Tournaments | Story | 7/23/2019

PG World Series Scout Notes

Vincent Cervino         Jered Goodwin        
Photo: Hagen Smith (Perfect Game)
2019 PG World Series: 14u Day 1 Notes | 14u Day 2 Notes | PG World Series Day 3 Notes | PG World Series Day 4 Notes

One of the better pitching matchups in recent bracket play history saw Zane Brockman (2023, Bessemer City, N.C.) of Canes National matching up against Resmondo FTB who went to ace Nazier Mule (2022, Paterson, N.J.) in the top of the first inning to portend what would be an extremely competitive game.

Brockman checks a lot of boxes for a young prospect with a broad and projectable 6-foot-1, 170-pound frame with lots of room to add some more strength at maturity. He worked in the 80-83 mph range for the duration of the start from an over the top arm slot that allowed him to get downhill effectively and efficiently. The delivery has some moving parts to it with some funk but is athletic overall with good extension and drive towards the hitter. The breaking ball is a true over-the-top 12/6 curveball with very good depth to the pitch. The breaker worked in the 70-73 mph range for the most part and he was able to both land the pitch and garner some swings and misses. It was a good look for Brockman and he showed a lot of promise on the mound as he struck out eight in five innings.

There’s not a lot left to say about the type of performance Mule has put on during the week, he was later named MV-Pitcher for the tournament following the conclusion of the championship, and he entered the game with two runners on, no outs, and proceeded to shut down the Canes rally. Mule was blowing 87-90 mph fastballs by hitters all day, keeping the 0-0 score deadlocked until the later innings and once Resmondo FTB took the lead there was no way Mule was going to allow the opposition to come back. The athletic prospect, with an uber-fast right arm, showed some competitiveness on the mound too as one such example should sum it up nicely: in the middle innings Mule got squeezed on a front door slider, took a bit of a walk around the mound, came back, and fired 92 mph down the middle past the hitter. He’s obviously one of the better athletes in the class and his performance on the mound against one of the top teams in the country was notable.

James Triantos (2022, McLean, Va.) is one of the top players in the class and he showed why with a very strong and efficient outing on the mound. The 6-foot, 180-pound North Carolina commit was excellent, holding his fastball velocity and commanding all three of his pitches effectively and for strikes. Triantos sat 84-87 mph with the fastball and really worked it to either side, not throwing with a significant amount of effort and showing the higher end of the fastball range when he needed a big pitch. Triantos notably stands out on the mound for his feel to spin a breaking ball and the curveball looked sharp on Monday morning. The breaking ball showed hard downer action in the 73-76 mph and it’s not hard to look at the overall profile and see a plus pitch at maturity. He flashed a changeup too but Triantos pounded the zone, showed the hard breaking ball, and missed a lot of bats which comes out to a pretty good day on the mound.

Baseball Northwest showed the offense on Monday morning as a couple of notable standouts during the game were Tyce Peterson (2022, Kirkland, Wash.) and Colton Bower (2022, Poulsbo, Wash.).

Peterson is an extremely fast-twitched infield prospect with a listed height and weight of 5-foot-9, 165 pounds. The hands stand out defensively and the athleticism is notable as he’s already turned in above-average run times at such a young age, he ran a 4.19 to first from the right side and bunted a 3.79 drag during the week thus far. He handles the barrel well and sets the order nicely at the top showing a lot of projectable tools in the process. Bower had a big day from an offensive standpoint, launching two doubles during game action. The first double was impressive as he burned the outfielder to the pull side alley and leveraged the ball deep to one-hop the wall. The strength in his wrists allows for power projection while the defensive chops are solid and advanced for the age.

Closing out Hit Factory Pro’s first victory on the day was USF commit Austin Grause (2021, Tampa, Fla.) and the righthander was remarkably efficient and effective, needing just 22 pitches to throw two scoreless and close the game out. Grause has continued to make strides throughout his career and looks the part as one of the better righthanders in the class at this point.

Grause is an ultra-athletic righthander, listed at 6-foot and 180 pounds, with a very fast and loose right arm. The delivery is athletic with good hip drive and he gets on top of the fastball consistently to generate good sink on the fastball. The quality of the fastball was very good during this look, sitting exclusively 88-89 mph and working the pitch to either side. He showed a rare curveball, but it was a good one, at 75 mph with good tilting break and depth that he buckled the hitter’s knees to lock them up for a called third strike. Everything about Grause’s operation oozes athleticism and as he’s climbed in velocity the ceiling remains extremely high.

Dominant pitching performances at the PG World Series are a fair indicator of high-end talent and perhaps no arm has impressed more this summer than Hagen Smith (2021, Bullard, Texas) as the lefthander was, once again, untouchable.

Smith is listed at 6-foot-3, 190 pounds, though that might even be a conservative estimate, the southpaw is majority arms and legs with tons of room on the broad frame for more strength. The operation is funky, with a shorter stride toward the plate and some different movements with the lower half and arm action. While the operation isn’t exactly prototypical it, for lack of a better term, doesn’t really matter. With plus arm speed and a fastball that worked up to 93 mph, sitting 88-92 mph, and showing a ton of life to the arm side, hitters didn’t really have a chance to square up the fastball. It comes from a lower arm slot too and he can really get some late running life to the arm side. Smith missed a ton of bats, especially with elevated fastballs, and whenever he unveiled his slider it didn’t feel fair. The pitch has all the makings of a future plus offering in the 76-79 mph range with late biting action and very late break to the pitch. The command could be sharpened a hair if we’re nitpicking the profile but this is a big bodied lefthander, who is young for the grade, with two potential plus pitches on the horizon; Smith struck out 12 hitters while allowing only two hits over five scoreless innings.

Recent Duke commit Fran Oschell (2021, Phoenixville, Pa.) showed a lot of things to like on the mound. Oschell is physically huge and imposing on the mound at a listed 6-foot-7, 215 pounds and there’s a lot of room to mold and project future strength on such a large frame. The arm is fairly quick and he works extremely downhill with the fastball, creating steep downward angle and plane that makes it very difficult to square. The fastball worked mostly 86-88 mph and touched 89 mph a couple of times and he worked it to every quadrant, though the effort at release would hinder his ability slightly to pound the zone. The breaking ball shows good potential, too, with tight rotation in the upper-70s and gets some sharp break to it. Oschell gets big extension and works in attack mode, coming right at hitters and making them try to square his offerings; there’s obvious upside to the profile and he’ll be one to follow closely as he continues to refine his craft.

Turning in one of the best pitching performances of the day was uncommitted righthander Austin Strickland (2020, Winchester, Ohio) as he came one batter shy of a complete game shutout against the Canes National team. The 6-foot-2, 195-pound righthander certainly looked the part of a Power 5 Division I prospect on Monday afternoon, attacking hitters with his fastball and showing a good amount of fire on the mound too. The righthander has a whippy arm stroke that’s longer and offline through the back, but he gets it through on time and generates a lot of hard running life on the fastball. The heater worked up to 90 mph and sat in the upper-80s all game while he mixed in a solid slider in the upper-70s too. He really pitched a great game and one situation stood out as the bases were loaded with no outs and he proceeded to strike out the next three hitters without allowing a run, giving a strong yell as he went back to the dugout. He’s one of the better uncommitted prospects in the 2020 class at this point and after this summer that shouldn’t be for much longer.

Looking like one of the better righthanded pitching prospects in the class was Scorps starter Brandon Neely (2021, Seville, Fla.) as he shut down a talented 5 Star team and the stuff was electric for the entirety of the game. The righthander’s stuff was the best this scout has ever seen of Neely as he went six scoreless while striking out seven batters.

The 6-foot-2, 175-pound righthander has tons of room for physical projection and has a fairly athletic delivery. He clears nicely and gets on top very consistently with an extremely fast arm and tons of whip to the arm stroke. The fastball worked up to 92 mph and he held 88-90 mph throughout the entirety of the start, still touching 91 mph as late as the sixth inning of his start. Neely worked both inside and outside corners, working out of a jam or two early but really settling into a groove as the outing went on. The curveball was sharp in the mid-70s with good spin and rotation to it while he also showed a slider in the low-80s that was a very good pitch to generate some whiffs. Everything was working for Neely who shows tremendous upside and looks the part of a righthander to know for 2021 from a draft perspective.

-Vinnie Cervino

Taking the mound for the Florida Hurricanes 16U Platinum was Jakob Schulz (2023, Houston, Texas) a young southpaw that came in and attacked the zone. His fastball sat mostly 80-84 but touched 86 early in his outing. Using a boxed delivery with a pronounced redirect step and gather to get to balance, he drove down the mound with ease to create his mid-80s velocity. Mixing in a low-70s breaking ball that was loose at times but shows developing shape, he got swing and miss when he got it to the glove side. The overall package is effortless, and he did nothing but show the type of upside that could put him near the top of the class as he gains strength and fine tunes his mechanics.

Trosky National Team 2022 has an impressive group of young players and a lineup that is versatile. One of the centerpieces is Ricky Rodenberg (2022, Temecula, Calif.) who is a projectable third base prospect who should find a home in the middle of batting orders for years to come. The 6-foot-1 righthanded hitter has a high waist and wiry frame with plenty of room to add mass. Creating plenty of barrel speed, he shows flick in his wrists and length through contact. He shows intent to contact and showed it hitting a long home run into the teeth of the wind. He creates natural backspin and managed to get off his “A” swing on all pitches thrown. He also shows upside defensively at the hot corner. Using solid foot work and a quick transfer, he made a very good play on a ball coming in to take away an infield hit. He is a player that will be on the rise as he continues to develop.

Rodenberg’s teammate on the Trosky National Team 2022, Jackson Pace (2022, Hollister, Calif.) was the starting pitcher on Monday morning. Having a long torso and long arms to go along with his 6-foot-4 frame, he got great extension that caused lots of deception for hitters trying to time him up. Using good plane and locating at the bottom of the zone, he produced a lot of soft contact over his five innings of work. He lost some timing in his process at times but that is not uncommon for such a tall and long youngster. When right, he lived in the mid-80s with heavy life and mixed a mid-70s slider that got swing and miss with reach. The clean arm action and release makes it easy to dream on a natural jump in the near future.

One of the best two-way prospects in the country, Riley Stanford (2022, Buford, Ga.) showed the big promise on both sides of the ball on Monday afternoon. Batting out the of the cleanup spot in the Georgia Bombers lineup, he demolished an outer half pitch to the opposite-field gap in right-center field. The righthanded hitter has twitch to his swing and accelerates through contact. He does a good job identifying pitches and rarely expands the zone. He jumped on the mound in the seventh inning and threw heavy fastballs to both sides of the plate in a perfect inning. His fastball showed life in the 90-93 range and was hard to square up for opposing hitters. He is the highest level two-way follow.

One of the hot names coming out of the Florida ranks is Matthew Burns (2021, Miramar, Fla.) who is a righthanded pitcher that continues to get better each outing. Having a big frame with a body that can add lots of strength, he is going to make massive jumps as he fills out. Showing a lot of swing and miss, his fastball has riding life at 84-86/7 and misses under barrels. His mid-70s slider looks like a future plus pitch with lots of swing and miss and will only get better as the hand speed improves. This was evident with his seven strikeouts of his 10 recorded outs.

The starting battery-mate of Burns was Giovanny Cueto (2021, Miami, Fla.) who looks like a throwback catcher. He has a wide frame and barrel chest behind the dish and has noticeable strength to his proportioned body. Using a very comfortable set up, his hips are loose, and he has the ability to make slight adjustments while the pitch is in flight to help receive and sneak strikes. Showing the ability to stick all pitches his wrists have great strength and he uses that to be quiet with his glove work. He blocks well and shows good recovery skills. Offensively, he hits in the middle of the lineup an uses his heavy hands to impact baseballs at a high level. Getting a pitch up in the zone, he drove a hard line drive back up the middle that came off bat loud. This is a well-rounded catching prospect.

Showing some of the best bat speed in the event, Dakota Jordan (2022, Canton, Miss.) is one of the most electric players in his class. From a tools standpoint he checks almost every box. He runs well and gets up to full speed exceptionally quick. He projects to play center field, already showing a quick first step, and will only get better as his routes continue to improve. All of the things he does well, it is his top of the scale bat speed that is most exciting. Using a quick load, he turns the barrel and fires his hands with brilliant hand speed. The barrel tears through the hitting zone and never slows as he powers through the ball. He continues to show improvement with his bat to ball skills and will only get betters with the reps he will get over the next few years.

-Jered Goodwin

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