Tournaments | Story | 7/9/2019

16U WWBA: Day 4 Scout Notes

Jheremy Brown         Greg Gerard         Jacob Jordan         Brian Treadway         Colton Olinger         Matthew Arietta        
Photo: Matthew Burns (Perfect Game)
2019 16U WWBA National Championship: Day 1 Notes | Day 2 Notes | Day 3 Notes

Righthander Matthew Burns (2021, Miramar, Fla.) wasn’t listed in the program for the Elite Squad, but that didn’t keep college recruiters from discovering who the strongly built, uncommitted arm out of Florida was. Their efforts were worth it though as the 6-foot-2, 197-pound Burns delivered five innings of quality pitching and showed an impressive jump in terms of velocity.

Utilizing a hip turn at the top of his delivery, Burns uncoils coming down the mound and lands pretty closed with his strike foot which didn’t inhibit his command of the zone and actually helped generate significant cutting life to his fastball. We last saw Burns throw earlier this summer at the start of June where he worked 82-85 mph with his fastball, a far cry from the 86-89, bumping 90 mph he showed on Monday afternoon. There’s lots of arm quickness to his overall operation and given the downhill plane and the aforementioned cutting life, the uncommitted Burns was able to miss several bats along with way while also inducing weaker ground ball contact.

The slider for Burns proved to be the go-to secondary with short, tight life in the mid-70s, a pitch he managed to keep down in the zone well, which paired nicely with his heater. He also mixed in a seldom changeup in the low- to mid-70s, though the biggest takeaway from Monday was the arm speed and the overall jump in velocity in roughly just one month’s time.

Alex Ulloa (2021, Cutler Bay, Fla.) showed abilities with the glove that were nothing short of remarkable and it’s far from a secret that he’s one of the premium defenders in the 2021 class. Already ranked No. 16 in the class nationally and showing 6.76 speed, the young Miami commit may have been held hitless in this look, but it was his ability to make bang-bang plays look routine with advanced footwork and lots of softness to his hands. One such play was on a chopper just to the left of the pitcher’s mound and in front of the second base bag in which Ulloa was able to angle himself, pick the ball and show a lightning fast transfer with advanced arm strength across the diamond.

Coming out of the dugout against Elite Squad for the East Coast Royals was in interesting lefthander in Cole Reynolds (2020, Clayton, Del.), an Elon commit who could blossom with the Phoenix like their 2019 draft crop showed this past June. Already standing at 6-foot-5, 230 pounds and young for his grade as him being in the 16U WWBA suggests, Reynolds worked four scoreless innings out of the ‘pen without walking anybody and looks like there will be plenty more in the tank down the road.

Working exclusively out of the stretch, Reynolds was similar to Burns in that he lands closed prior to release, although not as much, while getting to an extended three-quarters slot which helped generate pretty good angle out of the hand. His fastball worked anywhere in the 87-90 mph range consistently, staying firm through the zone with short life to his arm side and solid arm speed through the back. His secondaries will continue to refine as he tends to slow his arm prior to release on his short curveball in the low-70s though he did turn over a changeup at 80 mph to induce a ground ball that showed potential.

You won’t miss lefthander Pierce Coppola (2021, Verona, N.J.) walking from field to field when he’s on the mound as the recent University of Virginia commit stands at a long and lean 6-foot-7, 165 pounds and the arsenal he showed had some of the best potential in the night cap at Lake Point. Typically, with pitchers of Coppola’s age and size combination the coordination isn’t there on the mound with limbs flying and an inconsistent release point, something his nine strikeouts over four innings suggest isn’t true regarding Coppola.

He shows nice rhythm to his delivery and for the most part was able to repeat, staying short and hiding the ball through his backside while generating obvious extension out front, seemingly handing the ball to the catcher while living in the 85-88 mph range, bumping an 89. There’s plane to his fastball and based off the swings he was able to get despite working exclusively off of his fastball was pretty telling of how the fastball played through the zone, a scary thought given he can still lengthen his stride and get more out of his lower half. The slider worked within the 73-76 mph range and though his overall feel is still developing for the pitch he showed one at 74 mph later in the outing that he stayed through and showed downer life to after pulling off and yanking the first couple.

Alec Grossman (2021, Austin, Texas) took the mound for the Austin Banditos Monday morning and was excellent, helping propel his team to a big pool play victory with a dominating effort, rising to the occasion whenever he found himself in trouble. Loose and athletic but not overly physical at 5-foot-10, 165 pounds, Grossman showed the ability to maintain his velocity throughout and continuously pound the strike zone. The young uncommitted righthander is currently ranked No. 374 in the country and maintained 85-88 mph on his fastball over the course of his start, bumping 89 mph with a long and fast arm stroke through the back. Despite his frame, the athleticism shines as he works on top of the ball well, generating plane with running life while inducing lots of chopped ground ball contact. The breaking ball fluctuated between a curveball and a slider and it showed best when thrown harder, giving it more slider shape up to 77 mph with short biting life. He also flashed a changeup sporadically, a firm offering in the low-80s which he maintained nicely at release. After a run in the first inning Grossman strung together a slew of 0s and was impressive with his overall ability to pound the strike zone and induce contact early in the count.

There aren’t many things that can be promised in baseball, but I can promise you’ll have a hard time finding a handful of players, if any, in this tournament who are stronger than BPA’s Kemp Alderman (2020, Decatur, Miss.). Physically built at an athletic 6-foot-4, 240 pounds who looks like he could be committed to the Ole Miss football program, Alderman hasn’t shown his two-way ability yet in the 16U tournament as he has let the bat do the talking thus far, though he was up to 94 mph at the 17U WWBA. The strength certainly plays in his righthanded swing as he has homered in half of his team’s games and though he didn’t go deep in this look, he did put a dent in the base of the center field wall in his first trip to the plate. The Ole Miss commit connected for arguably the loudest contact of the tournament thus far, hitting a line drive double that registered 109 mph off the barrel. Even his pop-up to the shortstop in his next at-bat was impressive, recording a 6.75 second time with a 94 mph exit velocity. While there are timing components to his hand load, Alderman has more than proven he’s able to get them into a good launch position courtesy of how quick they are and just how strong he is.

-Jheremy Brown

The Louisiana Knights Black ran their pool play record to 4-1 on Monday morning via a 5-1 decision, with Nolan Schubart (2022, Durand, Mich.) on the bump. Schubart, a Michigan commitment and two-way player, was very good over his five frames, scattering four hits and one walk while allowing no earned runs and punching out three. Schubart is primarily a power-hitting corner outfielder who swings it from the left side and projects for tremendous power, though he’s also an intriguing pitching prospect. With excellent size and projection remaining on his body, Schubart ran his fastball up to 89 mph early on before settling more into the 84-88 mph range. He creates good plane to the plate and throws two-seam fastballs the vast majority of the time, generating very good heavy life to the pitch and missing barrels at a high clip. He’ll need to be more efficient in his lower half long term, though that should come with reps and continued strength gains through his lower half and core.

One of the favorites of the event to be sure, Canes National moved to 5-0 on Monday afternoon down at Brook Run, taking a run-ruled 8-0 victory. Aidan Hunter (2021, Hanahan, S.C.) got the start, throwing an efficient 29 pitches over three shutout innings. A long and lean prospect with good projection remaining, the South Carolina commit sat in the 83-87 mph range with his fastball, consistently pounding the zone with the pitch and working it over both sides of the plate. His slider doesn’t have an overwhelming amount of action to it, but it’s tunneled extremely well off of his fastball, thrown in the mid- to upper-70s with some bite to it, but the deception is what makes it a highly-effective pitch.

Ryan Higgins (2021, New Canaan, Conn.) came on in relief and shut the door for the Canes, with two mostly uneventful innings. A Duke commit, he ran his fastball up to 88 mph and sat more 84-87 mph, with good life on the pitch and the ability to overpower hitters in the zone with it. The arm speed and physical projection stand out, as does the ability to spin the breaking ball, thrown with conviction and trust in the upper-70s with good, sharp bite—a bat-missing pitch both now and in the future.

The Canes don’t seem to hit many balls softly throughout their lineup, with legitimate hitters dotting the card anywhere 1-10. Daylen Lile (2021, Louisville, Ky.) continued his assault on opposing pitchers, picking up another three hits in this one, including a bomb. His innate feel for the barrel stands out, and the hand-eye coordination is plus, as he’s able to move the barrel around the zone and make firm contact on pitches of any kind in any spot. He’s come into power in a big way this year, and profiles as an impact middle-of-the-order bat long term.

Alex Mooney (2021, Rochester Hills, Mich.) joins Lile (and others) in the Canes lineup as impact bats, and further continues to establish himself as one of the very best players in the country as a whole. He’s always been an exemplary athlete, but the strength gains he’s made in the past year or so have unlocked significant offensive impact, which showed up throughout the spring at Orchard Lake St. Mary’s as well as this summer with the Canes. He profiles up the middle long term, with no-doubt shortstop projection, though the versatility of playing all over the field only enhances his value. His upside is that of a first rounder, and he should only continue his ascent towards to the top of the class of 2021 as he continues to physically mature and add more and more power to his game.

The Motor City Hit Dogs-Campbell moved to 4-1 in pool play on Monday, picking up a continuation game win as well as a full game win, both over at The Walker School. Anthony Fett (2020, Farmington Hills, Mich.) got the win in the second game, going five strong innings, allowing no earned runs in the process. Fett, an Akron commit, is a good-sized lefty who has done an excellent job adding mass and strength to his frame over the course of the past year, and he’s seen his stuff as well as overall prospect stock take off as a result. He worked in the 80-84 mph range from the left side, pitching effectively at the top of the zone by design, and while he gave up a fair bit of contact, this evaluator only counted one real barrel in this look. He throws three pitches for strikes and has utter conviction in his changeup, mimicking the fastball release well with good fade. The breaking ball is a tight slider that plays really well out of his higher slot, with good tilt and some sharpness to the break that got under the hands of righthanded hitters well, giving him another weapon at his disposal. There’s a fair bit of projection remaining as well, giving him pretty legitimate upside at the collegiate level.

Texas Twelve Black and X Team 2021 played an excellent game late Monday night, ending in a 6-6 tie, in what was an exciting contest from start to finish. Jimmy Thies (2021, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) showed well in several facets, playing shortstop for X Team and picking up two hits, including a double. There’s good projection on the body and he moves well at shortstop, with rangy athleticism and clean hands. The swing is loose and whippy as well, and he showed the ability to catch up to velocity and generate leverage off of his front side, projecting to hit for some power at maturity. It was somewhat of a quick look, though we came away liking what we saw from the young shortstop.

Austin Ford (2021, Cypress, Texas) came on in relief for Texas Twelve, working 85-89 mph with his fastball from the right side, generating a good bit of life on the pitch down in the zone when he worked there. He’s got a solid combination of present size as well as some projection remaining on his frame, giving him good upside in addition to what is already quality stuff. He did a good job throwing strikes, though he missed over the middle a bit too often, showing the ability to work his fastball to both sides of the plate. There’s good feel to spin a curveball as well with good depth and tight spin, though he does change his arm stroke ever-so-slightly through the back to throw the pitch, which will need to be ironed out at the next level. There’s good upside to the profile overall, and while he’s uncommitted now, that shouldn’t last long.

-Brian Sakowski

Matthew Rowe (2021, Metuchen, N.J.) was really impressive in his start on the mound Monday morning as he tossed three innings of one-hit ball, striking out five batters and walking one. Rowe sat 85-89 mph with his fastball that showed frequent sink to it and missed barrels consistently. The righthander dominated from start to finish with his fastball, curveball combination. The breaking ball is developing yet he did show a feel for the pitch especially on the armside half of the plate. The pitch has short bite with a spin rate right around 2,000 RPM. Rowe has projectable arm speed through the back as well as a skinny and young frame with room to fill. Rowe is an interesting uncommitted arm given the projection of his arm speed and build on top of a pretty projectable delivery. The arm stroke is loose and quick with a low separation with his hands and a clean take back. He releases the baseball cleanly and it really jumps out of his hand. He is able to create plane when down in the zone and the sinking action that comes with his fastball makes for lots of weak contact and swings-and-misses.

Gavin Kash (2021, Sour Lake, Texas) bats in the middle of the Louisiana Knights order with good reason as he swings a lefthanded stroke with lots of bat speed and jump when squared. Kash pulled a single in the morning game for the Knights in route to a 5-1 victory. He has plenty of strength at impact with a swing as well as a frame that really projects. The verbal commitment to Duke made a really nice impression in this game with his ability to handle the barrel. Kash’s swing has plenty of power potential as he continues to tap into that part of his approach at the plate. The lefthanded hitter had a strong showing at the PG Jr. National showcase with his pop off of the barrel and this day he continued that impressive swing.

Austin Green (2020, Diana, Texas) is a young 2020 graduate who got the start on the mound for Academy Select 16U Ingram. A primary middle infielder who showed plenty of arm strength on the mound, Green uses a compact arm action and an athletic delivery to produce upper-80s velocity up to 90 mph and a short, tight slider in the mid-70s. Green pounded the strike zone in this outing getting to both sides of the plate with ease and creating early and weak contact for outs. The uncommitted Texas native hides the ball well through the back and got numerous funky swings against him showcasing his deception on the mound. Green is extremely athletic standing a 5-foot-11, 160 pounds with plenty of room to continue to fill out physically. There is strength to Green’s frame but more to fill and with additional reps on the mound and more refining, the velocity could continue to climb.

The battery-mate of Green is one of the top uncommitted catchers out of the state of Texas in Creed Willems (2021, Aledo, Texas). Willems is a large-framed and stocky backstop with plenty of flexibility and quickness coming out of his crouch. His arm is the standout tool as in each throw in between innings as well as in game gunning down would-be base stealers were right on target to the first base side of the second base bag. Willems threw out a runner in the game with a 2.02 second in game pop time. He comes out of his crouch to an upright release quickly and online to second base. Lots of recruiters love a lefthanded hitting catcher and that is what Willems brings to the plate. His swing is very strong in the cleanup spot in the Academy Select lineup as he connected on a hard ground ball single back up the middle in this game. Willems is a really promising catching prospect out of Texas and will be an interesting follow.

Walt McConnell (2021, Midland, Ga.) made a really strong first impression to this scout on Monday. An athletic 6-foot-3 shortstop for 5 Star West, McConnell moves extremely well in the middle infield with clean footwork and hands. His athleticism is noticeable up the middle and a backhand play he made in this contest was really impressive to the college recruiters in attendance. On the play he showed a good arm across the diamond as well with an easy release. What he takes to the plate is really what turned this scout’s head to begin with in his second at-bat, as he turned around an 87 mph fastball up the middle for a very hard line drive single using huge raw bat speed and a clean swing. The hand path to the baseball McConnell takes is direct and downhill with plenty of balance and a swing that projects for huge power with some lift. Overall, McConnell certainly looks the part of a big-time middle infielder and is an uncommitted prospect from south Georgia.

Jonathan "Daniel" Braswell (2021, Monroe, Ga.) recently committed to Georgia and was a really unknown among the PG scouts. The look on Monday night was certainly a good one as the primary first baseman got to start in right field and showcase a really easy and powerful lefthanded stroke. Batting in the three-hole for 5 Star West, Braswell’s swing is so easy and the baseball explodes off of his barrel. In his third at-bat of the day, Braswell met a baseball out in front and put an effortless swing with a line drive swing plane and the ball jumped to the pull-side gap. The lefthanded hitter from Loganville High School is physically gifted as well with plenty of room to fill into his 6-foot-3, 195-pound frame that already has plenty of strength present. The wrist strength that Braswell possesses is special getting his hands going to the baseball with ease to the point of contact. The Georgia commit finished the day 1-for-3 at the plate with that really impressive and loud double to the right-center. Braswell has a professional frame with a swing that projects for power and is a really nice get for the Georgia Bulldogs.

-Gregory Gerard

Cameron Cauley (2021, Baytown, Texas) played well for Marucci Elite Texas 16U Biggers on Monday. The Houston commit went 2-for-3, and Cauley’s impressive speed makes him a difficult out. Even when he rolls over on a ball he’s still a threat to earn a hit, just like he did in his third at-bat Monday. He stole bases with ease and was aggressive on the base paths. The righthanded hitter flashed some pop as well with a hard line drive to centerfield. He generates good bat speed and barrels it up well. The wiry athletic shortstop was smooth on defense with soft hands, good range, and a solid arm.

Clay Tyas (2021, Gainesville, Ga.) was impressive on Monday morning in an outing for Barrett Braves 16U. He went three innings with four strikeouts while only allowing two walks and two hits and no runs. The righthander worked well with his mid-80s fastball and an 11-5 curveball that he showed feel for and landed for strikes. His arm works well and shows fluidity throughout his long arm action with a three-quarters arm slot. The uncommitted 16-year-old gets downhill well with clean mechanics. A 6-foot, 170-pound frame with a lean build projects as well.

Win Scott (2021, Jamestown, N.C.) dominated in a relief appearance on Monday for NCBA Golden Spikes 2021. The southpaw threw two innings with five strikeouts with no hits, no walks, and no runs. The uncommitted 16-year-old’s fastball sat in the mid-80s with sink and generated lots of swing and miss. He paired it with a low-70s loopy curveball that he landed for a strike. Scott gets good extension down the mound and releases from on overhand arm slot with a fairly compact arm action. A lanky 6-foot 165-pound frame leaves plenty of room to fill out and long legs.

Ryan McCrystal (2021, Fuquay Varina, N.C.) had a monster game Monday for Dirtbags 16U Bad Company. He went 2-for-3 with a home run, run scored, and a RBI. McCrystal’s long homer towered over the right-center field fence. The righthanded hitter generated big power to the pull side all game long from the designated hitter position. His compact swing works well but he did dip his back shoulder a little too far when trying to generate lift on inside pitches. A physical 6-foot-2 frame projects well and contains present strength that translates to power at the plate.

Zachary Lewis (2021, Winston Salem, N.C.) was dominant in his relief role for the Dirtbags 16U Bad Company on Monday. He threw two innings while allowing one hit, one walk, and no runs with four strikeouts. Lewis’ fastball sat in the 85-87 mph and touched 89 several times. A sharp mid-70s slider and 80 mph changeup to lefthanded hitters paired well with fastball. The uncommitted righthander’s arm is quick and works fluidly through a whippy compact arm action. Lewis commands the ball well and generates a good amount of swing and miss.

-Jacob Jordan

Cody Barberio (2020, Greenlane, Pa.) took the mound for the PA Shockers and went to work by helping his team hold a lead through his stint in the game. The righthander worked mainly with a fastball that worked in the mid-80s through the whole of the game. The uncommitted pitcher was able to bring his heater to the high of 87. Complimenting the fastball was a 12-to-6 breaking curveball that fooled hitters throughout the game. Bring in the hammer in the low-70s, Barberrio was able to get a big drop on that pitch and executed good command of it. The Pennsylvania native finished his outing with nine strikeouts while only allowing one walk and one earned run.

With his primary position labeled as a lefthanded pitcher, Tyler Franks (2021, Dublin, Ga.) was used as Game On Stealth’s first baseman and did a fine job at the plate. The 6-foot-5 lefthander was a strong swing and is quick to barrel up the ball. The uncommitted hitter has a smooth load and power in his bat as the ball shoots off of his bat. In his first at-bat, though the ball was caught by the second baseman, Franks was able to get out and meet the ball right at the edge of the plate and rifle it off the bat. With his height and 210-pound frame, the Georgia native definitely has some power in his swing and could project for more.

Starting at pitcher for the Nebraska Prospects, Preston Menicucci (2020, Gretna, Neb.) turned in a solid performance. Ranked as one of the top outfielders in Nebraska, Menicucci was called upon and delivered just over five innings of shutout baseball. Hitting mid-80s with his fastball coming out, the righthander continued to pound the zone and get outs. He wasn’t much of a strikeout pitcher but he threw strikes and got outs when he needed them. The uncommitted Menicucci tossed in a changeup from his high three-quarters delivery that had a late drop. The changeup got a few ground balls and swing-and-misses. Overall, it was a good performance for the Nebraska native as he gave up only gave up four hits while striking out three batters.

Typically used as a catcher, Bradley Wilson (2021, Irvington, Ga.) started for Game On Stealth as their third baseman and performed well both offensively and defensively. In the field, the Mississippi State commit was able to handle every ground ball that was hit his way. After getting his footing underneath him, Wilson was able to make strong accurate throws across the diamond every time. Where the Georgia native really shined, though, was at the plate. Going 2-for-3 at the plate with an RBI to his name, Wilson consistently was able to barrel up the ball and make solid contact. The righthander would barely take any stride in the box as he used his quick hands and allowed the bat to come through the zone and make contact with the ball out front.

Taking the mound for SBA 2021 Futures was Michael Colonna (2022, Waxhaw, N.C.) who was able to piece together a strong performance in the tough loss. Working out of the stretch through the whole of the game, the 6-foot-2 righthander kept his hands low on the mound with low separation as he would use a slide-step to the plate. Delivering the ball to the plate with a three-quarters delivery, Colonna used a large majority of fastballs throughout the game while using his off-speed pitches sparingly. The uncommitted pitcher could get his fastball up to 90 with a bit of tailing movement moving towards the righthanded pitcher. Through the game, he consistently sat in the upper-80s and even on his 92nd pitch of the game, he hit 88 with his fastball. The changeup wasn’t working for him that much, but Colonna had a slider that he was able to use effectively later in the games. There wasn’t too much spin on the movement but he was able to place it in the latter half of the game that helped get him outs. The first couple innings for the righthander were rough as he worked around walks, but he finally got his footing and pitched really well till he was taken out. Colonna finished the game with just over four strong innings while striking out seven and giving up one earned run.

-Brian Treadway

Luke Gornell (2021, Southlake, Texas) is a 5-foot-9, 175-pound utility player from Carroll Senior High School in his hometown. Luke got the start for his club, Thirve-Haugen, on Monday, and did not disappoint, as he went out and executed for four innings, earning the win. Gornell, who has a short, strong, athletic frame, is close to physical maturity in his current state. Gornell has pitchability on the mound and does not try to do too much. He keeps his mechanics simple and balanced, and uses a tense, short-circled arm action that delivers from a low three-quarters slot. He has good pace to his delivery and stays connected with good rhythm and timing. Gornell showcases a two-pitch mix of a fastball (80-82 mph, 83 mph max) with some arm-side run and sink, and a curveball (68-69 mph) with good shape, depth and bottom when he gets it right. Occasionally he will get around it and it will slurve and lack depth yet still has enough sell and differential from his fastball to create swing and miss. Gornell filled the zone all afternoon at East Cobb, and when he left with the lead after four full, he was over 60 percent strikes for the outing. Gornell, who exudes confidence needed only 52 pitches to complete his assignment, where he racked up eight punchouts in the process. Gornell had a plan for what he had to do on the mound yesterday, knowing that his offense would take care of the rest and they did in a big way, giving Gornell a 5-0 cushion by the time his day was over, going on to win 15-0 over East Coast Sox 16U Bomb.

Carson Kelly (2021, Sanford, N.C.) is a 6-foot-2, 175-pound righthanded pitcher and shortstop from Lee County High School in his hometown, where he will be a junior in the fall. Kelly, who already has a verbal commitment to North Carolina State, started for the South Charlotte Panthers 2021 on Monday at East Cobb and showed those in attendance why he is rated as the second-best righthanded pitching prospect in the state for his class. Kelly has a very strong lower half to his frame, with long arms and room to fill up top. He delivers from the first base side of the rubber, with an even tempo and nice balance and pace. Arm works well, with a free and easy arm action with a slight show in back. Carson delivers his pitches from a low three-quarters slot, filling up the bottom of the zone as arm and body are in sync and regularly releases out front with plenty of extension adding life to his fastball and deception to his curveball. Kelly’s two-pitch mix is tough to handle as it features a fastball (84-86 mph, 87 mph max) with down plane movement and arm side run, and a curveball (70-72mph) with good shape, depth, and feel for the pitch with 11/5 break. He has better control than command to his repertoire currently, yet filled it up through his abbreviated start, as he didn’t walk a batter, and induced weak contact throughout the outing that his defense could handle. Kelly knows he’s good, yet lets his play do the talking, as he is yet to lose in a Perfect Game event dating back to 2017. Kelly has no fear on the mound and knows how to pitch. Exciting player to monitor as he gets ready to enter the next phase of his baseball career. Very high upside talent.

Jimmy Thies (2021, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) is a 6-foot-3, 185-pound strong, athletic, and extremely projectable shortstop from St. Thomas Aquinas High School in his hometown. A junior in the fall, Thies, who plays for X Team 2021, performed very well at the plate this afternoon at East Cobb going 3-for-3 with three runs scored, a double, a home run to the pull side, and three runs batted in, in his team’s blowout, run-rule shortened victory. Thies has an advanced hit tool currently with more to come as he continues to develop and grow into his large frame. He has a plan in the box and turns it loose with excellent bat speed. He gets on plane and keeps his barrel short and through the hitting zone a long time, squaring up baseballs with regularity and producing leverage for future average power projection. Raw power now, translates into games, already with feel for the wood bat. A good athlete, Thies runs well both out of the box, on the bases with definite base stealing potential, and at shortstop where he covers a lot of ground. Thies showed us Monday that he has first step quickness at shortstop and covers ground into the alleys with soft hands, and confident defensive actions. Arm profiles for short it flashes average arm strength with a short release and proper mechanics. Theis is an uncommitted 2021 with a bright future. He is currently hitting .545 in five games at WWBA 16U National Championship in Georgia well on his way to an All-Tournament team selection for the week.

Colton Warren (2021, Pollok, Texas) is a 6-foot, 180-pound infielder and righthanded pitcher from Hudson High School near his hometown. With good size and strength to his current build, Warren showcased tools all over the field for his club, Thrive-Haugen Monday afternoon. At the plate, Colton uses a square stance with hands outside his chest. He loads his hands back and uses a high leg kick for timing upon release. Hips lead the hands, as he consistently matches plane, and keeps his hands inside the baseball with good feel for his barrel. Colton displayed good hand-eye coordination and leverage at the plate as he consistently made hard contact, peppering the left-center field wall all afternoon. His final line read 4-for-4 with two singles, two doubles, four runs scored, and an RBI. A good athlete, Warren runs well both out of the box and on the bases. In the field, Warren has plenty of arm strength for the hot corner with on-target, strong throws through the bag. He is an alert, sure-handed fielder with confident hands and good body control with the ability to range to both sides and pair that with solid defensive actions. A well-rounded ballplayer, Warren is currently unranked, yet that will not last if he continues to perform the way he is this week in Atlanta as he has his average up to .563. High upside, toolsy corner infielder, who has produced at Perfect Game events since 2017 in any task he is asked to do to help his team win. Not only does he own a lifetime .323 average for PG, but he is 3-0 on the mound with a 1.80 ERA in just under 20 innings.

Raef Wright (2021, Burleson, Texas) is a 6-foot-1, 150-pound center fielder from Mansfield Legacy High School in Mansfield, Texas. Wright, who is strong and thin with plenty of room to fill before reaching physical maturity, is very athletic and profiles well for center field. What helped Wright stand out at East Cobb on Monday was his advanced hit tool and gap-to-gap power helping him go 3-for-4 with three doubles, a run scored, and an RBI. A lefty, Wright sets up in the box with a slightly open stance and hands high near his ear. He has a deep knee bend and deploys a high leg kick upon pitcher release while he subsequently loads his weight and hands back. Upon foot strike, Wright, who has tremendously quick hands and wrist, shoots his barrel through the hitting zone with excellent bat speed and vision. He has good rhythm and timing in the box that helps him catch pitches deep and generate leverage through the zone with a swing path for power to all fields. Wright, who possesses excellent athleticism, has footspeed all over the diamond with powerful strides and base-stealing potential. He has sound defensive actions in the outfield and makes all plays hit his way look routine. He has athletic actions and plenty of anticipation on balls to the gap that adds to his range where nothing appears to fall. Wright is very polished with his current skillset and has a confident, solid approach to the game. He plays the game the right way and is fun to watch compete. Like his teammate Warren above, Wright is currently unranked, yet is hitting .444 during his tournament season and currently .364 at WWBA 16U National Championships in Georgia this week. Tremendously talented prospect with a bright future in the game.

-Matt Arietta

Jake Hunter (2021, Rockwell. N.C.) fits the mold of a future big-time arm with his 6-foot-4 225 pound frame. He sat 84-86 mph with his fastball while topping out at 87 mph in his six innings of work while allowing no earned runs and striking out five. His three-quarters arm slot creates some arm side run on his fastball as he showed the ability to stay out of the middle of the plate, locating it on the corners and inducing weak contact from hitters. He backed his fastball with a slider that sat 72-74 mph with some sweeping action to it. His third offering, a changeup sat 74-75 mph with good arm speed and some late sink. The changeup was most effective against lefties but he showed the ability to locate it to his glove side as a solid offering to righties as well. His compact delivery is repeatable and allows him to compete in the zone and stay in plus counts.

Jacob Cozart (2021, High Point, N.C.), a primary catcher, displayed some of his defensive versatility getting the start at first base. He looked comfortable working around the bag and receiving throws as well as making plays on balls hit to him. Where he really stood out was at the plate. His lefthanded swing starts with narrow open base and high, loose hands. He uses a low leg kick trigger to work back to even and create separation pre-swing. His bat path works direct to the ball as he does a good job of keeping his front side connected and letting the ball get deep. The North Carolina State commit displayed his ability to drive the ball the other way with a roped double the other way in the top of the sixth to give his South Charlette Panthers 2021 club a late lead. His bat path shows some loft with a high finish which projects well for power to all fields with his ability to get the ball in the air.

AJ Solomon (2021, Dayton, Ohio) displayed some of his athletic ability playing a solid second base, showing off his range going to his glove side and back up the middle. At the plate he showed good bat-to-ball skills, getting the barrel to the ball in all four of his at-bats. He starts with a compact lefthanded stance but does a good job of getting to a strong base with his low-stride trigger. His bat path is quick and compact working to the inside part of the ball allowing him to stay back up the middle like he did with his line drive single to center field. His 5-foot-9, 155-pound frame leaves room to continue to fill out well maintain his quick twitch athleticism.

Logan Maxwell (2021, Lima, Ohio) displayed his solid line drive approach well, barreling up the ball today. His smooth lefthanded bat path gets good extension through contact as his swing stays level through the ball. With his hands working to the inside of the ball, he showed gap-to-gap ability with some power to split the outfielders for potential extra bases. His good athleticism transfers well to the outfield where he showcased his ability to get good reads on balls off the bat and track them down with his good speed. His 5-foot-10, 165-pound frame showed some present strength in his swing with more to come as he continues to grow and fill out his lean athletic frame.

Kobe Benson (2021, Boca Raton, Fla.), a Coastal Carolina commit, was making plays all over the field from his shortstop position. His ability to got to his left and make the throw on the run fading away from first showed some of his arm strength capabilities. He does a good job of reading the hops and using his feet to set himself up in position to let his hands work. His ability to funnel the ball in with his soft hands as he continues to gain ground towards first base puts him in good position to get off a strong, accurate throw. His quick hands and fast release play well around the bag as he does a good job of adjusting to his feeds and getting the ball off on his double play turns. As a switch hitter his righthanded swing starts with a balanced stance before his weight load on the back side during his leg kick trigger. His bat path is smooth with a high finish as he showed some good bat speed getting the barrel through the zone. His lean frame leaves him with room to fill out as he continues to mature.

Ryan Rumsey (2021, Cherry Hill, N.J.) worked a cool five innings in the night cap for Diamond Jacks Super 16U, going five innings and allowing no runs on only three hits. He ran his fastball up to 89 mph while sitting 84-87 for most of the night. The lean righty worked both a two-seam and four-seam fastball with good effectiveness to both sides of the plate while the two-seam showed some arm-side run. He mixed in a slider that sat 72-73 mph and showed better bite as the game went along. His long arm action and high three-quarters slot was repeatable with both of his offerings as he maintained good arm speed and direction to the plate through his delivery. His 6-foot, 193-pound frame showed room to continue to fill out as he grows and matures.

Matt Miceli (2021, Branchburg, N.J.) was a pitcher’s best friend all night both at the plate providing run support and in the field making plays. At shortstop he displayed great lateral range and good first-step quickness with his ability to range deep in the hole and go back up the middle behind the bag to make plays. His good footwork puts him in position to make the plays and he has plenty of arm strength to make all the throws. When fielding the ball, he does a good job getting his hands out front and pushing through the ball. His good transfer and quick release play well on the routine ground ball as well as around the bag on double plays. At the plate he showed some pop from the right side with a three-run triple to center field to blow the game open in the fifth. His swing starts with a wide base as he uses a quiet stride trigger to get into the hitting position. From there his quick hands work direct to the ball with some loft to the finish of his bat path. His ability to create drive off his back side allows him to power through the ball at contact creating good carry to his ball flight.

-Colt Olinger
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