Tournaments | Story | 5/27/2019

West Memorial Day: Day 3 Notes

Connor Spencer         Ryan Hutchison        
Photo: Caiden Matheny (Perfect Game)

2019 WWBA West Memorial Day Classic: Day 1 Notes | Day 2 Notes

Day three at the PG West Memorial Day classic saw crucial morning games unfold that led the tournament into its quarterfinal rounds in the late afternoon. In the 16u division, No. 19-ranked 2021 outfielder in California Jacob Billings (2021, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) showcased that he could be a potential next level two-way player with a nice pitching performance against the Reapers. Billings sat 79-to-82 mph with his fastball and touched 83 on a few occasions. The fastball has some cut to it, but it feels forced and the action dissipates when he gets into must-throw strike situations. His curveball is a plus pitch especially for his age with a large 11-to-4 shape. It’s tough to see out the hand and has strong late bite down. At the dish, Billings has fluid actions and uses his hands nicely. However, his weight transfer to his back foot shifts too far back, getting behind his back foot, and makes it hard for him to transfer that energy forward.

In the 18u division Stars N’ Spikes 18u and AZ T-Rex Easton found themselves deadlocked in a heated pitcher’s duel. Uncommitted righthander Caleb Lomeli (2020, Tempe, Ariz.) was locked in for AZ T-Rex Easton. He has a Brian Fuentes type arm action from the right side that comes out low and over the top for the hitter. Despite the awkward arm action, it’s a live arm sitting 85-87 and touching 88. His off-speed is a plus pitch especially when he’s able to turn it over and keep it down in the zone. The off-speed is effective not only due to the 12 mph differential between it and his fastball, but also because of the similar awkward arm action. Lomeli’s weakness is his breaking ball which is below average at this point in his development. Most of the time it was thrown it simply spins over the plate with minimal direction change. However, with his live arm and plus changeup, Lomeli is a serviceable breaking ball away from being a potential prospect. He went four full innings while fanning six.

Equally as impressive was Stars N’ Stripes starter and UNLV commit Connor Culp (2019, Sparks, Nev.). Culp has a longer arm, a high leg kick and sweeps his hands down into his separation. He lives and dies with his slider and it’s a solid pitch especially from his three-quarters arm slot. Early in counts he has the ability to loosely give it an 11-to-4 shape while later throwing it with more conviction, giving it a tight high 10-to-4 shape for an out-pitch. His fastball sat 83-85 while touching 87. He pitched five full innings striking out seven.

2021 grad Dylan Hartman (2021, Rancho Murieta, Calif.) already has an MLB sized frame along with a ridiculously raw power and hit tool. Listed at 6-foot-2, 235-pounds, Hartmann had no problem sending a frozen rope over the right-center field fence for a home run. His absolute laser must have gone at least 400 feet, clearing a double fence at the Reds minor league complex. What’s even more crazy is after watching his swing on tape, he’s not fully coiling his upper and lower half, so there’s still room for his hands to get stronger and faster. He still has some work to do defensively at first base as his athleticism in the field is developing. However, the power tool ceiling on Hartmann is ridiculous, and he’s an absolute must follow as he matures as a hitter. He feels to project like a Kendrys Morales type of player.

The afternoon brought a hard-fought quarterfinal round for the 18u and 16u groups. LVR in the 18u group got a great offensive output from Saint Mary’s commit Noah Carabajal (2020, Las Vegas, Nev.). The junior scored two runs with one hit and a walk. UC Santa Barbara has another fluid middle infield commit in Zachary Rodriguez (2020, Murrieta, Calif.). He has a great first step in the infield and a medium athletic frame. At the plate he possesses a rhythm in the box that leads his hands down then back up into load. He uses his hands very well, constantly working them inside.

Washington commit Caiden Matheny (2019, Murrieta, Calif.) had a fantastic quarterfinal game for Juggernaut Group Baseball Academy going 3-for-4 with a double and a home run. Matheny has a small rhythmic bat wag pre pitch that leads him into his load. His hands travel a large distance back and down while his weight transfers back into a toe tap then small leg kick at launch. At contact he’s very wide but forms a strong hitting position. Matheny flies on the basepaths and his athleticism in the field is hard to go unnoticed.

In the 16u division, 3D Gold and AZ T-Rex Easton had an absolute nail biter down to the finish. AZ T-Rex Easton starter Michael Kasik (2021, Chandler, Ariz.) competed his heart out going five full innings while striking out seven against a talented 3D offense. Kasik has a longer arm and opens his front shoulder early in separation then whipping his arm through his high three-quarters arm slot. With his early open front shoulder, he had a tendency to miss high arm side. His fastball sat around 80-82 while touching 84. After leaving the ball game with a 3-0 lead, 3D Gold was able to come back and tie the ball game in the seventh.

– Connor Spencer

Dustin Crenshaw (2020 Chandler, Ariz.) is a young infielder from Perry High School. The Grand Canyon commit is a quick infielder with a quick bat. He keeps his hands low while batting for a level swing, letting his bat path stay in the zone. His speed and his line drive hitting to all-fields pegs him as a sparkplug at the top of any lineup.

Dylan Gardner (2020 Meridian, Idaho) is a righthanded pitcher from the state of Idaho. Gardner’s fastball sits between 81-83 mph and his curveball consistently sits around 72 mph with sweeping break on it. He has a solid arm action and hides the ball well from opposing hitters. He reaches all the way back with his arm and attacks hitters the entire game.

Maxwell Shor (2021 La Quinta, Calif.) is a young, dependable catcher. The San Diego commit is good on both sides of the ball. While at the plate his bat is low but at a good attack angle to drive the ball to all fields. He has a strong lower half and a good eye at the plate. He has strong game-calling skills as a catcher along with good speed for the position.

Ethan Brown (2019 Phoenix, Ariz.) is an electric lefthanded pitcher from Desert Ridge High School in Phoenix. Committed to Mesa Community College, Brown’s fastball is thrown straight and hard ranging 84-85 mph, topping out at 88. He has a sharp slider that sits around 77 mph. On the mound Brown has a three-quarters arm slot, stays behind himself and is effectively wild.

Sakemi Sato (2020 La Quinta, Calif.) is an electric righthander whose fastball ranges between 87-88 mph topping out at 90 and his sharp curveball ranges between 75-77 mph. Sato gets behind his body and uses his entire body to generate power and velocity on his pitches. After delivering a pitch, Sato sets himself in a good position to field the ball defensively. In this game Sato had issues throwing strikes and can be effectively wild from time to time.

Marshall Williams (2021 Peoria, Ariz.) is a switch-throwing pitcher. As a RHP his fastball varies from 71-76 mph with sinking two-seam action. As a lefty, his fastball goes from 72-73 mph, with a mid-60s slider.

Justin Still (2021 Chandler, Ariz.) is a lefthander from Perry High School. Still’s fastball ranges from 81-84 mph topping out at 86 and his curveball sits at 62 mph. His arm slot comes over the top and he throws across his body. He has a very deceptive pickoff move to first base while showing flashes of control problems from time to time. In his start on Sunday Still struck out eight hitters through five innings.

Jessada Brown (2021 Seattle, Wash.) is a catcher with power on both sides of the ball. Behind the plate Brown has an above average arm throwing to bases and flexibility to frame pitches. As a hitter Brown has good power as he hit a home run to the deepest part of the park, left-center field, in his first at-bat of the game. Brown also has above average speed for a catcher.

Ethan Doshi (2019 Seattle, Wash.) is a power hitting Portland commit. Doshi has a power stance with a high back elbow. His strong lower half and hand separation helps him create power to all fields. Even though he has a slight hitch in his swing he minimizes his head movement while batting and gets his hands in a position for a good attack angle.

Duce Robinson (2023 Phoenix, Ariz.) is a tall, lengthy outfielder from Pinnacle High School. Robinson has raw talent that still needs to be developed. While very relaxed at the plate, he needs to work on getting in an athletic stance while also minimizing his head movement. His speed makes him a threat on the basepaths and a solid defender in the outfield.

Miles Vandenheuvel (2023 Scottsdale, Ariz.) is a righthander from Chaparral High School. He has a hard-sinking fastball with two-seam action that ranges from 71-73 mph and tops out at 75. His curveball ranges from 59-60 mph with sweeping action. The young righthander gets his body weight on his back-drive leg, which allows him to use his whole body to power the ball to the plate. Vandenheuvel needs work on hiding the ball during his delivery.

Bryant Viskovich (2023 Los Gatos, Calif.) is an outfielder from Valley Christian School in California. He has a lot of moving parts to his swing, using a bat waggle while rocking back and forth to help with his timing at the plate. He gets his bat into an excellent attack position with a high leg kick to produce more power on his swing. Viskovich stays balanced throughout his swing, from the point of contact to his follow through.

– Ryan Hutchinson

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