Tournaments | Story | 6/23/2019

14u BCS Days 1-2 Scout Notes

Vincent Cervino         Tyler Russo        
Photo: Ryan Reckley (Perfect Game)

Getting the start in 5 Star National’s second game was projectable lefthander Andrew Elkhill (2023, Fernandina Beach, Fla.) and the starter was dominant in an abbreviated look. Elkhill has an eminently projectable frame with a 6-foot, 175-pound frame and long limbs with room to fill. He worked up to 80 mph and sat fairly exclusively in the 76-79 mph range with good angle to the glove side. The delivery is sound and he hides the ball nicely in the back creating angle and deception in the process. Elkhill has really good feel for a 1-to-7 shaped big breaking ball in the mid-60s and Elkhill struck out three over two hitless innings.

Jayden Rippelmeyer (2022, Vancouver, Wash.) is a primary position prospect and has been a part of a high octane Premier Baseball Club offense through their first three games. He’s not overwhelmingly physical but he handles the barrel well with a compact swing and loose, quick hands that work well through the swing. Rippelmeyer has a line drive approach and is hitting .556 through his team’s first three games. On the mound he turned in a very strong performance with a complete game shutout where he ran his fastball up to 77 mph.

Showing off his tools at the pre-event festivities was Jeremy Rivera (2022, Kissimmee, Fla.) who won both the home run challenge and the Fastest Man competition at the start of the 14u BCS National Championship. He’s off to a scorching start to the tournament offensively with a .556 batting average and more extra-base hits than singles; in his first game on Friday he launched two triples. Rivera has advanced bat speed with a bit of extraneous movement during his pre-pitch load. He does a good job, however, at getting on plane quickly and connecting out in front of the plate to really allow his bat speed to drive the ball.

Elite Squad Outlaws starting shortstop Ryan Reckley (2023, Nassau, Bahamas) is an international prospect of interest as there were numerous scouts in attendance to check out the soon-to-be eligible signee. Reckley has a multitude of advanced tools across the board for a 14-year old prospect with excellent skills and the makings of some serious tools on both sides of the ball. He turned in average run times from both sides of the plate and it’s not hard to project even better than that given the physical development and present quick twitch athleticism. That twitch gives him an edge on defense as he made a tough play in the hole and the arm is already advanced for the age. The swing features a couple of bat wags but he’s very on time with loose, easy hands. Reckley is very balanced at the dish and connected on a number of hits including a double from the left side of the plate. The athleticism and present feel for the game both stand out and make Reckley an attractive prospect.

Joseph Mincey (2022, Hialeah, Fla.) started out the game for Elite Squad and he was excellent over a little over three innings. The righthander is bigger and more physical than his listed 5-foot-8 frame, and showed a quick arm with whippiness to the arm stroke. He pounded the strike zone with his fastball that worked 78-80 mph and generated a ton of swing-and-miss as evidenced by his six strikeouts on the afternoon. The feel to spin is certainly advanced as when he was on top of the breaking ball the pitch showed slider-like action with tight spin. Mincey was on a pitch count and was virtually untouched during his time on the mound while the physicality and arm speed both project for big velocity gains in the near future.

The Florida Hurricanes have exploded for a huge amount of offense over their first two days at the 14u BCS and two of the standouts thus far have been Devan Meran (2022, Aventura, Fla.) and leadoff man Edian Espinal (2022, Viera, Fla.).

Meran, the MVP of the 13u BCS Finals a year ago, is a physical and athletic prospect with advanced present bat speed and impact with the stick. Meran is batting a robust .750 over the first three games and his strength off the barrel stands out for the age group. The swing is smooth and fast and he gets good use of his lower half that helps explode through contact. The consistency of which his contact is hard coupled with the athleticism makes Meran extremely intriguing.

Espinal is a smooth, sure-handed shortstop up the middle with soft hands, clean transfers, and the ability to make plays on both sides of the ball. The lethanded swing is loose and contact oriented and he can work on a line to all fields. Espinal can set the table nicely at the top of a lineup and his defensive chops also are notable.

– Vinnie Cervino

The first BCS Championship of the summer got a hot start from a lefthander who has made massive strides in the last 12 months. Massachusetts native Thomas White (2023, Rowley, Mass.) has sprung into the national spotlight as he worked a lively fastball at 88-90 mph, topping out at 91 mph. The 14-year old, standing at 6-foot-2, 180-pounds, has a frame as projectable as they come as there is a ton of weight to be added in both the lower and upper halves. White works from a clean and balanced, low effort delivery as he creates a very deceptive three-quarters arm slot in which he attacks hitters to both halves of the plate. The fastball has a heavy amount of arm-side run with late life that is able to jump past hitter’s barrels. He flashed good feel for a curveball that showed good depth through the zone as he picked up six strikeouts, only allowing a single hit in a little under three innings of work. White is going to be exciting to watch as he progresses through his early high school years and continues to fill into a body that could very well produce mid-90s velocities in a few years.

Hunter Key (2023, Orlando, Fla.) had a very sound opening to the week as he picked up a pair of hits to get his team going out of the leadoff spot. Key is a very athletic lefthanded hitter with good feel for getting the barrel to pitches all around the zone. He showed a short, quick swing with a contact approach while holding and transferring his weight well into contact. He fits the part of a corner outfielder with top-of-the-order aspirations at 5-foot-9, 170-pounds and will be an exciting player to watch as the 14-year old develops over the next few years.

Another Scorpions 2023 Select Purple player to make a good impression on day one was righthander Chance Fitzgerald (2023, Sanford, Fla.). Fitzgerald worked four scoreless innings, allowing just two hits while striking out five. Fitzgerald showed good command of both his fastball, which he worked at 76-79 mph, as well as a hard-sweeping slider at 66 mph. He worked out of a compact delivery where he got on line to the plate well, working both halves of the plate with both pitches. At 5-foot-10, 135-pounds, the body projects well as a pitcher moving forward given he just recently turned 14 years old. The arm is smooth and creates a good deal of arm-side run on the fastball while also being able to tunnel the slider off of it.

As athletic as they come for a 14-year old is 5 Star National’s shortstop Nicolas Perez (2022, Isabela, Puerto Rico). Ranked 29th overall in the 2022 class, Perez is a standout shortstop with an outstanding set of tools on both sides of the ball. At the plate, he has advanced pitch recognition as he found a way to drive pitches around the zone to all parts of the field. Once he reached, he wreaked havoc on the bases with speed and aggressiveness well above his age. In this game Perez stole four bases on a total of five pitches post-reaching base while also scoring from first on a bases-loaded single down the right field line. Defensively, Perez showcased smooth actions to both his glove side and back-hand coming through the ball well and putting a strong arm on display.

Perez’s teammate, hitting directly behind him in the order, was another athletic prospect in outfielder Drew Burress (2023, Perry, Ga.). Burress showed a mature approach in his at-bats as he used a great deal of plate discipline to find his pitch and drive the ball to all parts of the field. His swing is very loose in his hands and has a good amount of bat speed to create consistent solid contact as he controls the barrel very well on pitches to all parts of the zone. Burress also pitched an inning on the mound, picking up a pair of strikeouts as he mixed in a commanding fastball up to 81 mph with a very good curveball with hard, late bite.

Brandon White (2022, Coral Springs, Fla.) is third baseman and righthanded pitcher for a talented Elite Squad Outlaws squad who stands out physically above many across his age group. Standing at 6-foot-1, 165-pounds, White has a very projectable body both as a corner infielder and as a pitcher. At the plate, he showed a very sound approach as he stayed disciplined and found pitches he could drive to either gap. He has great control of the barrel through strong wrists and has a natural flick in his bat that allows him to turn outer-half pitches inside out for line contact to the back side. He stays very short to the ball and drives through it with good transfer of his weight into each pitch.

Andy Perez (2023, Orange City, Fla.) has had a phenomenal week to this point as he’s started the BCS Championship a hot 7-for-8, including four doubles and a pair of walks while scoring six times. At the plate, Perez showcased a short swing with a good ability to pull his hands inside and drive the ball to the pull side with good strength as he picked up a pair of doubles in the game. He looked highly athletic and showed explosiveness out of the box as he made hard turns around bases through his confidence in his ability to take the extra base. Behind the plate, he receives well out of a good, square frame with a strong wrist and showed a quick glove-to-hand transfer on throws down to second with some carry that will improve as the arm strength continues to develop.

Another player having a loud start to the tournament is Florida Burn Platinum’s Blake Opie (2023, Clearwater, Fla.) as he started 5-for-7 including a triple and five runs batted in, while scoring four times himself. Opie is a large and projectable 6-foot-2, 167-pounds, but is extremely athletic out of that frame. The swing can get long at times, but the control of the barrel is there to drive the ball to all parts as he handled pitches all around the zone with relative ease. The hands are smooth at the plate and the swing showed a bit of maturity to it. In the outfield, Opie showed good speed and instincts as he took very good routes to balls in both gaps and showed a strong arm on multiple occasions with online throws. The strength is there in the swing and in the arm and it will be fun to watch how he continues to progress with the bat and defensively as he fills into his large frame and continues to improve athletically.

– Tyler Russo

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