Tournaments | Story | 7/1/2019

14u WWBA Day 3 Scout Notes

Jheremy Brown         Taylor Weber         Colton Olinger        
Photo: Riley Jackson (Perfect Game)

14u WWBA Scout Notes: Day 1 | Day 2

William Turner (2022, Hartselle, Ala.) may not be as physical as his counterpart Jackson McKenzie (detailed below) but the quick-twitch, athletic lefthander out of Alabama showed what he’s capable of on the bump in a complete game shutout effort for Team Elite. At 5-foot-11, 157-pounds there’s near endless physically projection with Turner, though what he’s already capable of on the bump was plenty enough to keep the attention of college recruiters looking on.

Armed with a quick, whip-like left arm Turner ran his fastball up to 83 mph early in the contest and maintained 79-82 mph on the pitch throughout, continuously pumping the strike zone to his arm side with short running life down in the zone. While he would scatter it at times, as the four walks suggest, he lived mostly around the zone and struck out six, elicited weak contact off the barrel as the Yankees Baseball Club didn’t collect their first hit until the fifth inning. His delivery is a balanced one and he does a nice job of repeating, working to a higher three-quarters release point.

In that fifth innings when the Yankees were able to finally get a runner on via a base knock, Turner found himself in a first and third, no out situation with a 2-0 lead to lean on. The uncommitted lefthander showed the ability to buckle in, striking out the next two batters before inducing a ground ball to third base to escape the jam unscathed and ultimately preserve the shutout. Along with the fastball turner showed a 70-72 mph breaking ball with tight rotation and feel for spinning it within the zone.

Similar to other players mentioned in prior recaps, lefthander Jackson McKenzie (2023, Pace, Fla.) has already established himself as one of the more refined pitchers in the class and it’s only a matter of time until the velocity on his fastball takes that next jump. Already listed at a strong yet projectable 6-foot-2, 185-pounds, McKenzie quickly settled into his zone Sunday morning and after a first inning in which his timing as a bit off and began pounding the zone with a complete three-pitch mix.

Working from an over-the-top slot with a short and quick arm stroke through the backside, McKenzie was able to generate pretty consistent plane on his fastball as he began finishing towards the plate and ran his fastball up to 83 mph, working comfortably in the 79-82 mph range. His release generates natural cut to the ball through the zone and given how cleanly the ball jumps from his hand it’s only a matter of time before the velocity begins to climb. Over his six innings of work McKenzie punched out eight and relied on his secondary pitches as much as he did the heater.

At the 14u level it’s not often you find a pitcher with a true three-pitch mix with control of them all, but that’s something McKenzie showed throughout his time on the mound to keep a tough Team Elite offense at bay for the majority of the game. His curveball proved to be a good pitch for him, up to 70 mph with 12-6 shape out of the hand, showing quality depth through the zone when on top of the pitch. The changeup is a quality third offering for the young southpaw, showing a similar release point with proper rotation to the 67-70 mph pitch while creating some deception to get hitters out front on their front foot to induce weak contact.

One of the early commitments around the country to his in-state Oklahoma Sooners, Jaxon Willits (2023, Fort Cobb, Okla.) may not have filled up the box score offensively, collecting just an infield single along with a loud fly out to the opposite field, but he made his presence felt on defense at second base for Team Elite. Getting the start at second, Willits showed his natural baseball instincts with a quick first step on balls hit to either side and really showed his range while moving towards his left. He’s able to read the ball off the bat well and did just that on a ground ball that looked destined to go through the three-hole until Willits was able to pick the ball mid-stride, maintain his balance with sound foot and on a spin delivered an accurate throw on to first base to get the leadoff hitter. So far this tournament all of my looks at Willits have comes against lefthanded arms, making him take reps from the right side where he’s hitting to the tune of .571 over the first three games.

Outfielders Justin Smith (2022, Detroit, Mich.) and Remington Garrett (2023, Dahlonega, Ga.) put two of the better swings on the ball in the opening game of the day for Team Elite National, both collecting extra-base knocks with some life off the barrel. Smith, ranked No. 177 in the class of 2022, showed off the fluidity to his righthanded stroke with quickness to his hands, lining a pitch down the right field line for a double early in the game to plate a run before scoring one himself. Garrett provided a welcomed insurance run late in the game with a well-struck triple to his pull side, showing strength off the barrel with loud contact out front.

While Sunday marked my first time seeing catcher Riley Jackson (2023, Melbourne, Fla.) in person, the young backstop has already found plenty of success in past tournaments as well as the 14u WWBA as he enters Monday’s action with a .714 batting average. Strongly built at 5-foot-11, 175-pounds, Jackson hits in the three-hole for 5 Star National and for good reason as he showed in his first at-bat of the game. In his first of two hits on the day Jackson did a nice job of keeping his weight back and powering through the baseball with extension out front and natural lift to his path, lofting a triple down the left field line that just stayed within the chalk. His physical strength plays well off the barrel as well as behind the plate where he shows one of the better arms from behind the dish in the tournament, delivery strikes in between innings with sound mechanics as well as from his knees.

After getting on base in all four at-bats Sunday, twice via walk and singles the other two at-bats, the lefthanded hitting, righthanded throwing James Hays (2023, Hawkinsville, Ga.) closed out a run shortened game with an impressive inning of work on the mound. Already standing at 6-foot-2, 175-pounds, Hays works with a rather simple delivery on the mound with a quick stroke through the back, producing an 83-86 mph fastball with relative ease while the ball seems to jump out of his hand. He works over his front side well and while he’ll get rushed with his lower half coming down the mound at times, he still managed to fill up the strike zone, punching out two while attacking predominately off of his heater. The last pitch of the outing however he did show his curveball and he landed the 11-to-5 shaped pitch for a called third strike, front-dooring the pitch to a righthanded hitter while showing nice depth through the zone.

Similar to other players who have been covered in the recap, outfielder Drew Burress (2023, Perry, Ga.) already has a track record of success in Perfect Game tournaments as he’s a career .368 hitter and shows no signs of slowing as he only continues to develop physically. He’s not as physical as other players in the tournament at 5-foot-8, 155-pounds, but that doesn’t prevent him from whipping the barrel through the zone nor does it prevent him from exuding a sense of confidence and ability to slow down the game in the batter’s box. Picking up one of the three extra-base hits for 5 Star in their victory Sunday afternoon, Burress hunted a 3-0 fastball up in the zone and drove the pitch over the left fielder’s head for an easy double, again showing his handle for the barrel and ability to drive the baseball.

Andrew Dunford (2023, Centerville, Ga.) certainly demands your attention as he walks onto the mound as he stands 6-foot-5, 190-pounds with a very high waist and long levers with ample room to fill throughout. That said, despite his size and age combo, which can often lead to inconsistent mechanics and scattered command, the young righthander pounded the zone with a fastball which topped out at 82 mph, striking out seven over his three innings of work. The ball comes out of his hand cleanly and while he can get inconsistent in terms of how he releases the ball, providing either running life or cut action to the pitch, he consistent worked on top to generate plane through the zone. Dunford worked off his fastball well and mixed a 68-71 mph curveball with tilting life to keep hitters honest, again working around the zone.

Continuing his hit-streak at the 14u WWBA, shortstop Cameron Pruitt (2023, Wylie, Texas) has been a sparkplug atop the lineup for the Dallas Tigers-Autrey club, showing off both his twitch and athleticism over the first four games of the tournament. With a lean, middle infielder’s build there’s plenty of projection in terms of physicality with Pruitt though he already shows present quickness to both his hands and the barrel through the zone. After beating out an infield single with his foot speed earlier in the tournament, Pruitt again put that speed on display as he lined a pitch hard into left-center field and got out of the box quickly, thinking about second base from the moment of impact, ultimately beating the throw.

Detailed in Saturday’s recap for his abilities on the mound, Noah Bentley (2023, Celina, Texas) continued to swing a hot bat for the Dallas Tigers and keeps impressing as a potential two-way prospect. After a loud double to the opposite field in the game he pitched, the righthanded hitting Bentley again went to the opposite field gap in the first inning against Dig-In to give his team a quick lead. While the ball didn’t get out of the yard, he did get more than enough barrel to it to generate hard jump with a short, direct path to the ball and hustled hard out of the box instantly to ultimately come around for an inside-the-park home run.

Braedyn Moore (2023, Hamilton, Ohio) is one of a handful of interesting athletes on the Cincinnati Spikes and he’s a player we were able to see earlier in the spring at the 14u Ohio Valley Showcase. Listed at 5-foot-11, 155-pounds, Moore shows twitchiness to his swing as he did a nice job of staying short to the ball while collecting another couple of knocks this tournament to raise his average to .444. Remaining compact through the zone, Moore first picked up a barreled base hit to his pull side before shooting a pitch back up the middle for his second single of the day.

– Jheremy Brown

Canes National 14u stayed hot with a dominant 17-1 victory in their one and only game on the day, their third double-digit victory in four games. On bump needing to toss just a pair of innings was lengthy lefthander George “Jed’ Howard (2022, Forest, Va.). Howard has an ideal frame for a young lefty standing at 6-foot-3 with some room to fill out. He utilizes his limb lengthy well and is really able to create some sharp plane on his fastball that was topping out at 77 mph but has plenty more in the tank as he continues to mature. He will occasionally add some late running life on the fastball and was able to work it to both halves of the plate with ease. He runs it away from righthanders mostly and can back door it against lefties if needed. Given his teams early lead, Howard mostly worked towards contact looking to throw strikes and get outs. However, his stuff does support being able to create swing and miss and work hitters well.

Roman Anthony (2022, Wellington, Fla.) continues to swing an electric bat at the top of the Canes order going 2-for-3 in the game, including two triples and four RBI in the first inning alone. His swing is about as smooth as they come at his age and his already leveraged barrel plane creates tons of lift off the bat. He’s able to work contact to all fields and has a mature approach that allows him to drive the ball to the opposite way on pitches over the outer half of the plate. The top ranked outfielder keeps the hands in tight on inside path with torque in the hips that help generate the jump off the bat he displays ever so often at the plate. At 6-foot-3, 180-pounds Anthony is ultra-athletic and displays it by easily repeating his mechanics at the plate.

Hitting just a couple of spots behind Anthony in the four-hole for the Canes was designated hitter Drew Lanphere (2022, Wendell, N.C.). Lanphere isn’t the prototypical cleanup hitter as he stands right around 5-foot-9 and weighs 150-pounds. What he lacks in stature he makes up for in his raw ability to just barrel up the baseball. His bat-to-ball skills are tough to beat as a 2022 and these talents should allow him to continue to produce with a high contact oriented approach at the plate. In the game Lanphere went 2-for-3 with three runs scored and an RBI double, creeping his batting average up to .429 on the tournament. For his size, he’s able to generate some jump off the barrel when getting the barrel through and driving the ball into the gaps.

The Diamond Jacks Super 14s were able to grab a 9-1 victory with the help from their three-hole hitter, Ryan Jaros (2023, Cranford, N.J.). Jaros has been a bright spot for the Diamond Jacks all tournament with a .636 average with four extra-base hits in 11 at-bats, as well as six RBIs. He has a large, strong frame, especially in his upper half. His swing gets long and generates some whip through the zone. He works contact out front and can turn the barrel out front creating strong lift off the bat. He consistently drives the ball with authority to the pull side of the field.

The Memphis Tigers 14u Lyons have been a very tough team so far through three days with a 4-0 record. In their second game of the day they were led by a trio of hitters throughout their lineup. Ethan Melton (2023, Hernando, Miss.), the two hitter; Eli Ramsey (2023, Millington, Tenn.) batting third; and finally in the seven hole Will Thyer (2023, Jonesboro, Ark.), all combined for six hits in 10 trips to the plate. They also drove in or scored six of the 10 total runs for the Tigers.

Melton employs a quick barrel looking to drive the ball on a line. When on base he can impact the game by turning a single into a double as soon as he’s able to get a jump. He creates occasional jump off the barrel but really looks to put the ball in play with a high contact approach. He can manipulate the barrel some and should continue to improve that skill as he keeps getting at-bats under hist belt.

Going 2-for-4 at the plate was center fielder Eli Ramsey. Ramsey is an athletic 6-foot-2, 160-pounds with some room to put on some muscle without sacrificing that athleticism. He moves well in the outfield, tracking the ball nicely with range in all directions. At the plate, Ramsey barrels the ball consistently and creates solid leverage through his swing on a line drive path. He is able to employ his lower half as well as his hips to create a bit of torque and produce some barrel whip through the strike zone, impacting the baseball on a positive trajectory.

Finally, Will Thyer quietly continued to hit in his first ever Perfect Game event. He works through a bit of a longer path which allows him to get to extension well out in front. He can manipulate the barrel some and has an advance feel for going where the ball is pitched. In his first trip to the plate, Thyer came up with the bases loaded. That early in the game it can be easy for young players to let the moment get a little big and expand the zone. Thyer did the exact opposite working a six-pitch walk to plate an early run for the Tigers. It was just an inning later when he really showed off the pull-side approach on a deep double that sailed over the left fielder. In his final AB of the day he was able to take a first-pitch fastball into the left field for an RBI single that helped seal the deal late in the game.

After some weather delays at Spain Park Veterans the Allstars Academy Elite and Yankees Baseball Club was finally able to get under way. Though there were eight hits between both teams in the game, the spotlight was really on the pitching. On the bump for the Yankees was righthanded pitcher Chase Meyer(2023, Canton, Ga.). At 6-foot, Meyers is a lengthy hurler with solid projection in his build. He utilizes a simple delivery staying tall throughout and getting down the mound, working through extension well.

His high arm slot allows him to create sharp angle to the plate with his fastball that sits 77-80 mph with a couple of 81s sprinkled in. His smooth delivery and size seems to project for more velocity down the road. He locates pitches well for the most part and was able to work 5 1/3 innings allowing just four hits and four strikeouts. His five walks were troublesome at times but he showed some poise in tough situations and was able to battle through allowing just a couple of runs to cross the plate.

On the bump for the Allstars was another solid righthander in Andrew Dongelewic (2022, Latham, N.Y.). His profile lists him at 5-foot-9, 130-pounds but he seems to have grown since his last update appearing to have added a couple of inches and some strength to his frame. It was a tough outing for Andrew tossing three innings and allowing three earned runs, however, he displayed some things to like. His action is smooth at times and he creates some arm speed into his release that should allow him to continue to throw quality strikes and keep working on his velocity. At 82 mph his fastball showed some heavy life through the zone. The location wasn’t always pinpoint but when it was around the plate it created some swing-and-miss and at times he was able to really work the edges of the plate. His slider also flashed strong potential when he was throwing it out front and keeping the spin tight.

Coming in to relieve Dongelewic was another projectable arm in lefty Sam Falace (2022, Niskayuna, N.Y.). Falace’s one job was to hold his opponent where they were and he was successful ending his three innings without allowing a run and surrendering just a single base hit. He was also successful in impressing on the bump. Just a few weeks ago at a Perfect Game Super25 event, Falace topped out at 77 mph. Here in Hoover he was working at 77 mph again, only this time it was toward the low end of his range as he was working at 80-81 in his first inning.  He really gets on top of the baseball well and creates sharp downward angle to the plate. He threw just a couple of off-speed pitches but each time they were solid with good feel for landing the pitch around the zone and making it a challenge pitch. It’s a pitch he should look to go to more often, though he got the results he needed.

– Taylor Weber

Cameron Tilly (2023, Newburgh, Ind.), a large, projectable pitcher measuring 6-foot-2, 165-pounds, was a strike-throwing machine Sunday morning for his Cincy Flames ballclub. His fastball sat 81-83 and topped at 84 mph. His high three-quarters arm slot creates good arm-side run with good plane in the bottom half of the zone. He backed his fastball with a solid curveball that showed good depth and 11-to-5 shape. His compact, fluid delivery and short arm action create deception allowing his fastball to get on hitters. His long lengthy frame projects well moving forward as he continues to build his strong lower half and matures.

Blake Mitchell (2023, Sinton, Texas) had a solid outing on Sunday morning for his Hooks Baseball National squad keeping them around in a tight game. Mitchell went 6 2/3 innings while allowing one earned run and striking out seven. His fastball sat 77-80 mph while painting the corners and leaving hitters frozen as it crossed the plate. He backed his fastball with a big breaking ball that showed 11-to-5 shape and the ability to be landed for a strike in any count. Working these two pitches in tandem and staying out of the middle of the plate allowed him keep hitters off balance all day. His smooth delivery and fluid arm action are easily repeatable while he does a great job of maintaining a good direction towards the plate. His 5-foot-9, 145-pound frame leaves plenty of projection left in his future as he continues to grow and mature.

Cammeron Collier (2023, Chicago, Ill.) was dominant on Sunday throwing 6 1/3 innings of no-hit baseball while striking out six. His fastball sat 81-83 mph and topped at 86 mph coming out of the hand very easy with arm-side run from his high three-quarter arm slot. His curveball proved to be a good out-pitch when batters weren’t chasing the fastball at the top of the zone. The breaking ball had good depth with 11-to-4 break, getting slurvy action to it at times. With his changeup he showed good arm speed as it sat 71-73 mph. His simple delivery and long arm action work straight down the mound right at hitters. His 6-foot, 199-pound frame projects well moving forward as he continues to grow and mature.

Brodey Walker (2023, Brandon, Miss.), a Mississippi State commit, came out pumping a fastball that sat 80-81 mph in his first inning before settling in at 78-79 the next two innings. His fastball has good plane when he is in his rhythm attacking down in the zone. His ability to throw his slider in any count allowed him to keep hitters a bit off balance. The slider showed good late bite and was effective to both sides of the plate.  His side-step delivery includes a high leg kick before his strong lower half drives him down the mound. His longer arm action settles in at a three-quarters slot which he stays consistent with for both of his pitches creating some deception out of the hand. His lean, athletic frame leaves plenty of room to project moving forward as he continues to fill out.

Tanner Lane (2023, Hendersonville, Tenn.) has a great feel for the mound. The 6-foot-2, 180-pound lefty topped out at 83 mph with his fastball while sitting in the 79-81 mph range the rest of his start. The fastball had good plane to it while living on the corners with it for most of the day. His curveball showed good depth with 12-to-6 shape while sitting 65-68 mph. His changeup slowed up hitters just enough to keep them off the fastball, sitting 71-73 mph. All three pitches are repeated from the same over-the-top arm slot creating good tunneling out of the hand and causing some deception for the hitters. His strong lower half works directionally towards the plate keeping him online while pounding the strike zone. His strong, athletic build projects well moving forward as he continues to grow.

– Colton Olinger

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