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Tournaments | Story | 7/22/2019

17u Elite: Day 4 Scout Notes

Brian Sakowski         Colton Olinger        
Photo: Logan Wood (Perfect Game)
2019 WWBA 17u Elite Championship: Day 1 Notes | Day 2 Notes | Day 3 Notes

Championship day at the 17U Elite Championship brought about two winners, with Team Elite 17U Scout Team winning in the Gold bracket, and DRB Elite taking home the Silver bracket title. It certainly wasn’t easy going to get there, with Team Elite having to take down a previously-undefeated Rawlings Arkansas Prospects club in the semis, then committing some Georgia-on-Georgia crime in the final as they beat the East Cobb Astros to hoist the trophy.

In the semifinal round, the East Cobb Astros 17U Navy took down Canes National by a score of 9-2, in a game that was essentially over in the fifth inning. Wyatt Hudepohl (2020, Mason, Ohio) got the start for the Canes, and while there were certainly flashes of potentially high-end stuff, he had some trouble finding the zone and ended up taking the loss despite only spending a relatively short time on the mound. Hudepohl is a solidly-built righthander who is committed to Kentucky, and there’s no denying the arm strength or quality of stuff. He ran his fastball up to 94 mph and pitched at 89-93 mph, showing some ability to work north-south with the pitch, and the slider was solid-average at its best in the 79-81 mph range. The strikes were problematic, as just a cursory glance at the box score will tell you, but there is pretty substantial upside at play here.

The Canes had no answer for either Astro pitcher they saw on this day, as both Miles Garrett (2020, Stone Mountain, Ga.) and Josiah Siegel (2020, Woodstock, Ga.) were excellent, with Garrett holding steady for the first three innings and Siegel proving absolutely dominant over the final four frames out of the ‘pen, striking out eight in the process. Garrett ran his fastball up to 90 mph and showed his usual quick arm and significant projection, while Siegel pitched in the mid-80s and absolutely dotted up both his fastball and breaking ball to great effect.

Dalton Pearson (2020, Johns Creek, Ga.) had an excellent tournament hitting atop the East Cobb lineup, picking up eight hits and six walks over the course of the weekend to the tune of a 1.086 OPS to go along with three steals. Pearson, one of the more impactful uncommitted 2020s in the country, has top-of-the-order tools with loud athleticism and speed, which serves him well both on the base paths as well as in center field, where he looks the part of a dynamic defensive outfielder. There’s a lot to like about his offensive game as well, as he’s not just a slap-and-run type of hitter, using a quality strength and bat speed combination to drive the ball into the gaps at times and turn on the afterburners of his plus speed to pick up extra bases at every opportunity. Whoever he chooses to commit to and sign with will be getting a dynamic player in every phase of the game.

Fast-forward to the championship game of the Gold bracket, where Team Elite took down the Astros 7-2, getting excellent contributions from up and down their lineup. Vince Smith (2020, Clearwater, Fla.) struck a decisive blow with a two-RBI triple that put Team Elite ahead for good. Smith is an uncommitted middle infielder with lots to like about his profile, with solid speed, enough twitch to play up the middle, and quality bat speed that portends to more and more as he continues to get stronger.

Over in the Silver Bracket Championship game, DRB Elite took down the East Coast Sox 5-0, with Hudson Sapp (2020, Dawsonville, Ga.) turning in a spectacular performance. Sapp is a highly-talented two-way player committed to Ole Miss, and he did it both on the mound and with the bat in this one. He threw a complete game shutout, allowing just two hits with no walks, striking out five and needing just 72 pitches to go the distance, pounding the zone at a 72 percent strikes clip.

Sapp stands out in every phase, swinging it well from the left side of the plate with high-level contact skills, developing power, and solid speed that plays well on the basepaths as well as in the outfield, where he has the makings of a very good defensive outfielder with the arm strength to play in any spot. He ran his fastball up to 89 mph in this one, working the pitch in the 85-88 mph throughout the start and painting it to both sides of the plate, mixing in a very good slider in the upper-70s that he was able to miss bats with. He’s one of the more intriguing two-way prospects in the nation, and should be able to contribute both ways in Oxford in a few years for the Rebels.

-Brian Sakowski

Team Elite 17U Scout Team went with two Logan’s on the mound as their starters on Championship Sunday. The starter in the first contest, a semifinal matchup with Rawlings Arkansas Prospects-Menard was Logan Wood (2020, Macomb, Mich.). The Michigan commit went out and gave his team 6 2/3 innings of shutout baseball. His fastball sat 83-86 mph and topped at 88 mph as he settled in and gained command of the fastball as the start went on. The command on the breaking balls was there from the beginning as he show cased a slider and a curveball. The slider sat 77-79 mph with good sweeping break on it and the curveball showed more depth and 1-7 shape to it sitting in the 72-75 mph range. His innate feel for both of the breaking balls allows him to use them interchangeably when the extension is out front with two distinct breaking actions. His quick arm action and delivery create deception as he works crossed body to his three-quarters arm slot. His lean frame is projectable with room to continue filling out moving forward.

In the championship game Team Elite 17U Scout Team went with Logan Jones (2020, Milton, Ga.). The 6-foot-4, 200-pound Samford commit went four innings allowing just one run while punching out four. He came out pumping strikes as 10 of his first 14 pitches were strikes as he mixed his fastball and curveball. The fastball sat 85-87 mph and topped out at 88 mph with some arm-side run from his high three-quarters arm slot. The curveball showed tight spin with good shape as he was able to use it to work ahead early in counts as well as punch batters out late in counts. There is a lot to like with his solid frame and good feel for both offerings moving forward as he still has room to fill out moving forward.

At the plate Sam Ruta (2020, Yardley, Pa.) and Kellum Clark (2020, Brandon, Miss.) had things rolling all weekend as they combined for 14 hits to help lead a potent Team Elite 17U Scout Team offense.

Ruta displayed some pop on the weekend as he showcased his ability to drive the ball in the gaps while racking up as many extra base hits at singles. His smooth lefthanded stroke works to the inside part of the ball while getting good extension creating a line drive type of approach. He also got it done at the hot corner handling tough hops working through the ball and showcasing his athleticism making off balance throws on the run.

Clark also displayed some power and maybe none more than the long foul ball he pulled into the parking lot early in the first inning of the championship game. He does a nice job of staying on plane with the pitch as his barrel works through the zone. His mature approach allowed him to move on from the long strike earlier in the at bat and take a fastball the other way for a double to drive in the first run in the championship game and give his club an early 1-0 lead. With his hands working to the inside part of the ball he showed the ability to drive the ball to all fields and it should only continue to get better as he continues to mature and add strength.

Jaxon Wiggins (2020, Roland, Okla.) was first out of the pen for Rawlings Arkansas Prospect-Menard in their semifinal game. The big righthander committed to Arkansas came out pumping fastballs 89-91 mph and topped out at 93 mph. His large 6-foot-5, 205-pound frame creates good downward plane on his fastball as he works from a high three-quarters arm slot. His quick, clean arm action is repeatable as his delivery works with good line towards the plate. His smooth mechanics and room to fill out project well moving forward as he continues to mature.

-Colton Olinger
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