Tournaments | Story | 7/21/2018

PG Showdown Notes: Days 1-2

Photo: Ryan Suppa (Perfect Game)

15u Summer Showdown: Event Page
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17u Summer Showdown: Event Page
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To kick off PG Summer Showdown action, Georgia commit Ryan Suppa  (2019, Acworth, Ga.) was dominant in a long relief appearance for Rawlings Southeast 17u National, striking out nine over 4 1/3 scoreless frames. He ran his fastball up to 89 mph, settling in to average around 86, with a longer arm stroke that is still quick through the circle and generates some whip through the back side. He adds a hint of deception to the delivery with a high leg kick and generally repeated his mechanics well which led to good command. Suppa’s curveball, averaging 72 mph with 11-to-5 shape, was tunneled well and had a great deal of vertical break to it, often looking like a high ball before the bottom rapidly drops out from it. He used both pitches as strikeout pitches and was particularly effective at locating to the glove-side corner with either. He stands as the 12th-ranked righthander in the Georgia class and would appear to have a bright future in his incoming SEC career.

Andrew Jenkins  (2019, Atlanta, Ga.) went hitless on the day but remained productive by reaching base in each of his plate appearances with three walks, scoring once. The at bats were not uncompetitive, either, as he worked the count and showed a discerning eye in laying off of close pitches. This patience bodes well for the Georgia Tech commit at the next level, and despite not showing any contact today, Jenkins displayed a short swing angled for power, and with his strong and stocky 6-foot, 205-pound frame, should have no trouble inflicting damage at the plate when he sees a pitch he likes. He is the top-ranked third baseman in the Georgia class and remains someone to keep an eye on as he enters his senior year.

Justin Kirby  (2018, Alpharetta, Ga.) is an athletic and compactly-built center fielder who has impressed at LakePoint in the past, and he once again displayed a game in which there is a lot to like. In the field, he possesses good first-step quickness and gets good reads, allowing him to make tough plays look easier than they should. He hits with an open stance and a high elbow set and is able to get the barrel through the zone very quickly. He is an effective table-setter for the Georgia Bombers, showing good patience from the leadoff spot and allowing both himself and his teammates to get a good look at the opposing pitcher’s arsenal as he grinds out long at bats. Kirby, the 26th-ranked outfielder in the recently graduated Georgia class, was uncommitted up until recently, and it looks like his future school, Kent State, has locked up a player who can do a bit of everything.

The traditional powerhouse East Cobb Astros boast an enviable depth of high-end talent on their roster, represented today by 2020 grads Wyatt Scotti (2020, Marstons Mills, Mass.) and  Hunter Donaldson  (2020, Salem, Ala.).

Scotti, a small-town New England kid with big potential on the mound, pounded the zone with strikes and pitched to contact, preferring not to waste pitches when ahead, instead going right after hitters and challenging them. With a short and quick arm stroke that stays online, he was around 84-86 mph with the heater that had some arm-side movement to it. He paired this with a shorter-breaking, but tight-spinning, breaker that was thrown with mid-70s velocity. The Duke commit projects well with a lean, 6-foot-3 frame, certainly a candidate to add juice to the fastball in the near future. Efficient outings such as this one, three scoreless innings with 37 pitches for four strikeouts, should be expected in the future from the top player in the Massachusetts class.

Donaldson is a talented and scrappy shortstop, sure to be a fixture atop someone’s lineup at the college level in a few years. He displayed tremendous range and a strong arm in snaring a hard grounder up the middle and firing accurately to first for the out, and his defensive skills have to make pitchers feel comfortable pitching to contact. In the batter’s box, Donaldson has a quick bat and shows nice bat-to-ball skills with a feel for the barrel, able to take the ball wherever it is pitched as seen a hard-hit opposite field single on an outside fastball. He can really move it down the line and has great baserunning instincts, always on alert for a situation where he can be aggressive and take an extra base. The high-energy Donaldson is currently the top shortstop in the Alabama class, and his intense style of play really stood out today.

The spin rates coming from the arm of Coleman Crow (2019, Concord, Ga.) really jump out. His curveball, which had very sharp drop and averaged around 71 mph, was seen upwards of 2900 rpm while the heater, consistently 87-89 mph, wasn’t much lower at around 2800. Crow, a Kennesaw State commit, repeatedly filled the zone with the high-spin stuff, leading to some quick outs and economical innings. He can even alter the arm angle to his benefit, lowering it significantly and giving hitters a different look with a rising fastball from the sidearm slot. At 5-foot-11, the 49th-ranked righty in the Georgia class doesn’t project for too much more, but the current product is impressive nonetheless. He ended up throwing three scoreless innings in his start for the Hardknox Orioles.

Uncommitted arm Drew Honeycutt (2019, Johnson City, Tenn.) offered an intriguing in a late afternoon slot at LakePoint. He was 87-89 mph with the fastball, and while he got into some deep counts, he was usually able to bear down and throw a strike when he most needed it. He also showed feel for a curveball, which froze hitters in the zone and got some hitters to chase when buried out of the zone. It’s an athletic and repeatable delivery from the RBI Tri-Cities Expos hurler, and he features quick arm action with both pitches. Honeycutt still has a little bit of projection to him and figures to garner some additional attention in the future from colleges looking to add another arm.

Luke Ricker (2020, Mahtomedi, Minn.) got his morning started off right on Saturday at the 15u age division with an impressive scoreless outing. Pitching from an over-the-top, high release point, he was anywhere from 80-83 with the fastball, which he got ahead with and liked to elevate to finish off hitters. While he may not have the quickest arm, he has a super-projectable 6-foot-4 frame and a long stride that should make his effective velocity a little higher. Ricker showed a feel for the zone with a looping curveball, which was almost an eephus-like pitch at 60-62 mph. It was effective both at eliciting weak contact and garnering swings and misses. This is Ricker’s first PG event, and he made a nice first impression with six strikeouts over five.

While Dane Hall (2021, Miamisburg, Ohio), ranked as the top pitcher in the Ohio class, is primarily known for his exploits on the mound, he showed some things to like at the plate on Saturday. Hall is very physical mature for the age, a giant plate presence at 6-foot-5, 225-pounds. With a very relaxed, open stance, the Louisville commit looks as if he is daring the pitcher to throw strikes. He is patient when they don’t, waiting for his pitch and not expanding his zone. The swing can get a bit long, and Hall rolled over a couple balls today for groundouts. However, he compensates for the long swing path with good bat speed, and if he starts hitting the ball at the right angles, he should be able to hit for some serious pop. Even without big results today, the physicality alone gives him a hint of two-way potential.

Jalen Fulwood (2021, Johns Creek, Ga.), listed as a primary outfielder, got the nod on the hill for Georgia Bombers White 15u and used his athleticism to his advantage. With short and loose arm action, he was up to 83 mph with the fastball, but stood out primarily for the breaker. It was around 71-72 mph and thrown with the same arm speed to conceal it from hitters. Fulwood had no trouble repeatedly throwing it for strikes, and while it was an effective put-away pitch with two strikes, Fulwood also demonstrated the ability to alter sequencing and pitch backwards, starting with the curve. He has a lean frame that projects well and could gain more velocity as he continues to get stronger.

Capping off Saturday’s schedule at LakePoint was southpaw Eli Runyan  (2021, Graham, Ala.), who showcased his abilities with some college coaches in attendance. Runyan works quick and his up-tempo delivery set the tone for an efficient start. He primarily relied on the 80-83 mph fastball today, utilizing all four quadrants and generating some natural sink that allowed him to get groundball outs often. His currently lithe frame and quick arm action suggest that he will throw harder in the future. The delivery is repeatable and there is an element of pitchability in his profile. It was encouraging to see Runyan, the second-ranked lefty in the Alabama class, be effective with mainly the fastball, and his curve, iffy in the first two innings, really came on after that to make him an even tougher customer on the mound.

– Cameron Hines

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