Tournaments | Story | 7/8/2019

16U WWBA: Day 3 Scout Notes

Jheremy Brown         Greg Gerard         Jacob Jordan         Jacob Martin         Matthew Arietta         Brian Treadway         Colton Olinger         Jered Goodwin        
Photo: Kristian Campbell (Perfect Game)
2019 16U WWBA National Championship: Day 1 Notes | Day 2 Notes

It has been almost exactly one year since we at Perfect Game first saw lefthander Tristan Smith (2022, Chesnee, S.C.) with the Canes National 14U club where he was fantastic in his start, ultimately earning a spot in the PG Select Festival. In terms of productivity, projectability and over prospect status, not much has changed in a calendar year as he continued to establish himself as one of the top arms in the country, though there are some noticeable differences (all positive) that jumped off the page for the uncommitted South Carolina resident.

After just a couple of warmup pitches where he was sitting 89-90 mph, it was clear there was a spike in velocity as he looked as though he were just playing catch, dialing it a couple ticks in the opening frame as he sat 89-91 mph, bumping a 92 along the way. Along with the velocity, the arm stroke through the back side is much shorter than in prior looks though he still gets to the same loose and easy, mid three-quarters release. With said release point, Smith is able to generate pretty solid angle to the pitch along with sinking life through the zone with a longer stride through his lower half and extension out front. The velocity comes easy for him too, maintaining out of the stretch although he’ll tend to rush through his balance point and cut off a bit with his strike foot, but he still managed to hold the upper-80s, still showing 90 mph on his 85th pitch of the game.

The slider was his go-to secondary throughout his five innings and the pitch progress during the outing, firming up in shape and velocity the more he threw it. Up to 79 mph with biting life from a similar release point, Smith showed plenty of comfort landing the pitch for strikes against lefthanded hitters as well as get chases down in the dirt, showing arguably his best one late in the game. He also brought out a firm changeup in the low-80s, up to 84 mph, that he maintains well with regarding his arm speed and it’s a pitch that will continue to develop in terms of life the more he throws it.

Currently ranked No. 84 in the class of 2022, Xavier Isaac (2022, Kernersville, N.C.) has looked comfortable at the plate over the first handful of games for the Canes National 15U and looks to be in line as yet another power bat for Cliff Godwin and the East Carolina Pirates down the road. At 6-foot-4, 205 pounds, Isaac looks the part of a run producer and he did just that Sunday night as he picked up a pair of doubles, showing off his strength from the left side. Staying shorter to the ball with his hands, Isaac first turned on a double down the right field line to plate two runs before getting fully extended out front later in the game to drive the ball dead to center field for a loud, standup two-bagger. There’s balance to his swing and the power is a very real tool as it has proven to play consistently in live action.

Dylan Lesko (2022, Buford, Ga.) took the mound at East Cobb in front of a few college recruiters in what has become normal to this point of his young career, especially given he’s the top-ranked prospect in the 2022 class. He worked a rather quick four innings, scattering three hits and punching out five and with this being my first look of the summer, it’s safe to say Lesko has continued to refine his craft on the mound, showing more fluidity to his overall operation and sharp feel for a true three-pitch mix.

Already standing at an ideal 6-foot-3, 175 pounds, though he looks stronger, Lesko has plenty of room to continue to develop physically, which is scary to think about as he already shows a fast arm stroke and pretty flawless mechanics on the mound. His delivery with tempo’d and shows plenty of balance through his gather and drive, generating extension out front which in turn led to solid riding life on the heater. Over the course of his outing, the uncommitted Lesko sat in the 89-92 mph routinely, staying short through the backside before releasing with what looks like virtually no effort out of the hand, attacking the zone with his fastball. The velocity comes easy for the young Georgia product and given his athleticism (also stands out at shortstop and behind the dish) it’s only a matter of time before you’ll be seeing mid-90s on the radar gun.

For as impressive as the velocity is for a rising sophomore, Lesko’s feel for his secondaries are just as eyebrow raising, especially the changeup that showed excellent diving life after leaving the first offering up in the zone at the start of the game. The next two he threw, however, could have gotten outs at the next level right now, coming across at 79 and 81 mph to the bottom of the zone with hard diving life, far too late for hitters to read out of the hand before swinging over the top of it. His breaking ball fluctuated between both a curveball and a slider, showing mostly curveball depth in the mid-70s with 11-5 shape though he did show one at 77 mph that flashed downer action and resembled more of a slider.

There’s a reason Lesko is currently ranked No. 1 in the class and he’s done nothing but back it up with strong performance after strong performance with Sunday being the latest installment.

It’s no secret that Jared Jones (2022, Marietta, Ga.) is strong (and by strong, I mean very strong) as he stands at a 6-foot-4, 235 pounds, certainly atypical for your rising sophomore who has yet to turn 16-years-old. And despite having just completed his first year of high school, Jones has already become known on the national circuit for his abilities with his righthanded stroke and Sunday morning proved to be no different. With a 2-for-3 day at the plate, Jones raised his average up to .600, though of his six hits thus far, including a home run, it’s hard to imagine any would be more impressive than the one he showed today on a screaming line drive to the right of the second base bag. He does an excellent job of creating torque and separation with his swing, which along with the quickness of his hands and overall physical strength, leads to very hard contact off the barrel as we saw with the aforementioned single which registered at 99 mph off the barrel, per TrackMan. The bat is a real and loud tool and one that likely won’t remain uncommitted for much longer.

Lefthander Evan Blanco (2022, Woburn, Mass.) got the start for the Mizuno Noreaster Redbirds and he delivered with four innings of shutout baseball, punching out five while a nice collection of college recruiters looked one. Physically built at 5-foot-11, 175 pounds, the uncommitted Blanco showed both pace and rhythm to his delivery, repeating well while also showing a quick arm stroke through the back up to a three-quarter release. His fastball sat comfortably in the 82-85 mph range early in the game, creating angle while living down in the zone for the mostly, highlighting an easy release out of the hand. The breaking ball was inconsistent in that he’d occasionally get on the side of it, though when he was on top it showed sharper 1-7 shape with depth through the zone up to 74 mph.

Team Elite 16U Scout Team assembled another loaded roster for this event and righthander Michael Morales (2021, Enola, Pa.) was one of the latest big prospects to perform for them, working a brisk four innings of hitless, shutout baseball and did so on just 45 pitches. Already committed to Vanderbilt, Morales has plenty going for him on the mound in regard to his projectable 6-foot-2, 200-pound frame, smooth and fluid mechanics, and overall upside despite having some of the better stuff we’ve seen to this point in the tournament.

Similar to Lesko above, Morales shows lots of balance throughout his delivery, showing a fluid and whip-like arm action through the back with plus extension out front which led to consistent and steep plane to his fastball. The heater lived comfortably in the 89-91 mph range for Morales, bumping a handful of 92s over the course of the game with solid running life through the zone. Given the overall operation and ease in which Morales is able to generate the fastball velocity, as well as the quality of the pitch within the zone, don’t be shocked as he continues to climb in velocity.

Morales didn’t need to show much more than his heater to navigate the lineup, striking out seven of the twelve batters he faced, and when the ball was put in play it was weaker contact off the barrel. That said he flashed both a curveball with short depth in the 77-80 mph range before showing what could be a potential changeup on his final pitch of the outing, an 83 mph offering that dove hard out of the hand for a swinging third strike.

-Jheremy Brown

It was a nice look for Florida commit Philip Abner (2021, Charlotte, N.C.) on this day, as he fired a heavy fastball to the plate that showed frequent cutting action to it as well. Abner, a strong-framed lefthander touched 94 mph with his fastball once on Sunday morning while sitting 91-93 mph in his first inning and 89-91 through the rest of his start. The Gator commit flashed a slider as well, with plenty of depth to it and sharp bite out of his hand. The pitch was not used often but he did show a feel for the offering when needed. Abner stays closed off with his front side at release and has to work over that front side to get to the bottom of the zone and glove side of the plate. He did so in this outing, but there were occasional instances where he would get out of rhythm and the command with alter. When getting the arm through to the point of release on time, Abner fired strikes to the bottom of the zone and blew hitters away with the cutting heater. The North Carolina native worked three dominant innings, striking out four hitters and not relinquishing a run in a run-rule victory.

In relief for Abner and the Canes National team was fellow lefthander Rocco Reid (2021, Greenville, S.C.). An in-state Clemson commit, Reid sat 86-90 mph with his fastball while also featuring a mid-70s slider for strikes as well. Reid creates a tough angle to the plate pitching from an extended three-quarters arm slot and a closed off front side similar to Abner’s release. He creates plane when down in the zone, and although not overly physical at 6-foot, 165 pounds, his arm is quick and there is still plenty of filling out left to do. His outing as a whole was outstanding in relief as he fired three innings, striking out six batters. After the first batter he faced, Reid was completely dominant varying speeds and keeping hitters off balance consistently over the course of his relief appearance.

A pair of Canes hit bombs in this contest as Alex Mooney (2021, Rochester Hills, Mich.) and Payton Green (2021, Cary, N.C.) each went yard over the left field fence. Mooney’s was a no-doubter hitting an inner half and elevated fastball out in front with outstanding bat speed and jump off of the barrel. Mooney, a Duke commit, has already had a hot start to the 16U WWBA National Championship as he was highlighted for hitting a homer yesterday as well. Mooney is an athletic middle infielder with room to fill and already outstanding strength and quick-twitch to his muscles. Green, an uncommitted infielder, got the start at third base for the Canes and his bat was on display as he, like Mooney, hit the baseball out in front and leveraged it to left field with enough behind it to carry it over the fence. Green did get out on his front foot, but did show enough strength to muscle the ball out of the yard. Green has a slight lift to his barrel plane with plenty of strength and barrel whip.

Luke Davis (2022, Garden Grove, Calif.) is an elite catcher in all facets, with quickness out of his crouch, a really strong arm, and a switch-hitter with plenty of bat speed from both sides. Davis was able to showcase himself in a variety of ways in this game showing the ability to handle good velocity with a clean reception, fire strikes to second base that resulted in a 1.98 second best pop time in between innings. His swing is loose with hands that work well into the swing path from the left side and a similar strong swing from the right as well. The Southern California commit was a participant in the 14U Select Festival a year ago and the talent the catcher has was certainly showcased in this look.

It was a very short look given a series of unfortunate events for the Warriors baseball and Samuel Simpson (2021, Carrollton, Ga.) on the mound. Getting rained out after an uncontrollable delay caused Simpson to only throw 25 pitches. The athletic righthander has plenty of two-way potential as a righthanded pitcher and lefthanded hitting third baseman. On the mound in this contest, Simpson sat 84-86 mph with plenty of downhill action and jump out of his hand. Simpson has a very loose arm and a projectable frame standing at a skinny 6-foot-1, 158 pounds. The righthander has a quick arm action with the ability to create plane and throw strikes with a fastball, curveball combination. The curveball has sharp downward bite out of his hand and complements the fastball well. Simpson also has a loose lefthanded stroke at the plate that projects for plenty of jump with added strength to his frame.

Simpson’s battery-mate was Georgia commit Garrett Madliak (2021, Carrollton, Ga.). Madliak displays some of the best actions behind the plate in the 2021 class with a strong arm and plenty of flexibility behind the plate. Madliak fired multiple strikes from his knees to first base in the rain-shortened quick looks Sunday. His reception as well as his quickness behind the dish are noteworthy for the 5-foot-10 backstop. His swing at the plate has a deep bar at his load before getting the barrel on a level plane through the hitting zone. It was a very short one inning and one at-bat look but still a good one for the rising junior committed to the University of Georgia.

Grant Taylor (2021, Florence, Ala.) is a physical righthanded pitcher who has been on the PG summer circuit over the course of two years now and playing in the 2017 14U PG Select Festival. The righthander was up to 92 mph and sat 90-92 mph during the beginning of his start. Taylor filled up the strike zone, especially to the lower third of the zone, and broke off several really sharp 12-to-6 curveballs for swings and misses. Taylor throws a heavy fastball that he threw past hitters on a consistent basis. He works downhill with good extension out in front to add some effective velocity to his low-90s heater. Taylor’s arm Is loose through the back and will get long at times, but the velocity comes from the combination of his arm speed and outstanding strength to his lower half. The breaking ball was the difference maker on this night projecting as a plus pitch and already showing flashes of it. The 75-78 mph 12-6 is a hammer when thrown with conviction and the strides he has made with it are noteworthy. The breaking ball got plenty of swings and misses in this contest and is going to continue to be a strikeout pitch for him for years to come.

Kendall Diggs (2021, Olathe, Kan.) is a special athlete who plays the hot corner with elite tools. The lefthanded hitting third baseman manned his position with quickness to the ball and outstanding ability to throw the ball both on the run and from varying arm angles in this game. Diggs made a pair of slow-roller plays that were of note in this game charging in on the ball and making strong and perfectly accurate throws to first base to throw out runners. His glove is clean with sure hands and a true exchange from his mitt to his hand. Diggs followed those two slow-chopper plays with a double off of an 89 mph fastball in his last at-bat late on Sunday night. Diggs has a level and simple swing with a flat barrel plane to the point of contact. Diggs consistently finds the barrel of the bat using his fast hands to get the barrel to the baseball. One of the top uncommitted players in the event, and is a treat to watch both at third base and the lefthanded batter’s box.

Karson Ligon (2021, Sarasota, Fla.) came out of the bullpen for a quick one-inning stint late into the night on Sunday. The Miami commit sat 87-89 mph with his fastball touching 90 once as well. Ligon is an athletic 6-foot-2, 159 pounds with plenty of room to continue to fill out physically. His arm is fast through the back as he pitches with a deliberate delivery before firing the arm to the point of release. He leads with his hip and gets good drive from his lower half with a shorter stride to the plate. The fastball is straight and when left over the middle of the plate did find barrels in this outing, but showed promise to his overall delivery and frame. The breaking ball is developing in the low-70s and will continue to improve bite with maintained fastball arm speed and additional snap as he releases it. Ligon is a projectable young righthander and will only continue to improve as he is coming off of an injury.

-Gregory Gerard

Khalil Reynolds (2020, Chesapeake, Va.) showcased an electric arm while pitching for Old Dominion Hitter 16U Sturgeon. The righthanded pitcher has a large and physical 6-foot-3, 205-pound frame with evenly proportioned strength. Working primarily out of the stretch, he uses a medium leg lift before getting a lot of extension downhill and generating power from his strong lower half. His back foot really pushes off the rubber and the perceived velocity often appeared faster than the actual velocity due to his extension. The arm action is really live as he creates whip from an over-the-top arm slot. The combination of a strong lower half and live arm resulted in a fastball topping out at 92 mph and averaging 90 mph through two innings. He also featured a swing-and-miss straight changeup from the same arm slot as his fastball that had late movement around 80 mph and a sharp slider around 77 mph but had trouble commanding the pitch. Dealing with some inconsistent command, he spiked a couple of pitches and issued one walk, but was effective in his relief outing. He racked up four strikeouts during his two scoreless innings. Best suited as a relief pitcher with a firm fastball moving forward.

Oklahoma State commit Tyler Collins (2021, McKinney, Texas) is a lefthanded hitting outfielder with blazing speed and a medium 5-foot-10, 170-pound frame with a lot of athleticism. Defensively, the center fielder took good jumps and displayed a lot of range. His arm was above-average on throws back into the infield after fielding the ball out front. At the plate, the lefty starts in an even stance with an inverted front toe and a swaying back elbow. Using a medium leg lift with a short stride, he transitions into a short swing on a linear plane. He displayed good bat-to-ball skills and takes a contact-oriented approach. His speed is deadly on the bases. After reaching first on an infield single, he stole second base before another pitch was even thrown. Showed good instincts and jumps on the basepaths. During the third day of the tournament, he went 2-for-3 with two runs scored.

Tennessee commit Ryan Miller (2021, Dublin, Ohio) showcased a large 6-foot-3, 200-pound frame with current strength in the build while playing for Bo Jackson Elite. The lefthanded hitter starts in an open stance with a wide base and a high handset. Using a small stride and lift for timing, he transfers weight well from his lower half. His swing through the zone is on a linear plane with quick hands that create bat speed. He typically hits the ball on a line but can also create some lift. Using a selectively aggressive approach, he took pitches that were not in his hitting zone but was ready to swing and usually made hard contact when he did. Showed good barrel-to-ball skills. Listed as a primary catcher, he played first base during the third day of the tournament. Making athletic movements defensively, he clearly has the athleticism to play behind the plate.

Brayden Lybarger (2021, Lima, Ohio) is a righthanded pitcher with a tall and lanky 6-foot-5, 178-pound frame and room to fill out. Starting with a medium leg lift, he works downhill and online towards the plate with some additional extension still available. His delivery generates good arm whip from a mid three-quarters arm slot. It appears as if he could also create additional extension from his arm and follow through as well. His fastball averaged 86 mph but consistently touched 88 mph. The secondary pitch was a 12-to-6 curveball with some decent break that averaged 73 mph. While pitching out of the bullpen for Bo Jackson Elite, he amassed three innings of one-run baseball with one strikeout, one walk allowed, and four hits allowed. The bottom-line performance is acceptable but his arm whip and incredibly projectable frame could gain additional velocity moving forwards. Interesting pitcher to watch for in the future.

Carson Lydon (2021, Eugene, Ore.) is a lefthanded hitting first baseman with a lot of power at the plate. The 6-foot, 205-pound player has a medium and stocky frame with current strength in the build. At the plate, he starts in an open stance with an even base and a high handset. Using a long stride after a short lift, he maintains balance and generates force from his lower half. The swing is short and compact, usually catching the ball out front and hitting it to the pull side. He attempts to elevate the ball on almost every swing with hard contact as he swings on a level plane but generates backspin through his upward elevation in his finish. Despite his power hitting tendencies, he showed good contact skills. During the third day of the tournament, he went 1-for-3 with a well-hit double to right-center field that was nearly a home run.

East Carolina commit Jacob Jenkins-Cowart (2021, Greensboro, N.C.) showcased a large 6-foot-5, 200-pound frame while playing first base for the Dirtbags 16U Bad Company. The lefthanded hitter starts in a moderately-open stance with an even base. Using a medium leg stride, he takes a really smooth and repeatable swing on a linear plane. Hands are quick and swing is fluid, creating a lot of bat speed and hard contact. He showed advanced power to pull field as he hit the ball out front. During the third day of the tournament, he went 1-for-1 with a long double to right-center field, a walk, and one RBI. Displayed athletic movements and a good arm playing first base. Also listed as a third baseman, he probably projects more as a first baseman moving forward.

Virginia Tech commit Tyler Dean (2021, Vinton, Va.) showcased an electric arm while pitching in relief for the Dirtbags 16U Bad Company. The righthanded pitcher has a 6-foot-2, 175-pound frame with athleticism in the build. Starting with a medium and athletic leg lift, he uses a deceptive hitch in his delivery before working online towards the plate. Generating good power from his lower half, his fastball also benefited from live arm action at a high three-quarters arm slot. The fastball averaged 89 mph across two innings but touched 91 mph several times. He also featured a sharp 12-to-6 curveball around 74 mph. Struggling with command a little bit, he walked one batter and hit a pair. However, he struck out two batters during his two innings and showcased really good stuff.

Also pitching out of relief for the Dirtbags was uncommitted lefthander Brandon Clarke (2021, Ashburn, Va.). The lefthanded pitcher has a lanky and projectable 6-foot-3, 188-pound frame. Starting with a medium leg lift, he works downhill with his stride leg taking a half-circle around first base before coming towards the plate. Generating good power from his lower half and getting solid extension, he also had live arm action from a high three-quarters slot. That combination resulted in a fastball averaging 89 mph across two innings and touching 91 mph several times. He also threw a curveball on a couple of occasions around 72 mph but did not command it perfectly. His command was a little inconsistent, but he hit the edges of the strike zone multiple times. Across two scoreless innings, he struck out four hitters and allowed one walk. His fastball and frame are really projectable moving forwards.

Wilson French (2021, Jonesboro, Ark.) showcased a medium 5-foot-10, 165-pound frame with athleticism while playing second base for the Memphis Tigers 16U Griggs. The lefthanded hitter starts in an even stance with a moderately wide base and a high handset. Using a small leg stride, he takes a really smooth and fluid swing on a linear plane. His hands are quick through the zone and he has the ability to hit the ball to all fields. Taking a contact-oriented approach, he still hits the ball with some fairly hard contact on a line. The bat-to-ball skills are advanced and he displayed good control of the barrel. His offensive value is rounded out with above-average speed on the basepaths. During the third day of the tournament, he went 3-for-4 with a triple, three runs scored, and one RBI. Listed as a shortstop, French showed athletic movements at the keystone with a smooth glove and a decent arm. His bat will certainly play moving forwards and his ability to play shortstop should give him interesting defensive versatility.

-Jake Martin

Brandon Barriera (2022, Coconut Creek, Fla.) is a 6-foot, 155-pound southpaw from American Heritage School in nearby Plantation, Fla. Barriera has a tall, lanky, athletic build with plenty of room to fill on his current frame before reaching physical maturity. Brandon got the start for his club, Cannons Baseball Academy 2021 American, this morning at East Cobb and was dominant, something we’ve grown to expect from the lefthanded hurler. Barriera went five full, allowed two hits, an earned run, a walk, and struck out an impressive 11 batters. On the mound, Barriera sets up from the third base side of the rubber, and uses a controlled, even tempo to his windup which keeps his arm and body in sync through release. He has a long-circled, free and easy arm action, that releases his repertoire from a three-quarters slot with plenty of extension out front. Brandon finishes over a stiff front leg, yet his arm travels through to deceleration, unrestricted and loose, allowing most of his offerings to fill the bottom half of the zone. Brandon’s pitch selection consists of a fastball (87-89 mph, 91 max), that has plenty of life and arm side run, a change-up (79-80 mph) with fade and feel, and a curveball (71-74 mph) with 1-7 rotation and good depth at times paired with heavy bottom. Barriera came out of the gate firing this morning, showing a bulldog-type demeanor on the mound, and battled each pitch, with advanced pitchability and poise. He has better control than command to this point, yet he filled the zone hitting his targets while displaying feel for all three of his pitches. Only 15 years old, Barriera ranks as the top lefthanded pitcher not just in Florida, but for the entire 2022 class. Extremely high upside talent, with an advanced skill set and confidence in himself which makes him an ideal top of the rotation starter at the next level, whether that is collegiate or professional baseball, both are on the horizon.

Georgia Tech commit Kristian Campbell (2021, Marietta, Ga.) had another productive day at the plate at East Cobb for the East Cobb Astros 16U X in their two games. When all was said and done, Campbell went a collective 4-for-7 with a double, a walk, two runs scored, a stolen base with five RBI. Campbell, who has an athletic, long and lanky frame with room to fill, sets up in the box with an open stance and hands low outside his chest. He double toe taps for timing and then takes a large step forward while loading his weight and hands on his backside. He deploys a consistent, quick, level bat path that produces line drive results with plenty of hard-barreled contact with power to the gaps. He has a good eye and doesn’t get cheated at the plate making him the ideal leadoff type hitter to stir the drink at the top of the East Cobb lineup. Campbell has tools all over the field and showcased them Sunday, displaying speed out of the box and on the bases with aggression and good instincts. He has soft hands, and sound defensive actions at shortstop with a quick first step and good range that gives him a chance to make all plays in the six-hole. Campbell has a short, quick release on his throws across the diamond that are accurate with carry through the bag. Not much missing from his game currently, he plays the game the right way, and as of now will continue his baseball career at Georgia Tech. Only a junior in the fall, Campbell has tremendous upside and captivates your attention immediately with his quiet aggression, tools, and consistent performance all over the diamond.

Ziv Gar (2020, Plainview, N.Y.) is a righthanded starting pitcher from Plainview-old Bethpage JFK High School in his hometown. A senior in the fall, Gar got the start for his club, MVP Beast, and found himself in a pitching duel with aforementioned Barriera yet would receive a no-decision when all was said and done. On the mound, Gar stands 5-foot-11, 165 pounds, with long extremities and room to fill on his current frame. Gar has a slow tempo to his windup until the top of his leg lift, then explodes forward down the mound with good rhythm and timing with his arm that travel free and unrestricted through release. He delivers his repertoire from a low three-quarters slot and remains consistent regardless of pitch he delivers making him deceptive and adds to his pitchability. Gar’s two-pitch mix of a fastball (80-83 mph) with natural cut and riding life, and a curveball that has a lot of break sometimes appears more like a slurve and others have good depth and feel when he gets it right. Gar has undeniable pitchability and is confident in himself on the mound. He battled through his start despite a two-run hiccup in the first inning and attacked hitters all game long. He competes hard on the mound and his drive rubbed off on the rest of the team, keeping them in the game and battling until the last out. Gar earned a no-decision on the day, yet his final line of five innings, 11 punchouts and a 61 percent strike percentage shouldn’t go unnoticed. Next level type talent with pitchability and confidence who will be a prospect to watch moving into his senior season next spring.

Joseph Jackson Jr. (2021, Stone Mountain, Ga.) is a switch-hitting bat, who was in the Scoutz USA 2021 lineup this morning at East Cobb as their designated hitter. Joe had a day at the plate to say the least, going 2-for-2 with two doubles, three RBI, and a walk in their run-ruled rout. Showing consistency in his approach at the plate from both sides, Jackson has very quick hands, and good vision that helps him create consistent hard-hit contact with good barrel control in both boxes. Obvious strength at the plate helps him generate good bat speed and paired with good sight, produces plenty of contact to the gaps. A toolsy athlete, Jackson has good first-step quickness out of the box, and is a long strider, which makes him appear effortless rounding the bases. He plays with aggression and it feeds off on the rest of his teammates. Currently hitting a ridiculous .625 in four games at WWBA 16U National Championship in Atlanta, Jackson is definitely making a name for himself with the bat. Jackson Jr., who will be a junior in a couple weeks at Stephenson High School in his hometown, is a player to monitor into his junior season with tremendous upside and a game-altering bat.

Rolando Lujo (2021, Coconut Creek, Fla.) is a 6-foot, 180-pound shortstop from Westminster Academy near his hometown. A junior in the fall, Lujo came up big this morning at East Cobb for his club Cannons Baseball Academy (CBA) 2021 American, going 2-for-3 at the plate with a two-RBI triple, and a single later on. He has demonstrated feel for the barrel in the box, and uses a short, connected swing path that stays through the hitting zone a long time. A good athlete, Lujo moves well for his size and has awareness on the bases with aggression to make things happen. Lujo is a confident fielder at shortstop with good first step quickness, range, and the ability to field balls hit his way out front with soft hands. Lugo also has plenty of arm strength for the position, with more in the tank as he continues his physical development. A good athlete, Lujo proved today he can affect the game in many ways as he is confident in his current skillset and plays the game hard. Lugo has a solid approach to the game making him fun to watch compete. A high-upside talent who will only continue to develop and get better over the next two years making him a name to remember.

-Matt Arietta

Michael Massey (2021, Buford, Ga.) was outstanding in his start on Sunday morning for Team Elite 16U Prime. Through the first six innings of the game, he allowed no runs on one hit with no walks and seven strikeouts. He lost control in the seventh inning out of fatigue and gave up a walk, hit, and two runs. Although his outing ended in a rough patch, the uncommitted righthander was dominant. His stuff consists of an 82-84 mph four-seam fastball, a two-seam that was up to 87 mph with decent life, an impressive fading mid-70s changeup that he threw to both right and lefthanded hitters, and a low-70s curve with tight spin and depth. Massey makes it extremely difficult on hitters with a deceptive compact arm action that comes across his body. He pounded the strike zone and hit his spots all game. He’s not afraid to throw inside and does it with accuracy. A projectable 6-foot-4 frame adds to his already projectable pitchability and arm.

Jalen Fulwood (2021, Johns Creek, Ga.) is a nationally-ranked outfielder, but he showed a nice verse on the mound on Sunday morning in a start for the Georgia Bombers 16U. He went six innings, while allowing six hits, no runs, and three walks with four strikeouts. Although Fulwood gave up six hits, he was extremely efficient and generated lots of weak ground balls; a byproduct of the lower-end spin rate on his mid-80s fastball. He paired his fastball with a tighter-spinning low-70s curveball that had a sweeping action to it. The uncommitted righthander’s arm action is fluid and effortless. His arm has a quickness to it, and he releases from a three-quarters arm slot. With further development as a pitcher, Fulwood has the potential in his arm and 6-foot-3 frame to be a successful arm in the future.

Ben Bybee (2022, Overland Park, Kan.) showed some potential in his start on Sunday, He struggled at times throughout the game but long term, the big righthander projects well. His fastball velocity varied throughout the game but was up to 87 mph several times. A fading changeup that was thrown comfortably in all counts sat in the high-70s and was paired nicely with the fastball and a tight low-70s curveball. The uncommitted 15-year-old’s arm works extremely easy from a long arm action and three-quarters arm slot. He could stand to use his lower half more with his 6-foot-5 frame. Overall, Bybee is a good arm with a bright future.

Garrett Williams (2021, Paola, Kan.) was solid out of the pen for UA Building Champions 16U Grey on Sunday. He went two innings allowing one run on two hits. Although he finished with no strikeouts, he still pitched well to contact and showed upside. He worked mostly off a mid-80s fastball and paired it with a slurvy low-70s curveball and a mid-70s changeup. The uncommited righthander has a quick arm with a long whippy arm action and a three-quarters arm slot. The arm works easy alongside an effectively used lower half.

Grayson Cole (2021, Azle, Texas) was extremely effective in his start for D-Bat Elite 16U on Sunday. He went 3 2/3 innings with six strikeouts while allowing two hits and two walks with no runs. The uncommitted righthander commanded an 85-87 mph fastball that was up to 89 mph with late life. He paired his fastball with a tight-spinning curveball that sat in the 72-75 mph range and showed feel for both. His delivery starts with a small front leg swing that turns in to a high leg lift, he repeated it well. A long fluid arm action with whip and three-quarters arm slot works well. Physically, a lean build on a 6-foot-2 frame shows promise as well.

Matt Potok (2021, Jackson, N.J.) showed a live arm for Diamond Jacks Super 16 on Sunday. The righthander’s fastball was up to 90 mph but sat in the 86-88 mph range. A mid-70s sweeping curveball was paired with the fastball. Potok has a quick arm that works well out of a compact arm action and a lower three-quarters arm slot. He gets into his lower half well and gets extended down the mound. A 6-foot-2 frame is filling out well and the body is projectable.

Treyson Hughes (2021, Valdosta, Ga.) was outstanding at the plate on Sunday. He went 3-for-4 with two doubles, four RBI, and a run scored. The West Virginia commit showed pop to all fields with pull-side power showing on both of his doubles. The lefthanded hitter barrels up the ball hard and drives it. He draws his power from his lower half and keeps the bat on plane. He has more power in his wiry 6-foot-2, 168-pound frame than one might expect. Hughes’ No. 222 overall national player ranking shined through on Sunday, look for him to continue to develop and play at a high level.

-Jacob Jordan

Just getting in that day for the tournament Zamaurion Hatcher (2021, Chicago, Ill.) went to work immediately and never turned back. The lefthanded batter consistently made solid contact with the ball. Swing-and-misses was something that never was attached to Hatcher’s name. Every time he swung the bat, he made contact with the ball; either pushing it foul or putting into play. Occasionally, the uncommitted outfielder would show the power that he has in his swing but more often than not, he would put solid contact on it and get on base. His power was displayed with his first at-bat when he sent a down-and-in pitch to deep left-center with spin tailing away from the center fielder. The Chicago native continued to hit throughout the day and never sent it to one area as he sprayed all of his hits throughout the entire field.

Starting as catcher for the Chicago White Sox 2021, Luke Hanson (2021, Yorkville, Ill.) displayed his defensive prowess throughout the whole of the game. The 5-foot-8 catcher did a great job of keeping runners at bay through the whole of the game and keeping them to the bases they were at. The uncommitted backstop had no fear trying to back-pick runners on the corners. With the arm strength and accuracy Hanson possesses, he made every throw close. One runner did try to take a base from him and the Yorkville native threw him out easily by a couple of steps.

Ranked as the top first baseman in Texas for his grad class, Deundre Jones (2022, Manvel, Texas) carries a lot of power in his swing. Starting as a designated hitter for the Houston Athletics, Jones started his first at-bat with an opposite field double that was hit deep down the leftfield line. What was most impressive about the hit was that Jones wasn’t able to get all of his power into the swing and still sent it deep down the line. The lefthander prepares for each pitch the exact same as he keeps his hands close to his chest and generates quick bat speed as he barrels up the baseball. With a nice step and a smooth transfer of weight forward as he swings, Jones continued to hit the ball hard on every swing of his. Though he already possesses a lot of power in his swing, the Houston commit seems to have more on the horizon waiting to be tapped.

Being labeled for the game as the starting pitcher for the Florida Rebels, Lucas Hartman (2021, Bradenton, Fla.) delivered an absolute gem as he led his team to a solid victory. The reportedly 5-foot-9 righthander worked with both a fastball and a hard-breaking curveball to baffle the hitters all night. With his high three-quarters delivery to the plate, Hartman would constantly attack hitters with his mid- to upper-80s fastball, maxing out at 88. Even as the game got later, it looked like Florida native had no intention of slowing down as he continued to leave it all out on the field. With hitters constantly being late on his fastball, he complemented it with a hammer that had a lot of down-breaking movement. With total control of the breaker and heater, the uncommitted pitcher knew it was his game to lose. Each time walking off of the mound, Hartman had a swagger to him and a confidence that no one could beat him. Pitching strong through every inning he was put out there, the righthander was one out shy of a complete game shutout before being pulled. Allowing only one hit and striking out four hitters in his stint on the mound, Hartman kept the opponents offense at bay in the crucial pool play win.

Leading off for GBG Marucci 2021 Navy was Maxwell Muncy (2021, Camarillo, Calif.), who produced for the team both at the plate and on the mound. Muncy did a great job as a lead-off man as he continued to get on base either by walks or by hits the entirety of the game. Always seeming to make contact when he swings, the uncommitted shortstop showed quick bat speed and barreled up the baseball consistently. He displayed this by rifling a ball off of his bat to the left field wall and legged out a double with his plus speed. The California native showed strong plate discipline as well as he rarely swung out of the strike zone and took his walks when he could. The shortstop walked twice in the game, one of which started a two-out rally in the seventh inning which ended in a walk-off victory. The primary shortstop eventually came in for relief and did a masterful job shutting down a rally which he inherited and keeping runs off the board. Throwing from various arm angles at first before settling in at a three-quarters arm slot, Muncy threw a large majority of fastballs, maxing out at 90 while consistently sitting in the upper-80s. Through his two innings of relief, Muncy struck out five batters while allowing no runs.

Cylis Cox (2021, Staunton, Ill.) took the mound for the Royals Scout Team 16U and showed quickly why he is one of the better lefthanded arms in Illinois. Working with mostly a fastball and a slider, Cox continuously was moving inside and outside of the plate and making it difficult for hitters to make good contact with the baseball. With his highest fastball coming in at 86, the southpaw sat mostly in the lower-80s while relying heavily upon his movement. With both a two-seam fastball and a cut-fastball, Cox was jamming hitters inside and then hitting his spot on the outside corners or vice-versa. The Illinois native threw a slider in as well to complement those pitches. The slider was sitting in the upper-70s and had slight movement to it, though it wasn’t drastic. Working from a low three-quarters arm angle, the lefthander was able to work almost unscathed through three innings of work before the opponents were finally able to get to him. Through just over four innings of work, Cox gave up only two earned runs while striking out two hitters as he was pitching more for contact.

-Brian Treadway

Brandon Neely (2021, Seville, Fla.), listed as a primary shortstop, was up to 91 with his fastball in his five innings of work as the starter for Scorpions Founders Club 2021. The Florida commit showed plenty of life on his fastball with some arm-side run from his high three-quarters arm slot. He settled in with his fastball sitting 86-88 mph while punching out four. He backed his fastball with a pair of breaking balls, both of which he showed good feel for with the ability to land for strikes while repeating his arm smooth arm action. His slider sat 74-77 mph with some good sweeping bit, while his curveball sat in the low-70s showing more depth. His repeatable delivery allows him to work down the mound maintaining good direction to the plate.

First in relief for the Scorpions Founders Club 2021 was Preston Wetherell (2021, Port Orange, Fla.). His long lean 6-foot-2, 165-pound frame has good projectability with room to fill out. His fastball topped out at 88 mph while sitting 85-87 for most of his two innings of relief. His ability to keep hitters off balance with the fastball and a good sweeping slider that sat at 75 mph allowed him to punch out two while working two scoreless frames. He creates some deception throwing a little cross-body with a closed stride to his smooth delivery. He gets good extension from his high three-quarters arm slot creating good plane on the fastball. The uncommitted righthander has a lot to like with his make-up and build and the potential to add more velocity as he continued to grow and mature.

At the plate, Corey Robinson (2021, Deland, Fla.) set the table for the Scorpions Founder Club 2021 by reaching base in all four of his at bats and going 3-for-4 on the day with a pair of singles and a triple to center field. The Miami commit displayed his great speed by putting the pressure on the defense each time he put the ball in play, including a bunt single in his third at-bat. His speed showed on the bases as well, as he stole third twice on the day. His swing starts with an upright open stance and high hands. He uses a leg kick trigger to create separation in his load before his direct bat path works smoothly through the ball with a high finish. He does a good job of staying firm on his front side, giving him a firm foundation to hit into. His 5-foot-11, 160-pound athletic frame has potential to add more strength as he continues to fill out and mature moving forward.

James Douglas (Jd) Thompson (2022, Rusk, Texas) got the start for Performance Baseball Texas 16U as the No. 1 ranked lefthander in the class of 2022 form the state of Texas topped out at 88 mph with his fastball while sitting 84-86 mph for most of his 4 2/3 innings of work. He paired the fastball with a curveball that showed good depth with 1-7 shape to it while sitting 68-70 mph. He also showed some feel for a good change of pace 70-71 mph changeup with good arm speed creating some deception out of the hand. His smooth delivery and long arm action give him some arm-side run on his fastball from his high three-quarters arm slot. His repeatable delivery maintains a good line to the plate while doing a good job of creating drive off his back side. His 5-foot-11, 170-pound frame has room to continue to fill out as he grows and matures.

Performance Baseball Texas 16U went with another lefty Jeb Drewery (2021, Longview, Texas) in game two of their double header. Drewery topped out at 88 mph with his fastball while sitting in the mid-80s for his five innings of work while striking out eight and allowing no runs. He paired his fastball with a slider that showed good bit sitting 76-79 mph. His ability to repeat his arm slot on both pitches gives the batter some deception coming out of the hand. His long smooth arm action gets good extension coming to the plate while the ball jumps form his hand. His 6-foot, 160-pound frame leaves plenty of room to fill out as he continues to grow and mature.

Jaylen Jones (2021, Thomasville, Ga.) the No. 22 ranked lefthanded pitcher in the 2021 class showed great stamina with his fastball sitting predominantly 86-88 mph with a lot of 88s in his start for Team Halo on day three of the 16U WWBA National Championship. His smooth delivery lands closed while throwing with some cross-body action from his high three-quarters arm slot. He showed good life on the fastball when down in the zone with some arm-side run. His secondary pitch, a changeup, had good sinking action on it while sitting 68-71 mph and used it mostly against righthanded hitter to try and induce swings and misses to his arm side of the plate. He used a curveball that sat in the upper-60s primarily against lefthanded hitters with good depth. He showed better command as his outing went on as he was able to locate the fastball better and get ahead on batters.

Opposing Jones for the FTB Rockets was righthander Cameron Clines (2021, Lake Worth, Fla.). The long, lean righty got good extension working downhill from his over-the-top arm slot while producing a fastball that topped out at 90 mph while sitting 86-88 mph. He was able to go five innings while giving up no earned runs, creating good downward plane on his fastball. He backed his fastball with a breaking ball that showed some slurvy action to it while sitting in the mid-70s with tight spin and some good bite. His ability to compete on the mound and make big pitches helped him work out of some jams late in the game while maintaining his fastball velocity throughout. With a 6-foot-3, 190-pound frame he has some projectability left with room to add to his already present strength as he continues to fill out his long frame.

Clines’ battery-mate Austin Fawley (2022, Baynton Beach, Fla.) was awesome all night, throwing out two would-be base stealers while sitting 2.00-to-2.1 with his pop times. His solid transfer and good carry on his ball flight to second base allowing him to be accurate and around the bag. Behind the plate he does a good job of allowing the ball to get deep enabling him to receive the ball with flexion and stick pitches to help out his pitchers. At the plate he showed good feel for the strike zone, working counts deep and finding a way to get on after long at bats. His righthanded swing starts with a balanced base and high hands. He creates good separation with his leg-lift trigger and hand load before his smooth bat path works level through the zone with good weight transfer in his lower half through the swing. His 6-foot-2, 185-pound frame contains some present strength with more to come as he continues to fill out and mature.

Daylan Pena (2021, Corpus Christi, Texas) is a large, physical first baseman with the ability at the plate to stay on top of the ball, creating line drives with good gap-to-gap power. He displayed this power in his first at-bat with a line drive to center field that came off the bat at 104 mph. His quick righthanded swing starts with a tall, open stance and high hands. From there his hands work quickly to the ball staying to the inside part. He creates good extension after contact with a long level finish allowing him to stay on plane throughout his swing path. He does a good job of getting his weight transferred in his lower half through his swing allowing him to create good drive off his back side hitting into a stiff front leg. His 6-foot-1, 230-pound frame contains good power with present strength at the plate.

-Colt Olinger

Sal Stewart (2022, Miami, Fla.) Is an impressive young hitter for the Canes National 15U travel team. For a young player, he has an impressive resume in PG tournaments. Playing against older competition this week, he showed the same type of impressive at-bats that we have seen in the past. The at-bats in the first game on Sunday were long, never wavering from his approach, and not expanding the strike zone. He has a big body and strong frame that generate exceptional core speed. His bat is heavy through the zone and the ball is loud off the bat. He worked counts today and showed he was fearless no matter if he was ahead or behind in the count. He showed strong hands on a two-strike pitch, letting it get deep in the zone and flicking it up the middle for a well-struck single. Sal will be watched closely over the next three years.

Rocko Brzezniak (2022, Matawan, N.J.) is very strong and developed for his class. He showed well-above-average raw bat speed and good feel for the barrel. He has fierce intent in his swing but uses the whole field very well. The righthanded hitter took an outer-half pitch on Sunday and drove it a long way down the right field line for a triple. He did a very good job identifying pitches and did not chase. He has a mature and confident approach and seems to always put together good at-bats. He looks like he belongs in the middle of the lineup at the next level.

Luke Nowak (2021, Menomonee, Wis.) showed elite bat-to-ball skills Sunday afternoon with the ability to exploit the defense using his top-of-the-scale speed. He is a 5-foot-10 center fielder with great instincts and the ability to cover a ton of ground in the outfield. Nowak is a high-motor player and knows who he is. He is a table-setter that can disrupt a game in a hurry. He went 3-for-3 Sunday with two runs and worked a walk. The uncommitted lefthanded hitter is fun to watch fly all over the field.

Connor Crisp (2023, Locust Grove, Ga.) came in relief today for 5-star Burress on Sunday and you would have never known he was 14 years old. He had poise and confidence, firing fastballs in the 84-88 range. The righthanded pitcher has a pretty polished delivery with some tempo to it. He gets a lot out of his small frame displaying a very quick arm and the ability to repeat. Crisp mixed a low- to mid-70s slider that shows promise. The young hurler already shows very good pitchability and his stuff will continue to tick up naturally as he matures.

Zach Ehrhard (2021, Thonotosassa, Fla.) is a very strong 5-foot-10 righthanded-hitting middle infielder. He has noticeably-strong forearms and his boxed shoulders will lead to a well-put-together athlete as he continues to add strength. He is a high energy player and his baseball IQ is obvious. He was consistently in the right spot and always seemed to be involved in the big spots of the game. He made multiple movement plays, including a diving backhand that he jumped up and made a strong throw on a close play at first base. He showed plenty of arm strength to stay on the left side. Offensively, he has a compact swing and special barrel accuracy. He finished with three hits on the afternoon and found four barrels. This is the type of kid that contributes from day one at the next level.

Noah Smith (2021, Chicago, Ill.) is one of the most exciting young players to watch in the 2021 class. The start-and-stop ability he displays along with his easy redirect capability may put his pure footwork at the top of the class amongst shortstops. There were multiple movement plays he had to make on his double header day on Sunday. One play, he ranged to the right and while charging the ball, Smith worked around and through the ball to catch-transfer and start a gorgeous double play. He threw off one leg on the play, changing arm angles, and made a perfect feed. On the offensive side, he has a short and quick swing, showing good bat-to-ball skills. The righthanded hitter uses a line drive approach and tries to stay up the middle. As he continues to add strength his offense could match his defensive ability because of his game changing speed. Every time Smith got on base, he was a threat to steal and showed great instincts and first step quickness. It was a pleasure to watch Smith work today.

Joseph Jackson Jr (2021, Stone Mountain, Ga.) had some of the better bat speed I have seen this week. The lefthanded hitter uses his 6-foot-1 frame, with long arms and legs, to produce top-of-the-scale raw barrel speed. He has big twitch, but still showed strike zone discipline and barrel accuracy over young week. He went 0-for-1 with a walk and hit-by-pitch on Sunday, also tallying a stolen base and two runs. On the week, he is hitting .625 through four games with three doubles, six runs and six RBI. The hit-power-run combination he displays coupled with his center field defensive profile, needs to be followed closely.

Luke Hayden (2021, Bloomington, Ind.) is listed at 6-foot and 195 pounds but looks a bit taller than that. He worked out of the stretch with a quick leg lift and up-tempo motion throughout release. He had some effort during his process, but his very fast arm was clean, and the ball came out true. He worked six innings and struck out 12 hitters for the Indiana Bulls 16U Black on Sunday. Working his fastball in the 88-92/3 range and maintained 89-90 for all six innings. His slider is a true plus offering that seemed to disappear when he got extension and located to the glove side. The spin rate was very high on the pitch and he had feel to locate it based on his plan of attack. His two-pitch mix was very impressive, but more than that was the consistency he was able to show over the course of his outing. This was a breakout outing that will make his trips to the mound a must watch.

Chase Petty (2021, Somers Point, N.J.) showed some “wow” stuff during his four-plus innings on Sunday afternoon. He looked like a shortstop on the mound with his athletic ability and the rhythm of his delivery. His process is quick and fluid producing impressive arm speed from a low three-quarters slot. When on time, his fastball was 89-92 (after touching 94 earlier in the event) with arm-side run and sink. His slider was 79-82/3 and showed plus when he got out front, with 10-4 break. He got swings-and-misses on the pitch that is promising as he develops consistent feel. Mixing a third pitch, a changeup around 80 mph with fade, made it a true three-pitch repertoire. All three pitches flashed above-average at times. He has some work to do to be able to consistently repeat his delivery and release point, but his raw ability is amongst the best in the class.

Cameron Clines (2021, Lake Worth, Fla.) has a great 6-foot-3, 190-pound frame to build on. He is strong but has room to add strength as he matures. His long arms get good extension and he creates plane that is hard for hitters to match. The ball stays behind his body for a long time and makes it tough to pick up. Clines, who is still 15 years old, reached 90 mph with his fastball, and he sat mid- to upper-80s and when down in the zone it had riding life to it. His breaking ball showed sharp downer bite and threw it in the 72-76 range and got bad swings-and-misses at times. The uncommitted righthanded pitcher has very good projection and one cannot see him being uncommitted much longer.

-Jered Goodwin
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