Tournaments | Story | 7/10/2019

17u BCS: Day 3 Scout Notes

Vincent Cervino        
Photo: Ethan Chenault (Perfect Game)

17u BCS Scout Notes:
Day 1 | Day 2

Starting out the morning for Elite Squad was uncommitted prospect Richard Pena (2020, Coral Springs, Fla.) who was strong over four innings en route to the victory. Pena is a big and physical righthander who has the stuff and repertoire to succeed at the next level while also offering projection that remains physically. Pena has a large stride toward the target to go along with a full arm stroke and an over the top arm slot. The length of the stride can cause some sync issues from a mechanical standpoint and Pena ran his fastball up to 86 mph on the morning while generating some sink and life low in the zone. Pena’s curveball showed promise too in the low-70s and flashed a changeup to a lefthanded hitter while the uncommitted prospect has a lot of positives to the profile.

A matchup of two impressive uncommitted prospects took place at Jet Blue as Florida Burn lefthander Sam Drumheller (2020, Tampa, Fla.) and SWFL Nation righthander Micheal Ross(2020, Lakeland, Fla.) matched up as both pitchers showed impressive stuff.

Drumheller was unhittable during his four frames on the mound, striking out five batters and allowing only two hits on the afternoon. What Drumheller lacks in physical stature he makes up in pitchability and deception as the southpaw is just 5-foot-10, 170-pounds but he showed excellent command and the ability to hide the ball allows his stuff to play up. He worked mostly in the 82-84 mph range from a lower arm slot, creating serious angle, while he bumped 85 mph a handful of times. Drumheller is very balanced and throws strikes to both sides of the plate while tunneling his breaking ball effectively. The breaker has good shape and he can manipulate the pitch effectively while he also showed an effective changeup.

Ross is a physically projectable righthander with a 6-foot-2, 195-pound frame and a lengthy arm stroke that works very well at release. The delivery is on time with the lower half and he pronates around through a three-quarters arm slot to create some life on a fastball that topped out at 87 mph. The arm is free and easy and it’s easy to see Ross throwing harder as he continues to mature physically. Strikes will be the next area of improvement for Ross as getting into unfavorable counts ultimately cost him his line on the day but the feel to spin is there at present with some shape and spin to the breaking ball in the low-70s.

Two PG National participants, and potential draft prospects, in the Burn’s Mac Guscette (2020, Nokomis, Fla.)  and Florida Hardballers’ Asher Akridge (2020, Gainesville, Fla.), stood out during the day over at JetBlue and both prospects offer very different profiles on the whole.

Guscette, who’s as accomplished hitter as any in this tournament, knocked in two doubles on the day and showed consistency on the defensive side of the ball behind the plate. He’s a physical, yet agile, backstop whose best tool would be his bat. The Florida commit is very balanced in the batter’s box with a clean shift of the lower half and a smooth entry point and barrel plane. Guscette turned the barrel over twice, first getting extended on a double to the left centerfield gap and second showing the quickness and strength in his hands by getting the barrel out on an inside pitch to drive it down the pull-side line. The barrel feel and control of the zone is evident and he’s no slouch on the defensive side of the ball as he’s a quality receiver with quiet, balanced actions.

Akridge has stood out at PG events for his athletic abilities and tools but he showed that the hit tool is progressing well as he collected two hard hits on the afternoon including a double and an infield single. The uncommitted outfielder is an eminently projectable 6-foot-4, 165-pounds with a high-waisted, long-limbed frame that’s ripe for additional strength. He’s a fast-twitched athlete and that shows in his plus run tool, he ran a 6.26 second 60-yard dash at the PG National Showcase and recorded a run time of 4.10 seconds to first base. Akridge has impressed in center field this week, routinely making correct reads with graceful strides and centerfield traits; he made a full extension diving grab earlier in the tournament while breaking in. The tools and projection make Akridge’s ceiling very high and he’s an uncommitted prospect to watch.

Canes American had arms to spare during their second game of the day as Jagger Haynes (2020, Cerro Gordo, N.C.) and Ethan Chenault (2020, Forest, Va.) combined to pitch a very strong game and both are notable prospects for next year’s draft.

Haynes was excellent over four-plus innings on the hill, routinely working to both sides of the plate with all three of his pitches. At 6-foot-3, 175-pounds, and being young for the grade, there is a lot of room for physical projection especially given the athleticism to the profile. The North Carolina commit has a loose, whippy arm strong and a fastball that sat 86-88 mph with life. There is some head whack at release but he commands the fastball effectively to either side of the plate and uses the pitch to set up his secondary offerings led by a potential above average changeup. The pitch worked 78-80 mph with late fading action to the pitch and was routinely used to turn opposing hitters’ bats into swords. The breaking ball was also a solid pitch in the low-70s with shape and some bite to it. Hayens’ three pitches for strikes, athleticism, operation, and projection make him a fascinating prospect to keep tabs on through the next draft cycle.

Chenault tossed two-plus innings of relief and the 6-foot-5 righthander showed some impressive stuff on the hill. Committed to UNC-Wilmington, Chenault delivers from a lower three-quarters arm slot with a compact arm stroke and really whips it through the arm circle. He strides shorter and clears his lower half to sink his fastball well in the 88-92 mph range while touching 93 mph once. The fastball-curveball combination was his primary go-to and he showed the ability to adjust to hitters as after giving up a double on a fastball he struck the next hitters out on curveballs exclusively. The pitch has some slurvy shape with bite to it in the 74-77 mph range and he was very effective at landing the pitch. Chenault has a live right arm and there’s reason to believe he’ll be throwing harder as he fills out.

Canes American three-hole hitter Jake Gelof (2020, Rehoboth Beach, Del.) and Dallas Patriots three-hole hitter Cade Manning (2020, Southlake, Texas) both had strong days in a well-contested game and both are notable prospects as well.

Gelof, committed to William & Mary, had fairly consistent contact during the day, squaring balls up to all parts of the diamond. The righthanded hitter keeps his hands compact and over the plate with a very direct path to contact. This ensures his ability to control the barrel head and to drive the ball on a swing plane that’s favorable for carry to both gaps. He’ll get caught underneath at times but he has good plate discipline and knows how to be selective. Manning notched a hit on the day and has a whippy barrel head from the left side of the plate. He’s a big, physical shortstop with good bat speed but the barrel whip and projection on the swing notably stand out. He’ll show a tendency to dive on the ball with two strikes to stay alive but when he keeps his weight back and drives the ball he can put a charge into it.

Hitting a big time home run during the final slot of the day was middle of the order presenceAlfonso Villalobos (2020, Kirkland, Quebec) whose physical 6-foot-1, 188-pound frame is able to generate significant torque and bat speed. He got an elevated pitch he could get ahold of and was able to deposit it deep to the pull side. The aforementioned raw bat speed is impressive for Villalobos while the fluidity to the swing allows him to naturally loft the ball at contact. The swing will add length at times and there is some rawness to offspeed pitches, however the power is significant and the remainder of the tools make him an intriguing prospect.

Dallas Patriots 2020 Stout is enjoying an undefeated start to the BCS and they brought out two intriguing uncommitted arms in Tyson Carlton (2020, Allen, Texas) and Cade Citelli (2020, Frisco, Texas).

Carlton had a long first inning but settled in the second while the tools back up his status as a prospect. The 6-foot-4, 222-pound prospect has an extra large frame with ltos of moldable room on the build to project upon. He touched 87 mph early in the outing while sitting mostly in the 83-85 mph range with a longer arm path in the back. This led to him missing early in the first inning but he made some adjustments to work better within the strike zone. The operation is fairly easy and there’s some hiccups to iron out but the upside is significant. Citelli came on in relief and sat 86-88 with a fairly fast arm. The righthander has a high effort delivery but creates deception on his fastball that came from a tough over the top slot. The arm is longer in the back with looseness and he showed feel to spin a breaking ball too.

– Vinnie Cervino

Uncommitted outfielder Ty Jackson (2020, Jacksonville, Fla.) continued an outstanding week at the plate as he picked up his third multi-hit outing in as many games, going 4-for-4, driving in four and scoring three times himself. Jackson is extremely athletic with significant speed to back up a very good first step both out of the box and on the bases. The bat-to-ball skills are very good as he stays short to the ball and creates a clean, line-drive swing path with bat speed to back it. When he doesn’t get on time and makes weak contact, he uses his speed to beat out infield singles as he did in this look. There is some strength to the frame at 5-foot-10, 180-pounds that plays well into his leadoff, contact-hitting profile.

Hitting behind Jackson in the lineup is uncommitted Top 500 overall player Blake Pound (2020, Jacksonville, Fla.). Pound picked up a pair of hits in this look, including a loud double, to improve to 7-for-14 on the week so far. The long and lanky 6-foot-4, 195-pound first baseman has some current strength in the swing and projects to add even more as he fills out. He showed an ability to get good separation from his body to get extended and drive through the ball from a line drive swing path with some natural lift to it.

Uncommitted Corbin Shaw (2020, Conyers, Ga.) picked up only one hit in this look, but made it count as he took an outer half fastball 400 feet to the base of the center-field wall at Terry Park stadium with a wood bat. Standing at 6-foot-2, 200-pounds, Shaw Is a big-bodied corner infielder with a ton of present strength that will continue to improve as he firms up some of the extra weight on the body. He gets his hands extended to the ball well and pulls the barrel through the zone with some violence in the extension.

Uncommitted Alex Bryant (2020, Tampa, Fla.) worked a very clean outing for Top Tier Roos American as he tossed four shutout innings, allowing only three hits and striking out five. The 6-foot-4, 208-pound prospect is a very physical righthander with a firm lower half who works from a very quiet and balanced delivery that allows him to repeat his mechanics well. From the high arm slot he creates consistent downhill action on the fastball as he commands to both halves with some sinking arm-side run at 85-87 mph. Bryant also flashed good feel for a big-breaking curveball with high spin and hard break to it as it dove through the zone. The release point can get inconsistent at times and he sometimes pulls off at extension, but as he fills and cleans up those areas, he will become a pitcher with a body to dream on.

A talented Gatorball team that has had much success early on ran out a trio of talented pitchers in this look in Stetson commit Jovan Gill (2020, Fort Myers, Fla.), North Florida commit Shawn Guilliams (2020, Belleview, Fla.) and Florida commit Tyler Shelnut (2020, Lake City, Fla.).

Gill got the start, going three innings, allowing a hit and a pair of runs while striking out two. The former PG 14u Select Festival player showed a good mix of speeds and tempo throughout his outing as he worked a mix of a fastball at 88-92 mph with feel for a curveball and a good changeup. The fastball showed consistent downhill action as it changed planes showing running life to the arm side. The curveball could use some tightening up but worked as a good change-of-pace breaking ball. The changeup was Gill’s consistent go-to as he landed it both halves of the plate with good late arm-side tumble. The 6-foot-4 frame projects to more velocity, and as he adds a little more physicality to the lower half that he incorporates well, we should see that spike in velocity come.

Guilliams came in first out of the ‘pen, tossing a pair of perfect innings while picking up two strikeouts. The thin, projectable righthander worked well with the fastball at 86-90, topping out at 91 mph as he attacked hitters early and often, commanding to both halves of the plate. The velocity seemed to jump deeper into the brief outing as he got loose and more comfortable on the mound, working downhill and incorporating his lower half. Guilliams showed a very good curveball that he was able to land consistently and can use as a good swing-and-miss pitch.

Two-way prospect Shelnut took the mound for the final two innings of work as he commanded both pitches throughout the outing on his way to a pair of strikeouts and only a single hit allowed. The primary shortstop showed a highly athletic delivery on the mound with many quick-twitch actions with a clean, smooth arm stroke that produced a fastball up to 88 mph. He showed a high level of command with all three pitches as he worked an arm-side sinking fastball, a hard-breaking curveball and an arm-side tumbling changeup that he created weak contact with. Shelnut works at a high tempo given the athleticism, and control of the body allows it, and he should be an interesting prospect to watch if he can continue his two-way potential at the next level.

– Tyler Russo

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