Tournaments | Story | 7/24/2018

PG World Series Notes: Day 4

Vincent Cervino         Jheremy Brown         Greg Gerard         Perfect Game Tournament Staff        
Photo: Blade Tidwell (Perfect Game)

14u PG World Series: Event Page
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Scout Notes: Day 1
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One of the better things about watching a player from an early age and tracking their development is that the next “jump” in their arsenal can come at any point and that day was Monday for righthander Blade Tidwell (2020, Loretto, Tenn.) who was fantastic in his five-inning, run rule shortened outing. And yes, while he has been up to 90 mph earlier this summer, it was his ability to maintain that velocity over his five frames that truly stood out while looking as though there’s more in the tank in due time.

An early commit to the in-state Volunteers of Tennessee, Tidwell stands at a long and wiry 6-foot-2, 170-pounds and features a fast right arm and a rather simple, compact set of mechanics on the bump. The arm speed, as well as the arm strength, are evident as he averaged 89 mph on his fastball, sitting comfortably in the 88-90 mph range with his heater while bumping a handful of 91s and a single 92. While he employs a deeper gather on his backside the simplicity of his delivery and the quickness of his arm allowed for good timing from a higher three-quarters release, showing plane to his fastball with running life to either side of the plate. On the day Tidwell struck out seven batters and walked just one, scattering four base hits which he managed to keep down by mixing in his curveball. At times the young Tennessee native would tend to slow his arm and overall tempo prior to release, tipping the pitch some, but when everything was maintain it showed solid power to it in the mid-70s with late bite as you can see in the final pitch of the video above.

Uncommitted 2020 righthander Zachary Murray (2020, Sugar Hill, Ga.) may not possesss the big fastball that others do in his class just yet, but what he does do better than others is mix three pitches in any count and lands them all at will. Murray, who is currently ranked No. 254 in the country, stands at 6-foot, 170-pounds and did an excellent job of attacking hitters, throwing all three of his offerings an equal percentage of the time. With a full and quick arm stroke through the back, Murray works to an extended slot and was able some plane to his fastball when on time, which lived within the 85-88 mph, touching 89 early in the game. His changeup was the go-to secondary throughout this look, a pitch that clocked in as high as 76 mph with a similar release (which kept hitters off balance and on their front foot) and late fading life through the zone. His curveball is still developing in terms of spin given his release but when he was on time and working on top of the ball is offered short 10-4 shape in the 72-74 mph range.

In a game that ultimately ended in a 0-0 tie between East Cobb and LVR, offense was hard to come by yet uncommitted Andrew Bennett (2020, Kennesaw, Ga.) managed to put a couple of good swings on the ball and picked up just one of the two extra-base hits for East Cobb. Listed as a primary outfielder who got the start of first base, the 6-foot-3 Bennett first caught my eye with during his first at-bat which even though he caught the changeup off the end of the bat he still showed the strength in his hands to drive the ball deep to left field for an L7. He made sure that didn’t happen again in his next trip to the plate as he again showed loose hands and fluidity to his stroke, connecting for a double that split the left-center field gap for his lone hit of the day.

Similar to what he showed working out of the bullpen for Team Elite in the 15u playoffs, lefthander Logan Wood (2020, Macomb, Mich.) filled the strike zone and provided six innings of quality baseball, punching out 11 over that span and more impressively didn’t walk a single batter. Up to 87 mph in this look, the 6-foot-2 Wood certainly has another jump or two left in the tank velocity wise but his ability to fill the zone and mix his slider and curveball for strikes at will can’t be understated.

Wood employs a deceptive, elbows and knees delivery that in and of itself makes for an uncomfortable at-bat but when he’s living down in the zone with his fastball which maintained mid-80s throughout and mixing with confidence it can be a long day at the yard for opposing teams. His slider is a true weapon pitch that he throws in the 76-79 mph range, maintaining his arm speed very well with a similar tunnel at release and plays very well of his late cutting fastball. He doesn’t throw his curveball with as much conviction as that of his slider, working more in the low-70s, but it’s effective in providing hitters with a different look, showing more depth and 1-7 shape through the zone. Given that he’s young for the grade and already showing an advanced feel, he looks like an arm who could have an immediate impact for the Michigan Wolverines in a couple seasons.

While Joshua Hartle (2021, King, N.C.) is known most for his abilities on the mound, he’s no PO (pitcher only) at the plate and could certainly be a two-way type player for Wake Forest, where he’s committed. With a long levered and loose 6-foot-5, 175-pound frame Hartle utilizes the type of swing you’d imagine given his size and lefthanded nice, showing a full and fluid stroke through the zone with leverage out front. That smooth swing was on display yesterday and though the end result didn’t have the high exit velocity often associated with no-doubters, it was just that off the bat as it was as high as it was far for a solo shot, his first knock of the tournament.

Jumping to Team Elite’s older group at the 16u level, righthander Alex McFarlane (2019, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands) continues to generate some serious buzz among the scouting community as the arm speed is plus and the fastball continues to firm up with every showing. At 6-foot-3, 170-pounds there’s plenty of room to dream upon the Miami commit physically though the stuff that comes out of his right hand is already very good. Of the 18 pitches to come out of his hand, 13 were fastballs, 9 went for strikes, and none registered below 91 mph. He topped out at 93 mph showing a fast, whip-like arm action and lived right at 92 mph while showing some running life through the zone. And while it was a small sample size McFarlane still made the most of his time on the mound showing a pair of off speed pitches that could develop into at least average pitches at the next level. His slider offered tight spin up to 80 mph with tilting life and the changeup, like his slider, was thrown up to 80 mph with very nice fading life, maintaining his arm speed and release well.

The up-the-middle combo of shortstop Spencer Shipman (2020, Newman Lake, Wash.) and second baseman Jordan Donahue (2020, Milani, Hawaii) is one that Oregon State fans will see in the near future as both are committed to the Beavers. Shipman made his presence known immediately with his athleticism on the defensive side of the ball, showing loose actions and a solid arm across while utilizing a short, contact oriented approach at the plate. It was with the bat and his speed where Donahue stood out, staying back on a curveball well which he hooked just inside the right field line for a bases clearing triple, giving Baseball Northwest an early lead. Later in the game he showed the looseness to his hands again with a handle for the barrel, shooting a pitch over the head of the third baseman for a single into the opposite field.

Getting the start for Baseball Northwest was an interesting uncommitted arm in Greyson Losee (2020, Hood River, Ore.) who’s currently ranked No. 396 in the class. Standing at a long and projectable 6-foot-2, 165-pounds pounds, Losee utilizes a short and quick arm stroke through the back side while working to a high three-quarters release which helps generate plane and life to his fastball. Working 3 2/3 innings, Losee saw his fastball bump 87 mph and lived in the 83-86 range, a number that comes fairly easy with his release though given the physical projection and limited current use of his lower half, it’s a number that will certainly trend upwards moving forward. The go-to pitch for Losee was his curveball, a 71-74 mph pitch that his showed comfort in landing for strikes and used to help pick up five strikeouts on the day.

The Canes countered with a West Coast arm of their own in righthander Jake Brooks (2020, Foutain Valley, Calif.) who despite being listed as a primary shortstop, offers immense upside on the mound at the end of the day. Built like a middle infielder with square shoulders and long limbs while standing 6-foot-3, 175-pounds, that frame is also a drawing board for the ideal pitcher’s frame and he shows the athleticism associtated with a shortstop while on the mound.

Though he allowed four earned runs in his 2 1/3 innings of work, the potential is there for Brooks who ran his fastball up to 89 mph while showing a quick arm stroke and a simple, compact set of mechanics. The arm speed itself stands out and he does a nice job of working over his front side at release, creating life to the pitch when on top and maintaining his arm slot as he’s occasionally drop it without intent. Brooks’ changeup showed nice fading life to it in the upper-70s, a similar velocity range of his breaking ball, both of which project nicely moving forward.

Staying on the West Coast, shortstop Joel Ibarra (2021, Chula Vista, Calif.) is an intriguing potential two-way type for a collegiate program given there being no college commitment listed on his profile. Drawing solid reviews for his defensive abilities up-the-middle early in the tournament, it was his performance with the bag as well as on the bump that stood out in Tuesday’s action. While not overly physical at 5-foot-11, 170-pounds, Ibarra was still able to impact the baseball the other was just as he did in his first at-bat, slapping what would have been a triple down the opposite field line had it not left the field of play for a ground rule double. Like the quickness to his swing, there’s plenty of quickness to his right arm as he ran his fastball up to 90 mph while working with a deliberate pace and tempo to his delivery. And though he doesn’t fully utilize his lower half into his drive to stay on line, Ibarra did a nice job of working on top of the baseball, showing plane to the bottom of the zone while showing a present feel for a firm changeup with fading life.

– Jheremy Brown

DRB Elite has started out 2-0 at the 16u World Series and one of the more impressive position prospects on the team has been third baseman, and cleanup hitter, Reuben Church (2020, Maryville, Tenn.). The physical corner infielder made one of the best plays you’ll see on Sunday night as he dove to his right on a well-struck ground ball, got to his feet, and fired a strike to first to rob the hitter of extra bases. The physicality and strength play well into the swing, he’s listed at 6-foot-2 and 200-pounds, with a mostly clean swing featuring fluidity throughout the extended swing path. There are a lot of hitterish quality both to the set up, ability to impact the ball with the barrel, and feel to go the other way and spoil tough pitches. He didn’t get a chance to showcase the extra base potential he has in the path but is no stranger to being able to impact the ball with strength at the point of impact. Church appears to have all the makings of a quality corner infield-type with good hitting tools and is one of the higher-end uncommitted bats in the area at this juncture.

Another high-ceiling offensive prospect is Matthew Cassandra (2020, Cumming, Ga.) of the upstart Georgia Roadrunners and though Cassandra didn’t record a hit during yesterday’s games the hitting tools are fairly impressive and very hard to ignore. The 6-foot, 177-pound listing seems on the conservative side a bit, however the frame is long, lean, and ripe for additional physical projection. The swing is powerful with requisite bat speed and features looseness throughout his hands, especially so as he gets extended. He hit a couple of balls on the screws during his at-bats on Monday, and though he didn’t see any of them fall he took good at-bats, fought off some tough pitches, and showed his good potential.

One of the more consistent hitters for over the past year, Hunter Marsh (2020, Hoschton, Ga.) does one thing extraordinarily well and that is impact the baseball with significant strength at the point of contact. Team Elite had no shortage of offense, they won the game 10-0 in seven full innings, but Marsh was the leading contributor on the day with three hits on the ledger. Marsh has plenty of righthanded bat speed and whips the barrel hard through the zone, and the strength is easy to see from his 6-foot-1, 205-pound frame. Marsh played first base during the game but roped a couple of missiles off the bat, including the first two hits which were both 90-plus mph off the bat; the first hit on the day left the bat at an absurd 99 mph exit velocity. The strength and impact force are the obvious calling cards for the profile, and the power will come with additional loft and intent behind the swing.

Oregon State commit Jaren Hunter (2020, Damascus, Ore.) was simply masterful during his complete game shutout effort on Monday night, establishing command of the strike zone and blowing his stuff by hitters to the tune of a seven-inning shutout with 12 strikeouts on the day.

Hunter is a broad-shouldered, physical righthanded pitching prospect, listed at 6-foot-2 and 195-pounds, with well-proportioned and advanced strength throughout, all qualities that allow him to take his stuff deep into the game. He did just that as he worked up to 89 mph in the first inning and sat 86-89 mph for the entirety of the start, still bumping 88 mph late in the sixth inning of the game. The arm stroke is loose and online through the back and works well through release as he was very on time throughout the start, working the fastball to either side with intent and command. The breaking ball flashed the makings of a true swing-and-miss offering and he got a lot of that during the start with some wild chases down and out of the strike zone. He could add or subtract to the breaker effectively anywhere between the low- to high-70s and could even manipulate shape of the pitch. The twelve strikeouts are going to jump out immediately in the box score but the way Hunter pounded the zone, mixed his pitches, and held his quality stuff deep into the game is certainly noteworthy.

One of the more impressive arms on the day in terms of pure stuff was righthander pitcher Jonathan Vaughns (2020, Covina, Calif.). The two-way player has very impressive tools in the batter’s box, with a good swing and very impressive raw bat speed, and he got the start on the mound for Team California’s second game on the day and showed a very intriguing ceiling as a pitching prospect. The physicality and size of the frame immediately jumps off the page with a very athletic 6-foot-2, 204-pound build and plenty of arm speed to the delivery. The delivery itself is a bit raw and he struggles at times to repeat it, however the stuff is fairly electric when working in the strike zone. He started out with a fastball that sat 90-93 mph and flashed some sinking life when low in the zone. He eventually settled into more of an 88-91 mph range when he was working within the strike zone as he had to make some adjustments after walking a few in the first inning. The slider was tight in shape working in the 80-84 mph range and he also showed a changeup/splitty that showed promise in the low-80s. The mix and stuff is certainly there to be an impact piece and if he can repeat the delivery and throw strikes he has a chance to be a top-flight arm.

Dominant performances were seemingly all over the night slot as Cade Smith (2020, Southaven, Miss.) and Liam Sullivan (2020, Sandy Springs, Ga.) both turned in stellar performances, but both starters left the game with their teams losing.

Smith, a Mississippi State commit, was simply electric for six innings on the mound, working all four quadrants of the strike zone with his 87-90 mph fastball, topping out at 91 mph, and maintaining that velocity deep into the game. The delivery is very good and gets his weight moving toward the plate with good direction and extension down the mound and a very loose, fast arm stroke through release. He falls off slightly toward first base but didn’t really have any issues with strikes throughout the start. The slider was his most often used secondary pitch, with short biting life and the ability to command it throughout the strike zone. He got a couple swings-and-misses on the slider and was an effective secondary pitch all evening for Smith. He got stuck with the tough luck loss with a walk-off in the bottom of the seventh, but Smith still showed why he can be an impact piece in Mississippi State’s 2020 class.

Sullivan, an uncommitted 6-foot-6 and 215-pound lefthanded pitcher, was very impressive as he allowed zero hits over five strong innings against Canes National. The 643 DP Cougars eventually came back to win the game, but Sullivan exited having allowed one unearned run and losing the game. The lefthander is a pretty good athlete for his size and it shows as he was able to repeat the delivery and get downhill form a loose arm stroke effectively. There are some strike concerns, which can happen with large pitching prospects, but he hides the ball so effectively and creates a lot of deception when working within the strike zone. The fastball worked mostly in the 82-85 mph range though he touched 87mph and 88 mph during the early portions of the game. He mixed in both a curveball and slider with regularity, throwing the former in the high-60s and landing for strikes while he would go to the latter for chases and finishing pitches. Sullivan looks to be one of the top uncommitted arms in the area for his class and he put on a dominant display with ten strikeouts in five innings.

Featuring one of the best breaking balls on the evening slot was lefthander Josh Dima (2020, Belleville, Ill.) who was very impressive in the early portion of his start. The 6-foot-1, 160-pound lefthander has a lean, projectable frame with a pretty good delivery and a very loose, whippy arm stroke that projects for a lot more as he continues to add strength. The looseness and online path allowed Dima to hide the ball nicely which allowed his 83-87 mph fastball to play up throughout the start and generate a good amount of swing-and-miss within the strike zone, especially so when elevated. The fastball was mostly a straight offering through would show some angle to the glove side, however the bread-and-butter pitch was his hard, power curveball. The pitch showed 1-to-7 shape with bite and significant downward tilt with lots of spin, regularly registering spin rates of around 2500 rpm. The pitch is a legitimate swing-and-miss offering, with all the makings of a future plus pitch for Dima and it came in hard working around 72-76 mph on the evening. Dima eventually let up two unearned runs, but showed a lot of things to like especially while allowing only one hit and striking out seven batters during the start.

The last game on the night slot featured a quality pitching matchup between two uncommitted arms in Channing Austin (2020, Brooklyn, N.Y.) of MVP Beast and Cade Udell (2020, Longwood, Fla.) of the Scorpions Founders Club. Both starters immediately made their respective presences known and delivered strong performances.

Austin was superb over six strong innings on the mound, allowing only two hits, one earned run, and striking out six batters while competing well and showing off projectable pitching tools. Austin has a very young, lean, and athletic build and it’s not hard to project a lot onto the frame. The delivery works nicely with some fluidity, and though the landing is a bit abrupt, the arm works well with looseness and efficiency throughout the arm circle. The arm speed and whip that it generates leaves the door open for a lot of velocity gain in the near future. Austin worked mostly in the 82-85 mph range on Monday night and also featured a swing-and-miss, hard slider in the upper-70s with some glove side tilt and the ability to throw the pitch both for front-door strikes to righthanded hitters and garner chase swings from the same hitters.

Udell recently impressed at the PG Jr. National Showcase and has been receiving a lot of Division I interest since then. He certainly showed out on Monday night as he struck out ten batters while only allowing one earned run over six productive innings. The 6-foot-4, 205-pound righthander has a very lanky, long frame and is almost certainly what scouts envision when considering pitching prospects. The arm stroke is fast through the back, albeit with some effort at release, though he clears his front hips well to work to both sides. The breaking ball showed good shape and consistency and he could land it for strikes to either side of the plate, while he attacked mostly with the fastball during this look. Udell pounded the strike zone while sitting in the mid-80s and turned in six very efficient innings on the mound in front of a big audience.

– Vincent Cervino

It was evident early on in the summer that Dylan Lesko (2022, Buford, Ga.) was going to have a big-time summer on the mound and Monday was no different. While he did not have quite the 88 mph velocity we have seen from him in recency, He did still pitch well filling up the zone with a mid-80s fastball that reached 86 mph. The righthander projects for plenty more moving forward with a clean delivery and an extremely fast arm especially given his age. The velocity comes easy from Lesko as he stands at 6-foot-2 with a loose arm stroke and plenty of extension out in front. He uses his lower half well getting downhill and commanding his pitches well. Lesko has tossed plenty of innings this summer in front of PG scouts as well as college recruiters and plenty of people are taking notice at the high level pitcher Lesko is blossoming into.

One of the multiple offensive standouts from Monday’s bracket play run was middle infielder Connor Fuhrman (2022, Daleville, Va.). Mainly for his bat at the plate, Fuhrman stands out as a hitter who has the ability to barrel up the baseball consistently and hit for big power as he continues to add strength to his profile. Fuhrman already has big-time raw bat speed at his age and when he squared up the baseball the ball jumps hard off of the barrel. The righthanded swing is quick as he swings with intent to punish the baseball. He did so on Monday as he ripped one single in particular to the pull side that left his barrel at 90 mph.

Xavier Perez (2022, Corpus Christi, Texas) was marvelous on Monday on the mound and showed he could swing the bat in the same game as well. The righthander sat 78-83 mph on the mound from a compact and quick arm stroke filling up the zone nicely with a fastball and curveball combination of pitches. He repeats his mechanics well and has a nice frame that can be projected on moving forward standing at 6-foot, 170-pounds. Perez is an athletic player and it shows up in his delivery as well as in his swing. Perez topped his 10-strikeout performance with a triple to the pull side gap that was driven deep to left-center field giving a glimpse at his potential power as well.

Tanner Jones (2021, Thorsby, Ala.), as he has done all summer long, showed on Monday why he is a legitimate two-way talent right now and as well as a prospect in the future. The primary catcher who can also pitch and run his fastball up to 86 mph was not quite up to that peak velocity today, but did sit in the 82-84 mph range while missing barrels consistently in this contest. The righthander has a full arm action that works with plenty of arm strength present and likely plenty more velocity still to come. Jones is also a mobile catcher behind the plate with plenty of flexibility and the aforementioned arm strength. What he did with his bat during Monday’s 14u World Series playoff action was the most impressive tool on this day. Time and time again Jones would put the barrel of the bat to the baseball knocking hard hit single after hard hit single towards the middle of the field. It is a simple approach that Jones takes to the plate looking to drive the baseball and jumping on the first pitch he likes with strength at the point of contact.

In his first inning of work on the mound, Nathan Deschryver (2021, Silverdale, Wash.) sat 84-86 mph with his fastball and pounded the zone with his cutting fastball in doing so. The righthander uses drop and drive actions with a fast arm to produce that velocity. The velocity did dip after the first, but the riding cut he creates on his pitch still remained throughout the contest. Deschryver is a lean 6-foot-1, 165-pound righty with a feel to spin the breaking ball as well. His arm works well through the backside and he gets a fair amount of extension out in front as well. He mixed in a breaking ball into the game that sat in the upper-60s showing some slurve-type bite to the offering.

Pitching for a team from Illinois, a very projectable lefthander from the state of Alabama took the mound for Elite Baseballl Training in William “Pico” Kohn(2021, Verbena, Ala.). Kohn stands at a believable 6-foot-4 and has long limbs that can be projected on well. Kohn sat 80-85 mph with his fastball with a lot of angle from a high arm slot and his 6-foot-4 frame. His command was very strong on this day as he totaled up 14 strikeouts and threw 71 percent strikes. He maintained his velocity throughout his 87 pitch count as well. Kohn stays tall on his backside and the arm works well. The lanky lefthander has some pieces to work with on the mound and should be an interesting arm to follow as he continues to fill out.

Rawley Hector (2021, Van Alstyne, Texas) made the start for the Dulin Dodgers in the late game on Monday night and was magnificent after battling through some first inning struggles. The Texas A&M commit was every bit as advertised and sat 87-89 mph while touching 90 mph once as well. The righthander has incredible arm speed and can command three pitches with ease. All three pitches project as future swing and miss pitches and he can really overpower hitters at his age group with the fastball already. Hector rung up 12 hitters on his way to a masterful six inning win while still firing 87-88 mph fastballs in the zone for strikes in his sixth inning of work. Hector mixes in a power breaking ball that has very tight spin and maintained fastball arm speed. His changeup was used against lefthanded hitters and the pitch was a weapon to hitters from the left side as it had maintained arm speed as well and showed heavy fading action away from hitters.

Danny Beal (2020, Winston-Salem, N.C.) got the start for the Dirtbags on Monday night and sat in the upper-80s consistently with plenty of college recruiters looking on. The baseball comes from a compact arm action and he mixes in a slurve-type biting action. He lands slightly closed and can get his pitches to both sides of the plate. The command was not as stellar as we have seen at PG events from Beal in the past but the overall velocity and breaking ball along with his projectable 6-foot-2 frame are intriguing enough to follow.

– Greg Gerard

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