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Tournaments | Story | 1/20/2019

West MLK Scout Notes: Day 2

Greg Gerard      Taylor Weber      Ben Milks     
Photo: Braylon Bishop (Perfect Game)

West MLK Championship Day 1 Scout Notes

An Oklahoma shortstop commit is an intriguing piece to the Sticks lineup and the way Isaac Webb (2020, Owasso, Okla.) plays the game, it is hard not to like a player of his caliber. Webb is as quick-twitch of an athlete as they come batting at the top of the lineup and moving to the baseball in the infield with nimble footwork. Webb had plenty of opportunities to showcase his talent on Saturday as he sprinted down the line posting a 4.29 second home to first time from the righthanded batter’s box to beat out an infield single. In his next at-bat he displayed a quick swing working the ball to the opposite field for a double and turning around the first base bag in 4.43 seconds. Webb is a high energy player and a spark plug for his Sticks Underclass team. 

The matchup between Pacific Northwest Royal and eXposure West provided scouts a great game of talent throughout each team’s lineup. Brandham Ponce (2019, Federal Way, Wash.) and Justin Boyd (2019, Parker, Colo.) each made a very nice impression in Pacific Northwest’s 11:30 game at Camelback Ranch. Ponce is a very strong and matured-framed third baseman who made the start in left field in this game. Ponce, a native of Washington as well as a Washington signee, has outstanding impact strength when he strikes the baseball and the ball really jumps off of his bat when squared. Ponce showcased gap to gap power in this contest driving a ball to his pull side for a fly out and then later splitting the gap to the opposite field for a triple. His frame combined with his swing make for lots of power and the Huskies have to be excited for what Ponce will bring to campus for them this fall. 

Boyd’s impact on the game came both at the plate and at shortstop where he displayed a nice skillset in each area of his game. The signee to the defending National Champion Oregon State Beavers has outstanding actions in the infield and his ability to swing the bat at the plate are impressive. Boyd bats in the two hole in the lineup for Pacific Northwest and the tools are noticeable while his ideal and projectable middle infield frame are obvious. Boyd’s day started with a fly out to left field on a mid-80s fastball, but in his next at-bat he went with an 89 mph fastball that was located on the outer third of the plate for a hard RBI single. Boyd is a fun player to watch and his all-around game is exciting. 

On the opposting eXposure West team, Brenton Beck (2019, Atoka, Okla.) and Terrell Hudson (2019, Phoenix, Ariz.) each stood out in their own rights. Beck, a junior college commit to Eastern Oklahoma State, fired a best fastball of 92 mph on the day. Beck is a lean righthander standing at a highly projectable 6-foot-3. The delivery is a bit unique with a deep reach at take back and a longer arm action. His fastball does jump out of his hand and the frame really projects with additional strength. He did find a fair amount of barrels against a highly talented Pacific Northwest team, but the presence on the mound and overall projectability is intriguing nonetheless. 

Terrell Hudson, is the fourth player from the highly talented Saturday matchup. Hudson is a legitimate two-way talent both at third base and on the mound. The future New Mexico Lobo excelled on both sides of the ball in this game first ripping a single to his pull side at the plate and then working a relief appearance on the mound that resulted in him topping out at 92 mph and settling in the 86-90 mph range. Hudson has an extra-large frame and that size is utilized both in his delivery and in his swing. The New Mexico commit gets good drive from his lower half in both areas as well. He drives off of the rubber with his back leg generating plenty of strength downhill on the mound and he also torques his hips into his swing to generate lots of bat speed and plenty of juice from his righthanded stroke.

The catch of the tournament and quite possibly a play that may not be topped at a Perfect Game event the rest of the year belonged to Jacob Liquori (2019, San Jose, Calif.) of CCB. Playing right field for the team based out of San Jose, California, Liquori tracked a baseball that was hit well over his head and looked like a surefire home run off of the bat. The uncommitted high school senior took a perfect route to the baseball before making an athletic jump at the wall and pulling a would-be home run back into play for the third out of the inning. Liquori showed outstanding glovework along with high-level athletic ability making the play. 

The highest ranked player in the 2021 class attending the event is Braylon Bishop (2021, Texarkana, Ark.) of the Sticks Baseball Academy. Bishop has a professional frame and looks every bit of the part of a big-time outfield prospect. The lefthanded hitter has a smooth stroke and natural leverage to his path. His athleticism is what sets him apart and it shows up throughout his game. Bishop is a quick on the bases and glides to balls in center field as he did throughout his double header on Saturday. Bishop smoked a ball to his pull side in the Sticks’ afternoon contest showcasing that leverage and fluidity to his swing. Bishop is committed to play at Arkansas and the 2021 graduate has the tools that collegiate coaches and professional scouts love.

Gregory Gerard

Day 2 of the West MLK tournament kicked off over at Sierra Linda High School Varsity Field with a 9 a.m. slot between GBG NW Marucci and Chicago CandiZo’s. It was a fine game that was up in the air until the very end, thanks to a long pitchers duel that lasted until the fourth inning.

Starting on the mound for GBG and ultimately suffering the loss was righthander Devin Keen (Griffin, Ga.). Keen, a 6-foot-4, 235-pound hurler, was dominate to start the game. He’s a thick and strong righty with effort on the mound. He utilizes a longer action in the back and generates smooth arm speed through his release. He shows good feel for the edges of the plate, especially when tossing his fastball. The pitch shows occasional run when working in the upper velocity belt, and topping out at 84 mph. The Georgia State commit finished the day going five innings, allowing the three runs and striking out 10 batters. 

Facing off against Keen for the CandiZo’s was Andrew Alfini (Downers Grove, Ill.). Alfini was just as good throughout the game finishing with a line of seven innings, allowing just three hits and striking out eight. He’s another large-framed righthander standing at 6-foot-2, 235-pounds. He got into a groove early in the game and never looked back. He uses his lower half well and creates some drive down the mound. He has some arm speed through his release and changes his slot well from a lower three-quarters to a more side-arm action. He was able to show some deception on his sweeping curveball and paired it well with a fastball that ran up to 88 mph, though he was sitting 83-85 mph throughout most of the game. Alfini made it a point to throw a high amount of strikes and miss barrels, creating a lot of weaker contact when hitters got to his pitches.

Alfini also provided a big spark in the fourth inning when he broke a scoreless tie with a two-run home run. He’s a strong swinger and looks to create hard line drive contact.

Scoring the third and final run for Chicago was six-hole hitter Mason Barnick (Lombard, Ill.). Barnick was impressive at the plate, reaching all three chances he got. At 6-foot, 190-pounds the righthanded hitter has some strength in his build and it’s noticeable in his lower half. His swing can get a bit long at times but when he’s able to contact the ball out front he generates some natural lift off the barrel and the ball has some loud jump to the sweet spot. He was able to drive a long double into the gap in the game and come around and score.

Cristian Enriquez (Fontana, Calif.) did all he could for JG Baseball Red in their 2-1 loss against Dykstra Baseball 2021. Enriquez started on the mound, and while getting up to 80 mph, the lefthander was able to toss 2 2/3 innings, allowing four hits and a single run. He tapped into a smooth delivery to the plate and showed sharp movement on all his pitches that was tough for opposing hitters to handle.

Enriquez was also a tough out at the plate, with a 2-for-3 game offensively. He drove in the sole run for JG Baseball with a hard line drive back up the middle for a base knock. Earlier in the game he showed off some potential as a power hitter with a deep fly to the right-center field gap for a long double.

On the mound for Dykstra was righthanded pitcher Augie Schieler (San Diego, Calif.). The young 2021 arm was able to keep the JG Baseball lineup at bay through 6 1/3 innings and displayed the ability to stay on the mound as he progresses. He has an easily repeated and simple delivery to the plate with signs of arm quickness already for his age. Though he doesn’t have the velocity quiet yet, topping out at 77 mph, he seems to project for more as he matures. His fastball had some heavy plane to the plate and he commanded it nicely around the corners. He went to a mid-60s breaking ball late in counts that showed potential as a very good out pitch moving forward.

The leadoff hitter for NorCal Baseball 2020 Red, Reese Catchings (El Dorado Hills, Calif.), was the only player for both teams with a multi-hit game, going 2-for-2 on the day. Catchings displayed quick hands through the zone through a compact stroke at the plate. He gets his hands directly to the ball, working mostly to the pull side. His multi-bag hit came on a line drive down the left field line that rolled into the corner. Catchings shows a high contact approach that played well in the game.

It was a solid win for the AZ KINGS to move to 1-1 in the tournament. All it took was a big hit from 5-foot-11, 175-pound cleanup hitter Benjamin Watson (Gilbert, Ariz.) for the Kings to get a lead and never look back. In the fourth inning the bulky lefty came to the plate with a runner on base and hit a long drive that left the yard in a hurry to left field. At just 14-years old the young hitter already flashed well above average for the barrel at the plate and a good amount of power in his swing. His lower half is obviously strong and he creates sharp torque through his hips that help him get through his slightly uphill path and get the ball into the air. His two hits, two runs and two RBI led the Kings in the game to a 5-4 victory.

– Taylor Weber

Noah Glaser (2020, Las Vegas, Nev.) was dominant in his start Saturday at La Joya High School. Glaser features a fastball sitting at 80-85 mph, accompanied by a curveball at 68 mph and a slider at 67 mph. The LVR pitcher kept the lineup for Bulldogs Elite 18u off balance all day, racking up 12 strikeouts while only surrendering two hits, four walks and one run through six innings of work.

Pacific Northwest Regional Baseball underclass was stuck in a tight battle this morning until Jamison Poole (2021, Seattle, Wash.) came to the plate with the bases loaded and hit a ringing three-run double to break the game open. The young Seattle native flashed a smooth swing and good pop at the plate throughout the day.

Daniel Gernon (2019, Surrey, British Columbia) led the way for Cascade Crush Saturday in their win over Majestic National. Gernon collected two almost identical doubles down the left field line showing good pull-side power. The Lower Columbia College commit also showed plus speed on the basepaths stealing third base during the game.

Jake Schulz (2019, Prescott, Ariz.) followed the theme of extra-base hits in the game against Cascade Crush by flashing major pop with a loud triple into the right-center field gap. The Dixie state commit showed good baseball IQ with multiple heads-up baserunning plays during the game.

Hitting right behind Schulz for the Majestic National team was Cooper Rust (2019, Sandy, Utah) who had his own fun with a loud triple into the right-center field gap, making it back-to-back triples for the Majestic National team. Rust also flashed plus speed on the basepaths as well as smooth hands and fielding actions at second base.

Julian Aguiar (2020, Long Beach, Calif.) The California native posted eye-popping numbers with his fastball during his two-thirds of an inning, topping out at 92 mph. Agular had some control issues during his outing, making it a short outing, but flashed huge potential on the mound showing a sharp curveball at 73 mph to go along with his impressive fastball.

Gibson Hoch (2020, San Rafael, Calif.) Kept GBG NW Marucci off balance at the plate all day by locating two pitches in the zone consistently, Those pitches were a fastball with plus movement topping out at 79 mph and an impressive curveball topping out at 69. The lefty showed advanced feel for pitching, mixing in both of his pitches for strikes while tallying five strikeouts and only allowing one hit in his four innings of work.

– Ben Milks

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