Tournaments | Story | 10/20/2018

World Championship Day 2 Notes

David Rawnsley         Vincent Cervino         Britt Smith         Jerry Miller        
Photo: Brennan Malone (Perfect Game)

2018 WWBA World Championship: Daily Leaders | Day 1 Notes

Toolsy outfielder Kyle Westfall (2019, Mason, Ohio) opened the first game over on the Cardinals quad in a loud way with a roped double down the pull line in his first at-bat. The batted ball kept carrying and soared over the head of the left fielder and the Texas Tech commit got on second base easily. Westfall posits a very intriguing profile in terms of his draft stock as he’s a plus runner, turned a 4.3 second time to first on that double with a 6.3 second 60-yard dash at PG National, and has all of the offensive tools to be successful including some advanced bat speed. In some ways, Westfall is very similar to another Texas Tech commit from the 2018 class in the incredibly-fast Max Marusak. Now Westfall isn’t quite an 80 runner like Marusak was, but the athleticism combined with raw offensive tools, yet with some holes to clean up, posits a very intriguing follow moving forward.

Cameron Weston (2019, Canonsburg, Pa.) got the start as Westfall’s teammate for the Midland Redskins and immediately showed why there were numerous scouts on hand to watch his two-inning performance. The 6-foot-3, 185-pound righthander has a lean, projectable frame on the mound with a fastball that already peaks at 90 mph at its best. Weston worked mostly 86-89 mph with a significant amount of sink on the fastball, especially so when working low in the zone. Weston’s delivery is very timing dependent as there is a hard acceleration down the mound following the gather point with some effort at foot strike as well. The breaking ball is currently a developing pitch in the upper-60s but his bread-and-butter is a mid-70s split-changeup that he employs. The pitch shows nice downward action and the Michigan commit isn’t afraid to use the pitch in any count and regardless of handedness of the opposing hitter.

Houston Astros Scout Team/Elite Squad has found themselves having to come back from some early deficits in their first couple of games this weekend, however there have been some consistencies on the offense and that includes outfielder Caeden Trenkle (2019, Hillsboro, Texas). The Oklahoma State commit has only gotten out in one at-bat in two games thus far and that includes two extra base hits. Trenkle is packed full of quick-twitch athleticism from his 5-foot-10, 187-pound frame and the barrel skills are very evident from his relaxed, loose stance and swing. He does a good job at getting the barrel out in front consistently and is a solid runner as well, posting a 4.2-second time to first which grades out as an average run time on the Major League scale and a 6.7 60-yard dash at PG National. Trenkle uses the whole field to his benefit and doesn’t do so cheaply either, with a number of hard barrels to either field with intent.

Normally known as a position prospect, Jordan Carrion (2020, Miami, Fla.) is a legit two-way prospect and hopped on the mound for a very quick, 17-pitch, but very impressive two-inning outing in what culminated in an Elite Squad victory. The delivery just oozed his athleticism on the bump and everything worked pretty cleanly and well, especially from a secondary pitcher. The arm stroke is loose, short, and very fast as the Florida commit got downhill very well and just pounded in 88-90 mph cutters into the zone with command to either side of the dish. Carrion also turned loose a couple of very good breaking balls in the mid-70s with late sharpness and struck out four batters in two innings.

A fellow Florida commit, Nathan Hickey (2019, Jacksonville, Fla.) had himself a day at the plate with a 3-for-3 performance which included two doubles and showed off what makes him an intriguing draft prospect in his power lefthanded stick. The 6-foot, 205-pound Hickey has lots of present physicality at the dish and couples that with a very relaxed and quiet approach and an explosive trigger into the swing. There’s clear bat speed from both the strength and whip he creates on the barrel, and the leveraged swing path allows for a lot of back spin and carry on fly balls. He peppered two doubles, one to the pull side and one to dead center field, while also smoking a single in his second at-bat. Hickey didn’t catch today, he was playing second base where he is comfortable and his professional future likely lies in the infield in some capacity, but his lefthanded power and feel to hit make him an intriguing North Florida follow heading into the draft.

It’s easy to see why Louisville committed Duncan Hall (2019, Miamisburg, Ohio) as the 6-foot-6 righthanded pitcher is the picture of projection and has a lot of offer moving forward. The stuff was showed potential with room to project upon, and the delivery itself, while a bit crude, allowed him to repeat and throw a good amount of strikes. Hall was very efficient to start out, peppering in 86-89 mph fastballs to either side with some intent and feel. The arm stroke works well from him and he extends very well moving toward the plate with some deception. His breaking ball has good shape and he lands the 12/6 offering well currently in the low-70s but, as seems to be the theme, it projects moving forward. Hall gave a glimpse at what makes him an appealing prospect and if he makes it to campus at Louisville he has a chance to truly blossom into a big prospect out of college.

Sweet-swinging outfielder Sammy Siani (2019, Glenside, Pa.) had himself a very good day at the plate with three hits combined over two games including a couple of rockets in the second game of the afternoon. The Duke commit had a pretty good summer, including hitting over .300 during the 17u WWBA National Championship, and the feel to hit is the selling point on the profile for Siani. The swing is as smooth as butter with plenty of natural loft, bat speed, and the barrel feel to lace line drives to the pull side. He showed a penchant for hitting velocity too as his two hits, a 98 mph single and a deep triple, in the second game came against pitchers topping out at 91mph and 92 mph, respectively. Siani can run well too while providing solid value in centerfield as a defender and makes for a very intriguing draft prospect with those two tools and being one of the better bats in the prep class.

Friday nights at Jupiter are legendary at this point and the 5 p.m. slots certainly disappoint as Connor Phillips (2019, Magnolia, Texas) and Premier Baseball of Texas matched up against the Braves Scout Team/Team Elite and Alex McFarlane (2019, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands).

Phillips came out gunning in the first inning sitting 92-94 mph while topping out at 95 mph and struck out the first two hitters of the game. Jonathan French flared an opposite field single and Phillips got the next hitter to ground out but the first two batters of the inning were wildly impressive. The LSU commit has a super-athletic, almost Jake Arrieta-esque delivery with big exaggerated extension toward the plate. With most pitchers the arm would fall behind often but Phillips is a good enough athlete to repeat and has easy plus arm speed which allows the whippy arm stroke to be on time.

After the first, Phillips began to scatter his command a bit and fall behind hitters, but still was able to hold his fastball velocity in the 90-94 mph range over the first two innings. The breaking ball was a very good offering for Phillips, especially early in the game. He has the tendency to guide it in at times but the pitch has good shape with flashes of some bite when running away from righthanded hitters. Phillips flashed a changeup as well and continues to establish himself as one of the top prep arms from Texas this draft class.

McFarlane matched Phillips pitch-for-pitch and even set the tone in the first inning with a very quick first inning that featured all fastballs in the 90-92 mph range. We’ve had the pleasure of seeing the Miami commit multiple times over the past year or so and McFarlane turned in a vintage performance on the rubber. The positives are obvious when it comes to McFarlane: the arm speed is very good, he is young for the grade, and there is a lot to project upon the frame.

The whippy arm stroke, young face, and lean frame al project well in terms of sheer velocity moving forward but also in terms of growing as an overall pitcher in the future. That being said, McFarlane carved for a good portion of the game on Friday throwing his slider a lot as well. The pitch varied in terms of sharpness but flashed it and he has a good overall feel for the pitch while the changeup in the upper-70s has been a nice pitch to watch develop and he used it well during the game. McFarlane has a very high ceiling and showed it on Friday night in what ended up to be a victory for him and his squad.

Brennan Milone (2019, Woodstock, Ga.) has had himself a good weekend for the Braves Scout Team and he was one of the early blows in the late night contest against Premier. A South Carolina commit, Milone is a very solid hitter, with good tendencies, feel, and barrel awareness to be successful at pretty much any level. He played shortstop during this game and showed good athleticism while making a couple of tough plays as well. Milone’s position isn’t really the selling point on the profile, however, as the bat will determine his draft stock moving forward. He showed the ability to handle velocity this outing as he took an elevated pitch from Phillips and one-hopped the left field wall that left the bat at 94 mph. There is some power in the bat for sure, but the barrel skills are better than the raw power right now, though his mix of both should be very intriguing come next June.

Texas arms were out in full force on Friday night and Jacob Meador (2019, Burleson, Texas), for the second year in a row, might have delivered the performance of the evening during the late slot. Meador tossed four hitless innings while striking out nine batters and looking pretty nasty throughout.

Meador isn’t super physically imposing, listed at 5-foot-11 and 170-pounds, but the stuff itself is pretty filthy. His fastball worked up to 92 mph, but sat consistently in the 88-91 mph range for his entire performance, throwing the fastball with a slight head whack but not as much effort as that would indicate. The TCU commit’s command was scattered during the first inning, but he settled down and started pounding the zone and mixing in his patented breaking ball. The pitch certainly has plus potential and he couldn’t quite get the feel for it consistently, but it’s a hammer curveball and he flashed that throughout. The changeup has also come a long way as it showed average a couple of times in the 79-81 mph range and got a couple of swings over it.

The arm stroke is longer through the back, but the fastball quality is very impressive as he got a ton of swing and miss, particularly up in the zone. He fires his hips well and generates a significant amount of extension, all factors that could explain the deceptive fastball. Regardless, Meador had a fantastic evening and is a fascinating prospect to monitor moving forward in terms of his draft status.

– Vinnie Cervino

If one wanted to see a game full of big and strong hitters doing what they are good at, the Friday 8 a.m. contest between Chicago Scouts Association and Padres Scout Team/Chandler World, which Chicago won 10-5, was the field to be at.

The biggest blow in the game came from CSA’s AJ Vukovich (2020, Mukwonago, Wis.), a 6-foot-5, 205 righthanded hitter. Vukovich is the 64th-ranked player in the PG 2020 class rankings and plays both third base and first base. His two-run home run to left-center field traveled 398 feet per Trackman with an exit velocity of 98 mph. Vukovich has a very nice shift into contact to maximize his built-in-leverage and shows a young knack for getting the ball into the air.

The rest of the Chicago lineup regularly registered upper-90s exit velocities as well. 6-foot-3, 200-pound outfielder Kendall Ewell (2019, Calumet City, Ill.) and dynamic junior shortstop Ed Howard (2020, Lynwood, Ill.) both hit rocket triples to straight-away center field. Outfielder Kendall Pettis (2019, Chicago, Ill.) laced a double into the left field corner and showed his speed on the bases on multiple occasions. 6-foot-3, 210-pound outfielder Jason Hodges (2019, Park Forest, Ill.), who is evolving into one of the best righthanded power threats in the senior class, showed both his maturity and strength as a hitter when he shortened up his swing with two strikes and lined an RBI single up the middle that was 99 mph off the barrel.

The most impressive contact of the game came from Padres center fielder Austin Plante (2019, Austin, Texas), a 6-foot-4, 214-pound lefthanded hitter. Plante lifted a 404-foot blast that went off the batter's eye in center field for his own triple and looked like he had very good running speed for an athlete his size. The Texas Christian commit hasn't been seen much on the national stage and warrants longer looks from the scouting community. He will get them this spring as he plays on the same Lake Travis High School team with top prospects third baseman Brett Baty and righthander James Lewis.

The Royals Scout Team unleashed a pair of very hard throwing righthanders in a 5-3 win over US Prime Prospect National Team. Righthander Ben Peoples (2019, Goodspring, Tenn.) went the first four innings, striking out seven hitters and featuring a fastball that was consistently in the 90-93 mph range. The Xavier commit throws from a high three-quarters to over=the-top arm slot that enables him to really get over a 77 mph curveball well with occasional big 12-to-6 downer shape to it. The 6-foot-1 righthander is an outstanding get for the Xavier program.

Joseph King (2019, Redwood City, Calif.) has been listed as a primary catcher since he appeared at the June PG National Showcase but has been on the national stage more frequently on the mound, including Friday morning. King threw two innings in relief of Peoples and showed he meant business right away, warming up in the 93-95 mph range. King had to tone it back a bit once he threw a couple of live pitches but worked in the 91-93 mph range and showed a willingness to use both a firm but lively mid-80s changeup and a sweeping upper-70s slurve-type breaking ball. With that type of raw stuff, it's problematic how long the Washington State commit will be considered anything but a primary pitcher.

Middle infielders Christian Cairo (2019, Clearwater, Fla.) and Robert Moore (2020, Leawood, Kan.) hit one and two in the Royals lineup and are functionally the same baseball player, although Cairo is a bit bigger and a year older. Both players grew up in big league clubhouses in dugouts as Cairo's father, Miguel, fashioned a 17-year big league career as a utility man, and Moore's father, Dayton, is the veteran General Manager of the 2015 World Series champion Kansas City Royals. And they both play in a way that makes that background obvious, with polished and instinctual actions, especially on defense, where they are both very quick and aggressive to the ball and make perfect throws from balanced and practiced actions. Maybe most interesting, the two talked the entire game, chatting incessantly between pitches while out on the field and sitting next to each other in the dugout between innings, obviously enjoying the experience of playing together.

Righthander Alejandro Torres (2019, Miami, Fla.) regularly has some of the best stuff in the 2019 class when he's in the strike zone. He was sharp and in the strike zone for two innings of what was undoubtedly a tune up start for a Sunday appearance for Giants Scout Team/FTB Friday. The Florida International commit spent 34 pitches in two innings, striking out five hitters in what eventually was a 10-0 FTB win. Torres has some effort in his delivery, which accounts for his variable command at times, but when he's throwing his 90-94 mph fastball and big sweeping upper-70s curveball for strikes as he was Friday, there isn't much most hitters can do but defend the plate.

PG All-American Riley Greene (2019, Oviedo, Fla.) has done what Riley Greene often does the first two games, which is hit the ball hard and with power virtually every time up. The lefthanded slugger went 3-for-3 in this game with a single, a double and a triple, never getting a chance to complete the cycle due to the run-rule victory. Greene is now 4-for-5 with three extra-base hits in two games, with the lone out being a deep fly ball to the right-center field warning track. Greene's triple on Friday was a towering 393-foot fly ball to the base of the wall in center field on a swing where he didn't appear to get all of the ball.

One swing in this game where the hitter did absolutely square the ball up was a line drive double up the left-center field gap by FTB first baseman Vaughn Grissom (2019, Orlando, Fla.), a teammate of Greene's at Hagerty High School. The 6-foot-3, 180-pound righthanded hitter, who plays shortstop during the spring, drove the ball off the bat at 103 mph and it was loud and impressive while getting to the left-center field fence right away.

Giants Scout Team/FTB left hander Carson Palmquist (2019, Fort Myers, Fla.) keeps getting better every time we see him as he gradually fills in his young 6-foot-3, 170-pound build. He struck out four hitters in 1 2/3 innings in relief of Torres, working in the 87-90 mph range from a low three-quarters arm slot that creates a pretty unique angle to the plate for a lefthanded pitcher. Palmquist has added 3-4 miles per hour and 10 pounds of strength since he threw at the PG National in June. Palmquist's older brother, Cody, was a 6-foot-5, 190-pound righthander who threw the same velocity in high school before eventually reaching the mid-90s during a four-year minor league career that ended this summer.

– David Rawnsley

Dylan Lesko (2022, Buford, Ga.) did not disappoint the scouts and coaches in attendance to see him pitch on Friday in Jupiter. The polished delivery – that produces a repeatable arm action and smooth easy effort – filled up the strike zone with three pitches. The 6-foot-2, 170-pound righthander has such great command of his pitches it is rare to find him in a negative count. With a fastball in the 83-85 mph range, topping at 88, that shows arm-side run and sink, it stays in the bottom part of the zone on both sides of the plate consistently. He generates weak contact and lets his defenders stay active. Showing the ability to command a 11-to-5 shaped curveball and a fading changeup with slight sinking action, Lesko shows an ability to pitch well beyond his years. With plenty of time to develop physically, he showed why he is deserving of his No. 2 in-class ranking.

Luis Guerrero (2019, Rochester, N.Y.) is a physically well-built pitcher, standing 6-foot-2 and 210-pounds, who has an easiness about his delivery. The present strength is evident in his powerful movements but there is a sense that he is hardly trying. From a high three-quarters arm slot, Guerrero ripped fastball after fastball, in the 90-93 mph range, creating tilt and plane to the lower half of the strike zone. He showed the potential of an above average curveball, with 11-to-5 shape and depth, he drove the ball deep into the zone before the later biting action would take over. The uncommitted 2019 is certainly an interesting prospect and more than likely one of the better uncommitted arms in the country at this point.

Ismael “Izzy” Lopez (2019, Fort Worth, Texas) is a high-energy sparkplug for Stix Baseball 2019 club. Playing shortstop with high level energy and the skills to match, Lopez shows why he is committed to attend Texas A&M. Showing light feet, good lateral range and the ability to read hops and make plays in every direction, it is really the arm strength that Lopez shows that completes the package. Hitting at the top of the order, Lopez has the ability to handle the bat, steal bases and will continue to develop with his strength and power. Lopez is a solid fit for the Aggies and the athletic, hard-nosed and aggressive style of baseball that is played in College Station.

Kevin Sim (2020, San Diego, Calif.) continues to display the ability to handle the bat against all levels of pitching when he steps up to the plate. With a crisp swing that consistently finds the barrel of the bat, Sim shows potential power and a high-level hit ceiling as well. The University of San Diego commit seems to stand out at every event he attends, with his complete package of tools on both sides of the ball. With a 1-for-3 day at the plate on Friday, he showed the ability to drive the ball to the backside of the field with a hard lined single to right field, actually too hard to score the runner from second base.

Xander Hamilton (2019, Raleigh, N.C.) was impressive in relief on Friday against the San Diego Show. The 6-foot-4 and 225-pound righthander worked a stellar 3 1/3 innings and punched out six without surrendering a hit or a run. With a fastball that sat 90-91 mph with arm-side and sinking life, Hamilton attacked each and every hitter he faced. Complimenting his up-tempo delivery by filling the strike zone repeatedly, Hamilton stayed in a groove and did not miss many spots. He showed the feel for a power slider at 80-82 mph with later bite and 11-to-5 shape. There were plenty of swings and misses from hitters, that at times, could be over-matched by the Virginia Tech commit’s stuff.

– Britt Smith

Kellan Tulio (2019, Emmaus, Pa.), the 58th-ranked player in the class of 2019, got the start for Tri-State early Friday morning vs. Team Warstic. The Arsenal lost a close one, falling to 0-2, but Tulio was very good in a three-inning, 42-pitch appearance. He has great size to go along with quality remaining projection, and the Louisville commit was in good command of his arsenal in this one, potentially showing the best command that this evaluator has ever seen from him in several looks across a few years of his development. There’s length to his arm stroke but he has enough arm speed that he can be timed-up coming through release, creating good plane to the plate and working in the 86-89 mph range with his fastball for the most part. There’s athleticism and some ease to the operation of his mechanics, and if he can continue his development in terms of command, he has tremendous upside. The curveball, thrown mostly in the 70-72 mph range, has a chance to be a dynamic pitch. It’s thrown with conviction on a 1-to-7 shape and has the spin and depth necessary to be a true hammer when thrown a bit firmer.

Stephen Restuccio (2019, Hammonton, N.J.) came on for a brief appearance in relief, and while the Virginia Tech commit’s command eluded him, there’s a lot to like to the profile of the No. 187-ranked player in the class. He’s got very good size and strength and showed off big time arm strength as well, working up to 93 mph on his fastball and showing the ability to throw the fastball right by hitters when in the zone.

Team Warstic picked up the win and got a great performance on the mound from Maryland commit Sam Bello (2019, West Nyack, N.Y.). Bello shut Tri-State out over four innings, allowing two hits and no walks while striking out strike and for the most part just dominating with his fastball. Bello is certainly unafraid to come right after hitters and pitches with an aggressive mentality, content to challenge hitters in the zone with his fastball and more than content to continue doing so when finding success, as he did on Friday morning. There’s good size to his profile to go along with quality arm speed, and he did a good job working north/south with the heater and throwing it right by guys up in the zone. The breaking ball worked in the mid-70s and flashed sharpness, but it was most effective in terms of landing it for a strike to keep hitters off of his fastball.

Fellow Maryland commit Matt Orlando (2019, Marlton, N.J.), the Tri-State leadoff hitter and shortstop, continues to show advanced barrel skills in PG events, something he’s been doing ever since we first got eyes on him years ago. There’s an innate ability to manipulate the barrel, as he’s able to get barrel on pitches in all parts of the strike zone while staying committed to the middle of the field, as he did in this game when he got a running fastball down and in and still drilled it on a line back up the middle for a single.

Blake Mayfield (2019, Flower Mound, Texas) got the start for the Texas Rangers Scout Team in their Friday morning matchup with Georgia PG Texas Orange, a game the Rangers won by a score of 4-3. Mayfield, a Texas A&M commit, was very good over a three-inning outing, allowing two hits and a walk to go along with six punchouts while allowing zero runs. He’s a long, lean prospect with a very projectable frame, and while his arm action isn’t necessarily ideal in terms of action or efficiency, it is loose and whippy with good arm speed. His fastball worked in the 88-91 mph range with flashes of arm side life, doing a good job getting swings-and-misses on the pitch regardless of where it was located in the zone, and was especially good at working it over the arm side corner running away from lefthanded hitters. The breaking ball was mostly in the 75-78 mph range, a bit slurvy in terms of definition of shape, but flashing legitimate sharpness with two-plane break when spun properly. It’s an easy pitch to project as average long term as it pertains to the Major League scouting scale.

On the other side, Andrew Armstrong (2020, Buford, Ga.) pitched a tremendous game, going 6.2 innings on 105 pitches and keeping the Rangers off the board until the very end, striking out 10 while walking zero and on the whole really dominating the game. He’s a thinly built lefthander with lots of funk and deception, working in the 82-86 mph range for the most part with his fastball from a sidearm slot, creating very tough angles to the plate and pounding the zone to both sides of the plate with his fastball. He’s also got a quality frisbee slider he throws in the low-mid 70’s that he’s adept at both throwing for a strike as well as running it away from lefthanded hitters, and the pitch features enough depth that it’s effective against righthanded hitters as well.

The Cangelosi Sparks moved to 2-0 in pool play via a 5-0 win over Blackhawks National, using an explosive five-run fourth inning for all the runs they would need and getting excellent pitching. Alex Vera (2019, Shorewood, Ill.) got the start and was very good over 3 2/3 innings, allowing a few baserunners but limiting damage to no runs while pounding the zone. He worked up to 89 mph early on with his fastball, settling into more of the 83-87 mph range as the game wore on, and showed the athleticism and mechanical repeatability necessary to project well above-average command. The curveball is thrown with sharp depth and good spin, and he tunnels it well out of his hand, and he demonstrated the ability to throw his changeup for strikes as well, even though the action of the pitch lags behind the fastball/curveball combo. Vera is committed to Illinois in the class of 2019, a school that has a strong history of producing legitimate lefthanded draft prospects.

The deciding stretch of the game came when Dylan Post (2019, New Lenox, Ill.) and Alex Helmin (2019, Frankfort, Ill.) hit back-to-back triples in the fourth inning of a then 2-0 game, blowing the game open to make it 5-0, the score it would ultimately stay. The Cangelosi hitters as a collective whole did a great job waiting out talented Blackhawks arms, not being overly aggressive and doing an excellent job to get pitches they could handle and do damage with.

Blackhawks National starter Octavio Corona (2019, San Diego, Calif.) was ultimately saddled with the loss in this one, but still showed a lot to like as he brought his recent pop-up success to the national stage. Corona, a St. Mary’s commit, is a lithely built righthander with good athleticism and some projection remaining on his frame. He came out firing, working 90-93 mph to start the outing before settling into the 88-91 mph range, doing a good job extending through release and getting downhill over his front side. He showed the ability to work the ball to both sides of the plate and generate average life to the arm side of the fastball, and really pounded the zone with the pitch for the most part. The curveball is a bit soft at present, thrown more in the low-70s, but does show good depth and spin on a 12-to-6 shape and he was able to land it for strikes.

Potentially the premier pitching matchup of the entire event took place on Friday evening when the On Deck O’s took on the Banditos Scout Team. Brennan Malone (2019, Matthews, N.C.), the No. 4-ranked player in the class of 2019, got the ball for the O’s with well over 100 scouts crowded behind the plate to watch. Malone is well-known to the scouting community at this point, and put on perhaps the top performance of anyone at East Coast Pro a few months ago, so everyone was excited to see if he could continue it. Malone never found sharp command in this outing but still showed off the extremely high-end arm talent that has made him such a highly-touted prospect.

He worked up to 97 mph with his fastball, cruising in the 93-96 mph range with ease over the first few frames before his velocity dwindled a bit as he extended into his pitch count. The fastball is a true equalizer when in the zone, with average arm-side life and explosion out of the hand, and he elicited several swings-and-misses with the pitch even if he was never able to spot it up consistently. He throws a pair of breaking balls with a firmer slider right around 80 mph as well as a curveball in the mid-70s, and while neither pitch was consistent, both flashed sharp, bat-missing ability. The arm talent, size, physicality, and athleticism are all extremely high-end, and how he’s able to harness those physical tools will dictate how highly he’s selected in next June’s draft.

On the other side of the diamond Jack Kochanowicz (2019, Bala Cynwyd, Pa.) got the ball for the Banditos and, like Malone, the Virginia commit was never really in command of his stuff but still flashed the tantalizing upside we’ve noted from him. While Malone is pure power, Kochanowicz is more projectable, with a long and lean body that should hold some serious strength as he gets into a college weight-training program. His delivery has some restrictions to it and the arm stroke isn’t necessarily efficient, both leading to inconsistencies in terms of command, but the ball surely comes out of his hand easy and he worked up to 94 mph early on with the fastball before settling into the 88-91 mph range.

Known for a hammer breaking ball, Kochanowicz didn’t bring it out all that often in this outing but still flashed it, showing a power curveball in the mid-70’s that has excellent spin and depth. A northeast arm with projection remaining, Kochanowicz will be a high priority next spring for scouts in that area, and we’re especially looking forward to seeing how he comes out in March/April leading up to the draft.

The Banditos did end up winning this one by a score of 6-5, a back-and-forth game that had a little bit of everything, but it was Yohandy Morales (2020, Miami, Fla.) who really got the offensive part of the game going in the first inning when he took an elevated 94 mph Brennan Malone fastball and drilled it up the opposite field gap for a triple to open the scoring. Morales, a Miami commit, has consistently shown some of the more high-end offensive tools in the country with plenty of bat speed and raw pop right now to go along with what is a highly-projectable frame, giving him a tremendous ceiling when it comes to power.

– Brian Sakowski

Columbus State commit Nick Watson-Garcia (2019, Conyers, Ga.) started on the hill for the East Cobb Yankees in early morning action on the Cardinal side of Roger Dean. The 6-foot-1, 181-pound long and lean righthander showed exceptional poise and plus command and control and an advanced ability to work the ball to both sides of the plate and to all quadrants. He pitched off his lively fastball (85-86 mph) that showed arm side run and heavy sink down in the zone and riding life up. His pitchability was made more impressive by his ability to spin his breaking pitch (70-72 mph). He had the ability to throw his curveball in any count and the tight, 12-to-6 breaker showed exceptional depth at the dish.

Tyler Watson (2020, Johns Creek, Ga.) took to the bump following Watson-Garcia’s exceptional outing and was just as impressive. The lefthanded junior at Johns Creek HS, was outstanding in mixing and matching a solid two-pitch mix, that was thrown with a plan and purpose. His two-seamer was clocked at between 80 and 83 mph and showed advanced arm side run and sink. His out pitch was his tight-spinning curveball (69-73 mph) that he added and subtracted speeds on. He recorded a number of looking strikes and/or weak swings for easy outs. His repeatable mechanics and smooth and easy style allowed the poised southpaw to dominate for three-plus solid innings.

Ably handling the EC Yankees staff was Lipscomb commit, Terry (Trey) Ham (2019, Perry, Ga.). The solidly built, 6-foot-2, 210-pound Tattnal Square Academy senior shows highly advanced and projectable ability behind the plate. He has a very easy style and truly understands his role as the leader of the staff. He calls a veteran’s game and keeps the Yankees staff working efficiently. He also has very quick feet and can quickly gain ground in transitioning to throw the ball. Each of his throws are firm and accurate. The powerfully built Ham can also swing the bat and consistently gets his barrel on plane and through contact. He has a slugger’s lift and the ball seemingly jumps off his bat, as he showed easy pull-side pop.

James Madison commit, Matt Kleinfelter (2019, Lancaster, Va.) is a sturdy, 6-foot-2, 205-pound, righthander pitcher for the Richmond Braves who shows an advanced ability to throw four pitches with a certain plan. He pitches off his well-commanded four-seam fastball (85-87 mph) that he effectively gets to both sides of the plate. He mixes in a solid 12-to-6 curveball (71-73 mph) that shows depth at the dish and a sweeping slider (77 mph) that has late break. He completes his college-ready repertoire with a very respectable change-up (78 mph) that shows excellent fade at the dish.

Zach Stanko (2019, Toano, Va.) led the offensive output for the Richmond Braves as he used a solid approach and a quick, compact stroke to power the baseball, especially well, to the off field. The sturdy 6-foot-2, 208-pound Stanko shows a flat path that he gets on plane quickly and an outstanding ability to consistently get his barrel to the ball.

The Premier Futures Justin Wishnoski (2019, Cypress, Texas), is a gifted middle infielder who can make all the plays at shortstop. He can also swing the bat. The uncommitted senior at Cypress Woods HS in suburban Houston, is a twitchy athlete who truly understands positioning and uses his very quick feet, easy fielding action, and advanced quick trigger to cover a lot of ground on the left side of the field. At the dish, the talented Wishnoski hits in the middle of the very deep Premier line-up. The righthanded hitter has a short, quick, and compact swing path and exceptional plate discipline. He uses the entire field to hit line drives and also shows the ability to drive the ball with natural raw power.

The Premier cleanup hitter is Howard College commit Broch Holmes (2019, Woodville, Texas). The lefthanded throwing and righthanded swinging Holmes is a gritty, tough, and passionate baseball player. He can power the baseball especially well to both gaps and shows playable plus-average speed. Holmes also showed solid actions on the mound when he came on in relief late in a close ball game. His consistent arm action that incorporates a short takeaway and extended finish enables the 5-foot-8, 175-pound Big Sandy HS senior to pound the strike zone with a sinking, heavy two-seam fastball (82-85 mph). He also mixed in a solid, sweeping breaking ball (71-73 mph) that he threw effectively to all hitters.

McNeese State University commit, Jared Lopez (2019, Cypress, Texas) is an advanced receiver who has a great feel for the toughest position on the field. He is a toolsy catcher who has an easy and low set-up and soft hands. He is advanced in his ability to frame pitches and gain ground. His quick transition allows his plus arm strength to truly play at an advanced level. The senior at tradition-rich Cypress Ranch HS is also a plus hitter who has a short and quick stroke and a flat path to and through contact. His middle-of-the-field mentality allows this heady player to consistently drive the ball to both gaps.

The MLB Breakthrough Series squad is loaded with talented players. This fundamentally sound, well-coached group plays the game with great attention to detail and outstanding effort. The Breakthrough bunch had a number of players stand out today on Marlins Field 5. Leading them offensively was their leadoff hitter, Michael Harris II (2019, Ellenwood, Ga.). The switch-hitting center fielder, who is amazingly uncommitted, is one of the more gifted true athletes in Jupiter. He can also play baseball at a very high level. At 6-foot, and 190-pounds, Harris is a quick-twitch standout hitting out of the one-spot.

He showed his true athleticism in two consecutive at-bats. In the first, he bunted for a knock and then stole second base. In his second at-bat, he turned on an inside heater and drove it down the right field line for a triple, which basically secured the victory for the MLB squad. He has a short and direct swing path and an innate ability to always get his barrel to the ball. Once on the bases, he is an aggressive and instinctive runner who can and will take the extra base. He also patrols center field like a player who is much more experienced. He has an easy style and can get to balls hit in either gap. He has a playable, plus-average arm that is highly accurate.

Daylen Xavier Carter (2019, West Sacramento, Calif.) is a 6-foot-4, 195-pound solidly built first baseman for the MLB team. The Capital Christian HS senior, who is a heady, confident, and gifted player, is also somehow, uncommitted. He has all the tools to play first base and swing the bat at a very high level. Around the base, the lefthanded receiver and thrower has smooth and easy actions. No play is too tough for this skilled athlete. Where he really shines is with a bat in his hands. He has exceptional pull-side power and can turn around the best fastball. He is also a very aggressive runner who shows plus top-end speed. 

Probably the biggest noise to come out of Field 5 Friday afternoon was provided by the bat of Darius Perry (2019, La Mirada, Calif.). The solidly built and well-muscled, 6-foot-2, 215-pound UCLA commit drove a ball well out of Field 5. The drive was measured by Trackman at 406 feet and had an exit velo of 99 mph. It was a no-doubter when it left the bat.

The BPA club out of California is loaded with NCAA Division I talent. Pacing their shutout effort Friday afternoon was 6-foot-2, 195-pound lefthanded pitcher, Cutter Clawson (2019, Laguna Beach, Calif.). The BYU commit was his usual dominating self. His well-commanded fastball was consistently thrown between 89-91 mph and had outstanding late life, especially down in the zone. His crisp, tight spinning, 12-to-6 breaking ball was a solid swing-and-miss out pitch for this highly advanced southpaw.

Supplying an early lift to the BPA offense was California commit, Ethan Cloyd (2019, Bakersfield, Calif.). The sturdily built, rock solid, 6-foot, 195-pound catcher has easy pull side power and shows exceptional bat-to-ball ability. Behind the dish, he is a plus receiver who truly understands how to call and control a ball game. He has plus-smooth receiving ability and advanced arm strength. His throws show plus carry and accuracy.

One of the younger players in attendance this weekend is Mississippi State commit, Blaze Jordan (2021, Southhaven, Miss.). The 6-foot-1, 215-pound sophomore at DeSoto Central HS was the only Dulin Dodger to take a solid pass at any of the offerings of Cutter Clawson. The physically mature Jordan has a power hitter’s approach at the dish and can turn on any pitch on the inner half. The gifted righthanded hitter shows raw power to the pull side and uses his strong core and quick bat to drive the baseball.

In late night action on Marlins Field 5, two highly projectable arms took to the bump for the Padres Scout Team (Scorpions/Team GA) in front of an SRO crowd of professional scouts and college coaches. Righthander, North Carolina commit and PG All-American Joseph Charles (2019, Celebration, Fla.) made a brief appearance (30 pitches) but his electric stuff was on full display during his short stint on the hill. His 91-94 mph four-seam fastball showed outstanding riding life at the dish. He complemented his plus, advanced heater with a sharp, 11-to-5, breaking slider (77-78 mph) that was his swing-and-miss out-pitch.

Following Charles to the hill was Mississippi State commit, Davis Rokose (2019, Jones Creek, Ga.). The Chattahoochee HS senior mixed and matched three advanced pitches, working with a pace and rhythm rarely seen at this level. The 6-foot, 180-pound smooth throwing lefthander uses highly repeatable mechanics and a low three-quarters arm slot. His fastball, which shows plus arm-side run and heavy sink at the plate, was clocked consistently between 86-88 mph. His breaking ball (77-78 mph) was a slurvy sweeper that he threw especially well to the back foot of righthanded hitters. His out-pitch to all hitters was his plus 80-81 mph changeup that showed advanced arm-side fade in the hitting zone.

– Jerry Miller

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