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Tournaments | Story | 7/5/2019

14u WWBA Day 7 Scout Notes

Jheremy Brown         Taylor Weber         Colton Olinger        
Photo: Jake Lankie (Perfect Game)

14u WWBA Scout Notes: Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6

Throwing for the second time this tournament, righthander Jake Lankie (2023, McDonough, Ga.) was outstanding for the Georgia Jackets and more than did his part as he twirled five innings on the bump in which he recorded nine strikeouts and walked just one. He stands at a long-limbed 6-foot, 145-pounds, and as projectable as the measurables suggest, he already shows one of the faster arms to take the mound during the opening round of the playoffs and produced one of the best arsenals we saw all week.

Utilizing his fast and compact arm stroke through the back and a shorter stride down the mound Lankie was able to pound the strike zone while repeating his release point and generating short sinking life on his heater that peaked at 85 mph early on. Throughout the course of his outing he sat in the 81-84 mph range and attacked the lower third with the pitch, showing a clean release with outstanding projection moving forward.

The fastball is more than noteworthy and he was able to navigate through a tough Dallas Tigers lineup with his heater, though his ability to command four pitches for strikes regardless of the count resembled something you’d see up in Atlanta this weekend at the 17u WWBA National Championship. Unlike others his age, Lankie was able to land both a slider and curveball for strikes, showing clear differential in shape between the two and showing an equal amount of comfort throwing either. The slider, a mid-70s offering, showed tight rotation with late tilting life, while his curveball, which came across in the low-70s, showed more depth and 11-to-5 shape through the zone. He rounded out his arsenal with a changeup which was arguably his best secondary as he tunnels the pitch with a near replicated arm stroke and release point, showing fade at 74-75 mph, a pitch that proved to be a difference maker for the young righthander.

Francesco Capocci (2023, Cumming, Ga.) is a strongly built 6-foot-3, 172-pound third baseman who proved to be a key component to the Georgia Jackets, particularly on defense throughout the week, making a few nice plays to display his athleticism. One play that stood out in their first game of the day was on a high chopper which he read off the turf, played on the descent of the hop and showed a quick transfer and release with a strong arm across the diamond to complete the bang-bang play. Offensively he picked up a double and showed his strength with the bat as he turned on an inner half fastball and barreled the ball, one-hopping the left field fence to plate a run.

We talked about Dylan Lonergan (2023, Duluth, Ga.) in an earlier recap when he worked out of the bullpen and his performance was even better Thursday morning in a quick 20-pitch stint. With the same effortless release, Lonergan sat in the 85-87 mph range and showed much better command of the zone in the latest look. He works from a higher release point and as a result was able to create solid plane and steady angle when working to his glove side with hard running life. Three of his five recorded outs came via the strikeout and he picked up more than a couple of empty swnigs on his curveball which showed tight rotation at 75-76 mph with a tunneled release and late biting life down in the zone. The arm strength and overall athleticism are loud components to his game and he seems to improve every time he toes the rubber.

– Jheremy Brown


The playoffs at the WWBA 14u National Championship began Thursday at the Hoover Met complex in Hoover, Ala. Many of the top arms were saved for this day and moving into Friday’s semifinals and championship games. The best teams over the past week now compete in a win or go home bracket that started with a game between the Louisiana Knights 14u Black and Team KC-Mo. Both starters for each team were outstanding starting with the Knights lefthander Jon Cassidy Vanek (or 'JC', 2023, Lake Charles, La.), who earlier in the week made our scout recaps as a hitter, but this time impressed on the mound.

Vanek lasted a strong four innings allowing just a single run on two hits while striking out five batters. He’s a slender 6-foot-1 with plenty of projection and room to fill out moving forward. He employs a quick arm action that helps him run the fastball up to 81 mph while showing some late arm-side movement. He is able to stay around the zone well and mixes in the occasional breaking pitch with feel. His only true blemish was five free passes, however, excluding the run given up in the fourth, he was able to work around the walks and keep the opposition off the board.

Starting for Team KC-Mo. was righty Ty Wisdom (2023, Kansas City, Mo.). Wisdom was also to go 4 1/3 innings allowing just a single run. Wisdom doesn’t have blow-you-away stuff, but how he stayed effective in this game was by just pounding the zone with fastball and working towards contact. He allowed just four total hits in the game and generated weak contact time and time again. He also showed feel for a breaking ball with 11-to-5 shape that he was able to keep at the bottom half of the zone. Wisdom helped his team grab a 5-1 victory and move on to the quarterfinals.

The Cincinnati Spikes team grabbed an easy victory in their first playoff game to move onto the quarterfinals. On the mound for the Spikes was righthander Brett Denby (2023, Sellersburg, Ind.). The Spikes got out to an early 7-0 lead in the game and decided to save Denby, only allowing him to go an inning. But in that inning he displayed a quick and athletic delivery working down the mound well and getting to extension. He stays down in the zone with a heavier fastball touching 81 mph and staying around 79-81 throughout his inning. He also flashed a breaking ball both in warmups and once in game action that has the potential to be a pitch he can go to in any count if needed. He also creates some deception with higher end arm speed to release.

The Georgia Jackets 14u National vs. EC Sox Jackson 14u Prime game was a nail bitter to the very end but that doesn’t take away what the starters in the game were able to accomplish. For the Georgia Jackets Justice Haynes (2023, Alpharetta, Ga.) took the mound. Haynes is more known as a top outfielder in the class but his athletic ability and strong arm also play well on the mound. He works from a quicker-paced delivery repeating well. As mentioned Haynes has a strong arm when throwing from the outfield and it translated onto the mound with a fastball hitting 86 mph and sitting 82-84 throughout his five innings. Though Haynes would ultimately take the loss he allowed just two earned runs on two hits.

Opposing Haynes and the Jackets was projectable righthander Jacob Gazzo (2023, Summit, Miss.) who made this recap with an earlier outing on the mound. He was just as solid, if not better in his playoff start. Gazzo finished the day with six full innings of shutout baseball. He came back out in the seventh and allowed the first two men to reach and they would later come around to score after he left the game. Gazzo is a large frame standing around 6-foot-7 with plenty of room to fill out. He creates good plane down the mound on the fastball topping out at 79 mph, though he has been clocked in the low-80s as well. He was able to land three pitches for strikes mixing in a sinking changeup as well and a curveball that he was able to bury on command.

– Taylor Weber


Jayden Davis (2022, Cookeville, Tenn.) is as consistent of a bat as you will find hitting .409 for the tournament with five doubles and three triples. His big power numbers helped lead his Knights Baseball Platinum squad to a quarterfinals appearance at the 14u WWBA National Championship while driving in 14 runs. His strong lower half and quick hands produce power to all fields. At shortstop his athleticism allows him to range to balls and make strong throws on the run. His quick transfer and release plays well around the bag allowing him to turn the double play smoothly. He projects well to continue to add power moving forward as he matures and fills out with, an already good understanding of his swing mechanics.

Smooth, calm, and collected is what you will find with Nathan Dunfee (2023, Ringgold, Ga.), the leadoff hitter for eXposure 14u Prime, who plays the game with a slow heartbeat. His simple approach at the plate allows his hands to work freely to the ball while stay compact and level through his swing. He showed the ability to spray the ball all over the filed while staying connected and keeping his front side in but really does most of his damage on line drives back up the middle. In the field his athleticism plays well as he does a good job tracking down balls well ranging around center field. His lean build projects well to add strength and power.

Bransen Powell (2023, Locust Grove, Ga.) got Team Elite 14u National off to a great start in the first round of the playoffs at the 14U WWBA National Championship on the pump. His ability to pound the zone allowed him to stay efficient throwing only 67 pitches in six innings of work while giving up no hits and striking out six. He ran his fastball up to 83 mph while sitting 80-81 mph from his high arm slot. His fastball had good plane down to the bottom of the zone with some arm-side run to it. He backed his good fastball with a 12-to-6 curveball that showed good depth. Powell’s ability to repeat his smooth delivery and good use of his lower half allowed him to maintain his velocity throughout his outing. His 5-foot-11, 155-pound frame leaves good projectability moving forward as he continues to mature and fill out.

Canes National 14u needed just two pitchers to get through their first round and quarterfinals matchups on Thursday as both Zane Brockman (2023, Bessemer City, N.C.) and Hayden Thomas (2023, Lexington, S.C.) where on their A games when their team needed it.

Brockman filled the zone up early and often throwing 41 of 58 pitches for strikes in his five-inning outing that yielded just one hit with five strikeouts in his first round start. Brockman clearly went to the mound with a plan and executed it to perfection. His fastball sat 80-81 mph and topped out at 83 mph while living on the corners. His breaking ball showed good depth with tight spin sitting in the mid-60s. His ability to maintain his arm speed on both pitches and change his timings to the plate kept hitters off balance all day and produced tones of week contact. Brockman’s long, lean frame has good projectability moving forward with room to fill out as he continues to grow.

Thomas Followed up Brockman’s outing in the quarterfinals with a gem of his own. His smooth arm action and high three-quarters arm slot produced a fastball that sat in the low-80s and topped out at 85 mph. He was able to pair the fastball with two solid off-speed offering. His changeup sat 68-69 with good arm-side sink and played really well against righthanded hitters as he showed the ability to start it in the zone and let it fade off the plate well maintaining good arm speed through his delivery. Against lefthanded hitters he stuck mostly to his curveball as a second offering. The curveball showed a slurvy action while sitting in the upper-60s. His ability to throw the breaking ball to both sides of the plate with good tight spin made it tough to pick up for the lefthanded hitters. Thomas’ six innings of one-run ball helped punch Canes National 14u’s ticket to Friday’s semifinals.

Brady Dever (2023, Rosenberg, Texas) maintained his consistent ways for the Banditos Scout Team 14u as he finished the week hitting .421 with a .487 on-base percentage. Providing some stability in the order, Dever went 2-for-3 in the first round of the playoffs and came around to score twice to help his team move on to the quarterfinals. His balanced, upright, lefthanded swing produces a smooth bat path with pull-side potential. His long extension allows him to stay level through the swing allowing him to punch the ball through the 3- and 4-holes. In the field he showed great athletic ability running down a ball in the left-center field gap, laying out to make a big-time catch. Dever followed that up with a solid performance at third in the next game where he showed plenty of arm strength to make the long throw across the diamond.

– Colton Olinger



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