Tournaments | Story | 10/21/2020

WWBA Sophomore Prospect Breakdown

Tyler Russo         Vincent Cervino         Jered Goodwin        
Photo: Owen Egan (Perfect Game)
The Next Wave
Much like at the WWBA World Championship, several of the top prospects in their respected classes attended the WWBA Sophomore and continued to show why they are thought of so highly. Whether it be with the bat or their defense, or their abilities on the mound, the players below stood out among their peers and delivered some of the loudest performances on one of the biggest stages the circuit has to offer. 

Steven Milam, SS, Top Tier Roos American
Milam put on a show the two weeks he was in Fort Myers as he went back-to-back with MVP awards at both the sophomore and Underclass World Championships. He’s got terrific barrel skills with advance accuracy of the bat head and innate feel for contact. Milam finished with a torrid .667 line on the weekend and couple that with his smooth hands and defensive chops and he’s firmly entrenched as a top prospect in the 2023 class. 

Aidan Miller, OF, Top Tier Roos American
Miller, much like Milam and the Top Tier Roos overall, had a terrific two weeks including barreling up almost everything during the Sophomore World Championship. Including close to hitting .500 on the weekend, Miller raked in a number of extra base hits and was a run-producer in the middle of the lineup. He’s also one of the premier two-way players in the country who can work in the low-90s off the bump. 

Justin Best, OF, Team Elite Scout Team
Best has been among the best performers in his class, hitting and hitting well at every stop along the way throughout the course of his prep career. Team Elite’s offense was potent but Best might have had the most impressive line with a .643 batting average and an OPS over 1.600. The loose, lofted left-handed swing plays well and his power continues to impress at every stop. 

Ariel Antigua, SS, Resmondo Baseball
One of the more sure handed defensive prospects in the class, Antigua is not only a standout defender but he’s got a knack for barreling baseballs at a consistent rate. Antigua, a PG Select Festival alumni, has had a very strong fall as he won the MVP of the Labor Day East tournament as well as hitting .476 over the course of the weekend. The combination of advanced tools and performance have made him a definite name to watch in the 2023 class. 

Daniel Cuvet, 3B/RHP, Elite Squad 
Cuvet has all the peripheral and physical tools to posit some monster upside as there’s potential for significant power as well as a velocity ceiling on the mound. Cuvet’s ability to leverage the ball and generate hard hit contact out in the front lead to some massive power and he’ll already work in the upper-80s on the bump. The upside is worth noting and Cuvet was able to do everything well at the Sophomore World Championship. 

Riley Jackson, C, 5 Star White
Jackson’s a top 20 prospect in the class and he’s a very advanced bat in the class with a strong history of performance already. He’s got top of the class level bat speed with the ability to generate significant impact out in front of the plate. Jackson’s upside as a premium bat from a premium defensive position makes him a remarkably valuable bat from behind the plate. 

Chance Mako, RHP, South Charlotte Panthers
Mako had a torrid couple of weeks, even pitching a gem in the prestigious WWBA World Championship just over a week ago. At 6-foot-5, 180 pounds with premium arm speed there’s an extremely high ceiling for Mako, who came out pumping some serious velocity over the course of the three weeks. He was an integral part of a final four run for the Panthers and Mako’s ceiling is impossible to deny. 

Owen Egan, OF/RHP, Meta National
Egan has significant two-way potential as a very polished right-handed bat and a right-handed pitcher with a pair of advanced secondary offerings. The swing is already impressive with a great amount of strength exuded to posit some intriguing power at present, while the hittability shouldn’t be ignored either. Add in that Egan also works into the low-90s with a dastardly changeup and firm slider make him a very advanced prospect. 

James Hays, RHP, 5 Star White
Hays is another advanced arm given his physical maturity and already impressive raw stuff. The arm speed stands out as does the already impressive fastball with a 90-93 mph heater that he really sinks and rides nicely. The slider is biting in the upper-70s and as far as the coalition of righthanded pitchers go, Hays certainly stands out in any class. 

Walker Jenkins, OF, South Charlotte Panthers
A big time performer in the fall, Jenkins broke out in a big way at the Freshman All-American Games and then came to Florida to solidify himself as a big power hitter with the peripheral tools to back it up. He got better in each week, culminating with a big performance at the WWBA World Championship. The tools standout as does the swing and his ability to use all fields with intent. 

Toby Twist, LHP, Meta Prime
We got to see Twist for the first time in a little over a year and there’s no doubt that he’s one of the top left-handed pitchers in the class. Twist is an athletic prospect with a great delivery and arm action with a fastball that was consistently in the upper-80s during his start. He’s got the poise and mound presence coupled with a sharp slider and the upside is easy to see as Twist continues to mature. 

TayShaun Walton, OF, Dirtbags Signature
Walton is as physical of a fifteen year old as you’ll find with a 6-foot-3, 215 pound build with immense strength and bat speed to build off. He’s got top of the scales power potential and has a penchant for hitting the ball extremely hard as the combination of exit velocity, bat speed, and power upside makes him one of the higher ceiling bats in the class. 

Raffaele Velazquez, C, Meta National
Another star out of the West Coast, Velazquez had established himself as a power left-handed bat and though the performance wasn’t there in terms of numbers, he hit some balls hard and showed some really improved defensive ability. He’s shored up the defensive chops from a flexibility and receiving standpoint and the bat remains super intriguing moving forward. 

Cade Kurland, SS, Top Tier Roos American
Kurland is another standout from a dominant two-week stretch of the Top Tier Roos and Kurland’s consistency has been a key aspect of his impressiveness. He’s an explosive athlete with some of the best bat speed in the class and his penchant for extra base hits to both sides of the diamond posit some serious offensive upside while the athleticism plays on both sides of the ball. 

Ryder Helfrick, C, Meta Prime
Helfrick, like others on this list, performed over the course of a couple weeks as he was a middle of the order presence during both the Sophomore and Underclass World Championships. The righthanded slugger is another hitter with lots of physicality and strength to combine with a solid defensive profile, with soft hands, sure hips, and the tools to stick back there long term. 

Jakob Schulz, LHP, Texas Twelve Maroon
Scchulz has premium stuff from the left side and he put that on full display during his lone start of the event, shutting down a potent offense and earning the playoff victory. In terms of raw stuff there’s few better arms in the class as he’ll run his fastball up to 90 mph with both a sharp slider and curveball. There’s true swing-and-miss stuff to the profile with the physicality and upside of a frontline arm. 

Tucker Holland, LHP, Canes National
Holland is a polished, physical left-hander with a fastball that will touch the upper-80s, sitting there in shorter stints, and really has excellent command of his arsenal. Holland dots the fastball to either side and corners of the plate while the breaking ball and changeup are both advanced pitches. The pitchability stands out and as he continues to throw harder that pitchability will make him a very tough at-bat. 

Zion Rose, C, Team Elite Scout Team
Rose had a pretty significant weekend from an offensive perspective, showing off good power potential given the physicality and offensive tools. He’s a polished defender with good blocking skills and plenty of arm behind the dish and the overall upside is vast given Rose is one of the youngest players in the class, having only turned fifteen a couple of months ago. 

Brett Denby, SS/RHP, Team Georgia National
Denby turned in a terrific performance on the bump as though he’s a primary shortstop, his pitching chops shouldn’t be ignored given the dominance of his playoff outing. With a short, quick arm stroke, Denby worked his fastball into the upper-80s, holding mid-80s while hitting his spots and mixing in a power breaking ball to keep hitters unbalanced as he recorded eleven strikeouts during the victory. 

Dillon Lester, C, Team Elite Scout Team
Lester is another polished catching prospect in the class with very good feel for hitting, a quality swing, and the ability to drive the ball back up the middle with authority. Lester was a key figure in the lineup, batting a blistering .533 with three extra base hits and he’s the rare type of offensive performer that will fit in any slot in the lineup, with the tools to be successful at both the top of the order and as a run-producer. 

Kyle Connelly, RHP, Meta Prime
Connelly’s now stuff is super impressive as he worked four innings over two games during the event where he ran his fastball up to 89 mph and struck out six hitters. The stuff can be overwhelming at times, especially in short stints, as he’ll pair the upper-80s fastball to go along with a wipeout slider in the upper-70s. The stuff is certainly advanced and bodes well for him moving forward. 

Kai Caranto, SS Meta National
Caranto has pretty good polish for a young shortstop with plenty of athleticism and feel that help him succeed both at shortstop in the batter’s box. He’s a bit undersized but he’s still an advanced defender with the ability to get to a ton of balls with good angles and his line drive oriented approach allows him to get on base well with a knack for working to all fields. 

Freddy Noel Beruvides Jr., LHP, Resmondo Baseball
Beruvides has pitched a ton of great games over the course of his young career and he came home with another MV-Pitcher award after his dominant playoff start. Beruvides punched out ten over the course of five innings and held the mid-80s velocity with two advanced secondary pitches. He always seems to succeed and sequence well with his entire repertoire and there’s no reason to think he won’t continue to have success as he develops. 

Arjun Nimmala, SS, Ostingers Baseball Academy
A key contributor to the Ostingers’ deep playoff run, Nimmala sets the tone immediately from the top of the lineup and over at shortstop. Another extremely young prospect, Nimmala just turned fifteen, the leadoff man hit .467 over the course of the weekend, proving to not only get on base but hit the ball with authority. He’s still scratching the surface as once he really adds strength to the frame there’s a ton of things to like on both sides of the profile. 
-Vinnie Cervino

Breakout Performances
While some of the players below already have their college commitments taken care of and several others are soon to follow, the prospects below enjoyed a breakout performance in Fort Myers, opening the eyes of our scouts with their level of play against some of the best in the country. 

Trent Caraway, SS/RHP, Team Elite 2023 Scout Team
After a scorching performance out West, Caraway brought his talents to Fort Myers and put them on display in a big way hitting to the tune of a .647 AVG and a 1.479 OPS in 21 PA’s. He finds the barrel at an outstanding rate and has the strength to drive the ball deep to either gap. Pair that with the fact that he can hop on the mound and run it up to 92 mph with electric arm speed/life and you’ve got one of the hottest prospects in the country regardless of class right now, making for a big piece in another talented Oregon State recruiting class.

Ross Felder, RHP, 3n2 Sticks Baseball 16U National Team
Felder came to this event as a young uncommitted right-hander with a couple solid 2020 performances under his belt and would, a few days after, announce a commitment to the University of Arkansas. Up to 84 mph here, and 86 mph a week later, Felder fills the zone with the fastball and misses a number of bats with a quality low-70s breaking ball, a mix that shows advanced and primed for success for a prospect who just entered high school.

Jacob Dudan, RHP, SBA Scout Team 2023
Making great strides in stuff over the last year and a half, Dudan came out on the night of day two and impressed immensely, punching out seven hitters in just three innings against a pretty talented lineup. Working up to 88 mph, he has athleticism in how he works down the mound and gets it out clean while mixing in a low-70s curveball with good shape and spin to project on. As noted during the weekend, the combination of rapidly climbing stuff, athleticism and physical projection makes for intriguing upside for the uncommitted prospect that will be closely monitored.

Jayden Mandal, RHP/3B, Meta Prime 2023
Mandal came into the event known on the surface for having two-way potential but solidified his position as a very talented two-way prospect for the long term after solid showings on both sides of the ball. On the mound, he shows swing-and-miss stuff already, working up to 85 mph with the fastball and consistently landing a sharp-biting curveball as an out pitch. Offensively, it’s a simple stroke that uses the physicality in his 6-foot-0, 195 pound frame to create impressive jump off the barrel to either gap.

Paul Guerne, LHP, Eagles Baseball
Guerne is another talented young arm who was uncommitted when he took the mound at this event but was no longer shortly after with the announcement of his commitment to Duke. The strongly built lef-thander saw his velocity tick up, working comfortably in the mid to upper-80s, and topping out at 89 mph, while mixing in a mid-70s curveball, an out pitch that garners a rather consistent amount of swing and miss and is an importance piece in his overall success.

Carl Schmidt, SS, Meta Prime 2023
Schmidt, committed to Oregon, did nothing but find barrels in the middle of the Meta Prime lineup all tournament on his way to a .385 AVG across five games. The strong, athletic shortstop has all the tools to make an impact at the primary position defensively long-term while profiling out even better at the dish with efficient mechanics, excellent bat speed and intriguing power potential as he adds even more strength to the frame.

Angelo Prieto, OF, Aces Outlaws Elite 2023
After an up and down summer but a solid showing at the 15u WWBA, Prieto put together another strong effort on the big stage, hitting at a .400 clip including a game-winning homerun on night one against a talented right-hander. As one of the more talented uncommitted players remaining in the state of Florida, he has loads of upside with a loose yet strong right-handed stroke that projects well along with the physicality of his athletic 6-foot-0, 180 pound frame.

John "Alex" Walsh, RHP, Louisiana Knights
Walsh got limited time on the mound over the summer circuit but made the most of his two appearances here in the fall, both coming at the Sophomore event where he combined for 10 strikeouts across six innings of work. Up to 88 mph and working in the mid-80s in both of his outings, he uses loads of athleticism and excellent arm speed to create big life while mixing in a breaking ball that he is able to manipulate the shape of showing sharpness and the ability to land to either side of the plate to miss bats.

Ryan Speshyock, RHP, Meta National 23
We got our first look at Speshyock on the tournament circuit in this event and he impressed right away in his first of three short outings. Working consistently in the upper-80s, he pounds the zone with great life while mixing in a true 12-to-6 breaking ball that has all the components to project to significant swing-and-miss with development. The physical upside paired with the excellent arm speed and now-stuff puts a tremendous ceiling on the uncommitted prospect who should have college recruiters lining up to add to their respective recruiting classes.

Javier Jordan, OF, Power Baseball 2023
Jordan has seen extensive time on the tournament circuit already but made his best impression here at the Sophomore event when he found the barrel at an outstanding rate. It’s a balanced approach where he generates easy bat speed with enough looseness and strength in the wrists to adjust the barrel head and create strong contact to the middle and pull side. The athleticism plays well into his actions in the outfield and on the base paths, making for a well-rounded profile as an uncommitted outfielder in the talent-filled state of Florida.

Anthony J Cole, SS, Florida Hurricanes 2023 Platinum
Cole is an uber-projectable right-handed hitting shortstop who has begun to add significant strength to a 6-foot-3 frame and has in-turn garnered good results from it. It’s a longer swing but has natural bat speed as he uses his strength and length to generate good contact from multiple parts of the zone with great extension through. Defensively, he holds a number of carrying tools to stick at the primary position which makes for a very intriguing uncommitted power-hitting shortstop profile that should have a number of college recruiters checking in.

John Wimmer, SS, Charlotte Megastars
Wimmer has had minimal exposure to the national stage thus far but took advantage of the spotlight at one of the premier fall events hitting .429 with three of his six hits coming as doubles. He has a ton to like from an upside perspective with an athletic and projectable 6-foot-0, 160 pound frame, looseness in the right-handed stroke that you can project power on and the necessary tools to stick at the shortstop position with the potential to impact from there.

Tanner Donner, SS, Slammers Duman
Donner attended Sophomore World having only played in one other major event prior but showed great skills as one of the few Colorado natives there that weekend. He has loads of physical projection at a high-waisted 6-foot-2, 175 pounds and his game reflects similar upside with a short and compact stroke that allows him to find the barrel at a consistent rate with jump to either side of the field. Defensively he is fluid ranging to either side with enough arm strength to make plays on the move, making for what should be an enticing uncommitted prospect.

Colby Wallace, MIF, Canes 16u National
Wallace is no stranger to big events on the circuit and made sure he didn’t go without notice once again hitting to the tune of a .600 AVG and a 1.592 OPS in 13 PA’s. The strongly built right-handed hitting third baseman is efficient with his swing, using great barrel skills and the present physicality to generate significant jump off the barrel and carry to either gap, like he did in his first game of the event where he sent three doubles to different parts of the outfield wall.

Landon Stump, RHP, Meta Prime 2023
Stump is another West Coast native who made his first appearances on the circuit this fall, making a good impression in Phoenix before two short outings here at Sophomore. The long-limbed right-hander holds limitless projection at a present 6-foot-3, 170 pounds and uses it efficiently producing a fastball consistently in the upper-80s, up to 91 mph, with good life to the arm side. He mixes a pair of secondaries in a curveball and a changeup with the former being the more advanced of the two while both should surely project well through maturity.

Alex Sosa, C, Scorpions 2023 Founders Club
Sosa is no stranger to the tournament circuit with over 260 career plate appearances in PG events, but this event was some of our first in-depth looks at how much of an impact he has on both sides of the ball. The young NC State commit shows impact tools behind the dish with athleticism in and out of the crouch, excellent receiving skills and strength to the arm. From the left side of the plate, he uses strength in the hands to generate strong contact on a naturally lifted plane, something that bodes well for power projection as more strength is added.

Landen Maroudis, RHP/SS, Top Tier Roos American 2023
Since making the transition to a primary right-handed pitcher, Maroudis has seen his national standing rise, but the two-way abilities still stand out. He now lives comfortably in the 86-89 mph range on the mound with great sinking life and the ability to spin it, while holding limitless physical upside at a still lean 6-foot-2, 165 pounds. He uses the length at the plate to create strong contact from multiple parts of the zone, showing present barrel skills to pair with good power projection.

Mason Yokum, LHP, Canes 16u National
Yokum impressed the staff this summer in his outing at the WWBA and carried the stuff over to the fall here with dominant relief outings at both the Sophomore and Underclass events. Up to 86 mph on the fastball, he attacks hitters with great arm speed and confidence in his stuff, filling the lower half of the zone and generating weak contact when he’s not missing bats. He has comfortability going to a curveball with big depth as his go-to swing and miss offering, a pitch that projects about as well as his 6-foot-2, 165 pound frame.

-Tyler Russo

Uncommitted...For Now
Some of the players below were well known among college recruiters while others put their talents on display on the big stage, making their skillset known among our scouts. Either way, the players below are young, talented and uncommitted...for now. 

Wesley Mendes, OF, Top Tier Roos American
The right-handed hitting and left-handed throwing Mendes came back strong after missing the summer circuit. He has a good looking 6-foot, 165 pound frame with loads of projection remaining. He moves with smooth actions and has the desired eye-hand coordination to think he will continue to hit at every level. At the WWBA Sophomore World Championship he hit, and hit a ton. The outfielder finished with. A.529 average with a couple extra base hits and even worked eight walks. The twenty-two runs he produced put the icing on the cake after a monster comeback event.

Bryan Rivera, 3B/P, Ostingers Baseball Academy
The two-way prospect has a strong 6-foot-1 frame that helps him repeat and produce at a high level on both sides of the ball. He notched two wins on the mound throwing nine total innings and had a 7-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He sits in the mid-80s and has two reliable off-speed pitches. The right-handed hitter has a balanced approach and hit three doubles, walked seven times, and hit .538 to pour it on during an excellent weekend. These are the types of guys that play early and often at the next level.

Matthew Ossenfort, 1B/P, Resmondo Baseball
The young two-way prospect has a massive 6-foot-3, 220 pound frame. But don’t let that frame fool you, he is as coordinated and athletic as he is strong. On the mound he is still honing his mostly two-pitch mix, but ran his fastball up to 89 mph and got plenty of bad cuts from opposing hitters. He did some work at the plate too. He hit .500 on the weekend with four doubles and possibly the longest ball hit at the event for grand slam in the semifinal game. What is favored long term, the power arm or power bat, is irrelevant at this point. Ossenfort can get it done on both sides of the ball.

Michael Graziano, OF, Resmondo Baseball
The tools are loud! He is already a plus runner and his arm strength is also easily plus for the age/grade. His frame projects big as well, as he is a high-waisted 6-foot-2 athlete. The in-game production matched the potential at the WWBA Sophomore. He hit .500 with a couple doubles, working three walks and even stealing four bases. He locked down the entire Gulf of Mexico in centerfield defensively too. This was an impressive showing, but it’s easy to see how much more he still has in the tank. Graziano had an exceptional week.

Alex Philpott, 1B/P, Ostingers Baseball Academy
The 6-foot-5, 170 pound frame is about as projectable as it gets. His coordinated and loose levers, to go along with his ability to move with some quickness should make him one of the more intriguing prospects in the early looks at the ’23 class. He was 85-88 mph in a short one inning outing but the length and plane of the pitch give one the feeling something special could be brewing. As a right-handed hitter, there is still some swing and miss which should be expected until the frame really starts to fill out. But he put up a two homerun game on his way to hitting .368 on the weekend. The ceiling is pretty ridiculous.

Zaid Diaz, OF/1B/P, Eagles Baseball
Diaz burst on the national scene at the PG Sophomore All American Games in August. He put a stamp on that performance at the WWBA Sophomore World Championship with an incredibly impressive performance at the dish. He is 5-foot-10 but has good core and wrist strength that allow him to hit with more impact than you would expect. The left-handed hitter scorched three doubles and a homerun, showing deadly accuracy with the barrel hitting .583. Diaz plays extremely hard and is ultra-competitive. It’s easy to see him causing havoc while hitting at the top of a line up at the next level.

Casey Borba, 3B/1B, RHP, Meta National
It was an impressive trip to the East Coast for the 6-foot-1, 195 pound Borba. He demonstrated the type of IQ and polish you would expect from a player coming from one of the most storied high schools in the country, Orange Lutheran. He is most known for his advanced approach in the right-handed batters box and he did not disappoint. Borba showed a lethal bat, hitting .467 with three doubles and notched seven rbi’s during his six games in Fort Myers. He also helped by winning a game on the bump as he threw four innings, sitting around 80 mph with the fastball and throwing three pitches for strikes to his glove side.

Chris Knier, OF/P, Resmondo Baseball
There was an interesting conversation about Knier going on when he took the mound at the WWBA. The conversation was about Knier’s ability to impact a game in so many different ways. Over the next five plus innings Knier just out-willed a win against a playoff opponent, throwing up zero frames for the duration of the outing. He pounded the zone with three pitches as he ran his fastball up to 87 mph. Offensively he chipped in with a double and rbi. As the event unfolded, he ended up hitting .375, caused havoc on the bases, and covered ground in rightfield. There will be some mechanical adjustments defensively, but the offense and arm talent give him plenty of time. There is no question that he is a great athlete. That athleticism bodes well for him continuing to make huge strides in his development.

Payton Manca, 1B/P, Real Ballers 2023 National Team
There is a little thunder in the left-handed bat provided from Manca’s 6-fot-5, 232 pound frame. The mound is where he especially shined in Fort Myers, however. He gets good angle, sometimes two planed when synched up, with his fastball that peaked at 87 mph. He has the makings of a solid three pitch mix including a changeup and curveball, both will need to be thrown a bit more firm as he develops. The swing and miss potential coupled with his strike throwing ability from the left side should be noticed now. He had two outings at the WWBA where he totaled eight plus innings, striking out fourteen batters and allowed only two walks.

Christian Rodriguez, OF/P, Eagles Baseball
There has been a lot of debate about Rodriguez’ future as he continues to shine on both sides of the ball. On any given day you could debate he will end up on one side of the ball or the other. At the WWBA Sophomore Championship it appears he will let evaluators and recruiters continue to dream. He hit .462 with a double and collected another six free passes. He also threw four plus innings and struck out ten opposing hitters. He peaked at 92 and is comfortable throwing both his curveball and changeup in any count. His speed plays up on the bases and in the outfield because Rodriguez has excellent instincts. Let’s keep Rodriguez in the “athlete” and “ball player” category for now, and watch him win a lot of games from both sides over the next few years.

Nolan Stevens, 1B/P, Meta Prime
The power arm and upside on the mound doesn’t tell the whole story. Yes, the 88-92 mph heat with a solid breaking ball to build on from the left side should get your feet moving. The solidly built 6-foot-3, 205 pound pitcher struck out five hitters in his two innings of work. There is also considerable upside at the dish, and might equally match the upside on the mound. Stevens hit .364 at the plate while belting a double and triple at the WWBA. This is the second Fall in a row the California product has come to the East Coast and impressed. There was clear development progression and the arrow continues to point upward.

-Jered Goodwin
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