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Tournaments | Story | 7/20/2019

15u, 17u West Day 1 Scout Notes

Connor Spencer         Andrew Jenkins        
Photo: Hunter Cramer (Perfect Game)

The WWBA West National Championship continued on Friday with the start of the 15u and 17u tournaments. This week’s schedule is jam-packed with highly regarded teams from across the country, thus promising some top quality baseball to be played. Day one did not disappoint as a myriad of D-I college coaches were in attendance to scout the action.

Uncommitted righthander Jonah Giblin (2020, Silverdale, Wash.) came out looking solid with his strong arm sitting 88-to-90 mph right out the gate. He has a longer arm action from a three-quarters arm slot. He really reaches back behind when he separates, and his front arm raises up and across as well. Unfortunately, he ran into some command issues not long after the first, putting him into trouble in the second. He missed high and arm side with his 11-to-5 shaped curveball causing the pitch lack depth and break. When thrown across body, down and away to righties, the breaking pitch is much more effective with plus late bite. Most of his swings and misses on the day came from his fastball. The strength of the arm and the deception of the delivery makes Giblin a high follow heading into his senior year.

An interesting southpaw follow Max Zdimal (2021, Scottsdale, Ariz.) had a fantastic outing in game one for GBG NW Marucci. Zdimal has a long arm from an over-the-top slot and he reaches down and back along his body line making it tough on lefties to see the ball until the window. For most of his outing his fastball sat 80-82 mph, but he has so much more in the tank. In the fourth he ran into trouble, loading the bases with no outs. He then punched out his next two batters and forced weak contact on the third to get out of the jam. On his second strikeout of the sequence Zdimal was able to reach back and fire 85 mph for the kill pitch. His breaking ball is a very large shaped 1-to-7 curveball that has good depth but is a little slow to be effective at the next level. At 59-62 mph he’ll need to develop a harder breaking ball to complement the big breaker as hitters will start to sit it at the next level. Zdimal threw five full shutout innings with seven strikeouts on the day.

CBA Marucci American got a huge win to start their tournament and UCLA commit Jack Holman (2021, Wrightwood, Calif.) impressed behind the plate and at the plate going 2-for-2 with a walk on his day. Holman is a very athletic backstop that works hard to beat balls to spots. With bases loaded in the third Holman made a strong unorthodox block on a 55-foot spiked slider, saving what turned out to be a crucial run in the ball game. At the dish, he uses an upright stance with higher hands, and his barrel gets up over his head helping him to generate whip through his launch. His hands work well to the baseball and he shows above average maturity with his plate discipline. All around the Bruins are getting a plus backstop with an already great feel for the game.

Kansas commit Trevor Kardell (2020, Lees Summit, Mo.) is another talented backstop that showcased his polished skill-set behind the dish on day one. Kardell has a pro ball ready 6-foot-6 athletic frame with plenty of juice in his bat. His framing actions are clean and crisp, and he has an excellent arm with accuracy to any bag. At the plate, he has an upright wide stance with a slight bat wag pre-pitch. His hands are quiet into his load and work down through the zone, firing right behind his back-side. On his sac fly in the first inning, he got jammed and still was able to muscle the ball out to the warning track in left center. It’s a big body with lots of pop and an overall smooth stroke throughout.

The Royals Scout Team 17u may have given the Jayhawks a look into their future as Kardell caught Kansas commit southpaw Stone Hewlett (2020, Leawood, Kan.). Hewitt has great tempo on the mound and has a quick motion down the hill. His arm action is long yet quick, and he has an over-the-top to high three-quarters arm slot. As he lifts his leg he slightly closes off his front side until releasing it open into separation. His fastball sat 83-85 on the day and he touched 87. His breaking ball is a true 12-to-6 curve that falls off the table and can be a plus pitch at times. He also flashed a straight change that sinks in the zone and it sits around 75 mph. Legends Prospects 17u finally got to him in the fifth, but he has the stuff to be successful at the next level, and I’m sure the Jayhawks are hoping that these two athletes make it to campus come next fall.

NorCal Baseball Prime’s Riley Cooper may have had the outing of the day in the 17u division going five full innings allowing one hit with a whopping 13 strikeouts. He has an over-the-top slot with some downward angle to the plate. Cooper has a large frame with an easy free flowing arm that sits 88-90 mph while touching 91. Cooper throws a cutter with intent that feels kind of like a small slider at around 85-86 mph. At times there’s some arm-side run to his four-seam. His 2-to-8 shaped curveball has great depth and drops off the table. It’s arguably a plus-plus breaking ball with the amount of swings and misses he got with the pitch. Cooper has a very impressive presence on the mound.

In the 15u division, top-ranked 2022 Utah righthander Zac Dart (2022, Spanish Fork, Utah.) blew his 85 mph fastball by hitters on his way to a five-inning, no-hit, 10-strikeout performance. Dart has a very conventional motion with a mid-leg lift and falls off slightly glove side through his finish. He’s very well balanced on the mound and looks smooth. He loves to pitch with the fastball and he’s not afraid to go right after hitters with it. His delivery on the mound is very technical and very clean especially for his age and he rarely misses with his stuff. There are big things ahead for this very projectable athlete.

Back into the 17u division, Purdue commit Jacob Mrosko (2020, Chanhassen, Minn.) touched 90 mph for the Mariners Midwest Scout Team and started off dominant with his power stuff. He starts with high hands, takes a huge stride down the hill and falls off glove side with his over-the-top slot. Mrosko does find some arm-side run on his fastball at times, but for the most part there isn’t much action to it. While he did run into command issues in the third his power arm still suggests a high ceiling for him at the next level.

Another pitcher who didn’t have the outcome that he wanted on the day but has high quality stuff is top-rated 2022 lefthanded pitcher Austin Humphres (2022, Surprise, Ariz.). Humphres looked right at home in the 17u tournament when he truthfully qualifies to pitch in the 15u tournament. He has a long lengthy frame with a longer arm action that comes up to an over-the-top slot. His 80-81 mph fastball is deceptive thanks to his funky arm action into separation that almost feels like he reaches back an extra few inches late while falling down the mound. Moreover, he did touch 84 mph in his outing and his ball has some natural arm-side run. Humphres also elevated his fastball with intent, changing the hitters’ eye level to set up his 1-to-7 breaking ball. He also has a sinking off-speed that missed some bats and has serious potential to it. As Humphres’ arm continues to strengthen his stuff has the makeup to be lights out some day.

Finally, after a day full of quality arms, the afternoon slot featured yet another one in uncommitted CBA Marucci National pitcher Jacob Sharp (2020, Whittier, Calif.) Sharp is an interesting product as he was recently graded a PG score of 8.5 at the Sunshine West Showcase in Irvine, California. However, that may be because he’s listed as a primary outfielder because his outing today justified more of a 9 grade. College coaches in the stands were very intrigued with his stuff as his 88-89 mph arm feels ready to jump into a West Coast bullpen right away. He has a very short arm action that fires quickly into a three-quarters arm slot. As of right now he’s more of a fastball-slider type of pitcher, however, an off-speed pitch could potentially unlock a new ceiling in his game. His slider flashed plus-plus ability with late, sharp break and the pitch is hard in general at 79 mph. Sharp is a must-watch as the summer progresses on and into the high school season. It just feels like he’s a step away from becoming something special.

– Connor Spencer

The No. 1-ranked lefthanded pitcher from the state of Arizona in the 2022 class, Mario Bejarano (2022, Tucson, Ariz.), was on the hill for Tucson Champs in day one action at the WWBA 15u West National Championship and showed why he is one of the better lefthanded pitchers in the country. Standing at 5-foot-10, 220-pounds, Bejarano worked his way through the lineup with ease and had the most impressive outing on the day lasting 5 2/3 innings, allowing one hit with 15 punchouts. Throwing from a high three-quarters arm slot, he had a long arm circle in the back and created plenty of deception by hiding the ball well throughout his delivery and messed with timing occasionally.  Bejarano commanded two pitches very well to all parts of the plate and got a fair amount of swings and misses with both. His fastball was 83-86 mph and topped out at 87 mph with riding life. He threw a very tight, late-breaking slider in the mid-70s that was extremely tough on lefthanded hitters and a pitch that he was able to locate back-foot versus righties. Bejarano is very confident on the mound, knows how to pitch and threw 71 percent strikes on 92 pitches. This uncommitted prospect will be a very intriguing follow for college coaches over the next three years at Tucson Magnet High School.

Reed Moring (2022, Watsonville, Calif.) is a lean-framed, two-way player for CCB. Moring started on the mound and had two innings of work. Throwing from a three-quarter arm slot, his fastball was in the low-80s and topped out at 84 mph with arm-side run while showing a developing feel for a 11-to-5 breaking curveball at 67 mph and maintaining his arm speed in doing so. Moring had a simple delivery and was able to get downhill with extension out front. He struggled a bit with command from time to time due to a small repeating issue in his delivery, but with fixes to his front-side his command should improve along with a jump in velocity in the future. Moring also had one hit with an RBI at the plate, showing above average bat speed with a rotational-type swing.

Righthanded pitcher Cole Chimenti (2019, San Ramon, Calif.) has an athletic build with room to fill out his 5-foot-10, 160-pound frame. He threw from a high three-quarters arm slot with a long arm circle and some effort in his delivery. At times, Chimenti tended to pull hard to his glove side which created drag in his arm that resulted in him missing high to his arm side. He was able to make adjustment to his delivery pitch-to-pitch and found comfort as he settled in during his three innings of work. His fastball was in the mid-80s and topped out at 87 mph with slight sink and he worked in a curveball at 71 mph that he was able to locate for strikes when he stayed on top of the baseball.

Cameron Faris (2020, Castro Valley, Calif.) had an impressive day at the plate going 3-for-3 with one run. In the first inning Farris hit a line drive to right field, followed with another liner to left field in his second at-bat and finished up his day with a ground ball single to right field. Faris starts with a slightly open stance, used a leg kick trigger and gained ground with good balance throughout his swing. During his third at-bat he let the ball travel deep and showed the ability to go the over way on a pitch that was down and away. He was able to stay inside the ball and get the bat head out front on inside pitches to make easy contact in his first two plate appearances. His swing is simple and quick and he has an opportunity to add some power over time.

Blaze Hill (2020, Livermore, Calif.) is a 6-foot-2, 200-pound first baseman who showed present strength, had pop to his pull side and created leverage in his lower half to drive balls deep to left field. Hill has an aggressive approach and made loud contact in two of his three at-bats. In his first plate appearance he turned on a fastball with authority and drove it deep to the warning track for a standup double. He followed that with another shot to left field for a sac fly that was hard off the bat. His swing tended to get a bit long on outside pitches and drifted forward which did not allow his hands to stay back; this resulted in a weak groundout to first base in his final at-bat. Hill is a typical middle-of-the-order type hitter and could project to be a power threat at the next level.

Uncommitted lefthanded pitcher Luke Thompson (2020, Cypress, Texas) had a very good outing in opening day action with 10 strikeouts in five innings of work while holding the opposing hitters to one base hit. Thompson has a quick arm from a high three-quarters slot with some moving parts in his delivery and he stayed online with extension. He worked consistently at the knees with his fastball that was in the mid- to upper-80s and touched 89 mph with run. He also threw a wipeout slider at 72 mph that at times showed to be a plus pitch. Thompson projects nicely at the next level and will not be uncommitted for long as he continues to impress coaches this summer.

Arkansas commit Hunter Cramer (2020, Conroe, Texas) looked good at the plate and defensively for Hunter Pence 17u – Calhoun. Cramer went 2-for-3 with an RBI and a walk. He started with a wide base and a leg-kick trigger, he loaded back and dropped his hands into a linear swing path. He had quick hands and got the barrel out front with the ball jumping off his bat. He hit a single to left field in his first at-bat and a single to center field in his third at-bat. Starting at second base, Cramer showed proper actions defensively, had good hands and lateral agility. Cramer projects well as a middle infielder and should be fun to watch once he begins playing at Baum–Walker Stadium.

Cole Wentz (2020, Fountain Valley, Calif.) is a 6-foot, 185-pound, righthanded pitcher that has room to fill out his frame as he matures. Throwing from a high three-quarters arm slot, Wentz had a short arm action, incorporated his lower half and finished downhill. He had a good feel for a three-pitch mix that included his fastball that was that was in the low- to mid-80s, a curveball at 72 mph and a changeup that flashed potential with solid fading action. Wentz threw 3 2/3 innings, walked two and fanned seven. Possessing very quick feet, he was able to pickoff two base runners at first and another at second base. With added velocity in the future, Wentz has a chance to be a front-end starter at the next level.

– Andrew Jenkins

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