Tournaments | Story | 7/27/2018

PG Showdown Notes: Days 6-7

Photo: Donye Evans (Perfect Game)

16u Summer Showdown: Event Page
| Daily Leaders
18u Summer Showdown: Event Page
| Daily Leaders

Scout Notes: Days 1-2
| Days 3-4

JT Benson (2020, Crestwood, Ky.) led the way offensively for Vipers Baseball Club 16u. With a swing that is direct to the ball and a feel for the barrel, the athletic and medium built Louisville commit notched a trifecta of pull doubles for three RBIs. Benson sets his elbows and hands low and hits with a relaxed, slightly open stance. His swing is built for line drives with a bit of natural leverage built into it. He also showed the ability to grind out long at bats with a sound two-strike approach, as seen in his first plate appearance which culminated in a double on the 10th pitch. Benson could focus on improving his setups on fly balls in centerfield to give himself a better chance to throw out runners but did show a strong arm regardless.

Geoffrey Watkins (2020, Roswell, Ga.) earned the win on the mound for DRB Elite 16u-Bradshaw on Wednesday morning. Ultra-projectable at 6-foot-5, he generates good downward plane on the fastball, which sat in the 81-84 mph range. While the current velocity isn’t necessarily spectacular, Watkins is a strong candidate to add to it in the next year or so with his tall frame. He throws the curveball with the same arm speed and gets sharp downward break with the 12-to-6 shaped offering when it is thrown with conviction. It caught hitters looking multiple times when he dropped it in the zone effectively. Watkins repeats his smooth delivery well and is an uncommitted arm, ranked 31st in the state class among righties.

Another highly projectable arm in  Donye Evans  (2020, Decatur, Ga.) took to the mound Wednesday, getting the starting nod for the Duluth Noles in the evening. Standing 6-foot-5 and 180-pounds, he has a lot of room to fill out and gain velocity on a fastball that was already good at 84-88 mph. He really pounded the zone with it, leading to some quick innings, and effectively elevated it for punchouts. While the arm stroke is somewhat long through the back, it is quick and loose through the circle. Evans has a short-breaking but still tight-spinning curveball that is around 72-73 mph and was thrown for strikes. He is the 11th-ranked righty in the Georgia class and remains uncommitted. His final line offers a foretaste of the potential he could have at the next level: three perfect innings with six strikeouts on a surgical 31 pitches.

Evans’ teammate Jordan Walker (2020, Stone Mountain, Ga.) displayed a really exciting hit tool as he put on a hitting clinic with three knocks. The ball really jumps off his bat, which was evident from the get-go when he launched a pull homer at an exit velocity of 94 mph. He only outdid himself from here, at least exit velocity wise, with singles of 97 and 98 mph. The rangy and athletic third baseman has room to add brawn to a build that already contains a bunch of wiry strength and could add even more power potential soon. Walker, the second-ranked third baseman in the Georgia class, really has a knack for squaring the ball up with plenty of bat speed and is also uncommitted at the current time.

Kentucky commit Jackson Fristoe  (2020, Paducah, Ky.) toed the slab Wednesday night for the East Cobb Astros. With a smooth and easy delivery, he bumped the radar gun up to 91 mph and maintained high 80s velocity throughout his outing. The fastball has some arm-side run to it and proved exceedingly difficult for the opposition to get the barrel to with authority. Fristoe didn’t throw the curveball very much, but it had traditional 12-to-6 shape and he located it for a strike a handful of times. While he struggled with command, he excelled at bearing down and limiting the damage from his walks. He ended up allowing just one run on one hit through five frames. Fristoe is a very athletic pitcher who fields the position well, and as the second-ranked righty in the Kentucky class, possesses a high amount of potential with two years left of high school development before his SEC career.

While listed as a primary pitcher, Finn Shaw  (2021, Atlanta, Ga.) showed some interesting potential with the bat on Thursday. He is playing up a level, but you would not have known it by the swings he was taking. Shaw has a short, direct swing path and consistently got the barrel to the ball for solid contact. He began his day with a pull double down the left field line for an RBI, and later showed the ability to spray to all fields with an opposite field single to right-center. He is an aggressive hitter, not afraid to ambush the first pitch and do damage if he gets a good one to hit.

The Cincinnati Spikes 15u squad is playing up one age group and they are a team that is stocked with some notable college-bound talent. On Thursday it was their left side of the infield that stood out.

Kurtis Reid (2021, Hamilton, Ohio) played shortstop and showed great defensive actions there. He displayed soft hands both to his backhand and forehand sides and really has a strong arm that gives him plenty of time to make plays. He is a Louisville commit and is very physically advanced and athletic for his age. Reid’s fast hands give him nice bat speed through the zone and his swing is tailored for line drive contact. He got a bit unlucky when the leftfielder made a nice play to rob him of extra bases on a ball that left the bat at 92 mph. Currently the top player in the Ohio class, Reid will be exciting to track over the next few years and see just how lofty of a profile he can develop.

Sergio DeCello  (2021, Oxford, Ohio) manned the hot corner for the Spikes and he, too, shined defensively. In the first inning, he ranged to his right to make a backhand stab at the line and, showing a strong arm and a good internal clock, had the time to gun down the lead runner and fire to second. He later showed nice range to his left side, fielding a slow roller not far from the pitcher’s mound and throwing athletically on the run. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to show much with the bat today, with a hit-by-pitch and a four-pitch walk in his first two appearances. DeCello is a UNC-Charlotte commit and, as the fifth-overall player in the Ohio class, gives the Spikes an extremely desirable infield combination that figures to make some noise in future tournaments.

– Cameron Hines

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