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Tournaments | Story | 7/14/2019

17u BCS: Day 7 Scout Notes

Vincent Cervino        
Photo: Will Sanders (Perfect Game)

17u BCS Scout Notes:
Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4-5 | Day 6

Quarterfinals day at the 17u BCS featured some great starting pitching matchups throughout the day and one of the first games to kick off was between Top Tier’s Camden Minacci (2020, Tampa, Fla.) and Florida Burn’s Sam Drumheller (2020, Tampa, Fla.). Both starters pitched admirably but Drumheller eventually came out on top of a 2-1 victory despite the complete game effort from Minacci.

Minacci, a Wake Forest, gutted his way through the lineup a couple of times and held a Florida Burn team that would end up in the championship to just two runs over six innings. The 6-foot-3, 175-pound frame is very gangly with broad shoulders and the athleticism of the build is evident through the delivery. There are some segments to his motion but he gets the arm stroke through on time fairly consistently with some late life on occasion. The plunge in the back is deeper with some recoil at the finish, but Minacci has advanced body control and seems to know where his arm is at every portion of the arm circle. His fastball worked mostly 84-87 on the afternoon, touching 88 mph once, but the slider looked solid as it has improved from six months ago. This pitch is more in the mid-70s with better biting life and sharpness to it. He avoided big innings well and showed his competitiveness and what he can become thanks to the athleticism and remaining projection.

Drumheller was profiled earlier this week and was similarly masterful during his six innings of one-run baseball. The low slot lefthander looks every bit of the part of a pitcher at the next level and he was utilizing his deception and strong three-pitch mix to baffle Roos hitters all afternoon. Drumheller’s fastball peaked at 84 mph and sat 80-84 mph with angle and command to both sides of the plate. Last start he used his changeup as his primary secondary pitch but today he was using the breaking ball and he tunnels it excellently off the fastball. This allows the sudden break of the pitch to really fool hitters and miss barrels. Drumheller’s final line on the afternoon was six innings with only one run scored and two hits allowed.

Zachary Murray (2020, Buford, Ga.) is another starting pitcher who returned for the round of eight and it’s fair to say he was even more dominant this time out than the last. Murray tossed a complete game shutout with just two hits allowed, notably with no walks, and 10 strikeouts on the morning. A Louisiana State commit, Murray throws all three of his pitches with effectiveness and was really fooling hitters with the fastball-breaking ball combination. The fastball really jumps out of the hand and topped out at 90 mph while holding 86-89 mph throughout with really good downward life at times. He pronates his release on almost all his offerings which helps to create some hellacious life on occasion. The breaking ball looked like it was backing up on Murray at times but in reality he was just locating it to the arm side effectively with some biting snap to the pitch. Murray has a long history of pounding the strike zone and the slight uptick in terms of stuff makes his draft stock heading into the fall fascinating.

The Astros as a team are scorching the ball this week and one of the leaders in that department has been outfielder Brad Grenkoski (2020, Kennesaw, Ga.) who came through during both games Saturday with some loud contact at the dish. The 6-foot-4, 200-pound Georgia Tech commit is an above average athlete with twitch and excellent projection nearly all the way around. The tools are loud, as evidenced by his performance at PG National where he ran a sub-7.0 second 60-yard dash time and threw an impressive 99 mph from the outfield. The raw power and bat speed that he creates from his wiry strong frame stands out in a big way and his ability to carry the ball up the middle and the opposite field stood out today. He crushed a double to straight away center field while adding a triple into the opposite field gap later on in the same game. The feel to hit can be variable at times but Grenkoski has been excellent thus far and will be looking to lead the Astros to the BCS title on Sunday.

Yet another big time pitching matchup took place in the quarterfinals as Team Elite’s Jaden Woods (2020, Warner Robbins, Ga.) matched up against Elite Squad’s Mason Manriquez (2020, Wellington, Fla.) in a game that took nine innings to decide.

Woods certainly looks the part of a talented southpaw on the mound standing at an eminently projectable 6-foot-2, 190-pounds with long limbs, a high waist and tons of room to fill out. He keeps the delivery simple but the athleticism is still able to shine through with easy, fluid movements and a loose, fast left arm. The arm is clean through the back though he’ll have some trouble consistently maintaining his arm slot as he’ll get under the fastball from time to time. There’s good life on the heater, however, as it worked mostly in the mid-80s and peaked at 88 mph during this start. There’s makings of a solid breaking ball for the Georgia commit and the upside is certainly interesting as all the components are there of a big time starting pitcher.

Manriquez was very solid on the other end as both pitchers helped keep their teams in the game the entire way. At a projectable 6-foot-1, 175-pounds the stuff was very good for the uncommitted righthander and he has a clean, loose arm stroke with a very strong two-pitch mix. Manriquez worked up to 87 mph on the afternoon and sat in the mid-80s while mixing in a power breaking ball with sharpness and bite to the pitch. He had to work through some self-made issues on the afternoon with five walks on the ledger but he gave his team a chance to win heading into the late innings.

The walkoff hero for Team Elite was three-hole hitter Garrett Spikes (2020, Lawrenceville, Ga.) and the future Georgia Bulldog advanced his team to the next round with a double in the bottom of the ninth to seal the game. Spikes has been impressive all week with a smooth lefthanded stroke and a projectable 6-foot-3, 190-pound frame to fill out. The hands are a bit steeper but he strides hard into contact with a fly ball-oriented path that keeps the barrel in the hitting zone a long time. He’s able to get leverage and drives off his backside and there’s immense raw power projection in his broad shouldered frame. Spikes can work to the opposite field but he’s best to pull, which is where he ripped the game winning double for a Team Elite victory.

The middle of the order has been getting it done all week for US Elite International Scout Team and one of the standouts on Saturday was two-hole hitter Luis Rodriguez-Gallo (2020, Miami, Fla.) who upper his average above .300 to go with a bomb this weekend. Gallo is an aggressive hitter who engages his back hip nicely to really drive the ball when out in front of the plate. The bat speed is impressive on its own but his ability to find the barrel in the majority of at-bats, early in at-bats mind you, is also a positive trait. He’s looking to do damage down the pull-side line and he collected three hits including a double in US Elite’s first game on the day.

Gallo’s teammate Juan Villadiego (2020, Doral, Fla.) also notched two hits on the ledger out of the nine-hole in the lineup during US Elite’s victory in game one. He has a simple stroke and ca put the ball in play nicely with some contact skills, but he impressed on the defensive side of the ball throughout the game. He’s a twitchy and athletic defender with good first step quickness over at shortstop and excellent hands. The hands play really well as he’s able to receive, transfer, and throw in one fluid motion that makes him a defensive asset over on the left side of the infield.

2019 PG All-American Will Sanders (2020, Atlanta, Ga.) got the start in the semifinals for the East Cobb Astros and Sanders was electric from the get-go. The South Carolina commit’s 10-pitch first inning portended what the rest of the outing would look like for the 6-foot-6 righthander needed just 71 pitches to get through five shutout innings and secure an Astros berth in the championship game.

Sanders’ profile starts with his immensely projectable build at 6-foot-6, 180-pounds as there is a lot of room for additional strength in the build. The athleticism of the delivery is notable as he gets plus extension toward the batter with fluid movements and rotates his torso on time to clear the lower half effectively. The arm is whippy and loose and Sanders is going to keep climbing in terms of velocity. He was mostly 88-90 mph with the fastball during this look with life and high-spin on the pitch while he was dotting the pitch to either side and showing very impressive command to the glove side. The slider has made massive strides over the past calendar year and the pitch showed out as solid average a number of times with late darting action in the 78-80 mph range and projects to be a true swing-and-miss offering. Sanders showed his changeup a couple of times too but really didn’t need it much during this look. He projects to be a starter at the next level with projection for three average or better pitches and we’ll be looking forward to seeing Sanders at Petco Park.

Sanders’ teammate Joe Mack (2021, Williamsville, N.Y.) put forth the decisive blow to essentially secure the game for East Cobb as his long two-run shot out toward the retention ponds in right field put the lead up to 4-0 in the bottom of the fifth. The Astros would go on to add four more to run-rule the game but Mack’s blast was a devastating hit to the opposition’s chances. The physical lefthanded hitter has big raw power, especially to the pull side, and with a quiet leg lift he drives off his backside to really get to some of that strength in the lower half. The Clemson commit’s bat speed for his age is exemplary and he’s not just a fastball hitter as he can fight off tough off-speed pitches and be patient enough to wait for an elevated pitch to get his hands extended on. Mack is a top 30 prospect for the 2021 class and his power-arm strength combination behind the plate is a standout profile at this juncture.

The final pitching matchup of the day between Florida Burn’s Trace Goforth (2020, Palmetto, Fla.) and Team Elite’s Kellum Clark (2020, Brandon, Miss.) was a good one as the Burn scratched across two runs late to hold off Team Elite in a very well played game.

Goforth got the start on the mound for the Burn and though there’s some timing-dependent movements and effort throughout, the arm stroke is fast and the stuff behind the arm is pretty good in its own right. He throws from a lower slot and direction toward third base with the front leg which allowed him to create serious angle to the glove side as he’s athletic enough to get over that front side effectively. The deception helped aid Goforth as he worked 84-86 mph with the fastball and an arm stroke that portends more velocity coming in the future. The breaking ball has some sharpness and bite to it in the low-70s and as a secondary pitcher there’s a good amount of untapped potential in that right arm.

Clark is a well-known prospect at this juncture but that’s mostly for his sweet lefthanded swing and power potential. The bat showed up in this game as Team Elite’s lone two hits came courtesy of the Mississippi State commit but he also turned in an inspired effort on the mound. The righthander touched 92 mph and sat in the 87-91 mph range throughout and that arm strength helped him to navigate a very dangerous Florida Burn lineup. He’s undoubtedly more of a thrower than a polished arm at this point but can run it up there in terms of velocity and showed some feel for a curveball that he could land for strikes. There’s interesting two-way potential in Clark’s future but it will be especially interesting to see how much he throws given how dangerous he is in the batter’s box.

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