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Tournaments | Story | 7/26/2018

PG World Series Notes: Day 6

Vincent Cervino      Greg Gerard     
Photo: Heith Rasica (Perfect Game)

15u PG World Series: Event Page
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16u PG World Series: Event Page
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Scout Notes: Day 1
 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5

Hunter Mink (2019, Palm Harbor, Fla.) got the morning started off well for Top Tier as they had to win three games to advance to Friday’s World Series semifinals. Mink was excellent in relief earning the win in doing so. His fastball ranged mostly from 86-90 mph and while staying mostly in the lower part of that range. He would bump higher when needing it but he spot the fastball up well in the zone. Mink is an athletic righthander who throws with ease and the ball jumps out of his hand. Coming from a full arm stroke, his arm remains quick and on time throughout the delivery to the plate. The Florida commit mixed a curveball in to hitters of either handedness and the pitch was a swing and miss pitch on this day as he tallied a strikeout per inning. Mink has good command of his fastball and an advanced feel to spin his curveball that flashed tightness and slurve-type bite. The Gators of Florida should be excited as they have another power arm who projects for even more as he continues to mature committed to play in Gainesville.

Cole Latos (2020, Allen, Texas) is as physically advanced as any his age and the righthanded power hitting slugger put his raw pop on display. In the first game for the North Texas Longhorns, Latos drove a ball deep to right field for a long fly out that was impressive in itself as he seemed to just flick his wrist and still managed to drive the baseball to the warning track in right field. Knowing the strength present on the 6-foot-5, 240-pound frame, it is not surprising the type of jump the ball has off of Latos’s bat. Later in the game Latos took a similar approach to the plate looking to drive a pitch deep. He jumped on the first pitch he saw in a tie game with two outs in the seventh inning and drove the ball into the pull side gap for a game-winning double. The swing is a bit unique with a large lift present and a deep load of the hands. The uncommitted primary first baseman can punish a baseball when on time and will likely hit plenty of home runs in his future at the next level.

Latos’s teammate who hit two batters in front of him in the order is quick-twitch outfielder Rett Gallagher (2019, Celina, Texas). Gallagher made this scout do a double take at his stop watch when he burned down the line during an at-bat for a jail break bunt single that the infield had no chance of making the play. The switch hitter was batting from the lefthanded side and ran a 3.78-second home to first time. He later followed that up by hitting a ball up the middle and running a true home to first time of 4.08 seconds to beat out an infield single. Each time on base Gallagher stole second base as well giving a true glimpse of his elite in game speed. He is not overly physical as he stands at a listed 5-foot-10, 190-pounds and likely smaller than that. The versatile uncommitted 2019 graduate displayed the ability to catch in the game as well as play in the outfield showing how much of an athletic utility player he can be.

The best velocity of the day on the south quad at LakePoint belonged to righthander Myles McDermott (2020, Braintree, Mass.). The uncommitted righty delivered fastball that sat mostly in the 88-90 mph range but did also reach peak velocity of 92 mph as well. McDermott’s fastball is straight but it comes from a higher angle showing a solid amount of plane especially when down in the strike zone. His arm action is full and it really works through the back. He really sits on his back leg well and drives down the mound getting outstanding use of his lower half downhill. McDermott throws with low effort from his 6-foot-3 frame and will likely continue to throw even harder moving forward. He did not show a breaking ball in his two innings but did feature a fading changeup that was best when running away from lefthanded hitters at 82-83 mph. McDermott’s ceiling on the mound is interesting as he is still young and the amount of time he spends in the strike zone is impressive for his age.

Lots of weak contact and only one hit allowed was the story of the day for righthander Trey Gibson (2020, Yorktown, Va.) as he faced of against the Canes and delivered one of the top pitching performances of the tournament. Gibson through a complete game shutout against a loaded lineup with the help of a four-seam fastball, a cutting fastball and a slider. The mixture of the three pitches was outstanding from start to finish and the strike throwing was impressive as well. His fastball ranged from 84-86 mph and would stay mostly straight for the ride to the plate. He would miss bats and throw his cutter for strikes consistently as the pitch was mostly 79-82 mph with Frisbee spin that broke up to half the width of the plate. The pitch was an elite out pitch not allowing hitters to square the pitch up on the barrel. Gibson’s slider showed even more bite to it than the cutter and had more late dive as well. The mixture of pitches comes from a loose arm action in Gibson’s delivery. The uncommitted righthander has a high pitchability for his age as he only needed 81 pitches to finish off a complete game shutout performance with five punchouts.

Not often does a player come from the state of Hawaii to LakePoint and make a big-time impression in a first time viewing, but that is what lefthanded hitting outfielder Walter Ahuna III (2020, Hilo, Hawaii.) did on this day. In his first Perfect Game event Ahuna got to show off his skill-set and his overall prospectus starting with his ultra-projectable 5-foot-11, 150-pound athletic frame. He already shows that he can drive the baseball with ease and with some added strength will only improve in that area. Ahuna belted a ball off of the right field wall in his first at-bat of the day for Trosky National Team. The ball comes off of his barrel with loud contact and it should be interesting to see how he fills out and continues to improve as a high level baseball player.

Cameron Clonch (2020, Mooresville, N.C.) drove a towering home run out to his pull side in the Dirtbags second game of a double header Wednesday. The lefthanded hitter already has a professional frame that can still be projected on more moving forward. Clonch took a strong and loose swing on the baseball and did not miss it. The four bagger was a no doubter and hung up in the air for a long time getting a tremendously high launch angle for a ball that left the ball park. The East Carolina commit swings with intent and was on the hunt for a pitch up in the zone as he got the pitch he was looking for and did not miss it.

Getting the start on the mound for Baseball Northwest in the quarterfinals was 6-foot righthander Evan McCleery-Brown (2020, Seattle, Wash.). Brown’s delivery is unique and pretty deceptive with an extreme lower half sit down and tilt of the upper half before firing his ball to the plate from his quick arm stroke. His fastball has cutting action to it and may have not been commanded overly well on this day the combination of upper-80s velocity and lively cutting action are interesting enough. McCleery-Brown throws with some effort but the tempo to the delivery is fluid getting the down the mound well. His arm is very fast and he throws a curveball that has tight spin in the mid-70s as well. He does stand at 6-foot, 170-pounds, but the frame is lean and it is likely that he can continue to fill out and get stronger for even more velocity out of his right arm in the future.

Opposing McCleery-Brown was Francisco Hernandez (2020, Laredo, Texas), a righthander with a very loose arm and outstanding physical projection. Hernandez continues to get better and better when he pitches at PG events and Wednesday was no different. The righthander pitched seven complete innings of three hit baseball with 9 strikeouts. He filled up the zone well and ran his fastball up to 90 mph. The very lean pitching prospect fills up the strike zone with his three pitch mix and was dominant from start to finish in this game. The lower half is used well and his arm speed is fast. Getting good use of his lower half as hips turn cleanly down the mound, Hernandez gets his loose arm through on time repeatedly allowing him to nibble the corners to either side of the plate well. His fastball is straight, the curveball is bit loose but flashed potential when thrown with intent and his changeup was an effective pitch to lefthanded hitters as it showed life to armside tailing away from their bats. Hernandez’s ceiling is as high as any 2020 pitcher’s on the mound with the combination of frame, stuff and projection giving him a strong recipe for success.

The battery mate for Hernandez is Miami commit Yanluis Ortiz (2020, Grapevine, Texas). The arm strength Ortiz possesses behind the plate is at an elite level and it is obvious when he throws down to second base in between innings. The catch and throw actions are still in the development stages as he is still relatively new to the position. What Ortiz may lose in quickness to his transfer or release, he makes up for it in his arm strength clocking as high as 88 mph from behind the plate during Jr. National and popping a 1.80 second best pop time on this day prior to inning number one. Ortiz has big-time potential on the mound as he continues to make strides in the right direction. His bat is also an impressive tool as he can hit for contact or show the juice present in his powerful swing. Ortiz knocked a pair of doubles in this game putting multiple strong swings to the baseball with loose hands that play well into his stroke.

Gregory Gerard

Starting and turning in a very impressive effort during Baseball Northwest’s opening game win was righthander Heith Rasica (2020, Klamath Falls, Ore.) and the Oregon State commit showed a lot of things to like out of the 6-foot-4, 185-pound prospect. Rasica tossed six strong innings while only allowing one earned run and striking out five batters while doing a really good job at limiting hard contact on the day.

The lengthy righthander has a very lean and physically projectable frame, while he throws from a lower three-quarters arm slot which creates a ton of run on his fastball which, when coupled with the present velocity in the 86-89 mph range, made it a tough pitch to square up. The fastball had tremendous arm side life, varying between riding and sinking life depending on the location, and helped him to get a good amount of roll overs on the pitch. Rasica also mixed in a frisbee breaking ball with nice break and 10-to-4 shape that worked nicely with a straight sinking changeup in the upper-70s. The looseness of the arm stroke and projection of the frame are strong positive indicators moving forward and it certainly looks like he could get outs in the Beavers’ bullpen tomorrow.

The East Cobb Astros have moved onto the semifinals of the 16u World Series and providing a good spark of offense near the top of the order is draft-eligible Spencer Keefe (2019, Canton, Ga.) who had a good day at the plate. The Georgia commit had some of the best swings he has taken all summer and showed off the fast hands and whip of the barrel with a couple of hard hit balls including a triple. He also added a 96 mph run-scoring single later in the game as well. Keefe is a well above-average runner, posted a best 60-yard dash time of 6.33 seconds at PG National, and that speed is an asset especially considering the size and strength to the 6-foot-3, 213-pound frame. The combination of the impressive run tool along with continued strides in other facets of the game make him a very intriguing Georgia draft follow, especially when you consider he just turned seventeen and will be young on the draft.

Virginia commit and Slammers leadoff man Jack Moss (2020, Cherry Hills Village, Colo.) has had a strong tournament and helped propel an offense that put up double digits en route to an opening bracket play victory. Moss has an ideal frame for a power hitting first baseman at 6-foot-4, 190-pounds with long limbs, broad shoulders, and lots of projectable pull side pop. The swing doesn’t always allow him to unlock that power on the frame as it is primarily hands-oriented but the hands are fast and whippy through the zone. The approach plays to all fields as he can pull liners or flare balls to the opposite field to fall for singles. The swing itself looks similar to ECU’s Spencer Brickhouse and Moss is a prospect to keep an eye on as the feel to hit is there and the power should only continue to improve.

One of the starts of the day came from the arm of Demetrius Vizcarra (2020, Compton, Calif.) as his gritty, competitive seven-inning performance propelled his FTB squad to the quarterfinals, where they eventually moved onto the semifinals. The righthander tossed seven innings while allowing no earned runs, striking out three batters, and only allowing three hits while maintaining his stuff and velocity very well into the game. He worked 86-89 mph for the duration of the start with some sinking life to the fastball and the arm stroke travels through a longer, full stroke at the point of release. The fastball command was strong to start as he pounded the lower third of the zone with short sinking life on the fastball. Vizcarra also mixed in a softer breaking ball with slurve-like, 10-to-4 shape that he could land for strikes and the uncommitted, West Coast righthander sure looks the part of a strong uncommitted prospect.

Working his final start as an uncommitted righthander, Jackson Nezuh (2020, St. Cloud, Fla.) committed to Florida early on Thursday but not before he worked a stellar outing against the Georgia Jackets en route to semifinal play for the Scorps. Nezuh allowed only one hit over 4 2/3 scoreless frames and ran his fastball up into the upper-80s in the process. The delivery is fluid and loose down the mound with a fast, whippy arm stroke that allows the projectable 6-foot-1, 160-pound Nezuh to generate that fastball velocity. The righthander also mixed in a breaking ball that he could land for strikes but the whole package, arm speed, and projection are all very enticing qualities out of a young righthander and the Gators continued to build to their top-flight recruiting class with another strong arm.

One of the more efficient outings on the day came courtesy of physical righthander Blake Money (2020, Spring Hill, Tenn.) as his dominant effort propelled the East Cobb Astros to the semifinals of the 16u World Series. Money, a Louisiana State commit, was very impressive over a complete game shutout, allowing only two hits and striking out five batters and needing only 81 pitches to do so, 75 percent of which were thrown for strikes. The 6-foot-7, 235-pound frame looks more athletic while still retaining strength and physicality, and Money was locked in from the start. He sat in the 88-92 mph range with the fastball and realistically sat 90-92 mph for about three innings. The fastball is fairly straight, but he pounded the zone with the pitch and the delivery itself is a bit shorter strided, however the arm is clean and loose through the back and the significant arm strength stands out. He mixed in a breaking ball in the low-70s, but the changeup was the true out pitch. It worked up to 79 mph with tremendous sinking life on the offering and the confidence exudes, a rare quality for an underclass changeup. He doubled or tripled up on the pitch often and it looked very similar to the fastball in terms of effort at release, and the command of the pitch really stands out as he had no trouble throwing the pitch for strikes, another very advanced quality. Money looks the part of a durable righthander at this juncture for the class and if the stuff keeps ticking upward then watch out.

– Vincent Cervino

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