Tournaments | Story | 9/15/2019

Florida Qualifier Day 1-2 Notes

Vincent Cervino         Jered Goodwin         Tyler Russo        
Photo: Dylan Crews (Perfect Game)

2019 WWBA Florida Qualifier: Daily Leaders

One of the bigger risers in the latest update to the 2020 player rankings was righthanded slugger Brock Wilken (2020, Valrico, Fla.) and he’s continued his hitting ways through the start of the WWBA Florida Qualifier. The 6-foot-4, 205-pound Wake Forest commit had been one of the more consistent offensive presences over the course of the summer and his pure hit tool is both notable and the big selling point to the profile. He starts out very relaxed and has a smooth, clean swing directly to the ball that allows him to impact the baseball with significant strength. The quality of the contact is notable as he puts charges into balls on a rather consistent basis; he’s already collected a number of hits this weekend highlighted by a long bomb during Ostingers’ second game on Saturday. The power hasn’t been much of a doubt for a while either as he routinely posts high exit velocities and can backspin the ball over the fence with relative ease to the pull side. He’s a relatively sound defender at third base but has also been experimenting with some innings behind the plate which should only add to his overall draft stock.

A couple of other standouts from the undefeated Ostingers crew this weekend have been Embry-Riddle commit Tyler Castelli (2020, Seffner, Fla.) and Tampa commit Macallister Jorgensen (2020, Valrico, Fla.). Castelli is a lean and twitchy outfielder with a listed frame of 6-foot-3, 170-pounds that’s ripe for a lot of strength to be added at the next level. The swing is loose but the athleticism certainly stands out as he allows his wheels to be a weapon on the base paths, as evidenced by a drag bunt single that saw him scoot down the line to a time of 3.92 seconds. Jorgensen had one of the big hits on the day with a two-run double and added another RBI. He has smooth hands in the middle infield that should play well at the next level with a compact stroke that shows good balance.

A pair of uncommitted seniors took the mound on Friday night as lefthander Luis Tyler Misla (2020, Riverview, Fla.) and righthander Bryce McBride (2020, Port St Lucie, Fla.) both showed stuff that is good enough to play at the next level when they graduate.

Misla has performed well all summer and showed some pretty electric stuff throughout his three-inning outing on Friday night. The 5-foot-11, 170-pound lefthander is an athletic arm with some room for physical projection as well. The operation is fairly simple with a very quick arm stroke and the fastball shows some late life with the velocity mostly in the 85-88 mph range. He’s touched higher in the past, but the fastball quality was very good and allowed him to rack up swings-and-misses within the strike zone. The breaking ball was also impressive with sharp biting action in the mid-70s and the ability to manipulate the spin for either landed strikes or for some swings-and-misses.

McBride turned in a terrific start on Friday night as he went four shutout innings while keeping the opposing offense at bay the entire time. The uncommitted righthander has a lean and projectable frame at a listed 6-foot, 162-pounds with plenty of room to fill out and a long, quick arm stroke through the back. There’s some effort to the release but McBride was consistently working ahead in the count with the fastball that topped out at 88 mph. The pitch sat mostly in the 85-88 mph range and missed some bats with the pitch, particularly when it was elevated up and out of the strike zone. The breaking ball showed some depth in the low-70s but he didn’t need to go to it often as the fastball was more than enough to blow by hitters in a very impressive performance.

Jacob Starling (2020, Orlando, Fla.) and Anthony Shaver (2020, Clermont, Fla.) have both been nice pieces in an impressive FTB Tucci lineup as both hitters have been very productive through the first few games of the tournament. Starling, an East Carolina commit, has a short and easy stroke at the box while his hands work very well into the swing. The ease of the stroke and his ability to manipulate the barrel are notable as he went 3-for-3 on Friday night that included a well-struck double to the pull side. Shaver, a Florida State commit, is an impressive athlete with an eminently projectable frame at 6-foot-2, 197-pounds. He’s a terrific athlete, as Shaver ran a 60-yard dash of 6.45 seconds at PG National, and he showed off that speed on Saturday as he hustled around the bases for a triple in game as he was consistently barreling baseballs all game.

A State College of Florida commit, Samuel Gordon (2020, Dunedin, Fla.) has been an efficient tablesetter this weekend for a talented Florida Burn Platinum team. The 6-foot-1, 175-pound athlete is fairly quick-twitched and that athleticism shines in the batter’s box while also leaving lots of room for physical projection. There’s some physicality to the frame and he has fast hands that allow him to whip the barrel through the hitting zone effectively. He’s been a consistent presence at the top of the lineup with some wiry strength and the barrel skills are evident at present. He’s a good athlete with some speed and plays well currently out of centerfield as he shows a fairly well-balanced profile.

An uncommitted lefthanded hitter who stood out during the early slots Saturday was Sean Sparling (2021, Palm Coast, Fla.) who did a good job at producing runs in the middle of the order for the Florida Grinders. Standing at a listed 6-foot-4, 200-pounds, there’s a lot of room for physical development and strength to be added to the build. The swing has some elements of rawness to it, but the upper half is very in sync to the baseball as he gets on plane nicely with a whippy barrel head. He notched two run-scoring doubles during the Grinders’ victory in the early slot and showed the ability to get the ball into the air and with some power through contact. He’s an intriguing prospect and one to keep an eye on as the rest of this weekend shakes out.

Turning in a stellar start for the Scorpions in their first game on Saturday was Duke commit Cade Udell (2020, Longwood, Fla.) as he punched out five batters in three scoreless innings while not allowing a hit on the day. The 6-foot-5, 225-pound prospect has a strong, durable frame and features a bit of a coil over the top of the rubber at the balance point. The arm stroke has some length to it but it’s whippy and he gets it through well and threw a good amount of strikes in the early portion of his outing. Udell worked mostly 87-90 mph and touched 91 mph on his final pitch of the outing, showing good extension on release and maintaining that velocity throughout the start. He’ll flash some arm-side run with the fastball and also showed some feel for a breaking ball. The pitch was inconsistent at times but lived in the mid-70s and flashed solid average at times. The combination of the durable frame, effective fastball and breaking ball projection all bode well for Udell moving forward.

One of the top offensive prospects in the country, Dylan Crews (2020, Longwood, Fla.) has been hitting the ball hard so far this week and already has two extra-base hits to his name over the first three games of the weekend. Crews, an LSU commit and the No. 8 prospect in the country, has immense offensive upside and possesses some of the best pure bat speed. He mishit a couple of balls early in the week but the balls that he got on the barrel were significantly impacted. On Friday night he went the other way down the first base line for a well-struck double on the ground and on Saturday he had his hardest hit ball of the weekend on a double that scorched over the head of the center fielder. He hasn’t really had many chances to show off the speed or the defensive skills but it’s always a delight to see Crews swing the stick as he possesses one of the best hit tools nationwide.

A pair of Dominican natives showed some impressive stuff on the bump for the Miami Miracle as both Stiwar Adames (2021, Santo Domingo, Fla.) and Jose Pichardo (2020, Dominican Republic) turned in very strong performances on the bump. Adames is an athletic lefthander with a quick arm and gets on top of the fastball very well. He touched 91 mph early on in the outing before settling into the 86-89 mph range with some effort at release. He mixed in a breaking ball with good depth in the low- to mid-70s to cap off the swing-and-miss stuff as he punched out eight batters in four innings. Pichardo was similarly dominant as he struck out 13 hitters in a complete game finish. He’s a physical righthanded pitching prospect with plenty of arm speed and throws from a high three-quarters arm slot. The breaking ball showed some potential and he mixed speeds well to miss a ton of bats on the afternoon.

Another dominant pitching outing came from the Scorpions as Liberty commit Brody Norris (2020, Longwood, Fla.) struck out seven hitters over five strong innings. The righthander has a loose arm stroke, and though he releases with some effort, the fastball quality was very good as he topped out at 89 mph but sat mostly in the mid-80s. He has a very good slider in the upper-70s that showed late bit and garnered numerous swings-and-misses. The slider is legitimate and should allow him to get a lot of ugly strikeouts during the spring next year.

– Vinnie Cervino

In the first game of the Florida Qualifier for CBC Florida Elite, Michael Guerrero (2020 Kissimmee, Fla.) took the mound to start the game. The righthanded pitcher has a great 6-foot-4 frame with long arms and a high waist with plenty of room to add good weight. He used an upright delivery and used his length well to get extension to the glove side on his lively 87-90 fastball. The senior got good angle and proved tough to square up. When his process was on time, he flashed a swing-and-miss slider that had late 10-too-4 bite. The uncommitted prospect has legitimate upside and solid feel for his present arsenal.

SWFL Canes 18u always shows up with excellent prospects and it continues with the likes of Jace Jones (2021 Cape Coral, Fla.). An uber projectable body with long limbs on his 6-foot-3, 180-pound frame. A very good athlete, he repeated his delivery pretty well for having some length. The righthanded pitcher worked primarily off his 85-88/89 fastball. His arm is very whippy and the ball took off out of his hand, using all four quadrants of the strike zone. When mixing his off-speed he flashed a curveball in the mid-70s that has good shape and will continue to develop.

In the nightcap on Friday, the Cape Coast Canes brought some thunder in the form of righthanded pitchers Karl Hartman (2021 Merritt Island, Fla.) and Jason Woodward (2020 Titusville, Fla.).

Kaufman, who is currently uncommitted, got the start and fired 88-90/91 fastballs with riding life that he commanded well to his glove side. He maintained balance over the rubber well and used his strong lower half efficiently. Showing a true three-pitch mix with a slider that flashed 76 and stayed at the bottom of the zone. The young hurlers changeup looks like a future plus pitch, with a consistent hand speed and release point. He tunneled it well with his fastball and the pitch got late sink.

Woodward, a Florida Gulf Coast University commit, closed to preserve the win. He lived in the mid-80s and peaked at 88. The lively athlete spun an outstanding 12-to-6 curveball (touching 77 mph) with tight downer action, and he commanded it well during his outing.

Power Baseball 2020 has a veteran roster and play extremely well together. Caleb Pundsack (2020 Groveland, Fla.) got the start, throwing four-innings of one-hit ball while striking out six hitters. He gets good extension and has some arm-side run to his fastball that peaked at 84. The lefthanded pitcher did a good job flipping his mid-70s breaker for strikes and burying it late in counts. The University of South Florida commit flashed a third pitch, using a changeup around 70 mph that had big and early fade to it.

PB 2020 used a balanced attack on offense, but third baseman Luke Hatcher (2020 Cross City, Fla.) showed an especially good approach. He has a simple and direct swing with lots of heaviness to his barrel. The righthanded hitter recently committed to Florida State University and uses an advanced approach, using all fields, as shown in a great piece of hitting while striking a double down the right field line.

Aaron Combs (2020 Bradenton, Fla.) has a prototypical 6-foot-3 and 175-pound frame to build on. The Coastal Carolina commit uses a rhythmic delivery to fill up the strike zone over four-plus innings striking out seven while surrendering only two hits. He uses a low three-quarters arm slot to create a tough matchup for opposing hitters. The righthander bumped 87 with sink and tunneled it with a short breaker in the low-70s. He did a good job throughout his outing running his heavy fastball in on hitters forcing weak contact.

McGwire Holbrook (2020 Orlando, Fla.) used his extra strong frame to muscle three hits. Consistently using his lower half well, he showed good timing while creating easy by speed. The West Virginia commit has no problem driving balls to the opposite field and does not waver from his approach. His big raw power is continuing to show up in games.

Primal 9 Royalty 18u got an exceptional outing out of Cooper Avery (2020 Cape Coral, Fla.) against a very talented and experienced opposing line up. The righthanded pitcher is athletic with a little twitch to him. He uses a full back step and deliberate hip turn to redirect that caused real deception for the hitters. The uncommitted pitcher has a quick shoulder with sink to his mid-80s fastball that peaked at 89. He stayed down in the zone and produced a lot of soft groundball contact. Mixing enough with a sweeping slider in the mid-70s and a changeup in the upper-70s with similar action to his fastball. He was ultra-competitive and forced action during his complete game performance with seven strikeouts.

Gatorball heads to the playoffs with a trio of players that stood outing during pool play.

Grant Shepherd (2020 Atlantic Beach, Fla.) is a projectable lefthanded pitcher that dominates the strike zone with three pitches. He was fearless in his pitch calling using a low-80s fastball and a big breaking curveball and fading changeup in the low-70s. The University of Kansas commit has a slow heart rate and continued to force hitters to swing at tough pitches, no matter the situation. As he physically matures, he will make natural jumps with his stuff.

Lefthanded hitter Sterlin Thompson (2020 Ocala, Fla.) looks the part of a future power hitter. He lags the bat and turns very well, matching plane early and staying long through the zone. The Stetson commit has a whippy barrel and very easy hand action to the baseball. It’s easy to dream on him hitting at every stop.

Dylan Mock (2020 Mayo, Fla.) has a chiseled frame at first look with explosive actions in all parts of his game. Using a compact swing that has great direction to the ball, he had the biggest drive of the day hammering a triple to the left-center field wall. Very accurate with his barrel and showed good pitch recognition. Just to show his all-around game, he jumped on the mound and showed a three-pitch mix, with his fastball topping out at 82.

Corey Braun (2021 Seminole, Fla.) threw three very easy innings during pool play for FTB/SF Giants scout team 2021. He gave up one hit and struck out three showing the ability to use his fastball to both sides of the plate in the low-80s. The lefthander has a wiry frame and easy room for growth as he matures. His curveball has solid 11-to-5 break and landed it consistently to his glove side. Currently uncommitted, he flashed a solid third offering in a low-70s changeup that bolted away from righthanded hitters just before the hitting zone.

Joseph Montalvo (2021 Orlando, Fla.) also looked great on the bump today for FTB. He showed and effortless arm stroke and the fastball velocity sat easily in the 85-87 range with some wiggle to it. He showed two different breaking balls, a curveball he landed early for strikes and a slider in the mid-70s that got a couple swings-and-misses to the glove side. There’s lots of upside for the Hillsbrough CC commit as he continues to build innings.

Supplying some offense Saturday was Rocko Brzezniak (2022 Matawan, N.J.) who notched four hits on the day. He has a simple set-up and very small movements that still create very good hand speed. He has great timing and used it well to hit line drives frequently during his at-bats. The Louisville commit has power but does not sell out for it. There is very good upside in the bat and he has the ability drive balls to all fields.

– Jered Goodwin

Stetson commit Austin Amaral (2020, Debary, Fla.) was very good in his brief start as he tossed three shutout innings, allowing just one hit and a pair of walks while striking out six. The 6-foot-1, 193-pound righthander has the make-up of a starting pitcher at the next level with a firm lower half that allows him to stay controlled and balanced while repeating his mechanics well. Making a nice jump from the last time we saw him back in 2018, Amaral sat 89-91 mph with the fastball in this look with strong command to all four quadrants with both of his pitches. The fastball played mostly straight as he showed able to work in on hitter’s hands and create soft contact when not getting swing-and-miss up in the zone. The slider shows as a solid out-pitch with high swing-and-miss potential while generating consistent weak contact in this look.

Florida Atlantic commit Braden Ostrander (2020, West Melbourne, Fla.) was electric in his start on Saturday as he tossed four shutout innings, allowing just two hits while striking out seven. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound righthander is extremely athletic as he works a high-tempo delivery with the strength in the lower half to be able to change timing often and work down the mound well. Another prospect to make a nice sized jump in velocity since we last saw him, Ostrander worked at 88-90 mph with the fastball in this look as he commanded comfortably and dominated at-bats from start to finish. He has very good arm speed from a short and quick arm action that generates running life to the fastball. His ability to land two different breaking balls kept hitters struggling to get any bit of timing or make any solid contact once he got deep into a count. He showed his go-to breaking ball as a hard-spinning downward curveball with 12-to-6 shape and great depth through the zone. He flashed feel for a side-spinning slider but used it sparingly in the outing.

Alabama commit Dallas Dale (2023, Windermere, Fla.) showed more of what we saw at the 14u National Showcase with his explosive hands at the plate and advanced feel for finding the barrel through all parts of the zone. He turned on an inner half fastball and roped what would have been a no-doubt home run had it not hooked foul before going the other way for a well-struck line out. He works deep into counts with the ability to spoil tough pitches from his pure barrel skills. Dale is a strong, athletic outfielder with a ton of time to develop into what should be a high power hitting outfielder from the left side, as evidenced by his initial spot at No. 64 overall in the first rankings of the 2023 class.

Uncommitted Judson Hershiser (2020, Windermere, Fla.) was efficient in his brief outing as he tossed two perfect innings while picking up three strikeouts in the process. The lean and lanky righthander looks to have plenty of room to fill out and add velocity to a fastball already up to 89 mph and up to 88 mph in this look. The arm is very loose and whippy as he tunnels the action well across the fastball and breaking ball. His go-to is a loose slider with the ability to land it to both halves of the plate, backing it up to righthanders well in this look. The delivery has athleticism and twitchiness to it with a high ceiling in terms of what velocity jump we could see from the uncommitted senior.

Florida State commit Davion Hickson (2022, Orange Park, Fla.) saw brief work as he only tossed an inning on Saturday but showed off his high upside and raw arm talent. The 6-foot-3 righthander is still very young in many aspects of his game but has arm talent well above his age as he worked at 85-88 mph with the fastball in this brief look. The body is long limbed with sky-high projection as to what the velocity ceiling is, but there is some fine tuning in the delivery that will do wonders for some of the command issues Hickson is seeing at this early age. The arm speed is good through a high three-quarters slot that generates some running life to the fastball while also creating good downhill plane. The curveball showed some promise and good shape when he could land it, but the feel is still developing.

Arkansas commit Heston Tole (2020, Wichita Falls, Texas) was solid Saturday morning as he tossed three shutout innings, allowing just one hit and striking out three. The 6-foot-6, 210-pound righthander is a presence on the mound with the ceiling as the limit as to what kind of jumps he could make once he hits campus. Commanding in and around the zone throughout the outing and already up to 89 mph with the fastball, Tole worked at 85-87 mph in this look with heavy arm-side run to the pitch that kept hitters struggling to find a barrel. His go-to pitch was a sweeping slider with good depth that showed as a true swing-and-miss pitch that also generated consistent weak contact. Tole also flashed feel for an average changeup with late arm-side tumble that he could land down in the zone.

Florida Gulf Coast commit Ian Farrow (2020, Merritt Island, Fla.) has had a sound performance at the plate so far in the event picking up a hit in each of his three pool play games. The ball seems to come off the bat differently for Farrow though as he makes consistent loud contact including a screamer line drive off the left-center fence of Field 3 at the Player Development Complex. The righthanded hitting outfielder is uber-athletic with a very toolsy skillset that adds up to him being an everyday player at the next level. The swing has strength at impact and the power tool is playing well now with some added development to come. Farrow runs well on the bases and in covering ground in the outfield. There is a lot to like as he wraps up his high school campaign in 2020 and heads to campus right here in Fort Myers, Florida.

Uncommitted Jackson Werth (2020, Bradenton, Fla.) is another sound prospect without a place to play a year from now, something that could change soon. The switch-hitting infielder looks to be more fluid and comfortable hitting from the left side, showcasing quick hands and strong wrists as he got the barrel to pitches around the zone with a direct path. Werth has a quick first step out of the box (4.40-second home-to-first time on a groundout to first base) that allows him to get down the line and around the bases well. The body looks to hold a ton of strength as he continues to fill into the 6-foot-2 frame and add athleticism in the lower half.

– Tyler Russo

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