Tournaments | Story | 1/18/2020

West MLK Day 1 Scout Notes

Nate Schweers         Connor Spencer         Jerry Miller        
Photo: Garrett Cutting (Perfect Game)

Blake Mahmood (2020, Eden Prairie, Minn.) put together five strong innings of work on Friday, allowing just three hits while striking out nine batters. The North East Baseball National starter sat 88-90 with the fastball, flashing late life to the arm-side as well as the ability to effectively change eye levels. While Mahmood struggled to command the pitch at times, the Tulane commit did enough to keep hitters off-balance, mixing speeds well with a mid-70s curveball. The breaker was Mahmood’s best pitch on Friday and could develop into a plus-pitch as he continues to develop.

At 6-foot-2, 190-pounds, Mahmood is able to use what strength he has in the lower half to drive down the mound with consistent direction. The right-hander is easy and repeatable through the entire operation and projects for more ahead of June’s MLB Draft.

Dustin Crenshaw (2020, Chandler, Ariz.) put together one of the louder performances at the plate on Friday, going 2-for-3 with a loud homerun over the wall in right field. A primary shortstop, Crenshaw has quick hands and a direct path to contact that allows him to identify the inside-pitch and get the hands extended. The Grand Canyon University commit flashes some jump off the barrel as well as good bat-to-ball skills. Defensively, Crenshaw plays a stout shortstop, showing the ability to manage the game well with a high baseball IQ. The free-swinging lefty could be a name to follow in June, but the ceiling will come from three years to develop and add strength while a member of the Lopes.

Having not thrown at a Perfect Game event since 2017, it was great to get a look at Fresno State commit Treven Crowley (2020, Newman, Calif.) on the first day of tournament action in 2020. The right-hander was dominant facing just five batters and retiring all five. Crowley has an athletic frame with still plenty of room to add strength, and easy arm action and repeatable mechanics are a bright spot in the overall package.

Crowley sat 88-90 mph with a lively fastball on Friday, locating to both sides of the plate and really giving right-handed hitters a tough time in on the hands. While locating the fastball was enough to get the job done for North East Baseball National, Crowley will take his game to the next level with development of the slider. Crowley showed the pitch a few times on Friday but is still working to land it in the zone with consistency. With such tight shape and tilt, command of that pitch is a key to success at the next level.

Ethan Long (2020, Gilbert, Ariz.) recorded a pair of hits in the opener Friday, going 2-for-3 with a run-scoring single in his first bat. In my first look at Long, the power potential is obvious and the pure strength in the hands at the point of contact is something that excites scouts. The Arizona State commit was also impressive in the way he handled the bat with two strikes. Long found himself down in the count in his first trip to the plate but showed excellent plate discipline to muscle the run-scoring single into right-center field. The No. 44 player in Perfect Game’s 2020 class, Long will be a name to continue following throughout the weekend and into the spring ahead of June’s MLB Draft.

Casey Saucke II (2021, Rochester, N.Y.) put together one of the highlight performances at the plate Friday, going 2-for-2 and driving a homerun deep over the wall in left field. Saucke has a wide base at the plate and impresses with a really direct path to contact and seemingly endless power potential to the pull-side. Saucke swings intent to drive the baseball and does a great job of catching the ball out front. Defensively, the Virginia commit showed athletic actions throughout the day, playing through the baseball well and showing off some present arm strength. The primary shortstop is currently ranked as the No. 193 player in Perfect Game’s 2021 class.

Nate Clow (2020, Federal Way, Wash.) turned heads immediately during New Level Prep’s opening game of 2020, driving a loud double to the wall in right-field in his first trip to the plate. A Southern California commit, Clow show excellent jump off the barrel and has the athleticism to be a threat to run at the top of any lineup. At 6-foot, 180-pounds, Clow not only has an advanced approach offensively but also shows the ability to man both positions on the left side of the infield. Clow ended up with a 2-for-4 day to show for his efforts on Friday, and the MLB Draft follow will look to keep the momentum as the weekend goes on.

On the mound, New Level Prep was lead by right-hander Tyler Hoeft (2020, Milton, Wash.). Hoeft tossed two dominant innings on Friday, striking out five and allowing just one hit. Hoeft was able to command both edges of the plate with an upper-80s fastball, topping at 90mph and flashing some excellent run to the arm side. Most impressive in Hoeft’s arsenal was a tight slider with good tilt and depth at 76-78mph. The Washington State commit was able to generate plenty of swing and miss with the pitch on Friday and was able to effectively tunnel it with the fastball. Hoeft has plenty of room to fill out in the 5-foot-11, 185-pound frame projects for more at the next level.

One of the few uncommitted members of the North East Baseball National Underclass lineup on Friday, Levi McAllister (2022, Bow, N.H.) stood out in his lone trip to the plate. The 5-foot-9, 184-pound catcher ripped a two-run single in his at-bat, showing some present bat speed and some jump off the barrel when squared. McAllister has an even stance from the right side of the plate and will be a name to follow as the weekend continues to unfold.

Dylan Dreiling (2022, Hays, Kansas) had a night to remember for the Tri State Arsenal 2022 Scout Team, going 2-for-3 and collecting a pair of RBI. Dreiling was a catalyst at the top of the order, scoring the games first run after a working a leadoff walk. Dreiling has good bat-to-ball skills with excellent in-game speed, getting down the line in 4.29 seconds. The Tennessee commit executes a high-contact approach but will also flash power that is generated from a simple leg lift trigger and strong lower half. The primary outfielder is currently ranked as Perfect Game’s No. 94 player in the 2022 class.

NorCal Baseball 2023 Blue has a dynamic duo at the top of the lineup in shortstop Elias Duncan (2023, Palo Alto, Calif.) and second baseman Braden Clancy (2023, Folsom, Calif.). Clancy was stellar out of the leadoff spot, going 2-for-3 with a pair of well-stuck singles. Clancy has a disciplined approach at the plate and is able to fight off pitches when down in the count. At just 5-foot-7, 160-pounds, the California native flashes some jump to the pull-side when squared and does well to get the hands extended with intent to drive the baseball.

While Clancy’s fellow middle-infielder Duncan did not record a hit in Friday night’s game, the Palo Alto freshman was able to make a few really nice plays defensively. Duncan has advanced actions for the age, playing through the backhand well, showing good range to the glove side and making really strong throws across the diamond.

Matthew Wolfe (2022, Westerville, Ohio) showed why he is the No. 1 shortstop in Ohio on Friday night, driving one of the first pitches he saw to the wall in left field for a double. The Vanderbilt commit has good bat speed at the plate with plenty of room to fill out and add strength. Wolfe has an ultra-athletic frame, and that athleticism helped him on the mound as well Friday. The right-hander sat at 84-85mph with a lively fastball, flashing good arm speed and some life to the arm-side. Wolfe also showed feel to spin a low-70s curveball and could be a potential two-way player at the next level.

-Nate Schweers

The 2020 Perfect Game tournament season got underway on Friday in Arizona with three separate classes competing in the MLK West Championship. NorCal Baseball Red got off to a hot start to begin their tournament run in the upper-class division. Cal Poly SLO commit Jake Buxton (2020, Mill Valley, Calif.) dominated early on the hill, with his live fastball and plus plus 11-to-5 shaped curve. Buxton has a quick arm action from a three-quarters slot and his quick overall motion helps to get his 87-91 mph fastball in onto the hands of hitters. He has great direction down the hill and works with a ferocious tempo. His curveball has a ton of promise and already shows next level ability. It possesses fantastic late bite down and away from right-handed bats and he also shows an ability to locate it to the back foot of left-handers. It sits around 77 mph but will only continue to improve as his arm strength develops. As of right now, it’s primarily a two-pitch mix, but expect Cal Poly to really develop and emphasize a consistent off-speed pitch with Buxton, especially in the Big West.

Washington State commit Keith Jones (2020, Brentwood, Calif.) sparked the NorCal offense going 2-for-3 with a triple on his day at the plate. It’s hard not to notice the potential in Jones’ large 6-foot-2, 195-pound frame. He profiles well as a first baseman at the next level, but if his primary outfield ability continues to develop, he’ll turn himself into even more of an asset for MLB organizations. Jones uses an upright, narrow, and even stance with a simple hanging stride trigger. He’s got good hands that hunt the inner half and he’s also able to generate some solid leverage in his swing while staying pretty quiet throughout. His tall back side helps to flatten his barrel path through the zone, and he’ll continue to become an even scarier force at the plate as he becomes more consistent with his rhythm and timing with the pitcher.

PNW Underclass Navy started their tournament off with a win and Oregon State commit and top ranked 2022 shortstop in the state of Colorado Dallas Macias (2022, Aurora, Colo.) showcased his pop with a triple off the right center field wall. Macias is a switch hitter with a pretty similar look from both sides of the plate. He uses an upright and open stance with a high back elbow and simple stride trigger. His small circular bat wag helps lead his hands into a heavy hand coil as he goes down and back into his load. There’s a solid amount of whip generated through his barrel, and he does a nice job of firing his lower half in his swing.

In the freshman division, LVR’s Dominick Rush (2023, Las Vegas, Nev.) impressed at the plate going 3-for-4 with a double. Rush has present athleticism throughout multiple facets of his game and he seems to improve at plate with every PG event he attends. At the 14u South Showcase, Rush had a very high handset with an elevated barrel plane and quick bat speed for his medium sized frame, however, he really showcased how skilled his hands are at the plate in game 1 for LVR. Perhaps one of his most professional at bats of the day came with a runner on second base and no outs. Rush was able to stay inside the ball, get his hands extended, and smoke a ground ball to the right side to do his job. He was ultimately rewarded when the hard ground ball took an erratic hop right before reaching the second baseman. His upright and slightly open stance is simple and controlled, and his vertical bat placement pre-pitch helps him to generate a slight hand coil as he goes back into his load. There’s still a ton of room in his 5-foot-8, 140-pound frame to fill out, and all signs point towards him becoming a strong, athletic, and promising player to follow moving forward.

In the late afternoon slot, upper class 3D Gold poured on the offense in their first game collecting six runs off of 14 hits. Uncommitted utility man Joe Brown (2022, Petaluma, Calif.) muscled a ball off the scoreboard in left at Sierra Linda High School to open the scoring. Brown uses a narrow and slightly open stance with a high leg kick trigger. He creates solid leverage in his swing thanks to a heavy linear weight shift into his load from the leg kick. He also generates some whip through the zone thanks to a similarly heavy hand coil. All in all there are some pre-pitch mechanics that Brown will have to quiet down as he continues to progress in the game, however, his great hands and present bat speed serve as a strong foundation. He does a great job of staying tall on his back side and that contributes to his flat barrel path to and through the zone. On his double down the line he emphasized how long he can keep that barrel on plane by shooting a ball down the line even though his trigger was early. Brown checks off a ton of asset boxes as a ball player and it feels as though his uncommitted status will soon come to an end.

Washington commit Brandon Larson (2022, Rocklin, Calif.) tacked on a dinger of his own for 3D Gold with a shot that bounced off the road beyond the right center wall. Larson is a big bodied primary first baseman with a ton of present and potential strength. He does a nice job of working his barrel down through the zone, and his load stays relatively quiet and simple. There’s plenty of pop to his pull side gap and one can only expect his power to improve as his frame continues to fill out.

No. 2 2021 shortstop out of the state of Nevada and Oregon commit Garrett Cutting (2021, Las Vegas, Nev.) also had a nice day at the plate going 2-for-3 with a run scored. Cutting continues to display his athleticism and fluidity in the field as well as his strength and versatility at the plate. His strong arm gives the Ducks a myriad of ways that they can use Cutting at the next level, however, the stronger he gets, the more draft attention he receives. His quick bat and solid hands suggest he’ll be a true force at the plate once his power takes off. With good speed, a solid hit tool, and strong defense apart of his resume, Cutting feels like he’s one tool away from becoming a top prospect in 2021.

Back in the freshman division, LA Rockstars got a win over Cascade Crush Freshman National Team behind a quality start from Brynner Waiolama Waiolama (2023, Torrance, Calif.). Waiolama has good length to his medium frame and clean repeatable mechanics on the hill. His fastball sat in the high-70’s early, then warmed up into the low-80’s as his outing went on. He topped out at 83 mph and effectively located to both sides of the plate. He has a longer arm action from a high three-quarters slot. His breaking ball has a low 11-to-5 shape and shows some depth. It stands to improve drastically as his build continues to develop. Waiolama showed fantastic poise and composure by coming back strong after getting knocked around in his fourth inning of work. Waiolama is definitely a player to follow as he heads into his freshman campaign at North Torrance high school.

In the competitive freshman division evening time slot, 3D Gold just edged out Trosky National 2024 3-2. Trosky starting pitcher Brady Strohm (2024, Winchester, Calif.) breezed through his first three innings of work but ran into trouble in the fourth. For a 2024 graduate, Strohm has a solid foundation with crisp mechanics and a quick arm action. His motion stays pretty compact throughout before coming up to a high three-quarters slot. Everything Strohm throws cuts. Occasionally, the cutting action is actually pretty severe. His cut fastball sits around 76-79 mph while touching 80 and he mixes in a high 11-to-5 shaped breaking ball that shows great promise. He does a great job of mimicking the arm action and window of his curveball to look like his cutter. As Strohm continues to develop, the addition of an opposite moving off-speed pitch could prove invaluable. None the less, if he’s able to keep the same cutting actions on his fastball once he’s throwing in the mid-80’s or higher, he’ll be an absolute handful on the mound for hitters.

Will Shelor (2023, Chandler, Ariz.) was strong on the hill for 3D Gold and bested his top velocity from last weekend’s National Underclass West Showcase by hitting 87 mph. Shelor has a short arm action from a high three-quarters arm slot and his fastball feels like it has strong break Z to it. Shelor fills up the zone well and mixes in a high 11-to-5 shaped curveball that compliments his heavy fastball nicely. There’s plenty of potential in the strength of his arm and he’ll only continue to improve as he becomes more comfortable with his stuff through experience. He finished throwing two full innings while fanning five.

-Connor Spencer

The future is bright at Canyon View HS in suburban Phoenix if their 15U club is any indication of the talent in the pipeline. Right-handed pitcher Connor Mattison (2023, Litchfield Park, Ariz.) toed the bump and hit in the middle of the Canyon View line-up in early morning action on the Dodgers side of the Camelback complex. The 6-foot-1, 160-pound hurler used a classic delivery and long levers in pitching four-plus innings. He scattered four hits and struck out eight, allowing zero earned runs. Mattison pitches off a well-commanded fastball that is consistently clocked in the 80-83 mph range. His heater shows riding life up and heavy sink and run down. He also showed a mature, 12-to-6 breaking, tight spinning curveball that sat between 64 and 67 mph. Mattison's 76mph changeup, that is thrown out of the same window as his fastball, has late, deceptive tumble at the dish as well.

3n2 Sticks 15U National Team is a fundamentally sound club that features a number of potential collegiate players. Hitting in the two-hole for 3n2 is their catcher Tripp Landers (2023, Clinton, Ark.). The 5-foot-10, 170-pound, left-handed hitting backstop shows great plate discipline and a short, compact, and direct path to the ball. Landers impressively gets his barrel to contact and uses the entire field to drive the ball with authority. Additionally, he is a fundamentally sound receiver who possesses an easy and smooth glove with a plus throwing arm.

USA Prime’s Underclass squad ran two impressive arms out to the hill on Dodgers 5 in first round action. Right-handed pitcher Cooper Katskee (2022, Greenwood Village, Colo.) started and went four-plus innings, pitching off an active 81-83 mph fastball that showed impressive arm side run and heavy sink. His sharp breaking slurve of a breaking pitch was an outstanding compliment to his heater, as he worked the glove side edge of the plate like a veteran. The 6-foot-3, 195-pound Cherry Creek HS sophomore, worked fast and with great rhythm and poise.

Taking the ball from Katskee was Tucker Moore (2022, Castle Rock, Colo.). The 6-foot, 180-pound righty is a high energy strike thrower who uses a two-pitch mix as well as an ability to work fast, pitch ahead, and put hitters away. Moore allowed only one hit and walked none in his nearly three innings of work. The Douglas County HS sophomore, is a solidly built and athletic pitcher who throws a heavy sinking fastball at 81-85 mph. He compliments his FB with a 70-mph sharp breaking curveball that he impressively works to both sides of the plate.

USA Prime’s Underclass team has two University of Tennessee commits hitting in the middle of their order. If their performance in pool play in early January of their sophomore year in high school is any indication, the Volunteers have two very solid players on the way to Knoxville. Reese Chapman (2022, Aurora, Colo.) is a left-handed hitting outfielder/first baseman, who can swing the bat. The 6-foot, 185-pound athletically built three-hole hitter is mature beyond his years at the plate. He has perfected his swing path and uses great leverage to power the ball to all parts of the field. He is also a plus runner, who can and will take the extra base. Kai Wagner (2022, Parker, Colo.) hits behind Chapman in the USA Prime line-up and, like his fellow Coloradan, can swing the pole. The 6-foot-1, 180-pound lefthanded hitter, uses a flatter path, with a slight lift at contact. He shows great plate discipline and a quick path to contact. He is also an impressive defender, manning the key shortstop spot. He has quick and smooth feet, a soft glove, and flashes a plus arm that is highly accurate.

NorCal Baseball features a squad full of prospective college players. The Bay Area club plays with fundamental soundness and great enthusiasm. Hitting in the middle of their order is left-handed swinging Kevin Macintosh (2022, Granite Bay, Calif.). Macintosh is a 5-foot-9, 150-pound, primary outfielder with strength in his hands and thunder in his barrel. The sweet-swinging, Granite Bay HS sophomore, can square pitches up consistently and shows an ability to drive the ball especially well to the pull-side gap. He is a plus runner who can and will take the extra base.

Oregon State commit Tanner Smith (2021, Chandler, Ariz.) led a very sound 3n2 Sticks 17U National Team in afternoon action on the Dodgers side of the Camelback complex. The 6-foot, 200-pound, barrel chested catcher can power the baseball, as evidenced by his drive into the netting above the left field wall. In addition to having obvious projectable power and middle-of-the-order offensive ability, Smith is also an accomplished catcher who has a veteran’s presence behind the plate with a sound, accurate throwing arm, and a great feel for calling a game.

Manning the shortstop position for 3n2 17U, was Mississippi State commit, Rian Cellers (2021, Texarkana, Texas). The smooth fielding, 6-foot-3, 165-pound, Texas HS sophomore, shows great footwork, very soft and consistent hands, and a highly accurate arm, that shows advanced strength and carry. At the plate, the righthanded hitter, has a sound understanding of the strike zone and uses a short, and more direct path to drive the baseball. Lastly, he is a heady, plus runner who has an aggressive streak on the bases.

The Big League Experience Scout Team could not have received a better effort from their pitching staff than they got today in afternoon action on Dodgers 6. The White Rock BC-based club had four pitchers combine to toss a complete game no-hitter. Pacing the group were the club’s first two pitchers. Gavin Pringle (2020, Duncan B.C.) used two sound pitches, highlighted by an impressively active 85-87 mph fastball that showed riding life up in the zone, and heavy, bat breaking sink down. The 6-foot-3, 230-pound, physically mature Canadian, also flashed a knee-buckling, 76-mph, 12-to-6 shaped curveball. His breaking ball was a great compliment to his well-commanded fastball.

Following Pringle to the bump was Josh Fluet (2020, Surrey, B.C.). The burley, 6-foot, 210-pound rock solid righthander, was equally as impressive. The Elgin Park HS Senior used an active, 83-86 mph fastball that was especially sound, and was thrown to both edges of the plate with confidence. He complimented his heater with a sharp, 76-mph breaking ball that showed tight spin and late depth at the dish.

In late afternoon action on the White Sox side of Camelback, left-hander, Thomas Sandoval (2020, Tornillo, Texas) turned in a very impressive outing in relief for the Big Red Baseball Club out of El Paso. The 5-foot-10, 200-pound southpaw is a command and control artist, who painted the corners and used a mature approach to throw any of his three pitches, in any count, against both righthanded and lefthanded hitters. His fastball, while not particularly overpowering from a pure velocity standpoint, was almost unhittable at 81-83 mph. His heater was thrown to the edges and showed plus arm side run and ride. Hitters were unable to get their barrel to his fastball. He complimented his heater with a short and quick 70-mph, 12-to-6 breaking curveball and a 76-mph change up that was thrown from the fastball window and showed depth and tumble at the plate. The poise and polish of the Bel Air HS senior makes him a solid college prospect.

-Jerry Miller

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