Tournaments | Story | 5/26/2019

West Memorial Day: Day 2 Notes

Connor Spencer         Ryan Hutchison        
Photo: Mahki Backstrom (Perfect Game)

2019 WWBA West Memorial Day Classic: Day 1 Notes

Day 2 at the PG WWBA West Memorial Day Classic opened with some hard-fought battles in the 18u division. The Central Valley Marlins were locked in a tight 4-3 ball game with Players Choice Academy until junior righthander Kolby Kmetko (2020, Phoenix, Ariz.) came in and shut the door. Kmetko has a quick and borderline erratic motion to the plate that at times gets away from him. He ran into trouble a few times in his outing due to him getting ahead of himself on the bump. His arm action is quick with an over-the-top window, and his hands come up in sync with his leg kick. The fastball is flat but live for Kmetko as he sat 83-85 and touched 87 mph. Hitters were having trouble catching up to Kmetko’s fastball as there’s some break there. His curveball is a solid large shaped 11-to-4 offering that works well as both a get-me-over and a kill pitch. He went 2 2/3 innings fanning two.

MAC Elite 2020 defeated Team Dinger 17u and New Mexico State commit Isaiah Ural (2020, Albuquerque, N.M.) impressed with his strong pop off the bat and quick hands. Going 1-for-3 on the day with an RBI, the ball comes off Ural’s barrel nicely and his swing contains a controlled violence that projects to the next level. He has a high leg kick with quiet hands into his load, and he does a nice job of firing through his back side, getting his elbow into the slot, allowing the coil to fire his hands through the zone.

Austin Peay commit Tyler Cotto (2019, Goodyear, Ariz.) smashed a ball that one-hopped the left field fence for a RBI double in a tight contest against Las Vegas Scorpions 18u. Cotto has a free and easy barrel paired with a lengthy frame that whips the bat through the zone. His upright stance and high hands that come down into his load are conventional, and his power feels raw and under developed as his frame is still growing. There’s lots of room for growth in his game, and Austin Peay should be excited to get this developing backstop.

Southpaw Tyler Montoya (2019, Las Vegas, Nev.) was downright filthy in his outing going five full and striking out a ridiculous 13 batters. Montoya sweeps his leg into his lift and works quickly through his motion. His fastball sat 85-87 on the day and he touched 90 mph. The fastball does not possess much action, and because of his over-the-top window, comes out pretty flat to the hitter. However, he hides the ball extremely well, keeping his hands close to his body even through separation. When he reaches back the ball stays hidden behind his head until he reaches the window. This made his 85-87 feel much more like low-90s. His slider has a solid spin rate and bite to it with a high 10-to-4 shape that he likes to dive to the back foot of righthanded hitters. Montoya is also creative with his rhythm to the plate, constantly changing hitters looks with quick pitches and long holds.

MVP Hustle moved to 2-0 in the 16u division after a dominant 9-0 win over Stars N’ Spikes. Sophomore center fielder Ryan Brown (2021, Santa Fe, Calif.) laced a ball to his opposite field and showcased his wheels with an inside the park home run. Brown has athletic actions on both sides of the baseball and an upright stance at the plate. The fluidity in his swing leaves a little to be desired as he feels a little stoic in the box, but he uses his hands well to find barrel.

Fresno state commit Mahki Backstrom (2019, Los Angeles, Calif.) has gone from PG Pre-Draft Identifier to the Brewers pre-draft to Juggernaut Group Baseball Academy first baseman at the WWBA West Memorial Day Classic in a matter of a week. Backstrom looked phenomenal at the plate today finding nothing but barrel and going 3-for-3 with a triple. His power potential is obvious to naked eye, launching baseballs with his large 6-foot-5, 215-pound frame. At the PG Pre-Draft, he put on a show in batting practice, floating balls out of LA Valley College with ease.  Against Team Dinger 17u he launched a towering fly ball foul to his pull side that carried to the rooftop of the Reds batting cages beyond the right field fence at the Goodyear complex. The biggest concern about Backstrom is his hit tool once he starts facing 90 mph plus on a regular basis. His swing is a little long and there’s some uphill to his bat path.

In the same game, lefthander Connor Markl (2020, Scottsdale, Ariz.) drew college coach and scout attention with his active fastball and projectable pitching tool. His fastball sat around 83-84 mph and it touched 86. It is very active and at times has hard two-seam run and sink. However, this movement was sometimes counter intuitive as the two-seam action running away from righties was actually running the ball into their barrels. Markl also showcased a straight sinking off-speed around 72 mph that has promise with his arm action. He showed two differently shaped breaking balls as one is more of a curveball, and the other has more of a cutter type feel. Markl ran into trouble early and unfortunately struggled with command and never seemed on point. However, regardless of the shaky start, it’s not hard for college coaches to see a potential third or fourth starter someday for their weekly rotation.

At the end of Day 2 in the 16u division, fifth-ranked 2021 catcher in Arizona Michel Riley (2021, Scottsdale, Ariz.) showed his technical ability behind the plate and displayed quick hands with consistent backspin. He has an upright stance, slight bat wag and simple load. He lifts his leg onto his front toe then strides forward, and he’s constantly working down at the hitting zone from his tall upright stance. Although he went 0-for-3 on the day, the three balls he put in play were nicely back spun, and his hands consistently work towards the center of the field.

– Connor Spencer

Owen Egan (2023 Yucaipa, Calif.) is a young projectable player who can play on both sides of the baseball. Owen as a pitcher sat 82-84 mph on his fastball. His curveball sat 62-66 mph. When pitching, Owen transfers all his weight to his back foot and equally transfers it to the plate. He is able to maintain his velocity when pitching from the stretch using a slide step. As a hitter, Egan advanced hitting for his age. He has power to all fields driving the ball to the gap. Along with good discipline and a good eye of the strike zone, Egan creates good separation from his body to generate power with the rubber band effect.

Garren Rizzo (2023 Ranchos Palos Verde, Calif.) is a middle infielder from Palos Verdes High School. The young infielder plays well on both sides of the baseball. He plays a good defense at second base displaying his speed when on the basepaths. Rizzo has an up-the-middle approach when at the plate. His strong base help him keep his balance when at the dish.

Billy Meehan (2022 Temecula, Calif.) is a righthanded pitcher who sits with his fastball around 77-79 mph. Meehan did a good job being able to keep his balance when pitching on the mound and going straight down to the plate.

Austin Vega (2021 Chander, Ariz.) is a projectable first baseman. Early in the game, Vegas hit a ball over the outfielders in the right-center gap for a double. Even though he grounded out and flied out later in the game, everything he hit in play was hit very hard. Vega keeps his hands low in his load in order to hit any pitch in the zone to any part of the field. This young man also knows how to play solid defense at first base.

Frank Castro (2021 Chandler, Ariz.) is a righthanded pitcher out of Chandler, Arizona. Castro’s fastball sits 77-79 with cut on his pitches and topped out at 80. His curveball is 68-69 with sharp downhill break. Castro has a high baseball IQ, knowing what to do with the ball that is hit to him and making plays he needs to as a pitcher. He likes to paint the ball low in the zone to get called strikes.

Garrett Cutting (2021 Las Vegas, Nev.) is young, projectable shortstop. The Stanford commit has an excellent transfer of power at the plate. When setting up his hands, he puts them in a good place to attack the ball and drive it to any part of the park. His defense shows that he can stay long term at the position.

Tyler Avery (2022 Las Vegas, Nev.) is a young arm that has potential to be impactful. His fast consistently ranges between 78-79 mph, topping put at 81 in the game. He didn’t throw his breaking ball much, but when he did, it hit 62 mph and he kept it down in the zone. Avery was not afraid to pitch balls inside on the batters, jamming them or getting them to swing-and-miss on pitches.

Kameron Fickert (2023 Gilbert, Ariz.) is a Perry High School product that had a great day at the plate. In his first game, Fickert went 3-for-3 with one walk, two RBI and three runs scored. His balance at the plate is impressive for his young age. He keeps his hands in a position that allows him to create easy separation and generate power to drive the ball to anywhere in the park. Fickert, at 5-foot-10, will continue to get bigger and create more power as he gets older.

Christopher Hernandez (2021 Eastvale, Calif.) is a deceptive lefthanded pitcher out of Eastvale, California. Castro’s fastball sat at 81-82 mph and his curveball was at 63-64 mph with late sharp break. Hernandez is very deceptive lefthanded pitcher. His arm slot is at three-quarters and he hides the ball well which causes a lot of late swings and misses on his pitches. After throwing the ball, Hernandez puts himself into a good, athletic position to field the ball.

Marco Pacheco (2023 Phoenix, Ariz.) is a righthanded pitcher with a fastball around 78-79 that consistently has sink and two-seam action to the pitch which topped out around 81 mph. His slider was sharp at 70-71 mph. When Pacheco stays on top of the ball he gets sinking action on his fastball that has a lot of arm-side run.

Carter Doorn (2021 Schererville, Ind.) is a projectable, electric arm. The Purdue commit has two plus pitches to get lots of outs and bad looking swings at the ball. His fastball consistently sits at 84-85 and tops out at 87. Doorn’s curveball hits at 68 mph and has sharp knuckle-curve action that dives straight into the ground. Doorn lays back onto his back leg which allows him to generate power to blow fastballs by batters. His consistent pounding of the lower half of the zone limits his probability of handing a ball up in the zone.

William VanDyke (2023 Highland, Calif.) is a young righthanded pitcher from the state of California. This righty doesn’t throw very hard at 71-72 mph, but he has tons of consistent cutting action on the fastball. The action on his cutter can start in the middle of the plate and end up glove side in the lefthanded batter’s box. He likes to go to his curveball a lot at 60-63 and throws it for strikes. He is very athletic and plays good defense off the mound.

Braden Boisvert (2019 Sonoita, Ariz.) is a big and strong corner infielder that has projectable power. His build could have him staying at first base or third base long-term. Boisvert swings his knob first at the ball giving his barrel a lot of time through the zone. He has a slight hitch in his swing, but it helps him time pitches to swing on time.

Jacob Hudson (2023 Scotts Valley, Calif.) is a righthanded pitcher, a product of Palos Verdes High School. His fastball is thrown in the 82-84 mph range with a curveball at 68. Hudson keeps his landing foot straight down towards the ground, which allows him to use the downhill plane of the mound and stay on top of the ball. Hudson is quick to the plate with runners on or off of the basepaths. His fastball plays up in the zone, generating a lot of swings and misses from batters.

Joshua Johnson (2020 Henderson, Nev.) is a projectable arm with electric stuff. The righthanded pitcher fastball was consistently in the 85-87 mph range, topping out at 88 a handful of times with the occasional cut on his pitch. His curveball has late break to it sitting at 71-72 mph. Johnson varies his timing on the mound that disrupts the hitters timing at the plate.

– Ryan Hutchinson

 Give us your feedback
Copyright 1994-2021 by Perfect Game. All rights reserved. No portion of this information may be reprinted or reproduced without the written consent of Perfect Game.