Tournaments | Story | 7/23/2018

17u World Series Notes: Day 4

David Rawnsley        
Photo: Cooper Benson (Perfect Game)

17u Perfect Game World Series: Event Page | Daily Leaders
Scout Notes: 
Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3

Playoff day dawned clear and hot at the 17u PG World Series in Peoria, Arizona, and the games started off hot as well. The San Diego Show got a win in their first round matchup with GBG Marucci, and All-American Garrett Frechette (2019, Vista, Calif.) played a key role in this one, going 2-for-2 with four RBI on the day. Frechette has some of the better strength in the class in his lefthanded swing, but has also come along in terms of pure hit-ability, and is now a more complete hitter who keeps getting better from an offensive perspective. He’s got the ability to cover the plate and work to all fields, and does so while doing a better job of recognizing pitches and controlling the strike zone.

Steven Vasquez (2019, Upland, Calif.) got the win for the Show, going 4-plus solid innings, and was wholly dominant to start the game before turning the lineup over became a bit of a trouble spot. He’s a lithely-built righthander with good projection remaining physically, and the arm speed in conjunction with the ease of operation of his mechanical profile give him a pretty substantial upside at the next level, where he’s committed to UCLA. He worked up to 86 mph in this one, with the fastball really coming out of his hand well, and showed the ability to spin a good breaking ball that he landed for strikes, with good tunnel out of the hand. He’s going to be especially interesting to follow up on in the spring from a draft perspective, as there is prodigious upside here.

GBG reliever Josh Swales (2020, Porter Ranch, Calif.) came on in relief and while he didn’t have his best day, there’s still a lot to like from the young righthander, something we’ve seen over the past several weeks. Swales has a good body with projection remaining and present above-average arm speed, and he runs his fastball up to 92 mph early on in most of his outings. He didn’t quite have his command on this day, but still showed off that quick arm as well as pretty quality sinking life to the fastball in the instances where he commanded it down in the zone. He worked in a 10-to-4 shaped curveball with slurvy, longer shape and also showed a firm changeup with the beginnings of some fade. 

USA Prime and BPA locked into a heavyweight bout in their early playoff matchup, with USA Prime ending up ahead by a score of 2-1. Andrew Morris (2018, Lafayette, Colo.), who is listed as a mere 16 years old in the already-graduated class of 2018, got the start and went the distance for Prime, with an excellent performance. Morris worked up to 90 mph with his fastball, throwing straight downhill from an overtop slot, creating tremendous plane when he leveraged the ball to the bottom of the zone. He showed the ability to land his curveball for strikes as well, stealing early strikes often with the pitch, and with the projection remaining on his frame and his very young age relative to his grade, he has excellent remaining upside. 

BPA sent PG event veteran Cooper Benson (2019, San Luis Obispo, Calif.) to the mound and while he ended up taking the loss, he was quite good in his five innings. Benson has a good combination of present size and remaining projection, and the body definitely looks the part of a next-level pitching prospect. He’s got some deception to his delivery with late effort over the front side, but works quickly and is up-tempo throughout. His fastball worked up to 90 mph, cruising mostly in the 86-89 mph range in the early going, and he creates excellent angles to the plate with the pitch. The breaking ball has some variations to it, usually on a traditional 1-to-7 curveball shape, but he does show the ability to get to the side of the pitch a bit and turn it into a bit sharper 2-to-8 slurvy shape. He also demonstrated excellent feel for his changeup, turning it over well without any loss of arm speed, and was adept at throwing all three pitches for strikes. 

USA Prime continued their winning ways by beating the San Diego Show 3-2 later on Sunday afternoon. Hank Bard (2019, Parker, Colo.) started behind the plate, and the Kentucky commit looks like a potential high-level defender at the collegiate level. He does an excellent job receiving, without any extraneous head movement and able to get the thumb under a sinking fastball quite well, presenting it and stealing strikes. He can move well to both sides to block balls, and that athleticism projects well, even as he continues to gain strength to his frame. 

Jace Jung (2019, San Antonio, Texas) is a fixture in the middle of the USA Prime lineup, and is committed to Texas Tech where he’ll follow his older brother Josh, who right now looks like a potential first rounder in the 2019 draft. Jase, like his brother, is a strongly-built third base prospect who has enough athleticism to play there right now, and Jace has the profile advantage of swinging the bat from the left side. There’s lots of present bat speed and strength to Jung’s swing right now, showing the ability to move the barrel around the zone with good hand-eye coordination, and he’s got a whole-field approach and ideal launch, giving him the upside to be an excellent hitter at the next level. 

CBA Marucci, as the No. 1 seed, waited all day to play NorCal later on Sunday afternoon, a game NorCal won in exhilarating fashion late in the game. Glenallen Hill, Jr. (2019, Santa Cruz, Calif.) hit a bases-clearing missle of a triple in the top of the seventh inning to take NorCal from down 4-3 to up 6-4, a lead they held onto for the win. Hill has been written about already this week as an ultra-twitchy, athletic prospect who shows off excellent bat speed from the left side. There is some rawness to the overall profile at present but the loudness of the tools, especially the athleticism, speed, and bat speed are all enticing, and he’ll be monitored closely heading into next spring. 

CBA had a tremendous tournament as a part of a tremendous summer overall, and Joseph Naranjo (2019, Chino, Calif.) is a big reason why. The lefthanded swinging first baseman possesses some of the best pure bat-to-ball skills in the class, showing the ability to made mid-AB adjustments and move the barrel around the zone with a smooth, easy stroke. He works to all fields and doesn’t try to do too much, and is consistently comfortable working the other way, but unlike a lot of hitters who go the opposite way with regularity, Naranjo can also get the head out with authority and pull the ball. He would likely be an immediate impact bat at the next level. 

CBA brought in flamethrowing righthander Andrew Devine (2019, Simi Valley, Calif.) later on in the game, and while Devine struggled to throw strikes consistently, he stood out as maybe having the best arm speed of anyone in the event. A Texas Tech commit, Devine worked up to 94 mph with his fastball several times, showing off a very fast, whippy right arm that produces big time velocity despite being 5-foot-8, 155 pounds. Once the Texas Tech coaching staff evens out his mechanical profile and gets him throwing more strikes as well as physically stronger, Devine may be one of the hardest throwers in college baseball. 

Joseph King (2019, Redwood City, Calif.) closed out the NorCal win in a dominant way, striking out three over a 30 pitch, two-inning outing, never really getting into any trouble. King has excellent size and overall build, with a very good combination of athleticism and strength, and he’s actually a primary catcher who is one of the better two-way prospects in the class. He worked up to 93 mph with his fastball, cruising around 88-92 mph, creating good plane to the plate from an overtop slot. His curveball also showed as a dynamic, future-plus offering, thrown in the 80-83 mph range with hammer two-plane break, acting like a slider at times but thrown as a curveball. He has excellent control of two very good pitches right now, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him contribute immediately as a two-way prospect at Washington State, should he make it to campus there.

PG All-American righthander Wesley Scott (2019, Riverside, Calif.) had a rough outing earlier in the week for Blackhawks National but was much more solid on Sunday, working two scoreless innings while striking out three hitters.  Scott's fastball was in the 88-91 mph range and he snapped off some sharp mid-70s breaking balls that fooled righthanded hitters.  For this scout, Scott's inconsistencies recently are related to the timing in his front side mechanics, which were much better executed much of the time this outing than the previous couple of appearances.

This event was the 24th Perfect Game tournament that righthander Cole Stupp (2019, Milton, Ga.) has thrown in and the sixth in 2018 after throwing in 11 PG tournaments in 2017.  His velocity progression has been incredible steady over that extended time and the 6-foot-4, 190-pound Kentucky commit took another step in that progression, topping out at 92 mph while pitching two scoreless innings with four strikeouts.  Stupp has worked mainly in the upper-80s, topping out at 90, during 2018 after being mostly 84-87 during 2017.  He also throws a mid to upper-70s curveball that is a promising second pitch with good power and spin.

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