Tournaments | Story | 9/28/2019

Sophomore World Day 1 Notes

Vincent Cervino         Greg Gerard         Jered Goodwin         Tyler Russo        
Photo: Jason Hernandez (Perfect Game)

WWBA Sophomore World Championship: Daily Leaders

Drawing one of the larger crowds for the opening time slot of the Sophomore World Championship, Noah Schultz (2022, Aurora, Ill.) was a must-see coming on in relief for Cangelosi. Standing every bit of 6-foot-8, Schultz has an extremely long and lean frame with tons of room to project from a physical standpoint. The southpaw showed off some impressive stuff in a little over an inning on the mound with a whippy, fast arm stroke that comes through a lower arm slot to create significant angle upon entry to the strike zone. The fastball comes out of the hand well in the 83-85 mph range and really jumps on hitters with an extended release as he rotates with the torso through his follow through. There’s some feel for landing a breaking ball with good shape and projects very well as he continues to fill out.

The South Charlotte Panthers jumped all over their opponent for a loud 10-1 victory in their opening game on the weekend and hit some balls very loudly during the process. There were numerous offensive standouts but some prospects who barreled the ball hard were Trey Way (2022, Randleman, N.C.), Parker Byrd (2022, Laurinburg, N.C.) and Garrett Michel (2022, Stanley, N.C.).

Way, an uncommitted catcher, had perhaps the biggest hit of the day as he rocketed a double deep into left field that one hopped the wall out at the JetBlue complex. Way turned on an elevated fastball and, in doing so, showed some buggy whip in his wrists and a whippy barrel head. The ball exploded off the barrel and he shows some athleticism and defensive chops from behind the plate as well.

Byrd, an East Carolina commit, has a very good swing and collected two hits on the afternoon. The hands work very well throughout the swing with significant looseness to the stroke as he’s able to generate good whip throughout the hitting zone. Byrd showed good carry to all parts of the field as he notched a single in his second at-bat and really let the ball travel to one-hop the wall out in right field during his third at-bat of the afternoon for a triple.

Michel, a Virginia Tech commit, has some physicality to his build with a quick stroke from the left side and a heavy barrel head. The impact and raw bat speed are both present in the swing with some length to the flat stroke that allows the barrel head to stay in the hitting zone for a good amount of time. In Michel’s first at-bat he jumped on an outer-half fastball and ripped it basically through the second baseman.

The .9ers team has some physicality present throughout their lineup and one of the best swings on the day came from lefthanded hitting Andrew Fischer (2022, Wall, N.J.) who launched a home run deep to right field at Terry Park. Fischer, a recent standout at the 14u National Showcase, showed strength through his wrists with a good amount of leverage present as he turns his hips well to really generate strength and power through his lower half. The 6-foot-1, 170-pound lefthanded hitter has good size present with room to add a significant amount of strength but already shows feel for using his long levers well throughout the swing and the loft and impact he put on the deep home run late in the game were notable from the young prospect.

A couple of righthanders showing some impressive stuff over during the night slots at Terry Park were FTB Tucci’s Brian Ehrlich (2022, Winter Park, Fla.) and the Florida Dodgers Scout Team’s William Joyner (2022, Lake Park, Ga.) who both showed a good combination of present stuff while putting their respective teams in good positions to win.

Ehrlich punched out four hitters over three innings where he didn’t allow an earned run and showed a fairly fast arm that allowed him to run his fastball up to 85 mph in the first inning. There’s some whip and length to the arm stroke with a deeper arm circle and he does release with some effort, but he gets good life on the heater and with an extended release can use the pitch to overpower hitters at times. The breaking ball gets a bit soft sometimes, but he shows good feel to manipulate spin and to land the pitch where he wants to. It was an abbreviated look on the mound but Ehrlich showed things to like and turned forth a strong start.

Joyner was very impressive over his time on the mound as he did not surrender a hit over a little over two innings during his start in the night slot. Joyner is a 6-foot-4, 185-pound righthanded pitcher with a lot of room physically to hold strength as he fills out his frame. The delivery features some checkpoints at times with a slight pause at the balance point and a longer arm stroke through the back. He’s on time well with the arm and gets it through well at release and did a nice job at pounding the strike zone early on and attacking hitters with the fastball that worked in the 82-84 mph range. The breaking ball is developing at present but there’s undeniable upside given the physical projection and ability to throw strikes.

The final slot over at Terry Park featured a standout pitching matchup between Southern Squeeze’s Hayden Stancil (2022, Cullman, Ala.) and Tri State Arsenal Scout Team 2022s Andrew Jergins (2022, Tampa, Fla.).

Stancil, an uncommitted righthander, has some quality components that portend future success especially considering that Stancil is a primary shortstop. He has a physical frame on the mound at 6-foot, 178-pounds with good strength and long arms. The delivery is fairly simple and he’s able to repeat it well with a longer arm path and looks very good when the arm speed is timed up well with the point of release. There is some rawness in terms of repeatability and consistency, but the arm really works and it comes out of the hand very easy for Stancil. There’s good feel for spin and for manipulating shape of the breaking ball and the stuff was solid in a quick look for Stancil.

Jergins, an uncommitted lefthander, showed off some impressive stuff and did a nice job at filling the strike zone during four innings while allowing one unearned run. Jergins certainly looks the part as the young prospect stands at an eminently projectable 6-foot-2, 160-pounds with athleticism and tons of room for additional strength. He throws from a tough slot that allows him to create some deception while the arm path is short and quick through the zone. The southpaw topped out at 86 mph and sat in the 82-84 mph with good life for the majority of the outing. There’s some feel to spin and he turned over a couple of impressive changeups with late fading action. Jergins has a strong present three-pitch mix and the velocity should only continue to uptick, especially in terms of raw stuff.

One of the louder performances by a position player came during the same game as Tri State’s leadoff man Jordan Austin (2022, Lee Summit, Mo.) showed off some very interesting tools. He’s a very wiry, athletic and quick-twitched 5-foot-11, 140-pounds and the athleticism and speed are top notch. That speed plays exceptionally well in center field as he makes great reads and jumps on routes while covering significant ground to either side. Austin got the game started off loudly with a bomb deep to right field and over the big fence on Clemente field over at Terry Park. There’s some loft to the path with impressive raw bat speed and he showed off the wiry strength in his frame that shows how the power can play for the toolsy center fielder.

– Vinnie Cervino

Nate Voss (2022, Palos Park, Ill.) is an impressive catcher ranked 217th in the Perfect Game rankings. The recent Michigan commit can really catch behind the dish with clean transfers to second base and a strong swing at the plate as well. Voss stood out in a big way in the morning time slot at the 5 Plex Lee County Player Development Complex.

Take your pick on which Dirtbags hitter stands out in a loaded lineup from top to bottom. Starting with Austin Hawke (2022, Pfafftown, N.C.) – the brother of Wake Forest commit Tommy Hawke – who has outstanding foot speed at the top of the lineup that plays well in game. Hawke is certainly twitchy both at the plate and in the middle infield. He consistently ran from home to first base with times between 4.23 seconds and 4.40 seconds. He is disruptive on the bases with the ability to steal bags. The righthanded hitting middle infielder can manipulate the barrel really well and he showed that in this viewing. He was the tablesetter for a loaded Dirtbag Tap Out team on this day and surely will continue to be throughout the rest of the event.

Dirtbags’ three-hole hitter Tucker Toman (2022, Columbia, S.C.) showcased the top bat speed of the day at the 5 Plex. His hands are so quick to the baseball and the bat head really rips through the hitting zone. He fouled a pair of balls straight back that would have gone a very long ways if connected. He sprayed the ball to all parts of the field in multiple at-bats during a pair of blowout victories. Toman got to swing the bat from both sides of the plate during Friday’s action. The lefthanded side certainly projects best with more bat speed at present, but with continued work Toman could swing it from both sides at the next level. The uncommitted third baseman’s arm across the diamond stood out in this look as well with plenty of carry and zip to first base.

The cleanup hitter for the Dirtbags Tap Out is South Carolina commit Connor Fuhrman (2022, Daleville, Va.). Fuhrman had a very productive day at the plate collecting four total hits in two games. The righthanded hitter has a very strong swing that projects for huge power moving forward. The future Gamecock barreled the ball to the middle of the field singling four times including three times in the first contest. His impact strength is pretty impressive and it’s obvious with his ultra-physical 6-foot-1, 190-pound frame. The primary outfielder has versatility as a defender as well showing promise in the infield and also showing in the past that he can play a corner infield spot.

Another catcher who really stood out on the day was righthanded hitting backstop Bannon Brazell (2022, Vienna, Va.) out of Virginia. The Stars Baseball Wrighte catcher bats in the three-hole in the lineup due to his really smooth righty stroke and is a very impressive defender the way he receives and throws down to second base. Brazell threw out multiple runners on the day including a would-be basestealer as well as on a back-pick to first base. The pop time on his throw to second base clocked in at 2.23 seconds, handling a tough pitch and firing a strike. Brazell’s transfer is so clean and his actions are very easy. He has plenty of flexibility behind the dish and the uncommitted catcher receives well stealing strikes for his pitchers.

One of two Rutgers commits in the 2022 class stood out on Friday afternoon as Max Martin (2022, Edgewater Park, N.J.) showed plenty of athleticism as well as a strong barrel feel. His triple in the game ultimately tied the game and wound up being the game saver as his Tri State Arsenal team tied 2-2 in their first game of the day. Martin stroked a ball over the center fielder’s head for a triple and the righthanded hitting infielder displayed athleticism and good hands in the infield as well. Martin is an athletic 6-foot, 165-pounds and his body projects well moving forward. Martin has a loose swing that stays pretty compact to the baseball and the barrel feel is definitely advanced for his age.

Boston College commit Jason Hernandez (2022, Bridgeport, Conn.) came into the game for The Clubhouse 2022 in relief showcasing a lot to like on the mound. The command got away from him a bit in this look, but when getting out in front and working over his front side with his release point, Hernandez was able to throw strikes at a high rate. The fastball touched 86 mph early for Hernandez and settled into the 82-84 mph range throughout his outing. He flashed a developing curveball with depth that projects well along with the rest of what he brings to the mound. Hernandez has a very loose arm, and although he throws with some effort, the ball comes out clean out in front and his body projects very well physically. There is no reason to believe that the future Eagle will not continue to throw harder with maturity to his young and athletic 6-foot, 165-pound frame.

Kyle Percival (2022, Lancaster, S.C.) pitched a gem for the Dirtbags Tap Out starting and firing three innings with over 75 percent strikes delivered to the plate. The uncommitted lefthander showed a three-pitch mix with a fastball up to 85 mph, a changeup that was his best off-speed offering and a slider that flashed potential during his outing. His large and physical frame has some stiffness as part of his delivery, but he repeats it very well with plenty of arm strength and strike-throwing ability. The arm is clean through the back and he seemed to have some heaviness to his heater as hitters were frequently late trying to catch up to the pitch. The changeup was very effective showing sinking action missing bats and a diving away from righthanded hitters. The first slider he showed in the game was his best one with some sharpness to it and plenty of sweep. Percival was dominant in this look needing just 43 pitches in three complete innings to strike out four and earn the victory.

Colby Shelton (2022, Litha, Fla.) brings one of the most elite hit tools to the plate in the entire 2022 class each time he digs into the batter’s box. Shelton has an outstanding eye, great balance and a confident approach. His lefthanded swing has both power and pure barrel ability to all parts of the field. He sees pitches well, can read spin and has a knack for meeting the baseball out in front on time. Shelton got the start at shortstop in Ostingers Baseball Academy 2022’s victory Friday night and showcased clean actions at the position as well. His sure hands and strong arm make plays look very easy at a premium position. The bat is the ultimate carrying tool as his lefthanded swing projects for years to come. He barreled each ball he put in play that included a single to the pull side and a ball that just missed being a home run down the right field line.

– Greg Gerard

Five Star Burress rolled out a usual collection of top prospects during the first day of the WWBA Sophomore World Championship. Highlighting the lineup was leadoff hitter and shortstop Nicolas Perez (2022 Isabela, Puerto Rico). Perez was all over the field, working counts for walks and stealing bases after he was on, using the entire field to hammer hits which included two doubles. He is an excellent runner and used the speed well to take extra bases and generally cause havoc for the opposing defense. On the other side of the ball, he put on a defensive clinic making movement plays look routine. Early in the first game, a ground ball to second base in a double play situation was mishandled on the flip. Perez adjusted, bare-handed the ball and in one motion tagged second and threw a strike to first to complete the double play. On another play he ranged to his right and while off balance, fielded a hard-hit ball and threw to the plate to nail a runner trying to score. The Florida State commit plays with great energy and has one of the highest ceilings of any shortstop in the class.

A teammate of Perez on 5 Star National 2022 Burress, Tanner Zellem (2022 Fleming Island, Fla.) had a great overall day. The physically imposing righthanded hitter uses his strength well in games and is a true middle of the order power threat. He has above average strike zone discipline, consistently working counts and laying off tough pitches. When he found a pitch to drive he didn’t miss. A multi-hit day was culminated by a towering home run over the left field wall. His process generates plenty of bat speed with nice whip through contact. The uncommitted prospect brings defensive versatility as he moved all over the corners during game action. Mature, both physically and mentally, he will garner a ton of attention as the fall progresses.

South Charlotte Panthers 2022 has a super polished shortstop in Matt Heavner (2022 Lincolnton, N.C.). Displaying great athleticism in all parts of his game and he shined on both sides of the ball. The North Carolina State commit has great lateral movement, is always under control and he has the ability to transfer quickly and provide plenty of zip across the infield. At the plate, he has great hand-eye coordination and an advanced feel for the barrel. Using his ability to hit pitches where they are thrown, he had three singles during game play. He is a true top-of-the-order type player with the ability to make something out of nothing at any point.

Power Baseball 2022 has a spark plug at the top of its lineup. Greg Pettay (2022 Clermont, Fla.) plays at a pace that many cannot match at this age. The shortstop has exceptionally fast feet in the field and exhibited great range on multiple plays to record outs. He is a heady player and the IQ shows by consistently finding the right spot to be in on the field and seems to always be in the middle of action. He makes simple adjustments on hops to make difficult plays look routine. The leadoff hitter uses a middle-of-the-field, line drive approach and found two hits during game action. When he got on base he looked to run and do it early. Later in the game he worked a walk and put so much pressure on the defense that he induced an errant throw that he was able to walk home to add on a run to the Power lead. He has the makings of a middle-of-the-diamond table-setter at the next level.

Elite Squad 2022 came out very strong in the opening game of pool play with a run-rule victory. Connor Hegan (2022 Neptune Beach, Fla.) started on the bump for Elite Squad and threw three innings of a game shortened no-hitter. The very projectable righthanded pitcher is tall at 6-foot-4 with long arms that he used to get good extension to the plate. He created nice downward plane on his mid-80s fastball that peaked at 87. He located the pitch to the glove side well and was not squared during his outing. The uncommitted hurler mixed a low-70s curveball, with 11-to-5 shape, and showed real promise getting multiple swings-and-misses. He has a developing changeup that should make for a good third pitch as he gets reps.

Elite Squad has a well-balanced offense but Raymond Bermudez (2022 Hollywood, Fla.) stood out, with a long and wiry frame and an easy lefthanded swing. He was patient and did a good job not wavering from his approach. On the two pitches he got to drive he did just that. The Miami commit barreled a single back up the box, followed by a walk, then went the other way for a double late in the game. As he continues to fill out it is easy to project what the power will look like as his body physically matures.

– Jered Goodwin

Recent 14u PG Select Festival participant Riley Jackson (2023, Melbourne, Fla.) showed once again why he is currently one of the best players in the class with a loud start to the Sophomore World Championship. After reaching on an error in his first at-bat, Jackson came to the plate with a mature approach, looking to drive to either gap and drove a hard line single through the pull side. The 5-foot-11, 180-pound catcher has a strong, durable frame with plenty of power projection that continues to improve every time he steps on the field. The bat path is fluid with plenty of bat speed that should continue to improve as he strengthens the upper half. The ball comes off extremely well when barreled with good carry to all fields. Behind the dish, he receives extremely well with arm strength well advanced of his current age and up there with some of the best in the country.

Jackson’s teammate Stone Russell (2023, Bradenton, Fla.) also made a ton of loud contact through their pair of games Friday afternoon. The 6-foot, 190-pound shortstop and third baseman has a similar body and build to that of Jackson with a bit more athleticism at present given his ability to play two premium positions at a high level. There is some length to the swing at present, but strong wrists and a strong lower half allow Russell to adjust well and get on plane with pitches in all parts of the zone. There is a good amount of movement and some segmentation to the operation at the plate, but it should become fluid as the strength continues to improve. Defensively, he has a strong glove with a high intent approach to the baseball paired with advanced arm strength as evidenced by his ability to step on the mound and run the fastball up to 85 mph.

Virginia Tech commit Truman Richter (2022, Glen Gardner, N.J.) was strong in his outing on the mound as he tossed five innings of one-run baseball, allowing just one hit and a pair of walks while striking out six. The young southpaw worked 82-85 mph on the fastball in this look, having previously been up to 89 mph, as he worked a solid three-pitch mix. The feel to spin a loose curveball with 11-to-5 shape was good in this look and should continue to develop as a good spin pitch to complement a solid changeup with similar action out of the hand to the fastball with late arm-side fade. The fastball showed to be straight at times, but the ability to land all three pitches down in the zone generated consistent weak contact. The frame is still very lean with plenty of remaining projection, but the presence on the mound is mature and should bode well for Richter’s success moving forward.

Another talented prospect from the Northeast, standing at 6-foot-5, 190-pounds, is first baseman/outfielder Jayden Hylton (2022, Basking Ridge, N.J.). Standing at 6-foot-5, 190-pounds, the projection is obvious and the athleticism that is present in such a young, long limbed body is rare, but there are plenty of tools that play now. The bat speed is good with an ability to adjust his hands inside to drive to the pull side as well as create separation and drive the ball through the gap. There is some occasional loft to the swing path creating backspin to the pull side when barreled, but the overall operation is controlled until he explodes through the baseball, meeting the ball out front of the plate regularly. Hylton’s athleticism at present gives him a good chance to project to a power hitting corner outfielder.

Another recent 14u PG Select Festival participant to put forth a loud effort through his first two games was physical righthanded hitter and University of Miami commit TayShaun Walton (2023, Emporia, Va.) as he picked up four hits in five at-bats, driving in five runs and racking up three stolen bases. Simply put, there just aren’t players at this age who look or play like Walton. At 6-foot-2, 205-pounds, Walton is the most physical hitter in the class with a ton of power at present and endless power projection, still five months away from turning 15-years old. The ability to flat out hit is evident as he sees the ball well and adjusts his hands to create contact to all fields. To go with the hit and power tool, Walton is able to move extremely well as an outfielder, logging a sub 7.0-second 60-yard dash at the 14u National Showcase and has shown great arm strength with a fastball already up to 88 mph.

Uncommitted righthander Kolten Smith (2022, Ocala, Fla.) has continued to make strides over the course of the summer as he worked 84-87 mph with the fastball in this look as opposed to the 80-84 mph we saw from him back at the Florida World Series in early June. The long, projectable righthander, at 6-foot-2, 180-pounds, has a long lower half with a very clean, sound operation throughout. The full arm action up to a high over-the-top slot generates good downhill plane on the fastball with occasional running life to the arm side. He showed continued feel to spin a loose, low-70s curveball with 12-to-6 shape.

Putting forth a strong performance on the mound on Day 1 was young southpaw Dylan Loy (2023, Sevierville, Tenn.) as he tossed four no-hit, no-walk innings racking up seven strikeouts. The young, lean lefthander, at 6-foot, 150-pounds, has plenty of projection with a ton of time to develop into an intriguing pitching prospect. There is some stiffness to the delivery in the lower half, but he is able to hold the front half closed and create some crossbody action from an angled slot. Working 79-81 mph on the fastball in this look, Loy worked to all four quadrants while landing a big curveball with hard downward bite and a changeup of similar action to the fastball out of the hand with late arm-side fade.

Opposing Loy on the mound was fellow lefthander Tadan Bell (2022, Columbus, Neb.) as he tossed just over four innings, allowing a trio of hits and a walk while striking out seven. A bit more physical in the frame at 6-foot-2, 165-pounds, Bell worked 80-82 mph with the fastball from the left side with good downhill plane and occasional arm-side run. The feel to spin is there with the curveball showing some tightness at times to create swing-and-miss down in the zone. The projection is evident as he fills into a good frame.

Connor Fosnow (2022, Longwood, Fla.) continued to hit at a high level as he picked up a pair of barrels, finishing 2-for-4 in his only game of the day. The toolsy and athletic middle infielder has strength in the swing with strong hands that keep the swing compact and on plane, creating solid contact to all fields. Defensively, Fosnow has the hands and arm strength to stick at any of the infield positions and should only continue to improve as he develops athletically and taps into the power projection.

– Tyler Russo

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