Tournaments | Story | 10/23/2018

World Championship Day 5 Notes

Vincent Cervino         Greg Gerard        
Photo: Patrick Alvarez (Perfect Game)

2018 WWBA World Championship: Daily Leaders | Day 1 Notes | Day 2 Notes | Day 3 Notes | Day 4 Notes

The Canes have had no shortage of pitching performances during the tournament, and they received an excellent start on the mound from South Florida commit Jack Jasiak (2019, Spring Hill, Fla.). The righthander tossed five innings of shutout baseball while striking out three batters and keeping his Canes in the game long enough for them to pull out a win in the bottom of the ninth. Jasiak needed just 76 pitches to get through his time on the mound and did so quite efficiently, pounding the strike zone and using his two separate breaking balls whenever he needed to. Jasiak stands with an athletic, projectable pitchers frame at 6-foot-2, 190-pounds and attacks the strike one. There is effort at the point of release, however Jasiak rocks back over the gather and his arm stroke both combine to hide the ball extraordinarily well. This allowed the late life on the 88-90 mph fastball to explode out of the hand and get on hitters really quickly. Jasiak had good feel and shape on the curveball in the mid-70s while the slider was a bit inconsistent but flashed short bite to it as more of a cutter-esque pitch in the low-80s. Jasiak is another talented arm on the Canes and should be monitored closely moving forward.

Similarly to the entire pitching staff this weekend, Cole Kitchen (2019, Woodland Hills, Calif.) laid it all on the line against the Canes and showed a glimpse of his two-way potential in the process. The Santa Clara commit and secondary righthanded pitcher ran his fastball up to 89 mph during his start on the mound while only allowing one earned run and striking out seven batters. The arm stroke is longer through the back but Kitchen gets some sinking life on the fastball that worked mostly 84-88 mph for the duration of the start. Kitchen also had a solid curveball with lots of depth in the low-70s but his biggest contribution on the day might have come in the batters box. Kitchen was dug into an 0-2 hole to start his at-bat in the bottom of the seventh where he was eventually able to work the count full and drive a single through the 4-3 hole to keep GBG’s hopes alive; Kitchen would come around to score the game-tying run on a two-out knock from Devan Ornelas (2020, Chatsworth, Calif.).

Physical righthanded hitters William Bartlett (2019, Portola Valley, Calif.) and Mac Guscette (2020, Nokomis, Fla.) had pretty solid tournaments for the eventual-champion Florida Burn and both have very strong potential moving forward.

Bartlett, a primary catcher, played at first base for a good portion of the tournament where he showed off the athleticism with a diving catch on the first base line in the championship game. The Arizona commit certainly doesn’t get cheated on his swings and he takes some strong hacks including late on Sunday night where he had a big three-run blast to give the Florida Burn the early lead in the quarterfinals. Bartlett is a barrel-chested 6-foot-3, 220-pound power righthnaded bat and he showed off the potential with the stick over the course of the weekend.

Guscette, a Florida commit, is a physical righthanded hitter as well but he spent the majority of the time out of the leadoff spot for the Burn, as he was one of their top pure bat-to-ball hitters and hit very well over the weekend. There’s plenty of bat speed and he uses the whole field, including on his opposite field single in the championship game to give the Burn a 2-0 cushion. Guscette has a very fluid swing with plenty of present barrel skills and a lot of hitterish qualities. Guscette is a junior but he stood out in a big way this weekend as he heads into his junior spring.

One of the unsung heroes of the Canes all weekend was Patrick Alvarez (2019, Charlotte, N.C.) and the North Carolina commit is a dynamic asset for any team or organization right at the top of the lineup. Alvarez is a 5-foot-7 second baseman who can run, swing the stick and especially stands out defensively up the middle. He mostly grades out as an average runner on the major league scale but will show you above average every so often going to first base. Alvarez has a very compact and smooth righthanded stroke with a knack for finding the barrel of the bat that included him notching a .500 batting average over the weekend. Alvarez has an excellent eye at the dish, with just as many walks as hits, and uses the whole field to distribute the ball with impact as well. He isn’t a flare guy as he really drives it off the barrel with intent, on a line, and with carry. Should he get to Chapel Hill, Alvarez is a guy who could make an immediate impact for the Tar Heels and should also be followed with regards to his draft stock.

– Vinnie Cervino

Austen Kessler (2019, Bradenton, Fla.) was one of many bright spots for the Florida Burn on Monday as they eventually went on to win the WWBA World Championship. Kessler started on the mound for the Burn in the semifinals up against one of the more loaded rosters in the entire event and pitched extremely well. The righthander pitched six innings, striking out a batter per inning and topping out at 91 mph with his fastball. Kessler is a strong framed righthanded pitcher who throws from a full arm action and plenty of arm strength. Kessler featured a mid-70s breaking ball as well that showed average throughout and helped him put together those six strikeouts. Kessler is uncommitted currently, but after a very good Jupiter event with nice velocity and a solid secondary offering that uncommitted label may not last for long after.

Josh Swales (2020, Porter Ranch, Calif.) may have earned the unfortunate loss in the semifinals for GBG, but that does not mean he did not feature projectable stuff on the mound. Starting with his frame and fastball velocity, Swales is one of the top uncommitted West Coast arms in the 2020 class. Swales stands at 6-foot-2, 175-pounds and projects well physically with more time to fill out with additional strength. The uncommitted righthander topped out at 92 mph with his fastball over his three innings and repeatedly missed barrels with his entire arsenal of pitches. His fastball set up the use for his curveball and changeup to vary speeds and get hitters off balance. Swales has a mostly clean delivery with the ability to throw strikes at a high rate and work to either side of the plate. His arm works fully through the back up to a high three-quarters arm slot creating plane when down in the zone.

– Gregory Gerard

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