Tournaments | Story | 1/21/2019

East MLK Scout Notes

Vincent Cervino        
Photo: Aidan Miller (Perfect Game)

University of Miami commit Justin Webster (2021, Pembroke Pines, Fla.) got the ball in relief during Elite Squad’s victory on Friday night, and Webster showed a lot of tools on the bump that make him a desirable prospect as a high school sophomore. The two things that jump out right away about Webster are his immensely physically projectable 6-foot-4, 180-pound frame along with the ease and fluidity of his delivery. Webster emulates playing catch on the mound and does so at a firm 83-86 mph. The arm stroke through the back is fairly low effort and he has some feel for locating in terms of east and west command with the fastball. Webster also showed a big breaking curveball in the upper-60s but mostly attacked with the fastball; it was an abbreviated look but undoubtedly a strong one for Webster.

Getting the ball on Friday night for the Gulf Coast Fury was lanky lefthander Zachary Root (2022, Fort Myers, Fla.) and he showed some serious potential on the mound for his squad. Root, who has a ton of room for strength on his frame, ran his fastball up to 86 mph and worked mostly in the 80-84 mph range for the duration of his outing. The delivery utilizes a higher leg lift with a fairly loose, longer arm stroke, all factors that allow him to hide the ball effectively and create deception. The complex delivery lends itself to be difficult to repeat at times, but Root has good athleticism and is sharp when he can work in the strike zone. Root’s breaking ball has good power to it, with 1/7 shape, and gives him a go-to secondary pitch in strikeout situations.

Cameron Collier (2020, St. Petersburg, Fla.) did nothing but hit this weekend and offered an interesting look at a bat-first profile for the uncommitted junior. A physical righthanded hitter, listed at 5-foot-11 and 180-pounds with strong forearms and advanced strength, Collier can use that physicality to send pitches to either side of the field with intent and carry. He laced multiple extra base hits over the weekend, including a couple deep to the opposite field that continued to carry over the head of the outfielders. There’s plenty of righthanded bat speed and the swing path has loft geared towards the fly ball approach. Collier is plenty athletic too with solid baserunning abilities and even showed off the arm strength off the mound by working into the low-80s in a scoreless appearance.

An interesting uncommitted junior from up north toed the rubber this weekend for Little Caesar’s as Colin Seeling (2020, Shelby Township, Mich.) showed a lot of things to like out of an uncommitted righthanded pitcher. The 6-foot-4, 200-pound prospect is a very big kid, with broad shoulders and room for significant strength to the build. The arm stroke is longer through the back and the elbow does lag behind at foot strike, however the overall arm is loose with some whip generated from the arm speed that he creates. He worked up to 89 mph in his start, sitting mostly from 84-87 mph, and showed some hard life on the fastball to the arm side. Seeling showed you his breaking ball occasionally in the mid-70s with 10/4 shape to the pitch, however he mostly worked with fastballs during this look. He didn’t throw the most strikes during his start but there’s no denying the arm talent and the fact that he could be an asset to a program at the next level.

Shortstop and leadoff man for Hit Factory PRO was uncommitted Jonathan Vastine (2021, Bartow, Fla.) and the twitchy infielder was extremely impressive over the course of the weekend’s events in Fort Myers. Vastine is a very good athlete, as evidenced not only by his ability to burst out of the box and show above-average run times from the left side, but also from his actions defensively up the middle. The arm strength is plenty good, he touched 87 mph off the mound in relief, while the hand smoothness and actions are superb. The offensive approach will get opposite field oriented at times, but he has more than enough barrel control and speed to compensate for that presently, as if he puts the ball on the ground to the left side Vastine can likely turn that into an infield single. The swing itself is short and well-controlled, and he showed that he can use both lines and gaps to drive the ball, including on the first day of the event where he rocketed a pitch off the wall in deep right field. Vastine looks the part of an important piece to someone’s recruiting class and he has the tools, and performance, to back it up.

Teammates on Hit Factory PRO and at Tampa Jesuit HS, righthanders Ryan Skelly (2021, Tampa, Fla.) and Camden Minacci (2020, Tampa, Fla.) both were impressive in their respective starts over the course of the weekend.

Skelly, an uncommitted prospect, has long limbs and lots of room to fill on a listed 6-foot-1 and a bit exaggerated 180-pounds, as he is very lean. The athleticism stands out right away in the delivery as it’s fast paced, with twitchy movement throughout each of the steps of the motion. The righthander touched 88 mph and worked mostly in the 82-86 mph range throughout his 2.2 innings, that saw him give up no hits and strike out five. The arm stroke is fast and whippy and the ball comes out of the hand very cleanly. The arm would get left behind at times which would cause him to miss up, however, the fastball played up with some riding life when working up in the zone as he had no issues missing bats with the fastball on the afternoon. Skelly attacked with fastballs primarily, he only threw a handful of curveballs in the upper-60s, but the upside on his arm is hard to deny.

Minacci spun an outstanding performance to the tune of five shutout innings, one hit allowed, seven strikeouts, and only 62 pitches needed to complete those innings. A Wake Forest commit and 2018 Junior National participant, Minacci was unhittable over the course of his performance and the combination of present stuff and athleticism is more than enough to dream on his seemingly limitless upside.

Minacci’s athleticism is evident not only in his 6.61 second 60-yard dash that he recorded this summer, but in the delivery as the movements to his delivery are extremely twitchy and when you look at the track record of his development tell the tale of a top-flight athlete. The athleticism, too, is evident in the arm speed which is plus and the arm stroke combined with the separation he creates leads to good explosion down the mound and more velocity to come. He worked almost exclusively 86-89 mph on the afternoon, holding the velocity well, and was painting the black on either side of the plate. The curveball worked in the low-70s and he has shown a good changeup before in the past, but Minacci is clearly a strong prospect at this juncture who should only improve.

After a strong performance at the 14u Main Event a few weeks ago, Drew Burress (2023, Perry, Ga.) again showed out for a strong 5 Star team that helped propel them to Monday. Burress is a very good athlete for his age, but what stands out more than the athleticism are is feel on a baseball field. He’s not the most physical athlete at 5-foot-8, 155-pounds, but what he lacks for in size he makes up in speed and instincts. His routes in centerfield are superb for the age, covering a lot of ground in either direction while the offensive approach has a simple mechanical approach with the ability to put the ball in play and look to work to extra bases.

Florida Hurricanes outfielder Roman Anthony (2022, Wellington, Fla.) is a young, sweet-swinging lefthanded prospect who used that smooth stroke to hit for a lot of extra base power over the course of the weekend. Anthony collected multiple extra base hits, including a home run during pool play. Anthony has a patient approach, often opting to take tough pitches and wait for a mistake, particularly elevated ones. While his hands are loose through the zone on a fluid path he creates a good amount of loft and leverage, both positive indicators for additional game power moving forward.

One of the younger players in the 14u age group was Futures up-the-middle player Colt Emerson (2023, Cambridge, Ohio) who showed advanced athleticism and good feel from the left side of the plate. Emerson, still thirteen years old, has a very balanced, easy swing at the plate. His swing is short and to the ball with looseness throughout his hand and feel for using the whole field off the barrel of the bat. While he’s not a burner, he is a good athlete and baserunner, both factors that come into play when he steals bases and makes defensive plays.

One of the important two-way players for the Monday-bound Kangaroo Court, Wesley Mendes (2023, Tampa, Fla.) has serious chops on the mound as a lefthanded pitcher while also batting near the top of the lineup. Mendes got a quick look in on the mound during pool play while being tasked to start the semifinal game and shows a lot of projection and things to like as an arm. The arm circle is more compact, but loose and quick as he gets to the plate from a lower, extended slot to create some angle on his fastball that typically sat 77-81 mph. Mendes has quick hands at the dish, as a righthanded hitter, and has some advanced bat-to-ball skills too.

Providing one of the louder performances of the tournament was outfielder Aidan Miller (2023, Trinity, Fla.), who was held hitless through the first two games despite some solid contact, and exploded in game three which included a missile of a home run to the pull side. Miller has a very solid build at 5-foot-11, 165-pounds, and tons of room on said frame for future strength. That being said he has plenty of it now, as the swing is very compact, balanced, and naturally lofted to drive the ball into the air. Miller looks confident at the plate and hit the ball hard in most plate appearances while the arm strength and athleticism plays in centerfield now. Miller, as of this writing, has not pitched in the tournament yet but can run his fastball into the mid-80s.

2018 14u Select Festival participant Manuel Beltre (Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic) looked like a man amongst boys on the field this weekend, as the Dominican Republic native, and Florida International commit, showed out in a big way. Beltre had a very comfortable and relaxed demeanor in the box all weekend, taking bad pitches that he recognized immediately while turning on anything that he could drive, and often doing so. The swing has plenty of righthanded bat speed and his barrel feel at this age is certainly impressive. The athleticism shines over at shortstop where he made a number of plays on slow rollers, balls in the hole, and throws across his body that almost always turned into outs. After impressing at the Select Festival a year ago, it looks like Beltre is certainly on top of his game heading into 2019.

Beltre’s teammate Tj Dunsford (2023, Grand Bay, Ala.) was a hitting machine for FTB Resmondo as Dunsford has a lot of hitterish qualities and that was backed up by his performance over the weekend. Dunsford has some present physicality and the stroke is clean and easy with bat speed too. A strong prospect for his age, he can work to the pull side with intent and carry off the barrel as the swing is almost exactly how you would draw it up for someone this young. The arm strength has shown at events in the past but the bat provides tremendous upside for a young prospect.

Pablo Torres (2022, St. Cloud, Fla.) was another important piece for a team who made it to Monday as Torres was a big part of Genesis Baseball’s success this weekend. Torres is uber-athletic, with a pretty fast bat and good arm too. The arm strength shows its way on the mound as he was up to 83 mph with a fairly low effort delivery and clean arm stroke. The swing is more of a level plane but the quickness in his hands allow for him to impact the ball well. Torres offers intriguing two-way upside and performed well this weekend.

 Give us your feedback
Copyright 1994-2019 by Perfect Game. All rights reserved. No portion of this information may be reprinted or reproduced without the written consent of Perfect Game.