Tournaments | Story | 7/21/2019

PG World Series Notes

Vincent Cervino         Jheremy Brown         Jered Goodwin        
Photo: Jett Williams (Perfect Game)
2019 PG World Series: 14U Day 1 Notes | 14U Day 2 Notes

Twitchy shortstop Cameron Pruitt (2023, Wylie, Texas) has been the sparkplug all week long for the Dallas Tigers and Pruitt continued his hot hitting ways as he collected four hits over the two games played on Saturday. Pruitt is listed at a high-waisted and ultra-athletic 5-foot-8, 140 pounds but he’s tightly wound and has enough wiry strength to work up the middle and to the pull side of the field on a consistent basis. The hands and footwork at shortstop are very impressive, and advanced for the age, with good instincts and first step quickness to stick at short as he continues to grow and develop physically. Pruitt has a very good swing too; it’s compact and short to the ball with very good hand quickness and drive off the barrel. The home run power and strength aren’t there yet, but at the top of the lineup that isn’t really Pruitt’s game as he’s going to hit the ball hard, and on a line, to all fields. He was a surehanded shortstop all week and his offensive production combined are a big reason the Dallas Tigers are moving on to the quarterfinals.

Showing out well from an offensive standpoint on Saturday morning was Thad Bridges (2023, Jackson, Miss.) who hit cleanup for Team Georgia and has some offensive tools to work with as he continues to progress.

Bridges immediately stands out in the batter’s box with an angular and projectable 6-foot, 170-pound frame with requisite athleticism and looseness with lots of room for strength to be held. The swing is pretty athletic with twitchy, fast hands and he gets the barrel through on time. The swing shows a lot of looseness and, though it has some length, was on time with the barrel head out in front multiple times during game action. He keeps his hands inside on an elevated fastball to drive the ball into the pull side gap before showing an easy swing on a ground ball single through the four-hole on the pull side for a single. He looks athletic enough around the bag at first base to handle a corner outfield spot, and the swing projects especially in the power department as he gets some strength and physicality to the build.

Another smooth lefthanded swinger who stood out early in the morning was Team Elite outfielder Justin Best (2023, Cornelius, N.C.), as Best immediately checks a lot of boxes upon first glance. Best is a very lean 6-foot-2, 170 pounds with tons of room to fill out and add a strength element to his game as he continues to mature. The swing path is easy and though there’s a bit of a hand bar in the back they’re fast enough to get the barrel head through. He has good control of the swing and gets the barrel head out in front with raw, developing overall bat speed to the offensive profile. The swing looks aesthetically pleasing at times with smoothness throughout and he rocketed a couple of hard-hit balls, including a triple and a hard line out during game action. The projection is key for Best because as he continues to get stronger the balls are going to come off the barrel harder and harder.

Tri-State Arsenal starter Grant Allen (2022, Laurel, Del.) showed off some impressive stuff and finished with a line of five scoreless with seven punchouts as he dealt during their second game on the afternoon. The righthander has a projectable frame with a fairly low effort delivery and the stuff was pretty impressive for the 14U age group.

Allen stands at a lean and projectable 6-foot-1, 165 pounds and there’s a lot of room on the frame to hold additional strength. The righthanded pitcher has a mostly clean and loose arm stroke in the back and fires from a three-quarters arm slot to get some run on his 82-85 mph fastball. Allen pounded the strike zone with the heater and that was his primary means of getting weak outs on the day. The breaking ball is a bit softer at present, operating mostly in the upper-60s and inconsistency to the release point, but the fastball quality and command of the pitch play up for Allen. The delivery gets a bit rotational heavy with the upper half but was on time consistently in what ended up being a stellar performance for the young righthander.

To start off the 15U World Series, Texas Twelve’s Wyatt Wiatrek (2022, Sinton, Texas) matched up against NEB’s Thomas Rogers (2022, Sudbury, Mass.) as both uncommitted arms showed a lot of positive and desirable traits for talented arms.

Wiatrek is a big and physical righthanded pitcher, standing at a listed 6-foot-3 and 205 pounds, with tons of present strength through the lower half to project upon. There’s effort to the release but the arm stroke is clean and fast, producing fastball velocities mostly in the 83-86 mph range with some late life on the heater at times. The fastball quality was very good for Wiatrek as the lower half drive and extended release allowed the pitch to get on hitters late and garner some empty cuts. The breaking ball was best when he was on top of it, the release was inconsistent at times, but the overall profile still posits extremely high upside.

Rogers is a picturesque form of a projectable righthander with a broad and slender 6-foot-5, 165-pound frame and extremely long limbs. The operation is fairly timed up for his size, keeping balance nicely and though there’s moving parts the direction is online with the arm on time as well. The arm stroke is low effort and easy through the arm circle and the fastball comes out of the hand very clean. Rogers is more presently control over command, but the fastball plays in any quadrant of the strike zone, touching 84 mph and living in the low-80s for the duration of the start. The feel to spin is solid as the curveball will tighten up with maturity and he has feel for a straight changeup as well. There are three solid pitches with very good projection and Rogers is one to monitor closely.

Doing it all for Academy Select in their opening game of the 15U World Series was Jett Williams (2022, Heath, Texas), who impressed in nearly every facet of the game that you possibly could. Williams is a tightly-wound ball of quick-twitch athleticism at a listed 5-foot-8, 155 pounds and the defense, offense, and even pitching was impressive on Saturday.

Williams made waves this summer as a power-armed reliever touching 92 mph in the early portion of the summer, and while the raw arm strength is wildly impressive, he’s very good as a position player in his own right. There’s quick feet and good actions at shortstop with excellent hands, too. Williams moves gracefully, and quickly, to each side with good bounce and the arm is going to allow him to make plays anywhere on the diamond. The hands work really well into a loose and whippy swing. There’s some torque and separation present and he can really drive the ball when he gets ahold of it and though he’s not the biggest prospect there’s some potential for power later down the line. The swing is compact and simple and when he hopped on the mound to close out the game, he sat 86-88 mph with pretty good feel for a breaking ball too. He’s a prospect that does everything well on a diamond and he looks the part as one of the top 2022s out of Texas.

A pair of Oregon State commits toed the rubber during the later slots on the afternoon as Ian Ritchie Jr (2022, Bainbridge Island, Wash.) and Tyler Gough (2022, Perris, Calif.) both showed off their stuff and upside in strong starts.

Ritchie is more of a projection arm (in fairness almost every prospect is at this age), but the present stuff is good and he gets a lot of movement on all of his pitches. The slender 6-foot-2, 170-pound frame is ripe for physical projection with the potential to hold a lot of weight at physical maturity. The arm stroke is loose and whippy and his slot allows him to get some hard running life on the fastball that worked in the 85-88 mph range during the early goings of the start. The breaking ball flashed some potential, but the changeup was the superior secondary pitch with very good arm-side action to it in the mid-70s. There’s a well-rounded profile present and the movement he gets on his pitches allows him to avoid barrels at will.

Gough is one of the higher ranked prospects in the event and he has a big fastball with a very quick arm stroke. He’s pretty advanced in terms of overall physicality with a frame of 6-foot-1, 180 pounds with impressive strength present. Gough keeps the delivery simple with a very quick, compact arm stroke in the back and gets on top of the ball nicely though there is effort at the point of release. The fastball worked in the 86-90 mph range for a good portion of the start and the pitch would flash very hard riding life at times that bore in towards the head of righthanded hitters, an uncomfortable at-bat to say the least. The breaking ball could tighten up a bit but he has good feel to land the pitch and grab strikes. The fastball quality and life make him not only one of the hardest throwers in the class but one of the better upsides in the class as well.

-Vinnie Cervino

A known name on the summer circuit last summer, it’s safe to say righthander Andrew Dutkanych (2022, Indianapolis, Ind.) has taken the next step in terms of development as he was fantastic in the opening game of 15U World Series pool play, pounding the strike zone for five hitless innings. The uncommitted Indiana native is already ranked No. 43, though his performance Saturday afternoon will be tough for any arm to duplicate as he was in control from the moment he toed the rubber.

With a slew of recruiting coordinators look on and taking notes with every pitch, the 6-foot-3, 190-pound Dutkanych made sure to check all their boxes and did so with one of the simpler deliveries we saw opening day. The big key to his success was ultimately just how short and repeatable his arm action is, as well as his athleticism, and it was something he maintained on any of his four offerings he showed throughout his course on the mound. The fastball was his go-to offering, a pitch that sat very comfortably in the 88-90 mph range (bumping a couple 91s) with command to either side and solid downhill plane as a result of his extension out front. His ability to miss bats is evident in the nine strikeouts he picked up and despite the fact his heater is mostly true in life, it’s a pitch that played up well due to his feel for his secondaries.

As mentioned above, there was a full array of offerings from Dutkanych, the best of which was his slider, a pitch that has a change to develop into a true above-average, bat-missing pitch. Tunneled extremely well for a player his age, the hitter read fastball out of his hand and for most of its path towards the plate before the late, short biting life that the upper-70s offering produced when it was ultimately too late for the hitters. The curveball was a bigger pitch out of his hand, showing more depth in the low-70s with 11-5 shape but unlike on the breaker, Dutkanych did a nice job of maintaining his arm speed on the couple of changeups he showed at 81 mph, again having hitters read fastball before it was ultimately too late.

Cade Arrambide (2024, Spring, Texas) is one of the younger players in the 14U portion of the World Series but that didn’t prevent him from making some noise on the Banditos Scout team as his skills still managed to stand out despite his age. Still just 13 years old for another three months, Arrambide already stands at 6-foot, 165 pounds and instantly blends in physically as well as statistically as he put together a .462 batting average over the first five games of the tournament. While some players may feel intimidated playing up an age group, Arrambide has shown no hesitations as he goes to the plate looking to drive the ball, taking big swings with bat speed that doesn’t look like that of a 13U eligible player. After swinging through a couple of fastballs, it was the approach to shorten up with two strikes that truly stood out as he made sure to get the barrel out front as he drove a double to his pull-side gap, his second of the tournament. He also got the start behind the plate and while he’ll continue to undoubtedly refine his craft, the actions and movements already stand out as he’s able to frame pitches and shows the makings of solid arm strength on his throws down to second base.

Flashback to this time last week and you would have found “uncommitted” on Gavin Miller’s (2022, Oakdale, Pa.) profile, something that quickly changed given his performance at the 15U WWBA World Championships as he committed to Auburn University within the last couple of days. Presently ranked No. 127 in the ’22 class, Miller has been swinging it like somebody who wants to rise up the list and his performance Saturday afternoon did nothing to deter such expectations. Miller appears stronger than his listed 5-foot-11, 170-pound measurables when he digs into the righthanded batter’s box and the ball certainly comes off the barrel with plenty of strength at the point of contact. The newly-minted Auburn commit wasted little time in showing his abilities with the stick as he shows fluidity to his hands and extension out front during his first trip to the plate, lining an outer half pitch to the opposite field gap for a two-base hit. And though that proved to be his lone hit of the day but again found the barrel in his next at-bat, this time lining a ball hard at the center fielder while again showing a natural handle for the barrel.

Dylan Lonergan (2023, Duluth, Ga.) has already established himself as one of the top arms in his graduating class and despite not turning in his best performance of the summer, those who saw him couldn’t help but come away impressed nonetheless. Physically gifted at 6-foot-1, 190 pounds, Lonergan isn’t only an established prospect on the diamond, but also on the gridiron where he has already garnered plenty of attention as a quarterback prospect. He’s been detailed in recaps prior and the overall operation was more of the same with a simple, low-effort delivery in which he looks as though he’s playing catch despite producing one of the best fastballs already recorded in the 2023 class.

Averaging 85 mph with his heater in this look and peaking at 87 mph multiple times, the ball simply comes out of Lonergan’s hand differently not only in terms of velocity but also with the consistent and heavy life he’s able to generate to his arm side. He walked one more than he struck out in this look, but the young Georgia native still showcased his ability to move the heater around the zone and missed bats when he worked down. Perhaps the biggest difference in this viewing however was the consistency of his breaking ball, a 76-79 mph pitch that produce more than a handful of empty swings, displaying an advanced feel for spinning the ball. Staring with tighter slider shape in the opening frame, Lonergan’s breaker came across from then onwards with more depth and 11-5 shape which he proved he could either land or bury down in the zone for a chase.

Colton Wombles (2023, Salem, Ala.) wasn’t detailed in yesterday’s recap in which I highlighted a few players from Kangaroo Court, but he more than made his presence felt in Saturday’s action and did so in a big way. Don’t let his 5-foot-7, 160-pound build fool you, as he packs plenty of strength onto his frame and he has proven to be a table setter atop the potent lineup. Doing a bulk of the pitch calling behind the plate, Wombles moves well and shows the requisite skill to stay behind the dish, including a strong throwing arm which he wasn’t afraid to put on display and agility in shifting to either side to block up dirt balls. It was with his righthanded swing, however, where he made his loudest impression, particularly in the Roos’ game against the Georgia Jackets. The first of his two hits allowed Wombles to showcase his ability to adjust to pull as he pulled the barrel in against an inner half curveball which he managed to stay compact to with his path while doubling down the left field line. While the double didn’t plate any runs for the Roos, Womble’s next swing certainly did as it was of the walk-off variety, a grand slam to his pull side in which he hit around a fastball and showed the strength in his hands to still get enough behind it and drive it over the fence.

Speaking of grand slams, you can go a whole 14U tournament and not see a single one, but that wasn’t the case as third baseman Francesco Capocci (2023, Cumming, Ga.) provided the first of two (Wombles’ above) in a single game. While Wombles didn’t get all of his, there was no doubting that Capocci’s was gone off the bat as part of a big seven-run first inning, staying direct to the ball and implementing the strength on his 6-foot-3, 172-pound frame. Along with the grand slam, Capocci added a two-run double to give him six on the day and eight total on the tournament. Between the frame and projection, the overall strength and athleticism as well as the actions he has shown at the hot corner in prior looks, Capocci is a player college recruiters will keep an eye on as he enters high school and continues to refine his overall game.

Reese Ratchford (2022, Sulphur, Okla.) may be listed as a primary catcher per his Perfect Game profile, but he took the hill for the Banditos’ first pool play game in the 15U World Series and impressed with his potential on the bump. Already sporting plenty of strength with his 6-foot, 180-pound frame, Ratchford lived comfortably in the 83-86 mph range which his fastball and progressively saw his velocity climb throughout his outing, a testament to his arm strength and stamina. There’s obvious arm quickness to his profile and along with a lower effort release he managed to maintain his velocity both out of the stretch and throughout his five innings of work. Ratchford’s heater features natural running life given his release, though he did a nice job of harnessing it while working within the zone and to either side of the plate. The uncommitted Ratchford mixed both a curveball and slider, the latter of which showed best with short biting life up to 73 mph and a similar slot at release.

Coby DeJesus (2022, Diboll, Texas) performed atop the Banditos lineup just as one would hope from a leadoff hitter, pacing the offense with a 2-for-2 day while reaching base in all four trips to the plate by adding a couple of walks. A loose and projectable shortstop, DeJesus wasted no time in his first two-bats of the tournament as he took just one swing in both, and promptly lined the ball back up the middle for a pair of singles. He possesses a short and quick stroke and immediately made an impact with his first single coming on the very first pitch of the game. The overall approach is a simple one and he shows comfort in handling the barrel as he showed in this look, executing an approach while showing nice hand-eye coordination from the righthanded batter’s box.

-Jheremy Brown

The first of a four sets of teammates that stood out on Saturday are Jack Owens (2022, Apollo Beach, Fla.) and Colby Shelton (2022, Lithia, Fla.) of the Ostingers Baseball Academy 2022. Both having big days to help OBA get a big win to start pool play.

Owens had a huge day at the plate, while also notching a save on the mound. Using a true all-fields approach, Owens sprayed the ball around the yard as part of a three-hit day. Showing elite bat-to-ball skills, he has a relaxed setup with a short load to consistently barrel baseballs. He has quick hands and the ability to adjust mid-swing to help cover both sides of the plate. He has the ability to let balls get deep allowing him to identify well and put a good swing on all pitches. In the seventh inning, Owens jump on the mound and used an up-tempo delivery, with a very quick arm, to fire fastballs in the 84-87 range. Mixing an upper-60s breaking ball to keep hitters off balance, he was able to close the game while showing great two-way promise.

Shelton has been a fast riser during the summer circuit. All he has done is hit at every stop during the last two months and continued that today. He has a wide base with high hands and a process with no waisted movement. The ground control he uses and the ability to stay connected on the back side allow him to keep his barrel speed up through contact. He turns tight and release his hands that extend a long through the ball. The lefthanded hitting middle infield prospect has sure hands at short stop and has the tools to make all the plays. Demonstrating great instincts and solid quickness, he will continue to be a fast riser as he develops.

Some of the better raw bat speed on display today was in the top of the lineup for Adidas Baseball USA 2022 Klein. Hitting out of the two-hole and three-hole spots in the order, Jose Vargas (2022, League City, Texas) and Cade Climie (2022, Sugar Land, Texas) did some damage to help in a run-rule victory.

Vargas is a twitchy center field prospect that is ultra-confident in his ability. He showed good range and leadership skills in the outfield and was vocal in his approach. The wiry 6-foot-3 prospect used his very good speed to run down balls in the outfield as well has cause havoc on the base paths. He also showed well above-average bat speed with great intent to hit a loud double in his first at bat. The approach is advanced as he did not expand the zone, he identified pitches he could handle and unleashed his “A” swing at will. As he continues to develop and fill out, the power will come naturally. This is a very intriguing middle of the diamond prospect to follow closely.

Climie was born to hit. He is extremely confident in his ability and fearless attacking all different pitches that were thrown. Showing a slow load and a hover to balance, he waited and identified before releasing his barrel to the ball. He has very quick hips and showed great barrel accuracy during a three-hit day. It was obvious he changed his approach depending on the count and situation and he did not miss when he swung. A high energy player, Climie consistently directed his teammates in the infield. Showing good arm strength and feet that were always moving and working, he looks like one of the better third base prospects in the country.

In one of the more intense sets Saturday, teammates Jose Pena (2022, Winter Haven, Fla.) and Titan Kamaka (2022, Orlando, Fla.) shined to go to 1-0 in pool play.

Pena was spectacular on the mound against a very good lineup, where he was fearless in his pitch selection. Using a true three-pitch mix, he absolutely pounded the strike zone on his way to a great five-inning outing. His fastball was lively in the 83-86 range, with a clean arm stroke and good extension out front. His curveball shows good 11/5 shape and he landed it regularly throughout his outing. The best future pitch is his straight changeup that he kept his hand speed up and seemed to give hitters fits. Consistently repeating his release point on all three offerings he was able to tunnel his pitches to keep hitters off balance, which was obvious in his five-inning, one-hit, seven-strikeout performance.

Kamaka is a versatile player that plays all three infield spots, with plenty of athleticism to roam the outfield as well. Playing shortstop today, he made movement plays, controlled the infield, and made a few huge plays around the bag with good instincts and footwork. Occasionally pitching (up to the mid-80s), he has plenty of arm to stay on the left side of the infield. He uses a short and compact swing at the plate while generating good core speed and natural lag. Showing the ability to hit to all fields, he hit a sharp single through the four-hole early in the game on an outer-half pitch. Later, Kamaka got a pitch he could turn on and hit a two-run single to left field. This swing put the game away and showed his ability to make subtle hand adjustments to get to a pitch that he was slightly beat on. Kamaka has a toughness about him that is contagious to his teammates.

-Jered Goodwin

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