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Tournaments | Story | 6/29/2019

17U WWBA: Day 1 Scout Notes

Greg Gerard      Drew Wesolowski      Brian Treadway      Jacob Jordan      Jacob Martin      Matthew Arietta      Jered Goodwin      Ben Milks     
Photo: Ryan Clifford (Perfect Game)

The Duluth Noles got off to a hot start in the 17U WWBA National Championship on Friday morning with a resounding 8-0 win to open pool play. Xander Stephens (2020, Lilburn, Ga.) got the start and was solid over his 3 1/3 innings, as the coaching staff pulled him with only 42 pitches, likely in the hopes that they can bring him back later in the week. He allowed no hits and one walk while picking up three strikeouts.

Stephens is a physical righthander committed to Georgia Southern, and has a quality overall profile. The fastball peaked at 91 mph and sat in the 87-90 mph range for the most part, showing the ability to generate angle with some crossfire to the delivery as well as an extended three-quarters slot release. He got the fastball to both sides of the plate and while the command wasn’t overwhelmingly sharp, he pounded the zone and attacked hitters. The slider sat in the mid-70s with slurvy action, showing good shape and bite with the ability to command it both as a chase pitch and throw it for strikes.

Caleb Ketchup (2020, Jonesboro, Ga.) hits leadoff and plays shortstop for the Noles and was a standout in both phases in this game, as he usually is. The athleticism and range in the middle infield stand out, as he’s got excellent balance and overall body control when moving in any direction, and the hands work quite well also. The arm strength is fringe-average but he’s got a lightning-quick release with consistent accuracy, which in turn allows the arm strength to play up and should allow him to play shortstop at Georgia, where he’s committed. Offensively, there’s more wiry strength to his frame than he’s likely given credit for, and he generates very good bat speed and strikes the ball out front. He’s content using the whole field and spraying liners, but does show the ability, as he did in this game, to let the barrel eat and drive the ball up the gap. He’s an interesting follow in the state for 2020, to be sure. 

The East Cobb Astros 17U Navy got off to a 2-0 start on Friday, putting them in prime position in their pool early on. Blade Tidwell (2020, Loretto, Tenn.) threw a complete game shutout in their 1-0 win over the St. Louis Prospects Scout team, racking up seven strikeouts over seven shutout innings, scattering two hits and two walks. Tidwell was very good at PG National a couple weekends ago and he’s continued that into the 17U WWBA, as he obviously turned in an excellent performance. He peaked at 93 mph a few times on various guns behind the plate, settling into the 87-92 mph range for the majority of the outing. Tidwell’s physicality is highly-projectable, and he’s got the ingredients for significant upside as well. The arm is fast and loose, with a bit of a hook through the back but nothing violent, and he’s often timed up quite well coming through release. He showed advanced feel for manipulating the breaking ball, working it between 74-80 mph or so, with sharper late bite in the higher end of that velocity band, and more of a slurvy pitch in the mid-70s with the ability to land it for strikes. A Tennessee commit, Tidwell will be followed closely throughout the summer and into next spring as it pertains to the draft.

The Orlando Scorpions Founders Club moved to 2-0 in pool play on Friday evening via a hard-fought 2-0 win over Zoom Baseball Academy, getting a quality start from Florida commit Jackson Nezuh (2020, St. Cloud, Fla.). Nezuh allowed some baserunners but consistently pitched out of trouble, allowing no runs over his three innings. He worked up to 90 mph with his fastball, sitting in the 86-89 mph range and, while I didn’t see the analytic data, I’d imagine that his four seam fastball is of the high-spin variety given how well his arm slot allows for his hand to stay behind the baseball, creating that true backspin. As it sits, he did a good job of missing bats up in the zone with the pitch, even if the command wasn’t as sharp as it has been for him in this one. 

On the other side, Anthony Solometo (2021, Sicklersville, N.J.) ended up taking the toughest of tough-luck losses, as he was quite good and flashed dominance. Solometo’s mechanical profile is definitely unique, as he’s got a very up-tempo high hand/leg kick to start, then the arm action takes a windmill path way offline behind his body, coming through to a very extended three-quarters slot that creates a ton of angle to the plate. The fastball reached 91 mph and sat in the 87-90 mph range for the most part, and the overall quality of the pitch plays up quite a bit given the deception and angle he creates. The life on the fastball is substantial at times, and he’s a very tough at-bat for lefthanded hitters since it seems like he’s releasing from behind their back. He worked in slider in the 79-81 mph range or so with good bite and tunnel out of the hand, and while he ended up taking the loss in this one, the upside is obviously substantial given the arm talent. He’s committed to North Carolina. 

The Houston Athletics-Gold club gave the Canes National 17’s all they could handle late Friday night, though the Canes ended up winning a thriller 2-1, moving them to 2-0 in pool play. Levi Wells (2020, La Porte, Texas) got the start and was wholly dominant, allowing no runs on three hits and two walks over 4 2/3 innings, racking up eight strikeouts in the process. The arm speed stands out immediately, as it’s at least plus and is closer to plus-plus, and he ran his fastball up to 95 mph in the early going. There’s a fair bit of effort to his delivery with a pronounced head whack with some violence at release, and this may impact his long-term command projection, but he certainly wasn’t wild and threw enough strikes. The heater is paired with a 12/6 curveball, a pitch that has some serious teeth to it, thrown right around 80 mph with sharp, late, often devastating bite and depth. A Houston commit, Wells is firmly on the South Texas draft radar now if he wasn’t already, and as such will be highly-followed over the course of the next year.

-Brian Sakowski 

Recently up to 91 mph at Perfect Game National, Jake Berry (2020, Great Falls, Va.) did not quite have the same velocity as he showed in Phoenix, but the overall projection and the noted velocity that has been shown in recent memory is definitely noteworthy. Berry is a 6-foot-10 lefthander with outstanding physicality already and still more room to fill. His extension on the mound as well as his ability to create an extremely steep plane to the plate makes him a tough lefty arm to go up against as a hitter. On this day his fastball worked up to 86 mph and lived consistently in the mid-80s. He featured a changeup that was the best of his two offspeed pitches that projects as an above average pitch. The curveball is a sweeper in the low-70s and missed bats when down or out of the strike zone. His arm works and there is reason to believe he is going to continue to jump with his velocity moving forward.

Uncommitted righthander Turner Swistak (2020, Hattiesburg, Miss.) took the mound for the Louisiana Knights at KSU Marietta and showed promising stuff even though he battled some tough innings. An athletic righthander with athleticism to his operation on the mound as well as a clean arm action, the Mississippi native was able to run his fastball up to 88 mph. There’s projectable arm speed through the back and that overall projection comes with a curveball that has plenty of potential as well. The pitch sat in the low-70s with slurve-type shape and will continue to improve sharpness as the velocity from his right arm continues to climb. Swistak is an interesting uncommitted arm who pitched in front of plenty of heat as well as college recruiters on Friday morning.

Seaver Sheets (2021, Monroe, La.) showed plenty of two-way potential both on the mound as well as at the plate. The lefthanded hitter has a smooth swing and really nice barrel skills as he showed at Allatoona High School on day one of the 17U WWBA National Championship. Sheets’ first at-bat resulted in a nice battle working the count before lining a single to the opposite field while sitting back on an outer half curveball. He later laced a single up the middle showing, again, his smooth and compact lefthanded stroke. On the mound, he started the game for Sheets Baseball and sat in the mid-80s working up to 87 mph from a quick arm action. He worked best when staying online to the plate, but did show signs of command issues at times while working around it and pitching his team to a run rule victory.

Brock Lucas (2020, Hardinsburg, Ky.) produced an outstanding amount of swings and misses in his time on the mound for Elite Baseball Club Friday afternoon tallying up 10 strikeouts over the course of four innings pitched. Lucas, a Tennessee commit, sat in the upper-80s with his fastball while also touching 90 mph once. His arm works with a full arm action and athleticism to his delivery. He pounded the zone, but did have to work hard staying online to the plate to repeat his command as he would miss at times with the fastball leading to his walk per inning. When Lucas was online and extended fully out in front, the opposing team was not catching up to his upper-80s heater. Beyond his fastball, Lucas featured a swing-and-miss curveball with two-plane shape and plenty of tilt in the mid-70s. His two-pitch combination was dominant as the future Volunteer did not relinquish a hit in his four-inning start.

Jovan Gill (2020, Fort Myers, Fla.) showcased some of the best velocity of the day running his fastball up to 94 mph. Pitching from a compact arm action, Gill produces a fastball that really jumps out of his hand. The righthander is committed to play for the Hatters at Stetson University and stands at 6-foot-4, 209 pounds. His arm strength is outstanding and the plane he creates on his fastball is noteworthy. There is deception to his delivery given the compact nature of his release and how the baseball gets in on hitters quickly. The slider he featured is a tight one with plenty more projection remaining from it. Gill was a participant at Perfect Game National in Arizona and his performance was quite similar in terms of stuff. The tempo to his delivery and the tendency to open up the lower half early down the mound as well as his drop-and-drive actions make the operation deceptive while making his delivery as a whole hard to repeat. When Gill repeats and the ball is released on time, it is very hard for opposing hitters to catch up to it as shown by his strikeout per inning in this outing.

Michael Braswell (2021, Mableton, Ga.) has continued to climb up the ranks primarily for his ability at shortstop and at the plate. He is also an impressive arm as he showed in a closer role in Giants Scout Team-FTB’s victory. Braswell made quick, perfect work in the final frame earning the save and striking out a pair. His fastball touched 90 mph from a full arm action and a high three-quarters arm slot. He showed feel for all three pitches and was able to command each with ease during his 10-pitch outing. Each show some potential while the curveball sits in the low-70s and the changeup he flashed was at 77 mph. Braswell pitches with intent and works out over his front side to manipulate the strike zone and work to both sides of the plate for strikes.

Marcus Mott (2020, Lake Charles, La.) is a LSU commit with a quick arm and projectable velocity moving forward. Mott is not overly physical, standing at a listed 5-foot-11 but can maintain velocity in the upper-80s maxing out at 89 mph. He mixed in a mid-70s slider with tilt and feel for the offering. The righthander worked around the zone with both pitches and got plenty of swings and misses with his slider especially. The fastball is straight, but when located on the corners the pitch missed barrels. The LSU commit pitched his Team Louisiana squad to a victory with a clean delivery and above average arm speed that really projects moving forward.

A couple of Canes provided the offense in the late innings on Friday night. Dominic Johnson (2020, Edmond, Okla.) has top-of-the-class speed and it showed in as he turned first in 4.18 seconds on a single to left field. That elite quickness was later shown as he burned around the basepaths and rounded third before scoring the tying run in a thrilling seventh inning walkoff win by his Canes National team. Johnny Castagnozzi (2020, Massapequa Park, N.Y.) leveraged a baseball deep to his pull side driving home the winning run in the seventh inning. The North Carolina commit has outstanding strength at impact and drove the baseball deep to the pull-side gap. The pitch was well located on the outer half and Castagnozzi, showing outstanding plate coverage, stroked the ball to left field for a deep game-winning double.

-Gregory Gerard

Austin Raynor (2020 Granite Falls, N.C.) splashed on the scene early in the action today while playing for the On Deck O’s. He flashed a larger frame with an athletic, filled-out build showing mature strength. The smooth-swinging lefthanded hitter utilized a balanced stance before working into a small toe tap and go. With his linear swing path, he showed he can drive the baseball to all parts of the park. Raynor showed great bat speed as well to compliment his fluid actions at the plate. He got his hands extended on a fastball late in the count and he drove it into the right field wall for a double, knocking in two runs. Keep an eye on this uncommitted prospect throughout the rest of the tournament and summer as he looks for a place to call home at the next level in upcoming months.

Mikey Tepper (2020 Fort Mill, S.C.) is another prospect from the On Deck O’s who has been a dominant force since returning from the National Showcase in Phoenix. Tepper showed a large frame with wide shoulders and sturdy lower half. The big righthanded pitcher got the start this morning and took no time to get it going. The first six outs recorded were strikeouts courtesy of Tepper. He flashed a high leg kick before working into a downhill delivery plane throwing from a high three-quarters arm slot. Although he ran into some command problems in the second inning, he quickly put it behind him and continued to dominate. The UNC-Charlotte commit showed very projectable stuff as he went on to pick up the win for his team in their first game of pool play. His fastball sat 90-93 mph with some nice cutter run to it. He relied heavily on the heater to get ahead in the count early. His off-speed arsenal consisted of a tight spinning slider in the upper-70s that flashed some depth when down in the zone. His changeup proved to be a work in progress that showed in the low-80s with late break when his command was on. Tepper plans to be back on the mound soon as the On Deck O’s look to make a push into bracket play to utilize his arm on the mound.

Joseph Haney (2020 Stanley, N.C.) rounds out the last prospect from the On Deck O’s who showed very well in today’s action. The Davidson commit showed a medium frame with a lean, athletic build and some room to fill out down the road. The lefthanded hitter jumped in on the action early, belting a long three-run home run to deep right field to give his team an early advantage. He utilized a balanced stance keeping his weight on his backside while delivering the barrel with an uphill swing path. He looked to drive to the baseball gap to gap with power and proved he could do it. When he gets extended, his power is overwhelming for opposing pitchers. He should be an interesting bat to follow throughout the week as he looks to continue his hot streak here in Georgia. 

JT Benson (2020 Crestwood, Ky.) proved why he is one of the top-ranked outfielders from the state of Kentucky. The Louisville commit showed a medium frame with an athletic, strong lower half build. The righthanded hitter starts with a slightly open stance and then works into a high leg kick. Benson does a great job of staying balanced while utilizing his quick hands to create bat speed. With an uphill swing path, he looked to drive the baseball for extra base hits. He started off the action with a hot bat driving a double into the left-center gap. The very next at-bat, he drove one deep into the right-center gap for a stand-up triple as he showed off the speed. He ended up knocking in two runs as he led his team to victory in the early action of the tournament. Look for him to continue his hot streak down here in Atlanta as the action rolls on. 

Riley Eikhoff (2020 Bristow, Va.) continued to show why he is one of the top uncommitted arms in his class as he got the start for the star-studded Canes National squad. Fresh off a stop at the National Showcase at Chase Field, he has used that as momentum for the summer. The righthanded pitcher displayed an athletic look with a filled out lower half and long arms. He worked with a higher leg kick while keeping his weight on his backside before transitioning into his delivery. Eikhoff hid the ball well from a high three-quarters arm slot while working both sides of the plate. His fastball sat 88-90 while touching 91 with some arm-side run. He also worked with a slider-type curveball that sat in the upper-70s that showed little depth but great 2-8 run with a good changeup in the lower-80s that had late break. The projectable righty went on to get the win for Canes National 17u while striking out seven batters in only four innings pitched. With his skill set, he will be an important late pick up for a ball club as he shows to have projectable Division I skills already in place.

-Drew Wesolowski

Brandon Llewellyn (2020 Colleyville, Texas) started the game for the Dallas Tigers 17U-Hernandez and turned in a strong performance. The 6-foot-2 righthander has a smooth delivery from the windup with the pitch coming from a three-quarters arm slot. He intermixed a fastball with a slider and a 12-to-6 curveball. The Notre Dame commits fastball would sit comfortably in the upper-80s, maxing out at 87. His dominant pitches on the day though were his two breaking pitches. With both his slider and curveball working effectively, Llewellyn generated lots of swing-and-misses as well as groundball outs. Rarely did he find himself in a tough situation through the course of the game but when he did, he was able to make the pitches to get out of it. The Colleyville native ended game with six strikeouts through just over five innings pitched while only allowing one earned run.

Jackson Cherry (2020 Forest, Va.) turned in a strong performance at the plate for Dirtbags Platinum 17U, helping them to a victory. The lefthanded batter has a straight-up stance at the plate with his hands kept high near his neck, while his left elbow pops straight out. As the pitch comes, he takes a long stride back towards the pitcher. The athletic outfielder showed that he could consistently make solid contact with the ball and really drive it for extra-base hits. He finished the game with two hits, including a double, and five RBI. On the bases, he plays intelligently yet aggressive. The uncommitted prospect puts himself into position to be able to take the extra base when available.

Grant Elliott (2020 Danville, Va.) is a 5-foot-11, 155-pound outfielder. Staying aggressive on the base paths and at the plate lead Elliott to success in the Dirtbags Platinum 17U victory. The uncommitted outfielder looked to be able to put solid wood on the ball and put it in play anyway he could. Each at-bat he had in the game, he put it in play and forced the defense into making tough plays to get him out or stop him from taking extra bases. He started the game with a double and followed with a triple in his next at-bat. The one out he caused was a hard-hit ball deep into center field. The Danville native followed that up with an RBI double down the left field line. With plus speed, Elliott was difficult to get out and to stop from scoring as he scored two runs for his team while driving in two runs as well.

Myles McDermott (2020 Braintree, Mass.) is a 6-foot-3, 215-pound righthanded pitcher. Starting the game for the Canes American 17U, the righthanded pitcher showed the stuff that has him ranked as the top righthanded pitcher in Massachusetts. With a very simple and quick delivery that doesn’t consist of too much movement, McDermott filled it up with a fastball that comfortably sat in the lower-90s while maxing out at 92. He also threw in a curveball that had a sharp 11-to-5 break to it that would sit in the low-70s. The uncommitted righthander was able to use those two pitches interchangeably and keep batters off balance. The Braintree native seemed to be more comfortable and turned in his best stuff working from his windup. 

Dylan Schwartz (2020 Chino, Calif.) is a 5-foot-10, 150-pound righthanded pitcher. Schwartz took the mound for Southern California Bombers 2020 Black and turned in a dominant performance. With a small frame that could continue to mature, the righthander already showed big-time stuff as he consistently sat in the upper-80s, maxing out at 89. He has a smooth windup that is repeatable with low-hand separation and an explosion off of the mound. He generated deception with his fastball and a 12-to-6 curve which resulted in quite a few swing-and-misses or called third strikes. The uncommitted pitcher worked efficiently and quickly as he struck out seven batters in three and a third innings, while only throwing 45 pitches. Through the course of the game, Schwartz didn’t allow a run to cross the plate as his team took home a much-earned victory.

-Brian Treadway

Ryan Clifford (2022, Raleigh, N.C.) got off to a very strong start on the first day of the WWBA 17U National Championship. The lefthander went 1-for-3 with a home run, two runs scored, a walk, and two RBI. At first glance, the uncommitted prospect certainly passes the eye test. With a muscular build on a 6-foot-3, 205-pound frame, it is easy to see how Clifford generates his effortless raw power at the plate. He also flashed a very strong arm during a two-inning stint in center field. At the plate, a tall and narrow open stance proceeds an impressive swing. Clifford gets fully extended down through the zone and uses his lower half extremely well with good timing. Power is certainly not an issue, as his long home run cleared the fence in the right-center field gap easily. As the No. 1 outfielder in the nation in his class, Clifford projects extremely well and will play baseball at a high level in the near future.

A.J. Reid (2020, Highland, Ind.) put on a very impressive showing for the Morris Baseball Chiefs 2020. Reid went 1-for-2 at the plate and played stellar defense at shortstop. Offensively, the righthanded hitter stands in the box with a wide base to his slightly open stance. The swing is fluid and produces line drive power to the pull side as well as up the middle. He squares the ball up well and is a disciplined hitter. Defensively, the uncommitted 17-year-old was impressive to say the least. Every play was made with ease and looked routine, even the ones that weren’t. He stays down on the ball and fields with soft quick hands, and fires to first with arm strength and accuracy. As a pure shortstop, Reid’s range to both his right and left, as well as his quick reads, make him a vacuum on the left side of the infield. With a 6-foot-1, 180-pound frame that holds a lean athletic build, there is plenty of room to add muscle. He projects well with the prime of his talent still way ahead of him, an all-around solid player.

Justin Honeycutt (2020, Fayetteville, N.C.) had an all-around strong performance for Canes Central 17U on Friday. He went 2-for-3 at the plate with a triple and a run scored, while also pitching an inning in relief before returning to the outfield. Offensively, the lefthander swings the bat well, making solid contact out front and getting fully extended down through the zone. He stands in the box with a square stance and wide base. Once he starts his swing he brings his front leg back in for a toe tap and then explodes back towards the pitcher while starting a strong turn in his back hip. As a true line drive hitter, power to drive the gaps is certainly present. In the field, sound defense and speed played well in center field. With a wiry athletic build on a 5-foot-11, 165-pound frame, there is room to add muscle and strength as the uncommitted 17-year-old continues to grow.

Jake Poindexter (2021, Chickamauga, Ga.) pitched a dominant complete game shutout for eXposure Prime 17U on Friday. He threw seven innings with 10 strikeouts, no walks or runs allowed, while only giving up two hits. The University of Georgia commit commanded his pitches very well all afternoon and was very efficient. He worked off of a high-80s fastball that had a bit of late life and a sweeping curveball in the low-70s. He also flashed a changeup in the high-70s. A long fluid arm action and his three-quarters arm slot pairs very well with his extremely quick delivery and fast pace of play. The lanky 6-foot-1, 170-pounder gets down the mound well and gets good extension with his throwing arm in the back of his arm action. He projects well both from a physical standpoint as well as a skills standpoint and will continue to develop nicely into his collegiate career.

Cal Stark (2020, Knoxville, Tenn.) had a very strong day at the plate for Stix 2020 Mendoza on Friday. The catcher went 2-for-3 with a home run, walk, run scored, and two RBI. In the batter’s box, the righthanded hitter stands tall with his weight back and shoulder’s width base in his square stance. He does a nice job of keeping his weight back when firing his lower half. Raw power to the pull side played well all afternoon. Behind the plate, Stark sits low and comfortable with soft hands and is a good receiver. He keeps the ball in front of him and frames well. Physically, the uncommitted 6-foot, 200-pounder projects well. He is filling out but still has room to grow in his bigger muscular build.

Kameron Dunlap (2020, Lexington, S.C.) was extremely impressive in a relief outing on Friday. He threw two innings, allowing three walks and one run with a strikeout. Although command was an issue, Dunlap still showed potential. The lefthanded pitcher worked off of a fastball in the 86-88 mph range but was up to 91 mph. He paired his fastball with a sweeping 73 mph curveball. The uncommitted 17-year-old releases from a high three-quarters arm slot with a long, whippy arm action. He throws with ease and his arm action is fluid. At 5-foot-10, 170 pounds, Dunlap has plenty of room to grow, and projects well. When he grows into his body his fastball could easily be in the mid 90’s from the left side.

-Jacob Jordan

Tennessee commit Austen Jaslove (2020, Knoxville, Tenn.) showcased his projectable 6-foot-2, 170-pound frame and quick-twitch athleticism for the Chattanooga Cyclones 17U. The middle infielder displayed a smooth glove at shortstop as well as a powerful arm, good footwork, and incredibly quick transfers. His highlight play showed him ranging far into the six-hole and making a strong throw on the move to get the runner at first base by two steps. The righthanded hitter starts with a slightly open and crouched stance, employing a toe-tap trigger for timing. His swing enters the zone on a level plane and he takes a line drive approach to all fields. His projectable frame could fill out even further and he could hit for some power in the future.

Harrison Travis (2019, Soddy Daisy, Tenn.) showcased a powerful arm from behind home plate while playing for the Chattanooga Cyclones 17U. Throwing out several runners on the bases, the Carson-Newman College commit registered several pop times right around two seconds. The 6-foot-3, 198-pound catcher has a large frame with current strength and athleticism in the build. His above-average arm strength and accuracy is assisted with quick feet and smooth transfers behind the dish. The righthanded hitter starts with a wide base and a slightly open stance. He takes a small stride towards the pitcher and stays on a level plane throughout the zone. The swing is smooth and fluid with hands to match. His current strength and smooth swing creates loud contact frequently. He has the ability to hit for legitimate power.

Jeremy Wagner (2020, Crozet, Va.) is a center fielder with above-average ability in every aspect of the game. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound outfielder has a medium frame with athleticism in the build. Defensively, the Austin Peay commit takes good jumps and gets a good first step on fly balls. He fields balls smoothly and transitions the ball quickly back into the infield with an above-average arm. His above-average speed and terrific instincts play well on both sides of the ball. Batting leadoff, the righthanded hitter stands nearly straight up with his feet right next to each other. Taking a medium leg stride, his hands are quick and catch the ball out front on a level plane. A typical hit for Wagner is a line drive to left-center field but he has the ability to hit to all fields. His instincts, hitting ability, and speed were on full display as he finished off a 12-pitch at-bat with a line drive triple to left-center field. He typically makes loud contact and has the ability to be a legitimate 5-tool player if his power develops further.

Vanderbilt commit Carter Holton (2021, Guyton, Ga.) pitched lights out for Team Elite Scout Team and proved why he is the top lefthanded pitching prospect in Georgia. The 5-foot-10, 170-pound lefthanded pitcher has a small frame that could fill out and gain additional velocity. He works quickly in the windup and takes a medium leg lift that whips out towards first base before extending towards the plate. His arm action is extremely live and deceptive from a high three-quarters arm slot. His fastball played firm and sat between 87-90 mph while touching 92 mph. He also featured a straight changeup around 80 mph and a swing-and-miss curveball around 75 mph. He displayed confidence in all three pitches, getting at least one strikeout on each pitch. His command faded slightly throughout the game, but he located pristinely before issuing his first of two walks in the third inning. All told, Holton threw five scoreless innings with 10 strikeouts, two walks, and only one hit allowed. Look for things to come from this rising junior.

Nick Brown (2020, Madison, Ala.) showcased his powerful arm and pitching potential for the East Cobb Astros 17U Navy. The righthanded pitcher has live arm action that takes a circular motion and finishes with a slot that is in between over-the-top and high three-quarters. He uses his powerful base to gain velocity with his stride leg pointing towards third base before working downhill towards the plate. His arsenal includes a sinking fastball that plays heavy around 86-88 mph while touching 90 mph. He also throws a fading changeup around 78-80 mph and a curveball with 12-to-6 action around 74 mph. With a 6-foot-2, 195-pound frame, he projects well onto the next level and could fill out further. The potential is certainly there but he struggled a little bit with command and maintaining velocity. Brown pitched four scoreless innings with five strikeouts, only allowing one hit, but issued four walks.

-Jake Martin

Chase Allen (2020, Lakewood, Colo.) is a 6-foot-5, 205-pound righthanded pitcher from Regis Jesuit High School in his hometown. A senior in the fall, Allen took the mound for Beast Mode Prime 17U at East Cobb and proved why he is ranked as the top righthanded arm in the 2020 class, in his home state. Chase left after 4 2/3, where he struck out five and left with the lead on the way to earn the win in his team’s first game of the 2019 WWBA 17U National Championship. On the mound, Allen sets up from the first base side of the rubber and uses a full windup with good rhythm and timing with his arm throughout. He employs a leg lift to his belt and then drops and drives, loading on his backside really using his lower half to power himself down the mound. He showed consistency with his release from a three-quarters slot, and the athleticism to get over his front side well and continue down the mound unrestricted. Allen showed the ability to use his three-pitch repertoire with confidence and mixing as he went to both dexterities and in all counts on his way to an early tournament win for his club. Allen’s mix consisted of a fastball (82-84 mph, 86 mph max) and a curveball in the mid-70s. Chase’s fastball appears downhill with some run in the zone. Will occasionally cut some as well. Curveball is a swing and miss offering with good depth and shape currently. More of a 11/5 break yet showed to be tight at times. Lastly, changeup is still a work in progress yet flashes feel for it from time to time. The few that were right displayed good arm speed on the sell and late fade through the zone. Overall, a high-upside talent that is athletic and can field his position as well. Does a lot of things right on the mound and competes each pitch. Exciting prospect to watch moving forward into his collegiate commitment at the University of Michigan.

Cameron Hassert (2020, Longmont, Colo.) is a 6-foot-1, 160-pound, shortstop from Silver Creek High School in his hometown. An incoming senior in the fall, Hassert has already verbally committed to continue his baseball career at Villanova University following his senior year. Hassert showed instantly why he is one of the highest ranked shortstops in Colorado (No. 3), as he performed well in the field as well as at the plate. At the plate this morning, Hassert was 1-for-3 with an RBI. In the box, Hassert has an upright posture with an open stance. He starts with his hands by his ear, with a quick bat waggle near his shoulder for timing. Upon pitch delivery Hassert uses a moderately large leg kick and loads his weight on his backside while keeping his hands still. At foot-strike Hassert demonstrated good explosion with his hips then followed with a level bat path, matching the plane of the pitch with quick hands and wrists through the zone. He has a smooth one-handed finish and showed the ability to get out of the box well. Power is currently to the gaps, yet bat speed and leverage in swing indicates future power potential. Hassert is a really good athlete and moves well in the field as well. Played third base this morning at East Cobb and showcased quick reactions and soft hands on a couple of hard-hit plays that went his way. Hassert has a good arm as well that profiles to the left side of the infield with continual on target throws with good mechanics and carry through the bag. Very good athlete with plenty of tools all over the diamond. High up-side ballplayer with the ability to impact the game in many ways.

Jared Jones (2022, Marietta, Ga.) is a 6-foot-4, strong and athletic catcher from Walton High School in his hometown. Jones, a sophomore in the fall, is currently ranked as the top backstop in the state of Georgia and No. 2 nationally for the class of 2022, yet played first base this morning for his club, East Cobb Astros 16U X. At the plate, Jones went 2-for-2 with a double, RBI, two runs scored, and a walk. He did a nice job showcasing his advanced hitability throughout the day with his keen mechanics and good hand-eye coordination. At the plate, Jones sets up with a square stance and low hands. He uses a toe-tap trigger and does a very good job staying short and through the ball. He makes continual hard contact resulting in easy power projection. Jones is a good athlete and moved well for his size out of the box, on the bases, and around the bag at first. He is a good receiver and makes all plays at the corner infield spot. He is a fun prospect to watch as he appears confident in his abilities and plays loose. Very exciting player to monitor moving forward. High-upside talent. 

Dylan Lesko (2022, Buford, Ga.) carries a lot of buzz as the No. 1 prospect in the 2022 class, yet was unphased and live up to the hype this morning at East Cobb getting the start for his club East Cobb Astros 16U X. Still months away from his sixteenth birthday, Lesko stands at a very projectable 6-foot-3, 170 pounds. He is lean, athletic, and has plenty of room to fill on his current frame to reach physical maturity. On the mound, Lesko delivers from the first base side of the rubber with a balanced slow-tempo windup. He demonstrated good rhythm and timing with his motion through delivery and showed good sync between his body and arm through delivery. Lesko delivers from a high three-quarters slot and showed good athleticism and flexibility upon release as he really drives down the mound and gets over his front side well. Currently, Lesko has an average three-pitch mix and pitchability to go with it. He has a fastball that sits in the low-90s with a high on the day of 92. Velocity holds up through his start, and there still might be more in the tank with continued growth and physical maturity. He has good control of his fastball with the occasional glimpse of developing command. Lesko’s curve has three-quarters break when right, others are slurvy especially when he gets more behind it. Dylan’s changeup is currently a work in progress, yet he does demonstrate good arm speed through release with occasional feel and fade. When he gets it right all three pitches currently are high swing and miss deliveries making Lesko a very tough day for any lineup. Sky is the limit here with this young prospect, with the possibility of three above average pitches down the line following further development. Lesko is a good athlete and moves well off the mound with a good glove and ability to make all plays. Exciting to watch pitch, as he does so with so much confidence and poise. Really trusts his ability on the mound. You’re going to want to follow Lesko as only time stands between him and the MLB draft.

Steven Ondina (2020, Gurabo, P.R.) is a 5-foot-8, 156-pound toolsy shortstop from the International Baseball Academy in his home territory of Puerto Rico. The strong and projectably-framed infielder showcased why he’s ranked in the top-20 shortstops for his class at East Cobb on Friday as he displayed present projectable tools and actions both with the bat and glove. At the plate, Ondina sets up with a square stance and low hands near his pec. He has good vision, hand-eye coordination and patience in the box that helped him go 1-for-2 on the day with a single to the pull-side gap for an RBI, a walk, and a stolen base. He showcases a short, quick bat path with good feel for the barrel and power to the gaps. On the bases Ondina is alert with definite base-stealing potential. It is apparent that he looks to run and can make things happen with his feet. On his stolen base this morning, Ondina showed aggression, the ability to get a good jump, and had good acceleration on the base-path. In the field, his athleticism is apparent with everything he does. He is light on his feet and moves well laterally with sound defensive actions. He is a solid defender with soft hands and possesses the proven ability to make all plays hit his way. Ondina has an ‘80’ arm that he has been clocked near 100 mph across the diamond. Throws are accurate and are consistently on target from his over-top release. Throws also have plenty of carry through the bag as well. Extremely high up-side talent who seems to still be extremely raw despite all his present tools. Committed to continue his baseball career at Florida International University following his senior year next season.

Hunter Paulsen (2021, Acworth, Ga.) is a 6-foot-1, 185-pound lefthanded pitcher from Allatoona High School in his hometown. Paulsen, an incoming junior in the fall, has a strong, projectable frame, and was lights out this morning at East Cobb, turning in a phenomenal performance while tossing a three-inning, run-rule shortened no-hitter for his club East Cobb Astros 16U X. What might be the most impressive stat on the day is that Paulsen only needed 29 pitches to complete the game which means that he not only earned the win, but he can pitch again tomorrow due to the current pitch-smart rules. Paulsen uses a balanced yet up-tempo windup from the first base side of the rubber. He displayed good rhythm and timing throughout the short outing and a smooth, loose, whip like arm action that was unrestricted through release with easy deceleration during his follow-through. Paulsen’s repertoire consisted of a fastball (77-79 mph, 80 mph max) and a curveball (68-69 mph). Fastball appears heavy with some riding life through the zone. Curveball on the other hand had good shape, depth, and he demonstrated the ability to throw both offerings for strikes. Hunter faced the minimum during the start, a total of nine batters and struck out four, filling up the zone all game, and inducing a lot of soft contact that his defense handled with ease. Paulsen is a good athlete who demonstrated the ability field his position with good actions. Exudes confidence on the mound, and his teammates appeared to feed off of it. Solid competitor who leaves it all on the field. Still with half his high school career to go, Paulsen is an exciting prospect to follow moving forward as he came into the game already ranked inside the top-20 for lefthanded pitchers in Georgia for the 2021 graduating class.

Mackenzie Wainwright (2020, Aurora, Ohio) is 6-foot-1, 207-pound athletic and strong outfielder from St. Edward High School near his Cleveland suburban home. Wainwright made a loud impression with his bat this morning at East Cobb as he finished Team Ohio Pro Select’s first game of the tournament with a line that read 2-for-4 with a home run, two runs scored, four RBI, and a stolen base. Wainwright’s home run came during his first at-bat and he showcased easily-projectable plus raw power with plenty of leverage and strength on his current build. Wainwright has good balance in the box and creates plenty of torque with the ability to turn it loose with excellent bat speed and feel for the barrel. Raw power is already present and well showcased in game action. On the bases, Wainwright had good acceleration and stayed light on his feet despite his current size. Green light guy with impactful speed and in-game awareness to make things happen. Wainwright profiles well for center field where he played Friday against 5 Star 17U South and displayed the ability to take good routes to balls hit his way, covering a lot of ground to both gaps. Has the ability to get to everything with a sure-handed, reliable glove. Good instincts in all phases with a solid approach to the game. Appears to have fun on the diamond and in turn is exciting to watch play. Currently ranked as the second-best outfielder and fourth-overall prospect in the Buckeye state, Wainwright will stay home and attend Ohio State University following his senior season next spring.

-Matt Arietta

Carter Holton (2021, Guyton, Ga.) is 5-foot-10 with long arms and weighs 170 pounds.  He is a very athletic lefthanded pitcher that is in complete control while on the mound.  He throws from a low three-quarters slot that generates arm-side run and sink. He showed command of both sides of the plate with his fastball that peaked at 90 mph.  His deceptive delivery has light crossfire while he hides the ball well with his front side.  He was able to tunnel a low-80s changeup that got multiple swing and misses, along with a slider in the 75-77 range that he could back door or back foot.  He had a quick five-inning outing striking out 10 and giving up only a single hit.  He is on the shorter side, but has plenty of room to fill out and add velocity.  His pitchability ranks amongst the best in the class. Vandy commit.

Michael Schultz (2020, Vienna, Va.) has a low-effort delivery and he was methodical throughout his five innings.  He fanned nine hitters during his five innings of work, walking one and scattering three hits.  He has well above-average arm speed and should have an easy jump as he learns to get over his front side consistently.  His fastball showed deception at the top of the zone getting some bad swing and misses and worked up to down landing his 75-78 curveball to his glove side at will. He has a developed frame, but the stuff will continue to tick up as he gets stronger.

Matthew Ruiz (2020, Hialeah, Fla.) is a great looking 6-foot-3 athlete who is still uncommitted.  He has good bat speed, stays short to the ball, and uses his levers to stay in the zone for a long time.  He played left field today, making a spectacular catch on a line drive to the left field line. He ranged over and went full extension to rob a hitter of extra bases.  At the plate, he turned on a fastball and barreled a ball to the left field corner for a standup double.  Though he played outfield today, he has a chance to stay at the hot corner defensively.  He looks like a very versatile player at the next level.

Alan Espinal (2020, Viera, Fla.) is known for his catch-and-throw ability, which is some of the best in the class.  He was in the designated hitter roll today and came through in a big way.  He has a wiry, athletic body with some twitch to his swing.  He is starting to refine his mechanics by getting more direction in his hand path and balance throughout his swing.  In a 2-0 game in the sixth inning, with Elite squad leading, he got a fastball up in the zone and hit a no-doubt grand slam to ice the game. Espinal’s bat is starting to play, and with his defensive ability, the uncommitted prospect will continue to open eyes this year.

Dante Girardi (2020, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) Is a tightly-wound infielder that checks a lot of boxes.  He has very good bat speed and shows intent when he lets his barrel go.  He stays tight to his body and does a good job staying behind the baseball and working the middle of the field.  He found a couple barrels, adding a hit and a hard line out to right field.  He showed the ability to cover the outer half and stay patient with his approach, taking what the pitcher gave him.  He has range at shortstop and the ability to transfer quickly, and be accurate across the diamond. FIU commit.

Grayson Moore (2020, Longwood, Fla.) Is a high-level two-way prospect with big upside.  He is a switch hitter that shows promise from both sides of the plate.  He used his lefthanded swing to hit two balls very hard, one of them for a line drive single that started a late rally.  He has long levers and the ability to lift balls to the pull side, as he fills out his wiry frame, the power will show up frequently.  He adds a big arm from the outfield and plenty of range to impact the game in many ways.

Nick Gorby (2020, Port St Lucie, Fla.) seems to give quality outings every time he takes the bump. The 6-foot-1 lefthanded pitcher has a low effort delivery that he easily repeats.  He is fearless in his pitch selection and will throw any of his pitches at any time.  He sat in the 86-89 range with his fastball from a low three-quarters slot.  He gets late sink and works all four quadrants. He consistently moves the ball around and never falls into patterns. His breaking ball shows good shape and he throws it in the low-70s, his changeup shows late fade and he used it to get soft contact during his outing.  His true three-pitch mix plus elite command for his age make things look very easy when he takes the ball. Texas Tech commit.

Bobby Alcock (2020, Lynn, Mass.) is an uncommitted 6-foot-4 righthanded pitcher.  He is strong and did a very good job using his legs and core to generate effortless velocity in the 87-90/1 range.   He created angle from a high slot that produced a lot of soft contact.  He projects well as he continues to firm up his body.  His curveball was in the 72-74 range but has 12-6 shape and he did a good job getting extension on the pitch to create depth.  He threw dominant innings striking out all six outs recorded.

Zac Veen (2020, Port Orange, Fla.) has an easiness to his overall game.  He is tall, at 6-foot-4, with long levers and has easy actions to everything he does.  He has a very quick lefthanded swing and was able to see pitches deep and control the zone well.  He has real whip in his swing and the barrel flies through the zone when he is on time. He is loose and it is easy to dream on the loft power he will have in the future.  He is very accurate with his barrel and consistently stays with an all field approach, as seen today with a double down the opposite field line that was 95 off the bat. Florida commit.

-Jered Goodwin

Ben Peterson (2020, Cary, N.C.) The Appalachian State commit displayed clean easy mechanics with impressive arm speed from a high three-quarter arm slot. Peterson gets extended out front very well creating a good downhill plane on his fastball topping out at 89 mph. In his five innings of work, Ben collected six strikeouts creating a majority of those strikeouts with a fastball up in the zone or with a 12/6 curveball with good depth and sharp break at 75 mph.

Indiana Prospects 17U-Hinds enjoyed a run-rule shortened game in their first game of the tournament largely in thanks to Kip Fougerousse (2020, Linton, Ind.) Kip worked six innings allowing only three hits and one walk while collecting six strikeouts. The Indiana commit flashed an athletic delivery throwing from a three-quarter arm slot with good arm speed. Fougerousse showed a fastball with heavy life through the top of the zone creating empty swings up to 89 mph complemented with a slider with sweeping actions across the zone at 74 mph. At the plate Kip also contributed two singles and two RBI in the win.

James McCoy (2021 Dunwoody, Ga.) Enjoyed his first game of the tournament at the plate collecting two doubles and four RBI. McCoy, a long, athletic 2021 grad showed an easy swing with a direct hand path to the ball and a naturally elevated path through the ball with present gap-to-gap power.

The Mariners Midwest Scout Team coasted to a 12-0 win in their first game of the tournament largely due to the arm of Jacob Mrosko (2020, Chanhassen, Minn.) the Purdue commit was dominant in his four innings only surrendering one hit while striking out 11 batters. Jacob showed an athletic delivery with a live arm throwing from an over-the-top slot. Showed a fastball with heavy life through the zone creating a lot of swing and miss up to 89 mph complemented with a sharp slider at 76 mph used as a strike out pitch.

Gaberial Starks (2020, Pine Bluff, Ark.) was impressive in his outing throwing a dominant six innings. In his six innings of work starts allowed two hits and one walk while striking out 13 batters. An uncommitted 2020 grad featuring a long athletic delivery with a long loose arm action throwing from a three-quarter arm slot with plus arm speed. Showed a dominant fastball thrown consistently up in the zone for swing and miss up to 93 miles per hour complemented with a sharp 12/6 curveball at 77 mph and a sweeping slider at 84 mph.

A Wofford commit Sam Stratton (2020, Alpharetta, Ga.) was lights out in his outing on Friday only allowing two hits and two walks while striking out 10 batters. The lefty showed the ability to fill up the zone with a two-pitch mix keeping hitters off balance consistently. Stratton showed a fastball with heavy run and good control to both sides of the plate up to 86 mph complemented by a 1/7 breaking ball with good depth and sharp break at 75 mph.

The Ole Miss commit Reagan Burford (2020, Gernmantown, Tenn.) Showed an easy, direct hand path to the baseball with clean turns throughout the swing. Flashed the ability to create bat speed with good barrel control creating consistently driven line drives. In the game on Friday, Buford was able to collect two hits including a loud double into the right-center field gap showing the present gap-to-gap power.

Wyatt Scotti (2020, Marstons Mills, Mass.) Got the call in the first game of the tournament for FTB Tucci-Berryhill and he did not disappoint. The long, athletic uncommitted 2020 grad showed clean, repeatable mechanics getting extended down the mound well. Showed a long loose arm action throwing from a three-quarter arm slot with whippy actions. Scotti features a fastball with heavy downhill plane up to 88 mph complemented with a sharp 12/6 curveball at 74 mph. In his three innings of work Wyatt collected four strikeouts while allowing no walks.

Austin Roberts (2020 Grantville, Ga.) made a big contribution in UMGA Red 17U first game of the weekend. At the plate Roberts collected one hit, but that hit was a loud home run to right-center field showing his impressive present gap-to-gap power and bat speed through the zone. Roberts was also able to drive in four runs in the effort.

Andreaus Lewis II (2021, Snellville, Ga.) was very impressive at the plate on Friday showing an easy line drive-oriented swing with good bat speed and a slightly lifted barrel plane through the baseball creating the ability to drive the ball to and through the gaps. The Eastern Kentucky commit showed that ability on Friday collecting two hits and one RBI including a line drive double tattooed into the gap.

A University of Washington commit Emilio Corona (2020, San Louis Obispo, CA.) flashed impressive pull-side power on Friday getting the barrel out early on an inside fastball and not missing it hitting a loud home run to left field to collect two RBI on the way to a 8-0 win for BPA.

-Ben Milks
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