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Tournaments | Story | 10/22/2018

Freshman World Day 3 Notes

Jheremy Brown         Greg Gerard         Taylor Weber        
Photo: Logan Forsythe (Perfect Game)

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

The playoffs as well as the consolation games got underway at the 2018 WWBA Freshman World Championship on Sunday and there continued to be solid young talent at Santaluces Complex. Team Nike New England ended their tournament on a high note scrapping by with a 10-9 victory, led by Ivan Arias (2022 Boston, Mass.) and Joshua Baez (2022 Boston, Mass.).

Arias batted lead off for New England and showed off a very versatile arsenal at the plate in the game. He stands at just 5-foot-7, 145-pounds but he is able to produce some strong jump off the barrel with a smooth swing and strong hands at the point of contact. He also showed off impressive speed around the bases. On a line drive down the opposite field line Arias was able to race all the way around and score for an inside-the-park home run. He would end his tournament with a 2-for-3 day with two runs and two RBI.

Batting in the three-spot for New England was Baez and he had a similar day, finishing 1-for-2 with two runs scored and two RBI as well. Baez is more of a power threat that his teammate with a strong and athletic frame at 6-foot-3, 175-pounds. He has easy bat speed with a bit of an elevated path as he looks to create some lift off the barrel. Baez projects well at the plate and already shows a solid base of what could very well be a strong hitting career.

Carter Boyd (2022 Lewisville, N.C.) took the mound for Dirtbags 2022 Camo and was about as dominant as it gets. He finished with a line of three innings, no hits, five strikeouts and just a single walk. He throws with a quick and compact arm action into an over-the-top arm slot which allows him to create nice plane through the zone on the fastball that was up to 88 mph. He can manipulate the pitch, mostly when working to the arm side, to create running life on it as well. He utilizes a three-pitch arsenal with his go-to being an 11-to-5 curveball that shows high potential as a swing-and-miss pitch. He will also go to a short slider in the upper-70s.

– Taylor Weber

The Poly Prep (New York) to Team Elite pipeline has been in the works for a few years now and it looks like shortstop Henry Godbout (Brooklyn, N.Y.) is the next one in line. A 6-foot, 150-pound freshman, Godbout enjoyed himself a nice tournament, drawing the attention of college recruiters for both his current level of play and future projection on the diamond. Godbout got the start for Team Elite in the playoffs and performed well, showing loose and athletic actions, as well as instincts with the glove as he worked nicely through the backhand and remained balanced throughout. Similar to his defense, Godbout shows looseness to his righthanded swing as well as his wrists and despite his listed measurables he already shows the ability to impact the barrel with life off the barrel with fluidity to his stroke. Keep an eye on Godbout as he continues to develop physically as he already shows instincts and tools on both sides of the ball.

Consistency to the offense is key in making a run in a deep talent such as the Freshman WWBA and a key component to the Five Star offense has been third baseman Tanner Zellem (Fleming Island, Fla.). A physical 6-foot, 200-pounds with strength proportioned throughout, Zellem has proven to be a model of consistency, hitting .500 over the first four games, though none have been louder than his deep blast to left-center field against Cannons Baseball as he showed loose hands and generated plenty of jump off the barrel. He hits out of the three-hole and has picked up at least one base hit in each of the four games.

Along with timely hitting, big pitching performances are also needed as Five Star received just that from outfielder/righthanded pitcher Sullivan Brackin (Jacksonville, Fla.), who just two days earlier squared off against Cannons Baseball. Already committed to the University of Florida, Brackin wasn’t his sharpest his first time out on the mound this tournament but was excellent in the playoffs, limiting the opposing offense while running his strike outs into the double digits. What Brackin was able to do in this outing differently from his first was work ahead in the count and consistently work down in the zone while running his fastball up to 86 mph early in the contest with a quick right arm while mixing in a mid-70s curveball. A primary outfielder, the future Gator picked up four hits over his team’s three games, including two singles during the game in which he pitched.

Devin Taylor (Cincinnati, Ohio) was detailed earlier in the tournament and after a single swing it’s worth noting him again for both his present abilities in the lefthanded batter’s box, as well as what he could develop into. Looking longer than his listed 5-foot-11 frame, Taylor starts with a quiet, straight stance while his load is calm, his hands excel through the zone with a fast barrel and fluidity to his path. In his first at-bat of the day he promptly lined a pitch hard into right field for a line drive single and finished the tournament with a .417 average and certainly jumped on the scene in his first Perfect Game event. As a leadoff hitter Taylor has the footspeed that’s often associated with the position and it’s a tool that bodes well in center field as he tracked down a deep fly ball with ease, showing fluidity with his footwork.

Lefthander Bradley Gagen (Ashburn, Va.) ran into a tough Team Elite Prime lineup but still shows plenty of intriguing ingredients on the mound, starting with a well-tempo’d delivery and clean arm stroke through the back side. Given his age and 6-foot-1, 148-pound frame there’s obvious projection for the young lefty who ran his fastball up to 80 mph and lived in the upper-70s throughout his time on the bump. Working from a mid three-quarters release, Gagen was able to generate angle to his fastball and lived around the zone while mixing in a 1-7 shaped curveball with depth in the low-60s.

Lefthander Brandon Barriera (Coconut Creek, Fla.) was detailed earlier in the tournament and though he didn’t come away with the win, he continued to impress with an arsenal that’s only to continue to improve. A long and projectable 6-foot, 155-pounds, Barriera came out sitting in the 85-87 mph range, bumping an 88 in his second inning of work, with the same loose and easy arm stroke he showed opening day. What stood out more than the velocity in this look though was his feel for the secondary pitches, more notably the changeup that we didn’t see earlier. With a maintained arm action and slot, Barriera doubled up on his changeup to end the first inning, going 78 then 77 mph with late fading life down in the zone to pick up the strikeout. The shape to his slider was inconsistent, showing short, tight tilt at times in the upper-70s and more depth up to 74 mph acting like more of a curveball, but when it’s on he proved to have a legitimate three pitch mix.

At 6-foot-2, 205-pounds, you aren’t going to miss outfielder James Thorpe (Newnan, Ga.) as he digs into the batter’s box and though he only picked up two hits on the weekend, he made sure to put his strength on display. Currently the No. 49 ranked player in the country, Thorpe connected for the furthest hit ball I saw all weekend, as well as perhaps the hardest barreled ball, on a single swing. On a 1-0 count Thorpe took a fastball on the inner, pulled his barrel in and didn’t miss it, showing the strength in his hands and jump off his barrel as he went halfway up the protective netting pole out in left field for a no doubt three-run shot. While he was held pretty quiet offensively this weekend, any time a player shows that type of strength at 15 years old, you can’t help but be intrigued with his future potential.

Listed as a primary catcher, Gavin Black (Bogart, Ga.) got the start on the mound for Team Elite and went five innings of no-hit, shutout baseball in which he struck out nine. Living comfortably in the 80-84 mph range throughout, Black shows a long and loose arm stroke through the back, working to a higher slot with which he was able to fill the strike zone while living down with consistent plane. Given that pitching is his secondary position, Black showed rather clean and repeatable mechanics, staying on line down the mound while mixing a curveball in the low-70s which he was able to land for strikes.

Drew Wyers (Columbus, N.J.) and Sal Stewart (Miami, Fla.) are both situated in the middle of US Elite’s lineup and are key pieces in the future success of the program. While Stewart has been covered in detail throughout the summer, Wyers shows intriguing potential with the stick from the right side, especially as he continues to fill out his 6-foot-1, 165-pound frame. As part of a three-hit day, Wyers picked up two doubles, showing a loose and extended swing in which he turned on a pitch for a two-base hit down the line. Stewart promptly followed Wyers double into the left field corner with the exact same swing and result, adding a double of his own to go along with a triple he also pitched up.

– Jheremy Brown

Starting the day in the stadium at Ballpark at the Palm Beaches, James Triantos (2022, McLean, Va.) took the ball for Tri State and was dominant mixing three pitches for strikes, varying speeds, and working to all parts of the strike zone. Triantos, a North Carolina commit topped out at 85 mph with his fastball and consistently sat in the low-80s with the heater. The righthander has plenty to like on the mound including his quick arm and overall stuff he throws to the plate. The fastball flashes sinking life at times and missed barrels continuously in this outing. He mixed in a curveball and a changeup to his repertoire as well that each were well located and produced swings and misses. The curveball comes from a similar tunnel as the fastball before diving downward with 12-to-6 shape in the low-70s. His changeup was used to lefthanded hitters primarily as the pitched faded away from their bats creating soft contact working off of the low- to mid-80s fastball.

The battery mate of Triantos was North Carolina native Brad Gregory (2022, Sanford, N.C.). Gregory moves well laterally behind the plate and also swings the bat with present strength as well. The lefthanded hitting backstop squared up a baseball in this game back up the middle for a line drive single.  The side to side agility is still young with the actions presently but will continue to improve with maturity and reps behind the plate.

Also of Tri State in the morning stadium game Blake Cyr (2022, Orlando, Fla.) stood out for his action sin the infield. The Miami commit moves very well up the middle as well as working in on baseball with clean footwork to the first base bag. His arm strength stands out as well as he has some of the best carry to his throws across the diamond as any shortstop his age and size. The ball zips across the diamond with intriguing velocity.

In what turned out to be the pitching matchup of the tournament, Logan Forsythe (2022, D’ilberville, Miss.) of Elite Squad faced off with Aaron Rettew (2022, Dana Point, Calif.) of BPA in a game that went an out away from going a full seven innings with no runs scored. Each pitcher filled up the strike zone and allowed minimal baserunners to the opposing team.

Forsythe pitched five innings with plenty of projection to dream on and already good velocity especially given his young age. The righthander topped out at 89 mph early in the outing hitting his peak velocity on a few pitches. He primarily sat from 86-88 mph creating plane from a loose arm action. Forsythe gets downhill and throws with much less effort than in previous viewings. Forsythe was consistently around the zone enough to produce nine strikeouts on a fastball, changeup combination of pitches. The fastball is mostly straight and overpowering to most hitters his age currently, but the changeup already projects extremely well. The pitch works off of his fastball with plenty of fading action and should only continue to improve the more experience he has on the mound. The 2018 14u PG Select Festival participant from Mississippi has a bright future ahead of him as one of the top projectable pitchers in an early look at the 2022 class.

In the opposing dugout and sharing the mound in the top half of each inning was California native Aaron Rettew. The righthander has a unique delivery with the ability to run his fastball up to 82 mph with more to come as he matures. The fastball is lively with plenty of movement to both his arm side and sinking down in the zone. The ball comes from a tight release a high three-quarters arm slot. The 6-foot-1 pitching prospect mixes speeds very well and really has a nice overall feel for pitching. Rettew has three pitches that he is capable of throwing in any count. His fastball as mentioned, a curveball that improved as the outing went on flashing sharpness and a changeup that he would use to get hitters out in front for weak contact. Rettew took the unfortunate loss in one of the most competitive games of the entire tournament but showcased his west coast prowess on the mound here in West Palm Beach, Florida.

The lone hitter to collect a hit off of Forsythe in the matchup was Gavin Turley (2022, Midway, Utah). The righthanded hitting middle infielder can handle the bat well and manipulate the barrel unlike many his size and age. Turley jumped on a first pitch 86 mph fastball and squared it up the middle for a line drive single. He barreled a deep double earlier in the weekend as well squaring up multiple balls during the weekend’s event. The Utah resident shows well up the middle as well as he did at second base throughout the weekend. He mans the three hole spot in a talented BPA team’s lineup and his barrel ability and compact stroke are fun to watch during any at-bat.

Another projectable righthander that was featured during playoff action on Sunday was South Charlotte Panthers righty Cameron Padgett (2022, Salisbury, N.C.). Standing at 6-foot-2 with lots of room to fill to the frame, Padgett features a fastball that already sits in the low-80s from an arm action sure to produce more velocity moving forward. The arm whips with plenty of looseness through the back and good extension out in front. He creates plane when down in the zone on a heater that reached peak velocity at 81 mph with flashes of sinking action. Padgett creates that sink by releasing to the side of the baseball and allowing him to work primarily to glove side as well. He produced plenty of soft contact in his two innings of work mixing in a curveball in the 68-71 mph range coming from a similar tunnel as his fastball.

One of the more stronger framed players of the entire event is lefthanded hitting primary first baseman Xavier Isaac (2022, Kernersville, N.C.). The first baseman for the South Charlotte Panthers has a powerful downhill swing that can make a ball jump off of his bat when squared. He produced that jump on multiple occasions throughout the weekend including during Sunday’s playoff run. Exit velocities were high on his single up the middle, his single to right field and on a lineout to center field during the day’s pair of games. Isaac has advanced hand strength to both his frame and his swing and the contact is loud anytime the barrel of the bat gets to the baseball. 

Hayden Murphy (2022, Chula, Ga.) started for Team Elite Prime during the playoffs as well sitting in the 83-85 mph range while touching 86 mph on one pitch as well. Murphy ran into some first inning troubles with his command but he cleaned it up well firing two clean innings afterwards. His arm is loose through the back and the delivery is deceptive with multiple moving parts and a crossfire follow through. He throws with intent and looks to overpower hitters with his fastball before getting them out in front with a mid-70s changeup and an upper-60s curveball. Murphy was at his best when locating the fastball down in the zone and creating soft contact with his three-pitch mix.

One more projectable pitcher featured during the playoff action in his own right is Canes National Evan Siary (2022, Inman, S.C.). The righthander from South Carolina is a primary shortstop who shows plenty of promise on the mound as well. His arm strength is intriguing as well as the looseness to his overall delivery. He throws very easy to produce a fastball as high as 84 mph and mixing in a changeup at will in any count. The fastball lived in the low-80s and the changeup in the mid-70s were mixed repeatedly to produce soft contact or swings and misses. He repeats his delivery well staying online and throwing lots of strikes. He flashed a breaking ball as well with 12-to-6 shape and a feel for the offering. Siary pitched really well for his Canes National team going six innings with five strikeouts and giving his team a berth into the semifinals of the Freshman World Championship.

One bat that really stood out throughout the weekend with consistent hard contact out of the designated hitter or extra hitter in the lineup was Team Elite Prime’s Adam Parzych (2022, Tallahassee, Fla.). There is a lot of juice to his swing with the ability to get the barrel of the bat to the baseball very well. He did so over the weekend in multiple looks including a gapped triple during the quarterfinals. Parzych is a hitter to certainly follow closely as he produces lots of strength at the point of contact and the ball really jumps off of his barrel.

Nate Voss (2022, Palos Park, Ill.) had a nice day at the plate and behind it for the Cangelosi Sparks. The righthanded hitting catcher moves well behind the plate and has nice catch and throw potential in his young game. Voss had plenty of opportunities to show off his game as he and his team played a pair of playoff games on Sunday. Voss showed well at the plate impacting the baseball to the middle of the field on a walkoff single in the first playoff game of the double header. Voss has a quick transfer and release when behind the plate on throw downs as well. The arm strength stands out as well as he threw multiple balls in warmups accurately and to the correct side of the second base bag. Voss is a physical young catcher with the tools to continue to play the catching position and swing the bat at a high level.

Gregory Gerard

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