Tournaments | Story | 6/2/2019

Florida World Series: Day 1 Recap

Perfect Game Staff         Tyler Russo        
Photo: Luke Baker (Perfect Game)
As pool play got under way for the 2019 Florida World Series, so did the array of hot arms that the day would bring. Uncommitted righthander Gregory Martinez (2019, Southwest Ranches, Fla.) got it started on the mound for the Florida Pokers Upperclass Carolina team, firing six innings of work, allowing just two runs while striking out five. Martinez worked out of a large body and strong lower half, throwing a consistent dose of heavy arm-side running fastballs that almost came out of his hand like power changeups running 85-88 mph and topping out at 89 mph. He also flashed a tight slider showing 10-to-4 shape that allowed him to change pace and create weak contact deep in counts.

Although only running the fastball up to 84 mph in this outing having been previously up to 86 mph, uncommitted righthander Bryce McBride (2020, Port St Lucie, Fla.) was dominant in his outing throwing six shutout innings, only allowing only two hits without a walk and striking out seven. McBride showed a great deal of pitchability in his command of both the fastball and a devastating 12-to-6 curveball that he had very advanced feel for.

Potentially the most projectable arm to take the mound on the day was 6-foot-6 uncommitted righthander Drew Brutcher (2020, Lakeland, Fla.). For his size and length, Brutcher showed a good deal of athleticism in his body in his ability to repeat a very sound and smooth delivery that had him extending well to the plate and have the ball jumping on hitters. Brutcher commanded his fastball very well to both halves of the plate, running it up to 89 mph with ease, while also flashing a tight breaking ball with great depth that kept hitters struggling to make any solid contact on his way to five strikeouts in three innings of work.

Elite Squad’s 17u National team continued their run of strong offensive performances early on Saturday of the Florida World Series. Matthew Ruiz (2020, Hialeah, Fla.) led the charge in game one, going a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate, including two doubles, while driving in two and scoring twice himself. Ruiz used his very present bat speed and low effort swing to make consistent hard contact from the right side.

Another standout from that same roster in game one was uncommitted catcher Alan Espinal (2020, Viera, Fla.). Although only going 1-for-3 at the plate, he made his presence known behind the plate. Espinal is a very athletic catcher, showing an ability to adjust his body well to borderline pitches and absorb pitches in the dirt with ease. He receives the ball extremely well in a low setup and put a very strong arm on display as he recovered from a low, outer-half fastball to hose a runner trying to take second base to end an inning.

Uncommitted righthander Andrew Lopez (2020, Hialeah, Fla.) made quick work of his two innings on the mound, allowing only a single hit and needing just 22 pitches to get through the two frames. Lopez, listed at just 5-foot-10, 175 pounds, generated a ton of power out of his lower half and fast arm to run his fastball at 86-88, topping out at 90 mph. He also flashed advanced feel for a hard-breaking 12-to-6 curveball that saw a significant velocity drop from the fastball dipping down into the upper-60s, as well as an occasional changeup with some arm side tumble.

Another extremely projectable arm to watch as he moves to the next level is Ole Miss commit Luke Baker (2020, Gainesville, Fla.). Baker, listed at 6-foot-6, is a presence on the mound who works very smooth and fluid from the left side allowing him to repeat mechanics and tunnel his arm action across all of his pitches. The fastball showed a great deal of life and arm-side run working up to 90 mph, while the curveball and changeup showed as two plus pitches when commanded to the lower part of the zone. Baker picked up six strikeouts in his four innings of work against a talented Elite Squad 17u American lineup.

Uncommitted physical standout Connor Morgan (2020, Brooksville, Fla.) had himself a game at the plate, putting together a 3-for-3 performance with a double and two monster pull side home runs, driving in four and scoring three times himself. Morgan has a very strong and mature swing with good pitch recognition which allows him to create consistent hard contact out of virtually any count.

Another uncommitted pitcher to run a fastball up to 90 mph on the day was righthander Mason Manriquez (2020, Wellington, Fla.). Manriquez worked three strong innings against a very good Giants Scout Team – FTB lineup, allowing just two hits while striking out a pair. Manriquez used a simple and efficient delivery, using his lower half well, to command the zone with both his fastball and hold a strong feel for his breaking ball. Manriquez’s quick arm action creates consistent arm-side sink on the fastball that led to a good deal of weak contact out of some very good hitters.

George Washington commit Christopher Kahler (2020, Coral Springs, Fla.) looked great in his two innings of relief work Saturday as he finished on a combined shutout for Elite Squad 17u National as they picked up their second win in two games. Kahler used a hard-cutting fastball at 85-88, topping out at 89, mixed with a tight curveball at 73 mph and straight changeup at 77 mph to create weak contact and pick up two strikeouts in the outing.

-Tyler Russo

Aaron Deegan (2021, Largo, Fla.) continued his hot start to the summer after winning MVP honors in last weekend’s East Memorial Day Classic. Deegan, a lefthanded hitter listed at 6-foot-1, 180 pounds, started his day with a two-run blast over the right field wall to put his team ahead early. He demonstrated a mature approach throughout the day and showed his ability to keep his barrel through the zone to drive the ball to all parts of the field.

Lefthander Aiden Pryzgoda (2021, Cocoa Beach, Fla.) put together one of the more impressive outings of the day. The lefty, standing at just 5-foot-10, 165 pounds, threw 6 1/3 innings striking out eight, while allowing only a single earned run. Pryzgoda put his command and ability to hide the ball well on display as he lived on the corners with his fastball, sitting at 77-79 mph, while also flashing a mix of his 70 mph changeup and a breaking ball with good depth at 71 mph.

15U ELEV8 Select’s Justin Colon (2021, Carolina, P.R.) had an impressive day on the field. The Florida International commit, standing at 6-foot-2, 175 pounds, made a strong case for being one of the most impressive players at Jet Blue on the day as he showed his ability to drive the ball to all parts of the field by hammering doubles down the right field line and in the left-center gap. Colon keeps his hands back well, letting the ball get deep in the zone, and drives the ball from all parts of the zone. He put his speed and athleticism on display both on the bases and in the field as he flashed a smooth glove and good foot work with a couple of smooth turns for double plays.

The most impressive young prospect on the day was Yoel Tejeda Jr (2022, Davie, Fla.). The Florida commit, standing at 6-foot-6, 195 pounds, showed why he is one of the best in his class going 2-for-2 in the win. The righthanded hitting first baseman crushed a solo home run over the left field fence on Field 5 at Jet Blue, following it up with an opposite field ground rule double. He showed good discipline at the plate, waiting patiently for a pitch he knew he could drive for extra bases. Tejeda Jr’s long and lanky frame, with plenty of room to fill out, projects well at the next level. His performance left a lasting impression on all the scouts in attendance.

16U Siege Baseball prospect Kyle Hendrick (2021, West Palm Beach, Fla.) had the defensive play of the day. The center fielder flashed his speed on a well-struck ball in the gap, covering a ton of ground to his right and laying out full extension, robbing a would-be triple, before later throwing out a tagging runner at the plate on a strong throw. The uncommitted prospect also had a good day at the plate, going 1-for-2 with a walk and two stolen bases.

Another uncommitted prospect who had an exceptional day at the plate was Florida Hurricanes 14U Platinum’s Oscar Hernandez (2023, Kissimmee, Fla.). At only 14 years old, Hernandez stands at 6-foot-3, 200 pounds with some room to muscle up. He showed a calm smooth swing at the plate and does a tremendous job of generating torque through his lower half. Hernandez went 3-for-4 on the day with a triple that was driven to the right-center fence and a double barreled to the the left-center gap. He tallied two RBI and two runs scored as he led his team to a pool play win.

FTB Resmondo’s Derek Yahel Rodriguez (2022, Caguas, P.R.) came in and threw 1 1/3 innings in relief, fanning three batters. Rodriguez showed great poise and mound presence as he inherited runners in scoring positon and didn’t yield a run. Rodriguez’s athletic demeanor translated well on the mound and his jerky motion kept batters uneasy in the box. The righthander sat 81-82 mph with the fastball, topping out at 85 mph on the day. He showed a promising curveball ball that sat in the high 60s and had good depth to it.

FTB’s Tucci Cleveland’s Luke Heyman (2022, Longwood, Fla.) did not have the stellar results he was looking for but flashed his raw power to everyone in attendance. The 6-foot-3, 186-pound Florida commit finished the day 1-for-3 with a single and two runs batted in, with two of the outs coming in the form of warning-track fly balls. Heyman has exceptional bat control keeping his barrel through the zone through impact. Heyman has a projectable frame with plenty of room to muscle up over the next few years. He has soft hands behind the plate and showed an impressive catch and release as he threw out an opposing runner out trying to steal second base.

The most intriguing prospect on the day was 14U FTB Rocket’s Olivia Clines (2023, Lake Worth, Fla.). The righthanded incoming freshman threw five innings, allowing no earned runs, striking out two, and only allowing three hits in her win on the mound today. Clines showed great command of her fastball, as she moved the fastball around all game keeping batters guessing. Her fastball, which was consistently 75-77, topping out at 80 mph, had life and good run to it. 

-Ron Filipkowski
 Give us your feedback
Copyright 1994-2020 by Perfect Game. All rights reserved. No portion of this information may be reprinted or reproduced without the written consent of Perfect Game.