest. At the plate, the righthanded swinger is a patient hitter, who uses an inside-out path to hit balls up the middle and to the off field. He is also an excellent baserunner with advanced top-end speed.

One of the Phenom’s younger players is their starting catcher, Nick Tarantino (2020, Milton, Ga.). The 6-foot-2, 210-pound rising junior at Blessed Trinity Catholic HS is a plus power threat who has a slugger’s lift at contact. He looks for pitches on the inner half and uses a solid lower half and strong hands to consistently drive the ball from gap-to-gap. Behind the plate, Tarantino presents an excellent target and, despite his size, sits low in his crouch and consistently gives umpires a good look. He has a plus arm and a quick trigger and all of his throws show accuracy.

The Canes American baseball team is one of the top clubs in Fort Myers this week. Their talent was on full display this afternoon at CenturyLink, and Texas Tech-bound, Kyle Westfall (2019, Mason, Ohio) is their gifted leadoff hitter and table-setter for the Canes. The IMG senior-to-be shows advanced bat-to-ball skills and can both bunt for a hit and drive the ball out of the park. He presents great problems for opponents because of his offensive versatility, his plus-plus speed and intuitive baserunning ability. Defensively, he has rare skills with a plus arm that is very accurate and can cover a lot of ground in center field.

Alabama commit, lefthander, Blake Bennett (2019, Haleyville, Ala.) started on the hill for the Canes American team and was dominant from the get-go. He is a strike thrower who attacks the strike zone with two college ready pitches. His running, sinking two-seamer was clocked at 85-87 mph. There is probably more velocity there, but it was obvious that Bennett was working on command and not velocity for the entirety of his outing. His sharp-breaking 12-to-6 curveball is a wipeout out-pitch that is tough on all hitters. It is a snapper that dives at the plate with great depth. Bennett uses a short takeaway and a longer finish and pounds the zone with both a plan and a purpose.

Big 6-foot-4, 215-pound Von Seibert (2019, Spanish Fort, Ala.) is a middle-of-the-order righthanded power hitter for this gifted team. His quiet, steady approach produces plus power with every pass. He is short to and long through with every swing and makes consistent barrel contact. His size doesn’t limit his ability to run the bases. He is a very accomplished runner with above average speed. Around the bag, he shows nimble feet, excellent first-step quickness, very sound lateral movements and soft hands.

Virginia Tech commit, Cade Swisher (2019, Chesterfield, Va.) plays the hot corner for the Canes American squad and does so with a veteran’s presence and a quiet, confident ability. He can make all the plays and shows outstanding anticipatory skills. His first-step quickness is advanced, and he is especially good moving to his glove side. He has a plus-plus arm that is highly accurate. At the dish, the lefthanded swinger shows plus pull-side power and is an excellent, instinctive baserunner.

– Jerry Miller

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