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Showcase  | Story  | 6/23/2022

Junior National Standouts: Part 1

Jheremy Brown     
Photo: Andre Modugno (Perfect Game)
Please Introduce Yourself (Quick hits on players ranked top-500 or lower)

Michael Ryan, SS, Sterling, La. | LSU
LSU has done well with in-state infielders in the past and hopes are Ryan will follow suit, especially following his performance in Marietta. A 6.67 runner who brings that same twitch and athleticism to the middle of the diamond, Ryan moves around the dirt with agility and balance, possesses soft hands on defense and plenty of quickness to them in the right-handed batter's box, finding some barrels with the beginnings of strength at the point of contact. 

Alexander Umland, RHP, Los Angeles, Calif. | Uncommitted
We've seen Umland up to 91 mph earlier in the circuit and though the was "only" up to 89 mph at the Junior National, it was still very easy to come away impressed with what the 6-foot-4 right-handed showed and should continue to grow into moving forward. He uses his length to his advantage well, getting down the slope while creating big plane on the upper-80s heater, jumping on hitters quickly while mixing in a late biting curveball with 11-5 shape in the mid-70s. 

Landon Beaver, 1B, Smiths Station, Ala. | UAB
A quick look at the game logs will reveal a bunch of hits collected by Beaver throughout his two days in Georgia, a performance which was capped off by a verbal commitment to in-state UAB. Listed at 6-foot-2, 190 pounds, Beaver is a sound mover who posted a 6.78 in the 60-yard but it was the consistency of which he was on the barrel in nearly every at-bat that continued to stand out, picking up knocks left and right, including double and a couple more squared up balls. 

Eli Stephens, C, Warner Robbins, Ga. | Uncommitted
Who doesn't love a left-handed hitting backstop with quick-twitch muscle and solid overall athleticism who's still uncommitted? Stephens made the most of his time during his stay at the Junior National, first running a 6.89 in the 60-yard before showing polished actions behind the plate which result in a 1.97 pop with an upper-70s arm down to second base. He continuously took good at-bats in live action, working the ball to all fields with comfort, including an opposite field double that hopped off the barrel and split the gap. 

Logan Harelson, LHP, Mountville, Pa. | Uncommitted
Harelson may not have lit up the radar guns like other arms in attendance, but the 6-foot-4 southpaw oozes long-term projection and is already working comfortably in the mid-80s with his fastball, showing a clean and balanced operation with short life and angle working through the zone. He already shows comfort in a three-pitch mix, showing both a curveball and changeup in the low-70s which around the zone with the latter showing late diving life to the bottom of the zone. 

Grant Hollister, 3B, Blue Springs, Mo. | Uncommitted
There may not be another player in attendance who left a "louder" impression than the uncommitted Hollister, as everything he swung at in the box seemed to explode off of his barrel, including several 90+ exit velocities in BP, peaking at 97 mph, before sending an 93 mph bullet off of the wall in left field for a double. He swung the bat exceptionally well, showcasing a fast barrel head and huge strength, but also his overall athleticism as he ran a 6.69 and threw 89 mph, rounding out a solid crop of tools that should have no problem translating at the next level. 

Elijah Clayton, SS, Oak Park, Calif. | Uncommitted
Clayton is the son of long-time MLBer Royce Clayton and his skill set certainly reflects his time around the diamond as he's very much an intriguing prospect who needs to be on the radar of college coaches. Full of fast-twitch muscle as evidenced by his 6.56 60-yard time, Clayton moves around the dirt with smooth and balanced actions though it was his right-handed swing that left our scouts talking as he's able to generate easy bat speed through the zone and a surprising amount of strength at the point of impact, losing a ball or two throughout his BP round. 

Cade Brown, 3B, Lilburn, Ga. | Uncommitted
Another player who grew up around the game as Brown's father Chan is the head coach at national powerhouse Parkview HS (Ga.), Cade has continued to grow into his body and swing over the last year or two and took one of the louder rounds of BP we saw, and by loud I mean nearly each of his 10 swings resulted in a 90+ mph exit velocity. His swing has limited moving parts which allowed for plenty of barreled contact as the game, including a double to the pull side to follow up a 6.72 60-yard and solid round of infield. 

Cade Oleary, RHP, Wexford, Pa. | Uncommitted
Oleary is currently uncommitted, but as the summer circuit gets into full swing, don't expect that tag to remain much longer as the 6-foot-4 right-hander was electric in his two innings of work at East Cobb. Despite the length of his frame, Oleary shows a rather quick arm stroke through the zone with plenty of arm speed, pounding the strike zone with north-south command with a heater that peaked at 91 mph while missing bats with both his curveball and changeup throughout. 

Hudson Emeterio, RHP, Argyle, Texas | Uncommitted
A 6-foot-3, 205-pound right-hander out of Texas, Emerterio came out showing off a short and quick arm stroke through the back while delivering bowling ball-lifed fastballs to the plate, peaking at 90 mph with late and heavy life while producing the types of low spin rates you'd expect given the life. He was consistently on time with his release which allowed for a bevy of strikes while his hard spinning slider and well mimicked changeup release helped generate plenty of whiffs on pitches in the zone. 

Gus Gandy, St. Simons Island, Ga. | Uncommitted
Gandy put together a solid showing during the drills portion of the event, running an eye opening 6.47 in the 60-yard, but really upped his game come the live action. That same athleticism he showed on day one continued to shine as he made a diving play at second base to take away what was a sure fire hit off of the bat and swung it well throughout the event, staying compact to the baseball with plenty of present bat speed and solid bat-to-ball skills. 

Kent (KJ) Moon, 3B, Statham, Ga. | Uncommitted
A strongly-built third baseman at 6-foot-1, 190 pounds, Moon put a couple swings on the ball throughout his round of batting practice that won't soon be forgotten. There's no doubt that Moon knows how to implement his strength into his right-handed swing as he hit a couple moonshots - see what I did there - during his round of batting practice, hitting them as high as they were far, generating big leverage out front with a max exit velocity of 97 mph during his BP round. 

Jay Slater, C, Downington, Pa. | Michigan
The Wolverines are getting a good one in this Pennsylvania backstop as Slater brings an intriguing combo of athleticism and skill with him to the diamond. Behind the plate he showed off quickness to his footwork and solid catch-and-throw skills, throwing out two would-be thefts and also showed nice rhythm and balance to swing his with the ability to recognize spin and make an adjustment mid-swing. 

Lefty, Lefty, Lefty
Is the class of 2024 the year of the left-hander pitcher? While it's still too early to tell, several talented southpaw toed the rubber, and a handful truly stood out as some of the best arms in attendance. 

Drew Graham, Avon Lake HS, Avon Lake, Ohio | Uncommitted
Graham worked a brisk inning on the mound, and by brisk I mean we had to give him an extra hitter just so he could fully showcase the entirety of what he brings to the table as he pounded the zone and came out attacking hitters. One of the top uncommitted arms in the country, Graham worked very comfortably in the upper-80s with his fastball, bumping 90 mph on the gun against his final hitter, though it won't be long until that number continues to creep into the low-90s and eventually even higher. His athleticism shows in his operation, possessing fluidity throughout, though the feel for his changeup proved to be perhaps the most advanced aspect of his game, turning it over for upwards of 19 inches of horizontal break up to 80 mph which he paired with a late sweeping slider in the upper-70s, making for plenty of separation in terms of life between all his pitches. 

Coleman Mayfield, Elk City HS, Elk City, Okla. | Oklahoma State
It had been almost a full year since I had see Mayfield take the rubber, a 14u Select Festival alum, and it's safe to say he's taken his game to the next level, or two, in that time as he was nothing short of exceptional during his time on East Cobb Field 1. A long and still ultra-projectable 6-foot-4, 185 pounds, Mayfield possesses a sense of ease in his operation on the mound, generating huge angle with his cross-body release while peppering the strike zone with a quality three-pitch mix. The fastball jumped out of his hand with that aforementioned plus-angle, topping out at 90 mph while living in the upper-80s with comfort, creating big deception and spin on the heater. Mayfield also showed the ability to manipulate the spin and shape of his curveball, showing late sweep at times while generating bigger depth when needed in the low-70s though the changeup he turned over at 76 mph towards the end of the outing with dead spin and late tumble is a pitch that will be remembered most from this outing. 

Jackson Sanders, Valley HS, Opelika, Ala. | Auburn
Sanders is far from an unknown commodity, having already been committed to Auburn for some time now and has found his name in the upper echelon of the class since we released out first rankings for the 2024 class. The Junior National proved to be more of the same from Sanders as his athleticism was front and center after clocking in at a 6.61 in the 60-yard before even taking the mound. In terms of pure arm speed, few in the country can rival what Sanders is able to generate as his arm comes through the backside like a Ferarri, producing a peak fastball of 92 mph while living in the 89-91 mph range throughout his two frames. His extended three-quarters slot allowed for the velocity to play up given the angle he creates, especially against left-handed hitters, as he worked around the zone with comfort, mixing in a late sweeping slider with 13 inches of horizontal break in the upper-70s to provide hitters with a challenging two-pitch mix. 

Matt Hoag, Ponte Vedra HS, Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. | Duke
If you're looking for movement all over the strike zone, look no further as Hoag is your guy given the metrics TrackMan gave us throughout his two innings of work. An extremely projectable 6-foot-3 southpaw who has continued to develop in terms of velocity and overall stuff over the last couple of years, it's safe to assume the Duke commit is still far from reaching his long-term ceiling, a scary thought for opposing hitters. The combination of his size and extended release are big factors into what comes out of his hand and despite the longer arm path through the back, the athleticism and body control allowed for Hoag to pump the zone while living in the upper-80s with his four-seam, while the two-seam fastball generated around 16-18 inches of run. That athleticism and ability to repeat his delivery also allows for an extremely effective tunnel between his fastball and slider, a pitch that proved effective against lefties with short break through the zone while turning over a couple devastating changeups with up to 20 inches of horizontal life. 

Ford Thompson, Parkview HS, Snellville, Ga. | Georgia
Thompson was one of the more intriguing arms to take the mound at East Cobb, even if just for a one inning look, and he proved to be a not-so-nice host as the in-state left-hander came out and sat between 88 and 90 mph on the fastball, quickly settling in to breeze through his frame. Listed at 6-foot though appearing longer and bigger on the mound, Thompson is younger for the grade and though he's eligible to play 15u this summer, the stuff proved it stands out amongst his class as another left-hander who creates big angle from an extended slot and lower release. The arm is extremely loose through the backside, generating short but consistent life though the zone which appeared to get on hitters quickly and only aided the effectiveness of his slide, a low-70s pitch he was able to go to regularly with late sweeping life, registering upwards of 20 inches of horizontal break per TrackMan.

Talan Bell, Hagerty HS, Oviedo, Fla. | Florida State
Bell's future at the next level looks a bit different than the other lefties in this group as the Oviedo, Florida native possesses excellent overall athleticism which allows him to excel in a true two-capacity, something the coaches at FSU are certain to love. Though not overly physical at 5-foot-11, 165 pounds, Bell is already running a sub-7 in the 60-yard and took one of the cleaner rounds of BP in his grouping where he showed a loose and simple left-handed stroke, lifting balls to the middle and pull side parts of the field while showing natural bat-to-ball ability. And while Bell may not have run his fastball into the low-90s like other arms, his arsenal still stood out as he sat comfortably in the 86-88 mph range, creating nice angle at release but it was his overall pitchability that truly opened eyes. His changeup proved to be one of the better secondary pitches in attendance as he was able to kill the spin into the low-1400s (RPM), turning the pitch over with conviction to generate late diving life while also showing depth to his curveball and the ability to back door it on right-handed hitters which he did so often. 

Top of the Boards
No scouting or evaluating necessary, below are simply the top metrics from across the board from the 2022 Junior National Showcase. (Top 3 for each category listed, for complete workout results click here.)

Exit Velocity
Name Exit Velo Grad School Hometown
Henry Allen 100 2024 Auburn Auburn, AL
PJ Morlando 100 2024 Summerville Summerville, SC
Samuel Richardson 100 2024 Senatobia Senatobia, MS

Pop Times

Name Pop Grad School Hometown
Jay Slater 1.81 2024 Downingtown STEM Academy Downingtown, PA
Burke Mabeus 1.84 2024 Bishop Gorman Henderson, NV
Ethan Finch 1.85 2024 Camden County Woodbine, GA

Catcher Velocity

Name C Grad School Hometown
Ariston Veasey 87 2024 Starrs Mill Tyrone, GA
Ethan Finch 85 2024 Camden County Woodbine, GA
Burke Mabeus 84 2024 Bishop Gorman Henderson, NV

First Base Velocity

Name 1B Grad School Hometown
Jax Phillips 90 2024 East Cobb Baseball Academy Milton, GA
Leighton Harris 89 2024 Frederick Douglass Lexington, KY
Aidan Guilbeau 86 2024 Allatoona Acworth, GA
Cole Lanford 86 2024 Leesville Road Raleigh, NC

Infield Velocity

Name IF Grad School Hometown
Andre Modugno 96 2024 IMG Academy Upper Saddle River, NJ
Gatlin Pitts 95 2024 Bayside Academy Fairhope, AL
Bryce Clavon 91 2024 Kell Kennesaw, GA
Perry Hargett 91 2024 Metrolina Christian Academy Peachland, NC

Outfield Velocity

Name OF Grad School Hometown
Andre Modugno 97 2024 IMG Academy Upper Saddle River, NJ
Tate Strickland 96 2024 Harrison Powder Springs, GA
Bryce Clavon 95 2024 Kell Kennesaw, GA
James Nesta 95 2024 Hough Huntersville, NC

60-Yard Dash

Name 60 Grad School Hometown
Matthew Priest 6.15 2024 Maranatha Christian Schools San Diego, CA
Perry Hargett 6.36 2024 Metrolina Christian Academy Peachland, NC
Bo Walker 6.37 2024 Starrs Mill Peachtree City, GA
Jaxon Walker 6.40 2024 Loudon Lenoir City, TN

See Ya
Who doesn't love to see a long ball, aside from the opposing pitcher? The group of players lost several baseballs into the woods behind East Cobb Field 1, but eight prospects managed to do it game action and we take a look at each below.  

Andre Modugno, 3B/OF, IMG Academy, Upper Saddle River, N.J. | Duke
No stranger to the limelight as he’s been ranked towards the top of the class since the 2024 rankings were released, Modugno put together arguably the loudest performance of the event at East Cobb, even before sending a no-doubter high over the blue monster in the left field. Modugno, already Duke bound and currently ranked No. 11 in the country, is a physical specimen at 6-foot-5, 200 pounds, who despite his age/size combo showed pretty eye-opening tools across the diamond with a 6.54 in the 60-yard before throwing 97 mph from the outfield and 96 mph across to first base. That said, it was the 394-foot, 99 mph exit velocity blast that will keep people talking as it brought plenty of “ooohs” from the stands at initial impact, putting an exclamation point on a very impressive showing. 

Murchael Turner, OF, Georgia Premier Academy, Mableton, Ga. | Uncommitted
The home run that left Turner’s bat didn’t register an exit velocity nor distance off of the barrel from behind the plate, but there was no doubting it was getting over the wall the moment he met the ball out front, a continuation of showing his strength just as he did in batting practice. An uncommitted right-handed hitting outfielder, Turner doesn’t look to do too much in his swing as he keeps things simple from his leg lift to how quickly he’s able to fire his hands, sending hard contact all over the field, including a bullet line drive single back up the middle which served as an encore to his left field blast. 

Gavin Braland, C, Georgia Premier Academy, Hampton, Ga. | South Carolin
Take a quick look at Braland and you wouldn’t necessarily assume the type of strength the South Carolina commit put on display throughout his live action swings given his long and lean 6-foot-2, 175-pound frame, but after an at-bat or two you’d quickly be proven wrong. A primary catcher who impressed with an 82 mph arm and a 1.92 pop in drills, Braland found a couple loud barrels in game which including a 93 mph exit on a 372-foot shot to left-center before turning in another 93 mph EV, this time going for a double to deep center field. He played pepper with the left field wall throughout his round of BP and was able to prove his swing translates over into live action. 

Nick Cucchi, OF, A3 Academy, Tampa, Fla. | South Florida
Cucchi tied with Modugno for the hardest hit home run of the event as his blast also registered at 99 mph which only added to an already strong show in live action at the Junior National Showcase. Strongly built at 6-foot, 184 pounds, the future USF Bull showed off a variety of tools with 6.71 speed and a top throw of 91 mph from the outfield, but it's the right-handed swing that'll captivate a crowd, just as he showed with his 365-foot homer to left field. The strength/bat speed combo certainly stands out as we saw during his round of BP, as well as in game, and so did his athleticism as he made not one, but two diving catches to take away bat knocks. 

Michael Kalinich, C, Lake Brantley HS, Longwood, Fla. | East Carolina
A left-handed hitter who's committed to Cliff Godwin and the ECU Pirates, Kalinich looks to fill the run of impressive bats to come through Greenville as of late and he certainly left his mark on the 2022 Junior National Showcase. Kalinich put together a two-hit day and saved his best swing for last, sending a no-doubt blast 349-feet over the right field wall, registering at 96 mph off of the barrel, the second hardest of the home runs we saw recorded in live action. The bat is the calling card card for Kalinich but the catch and throw skills were also on display with a caught stealing during his two-hit day, showing off his well rounded skillset.

Samuel Richardson, Senatobia HS, Senatobia, Miss. | Missouri 
You simply don't see players at 16 years old, especially in a high level event such as the Junior National, go up and out to the opposite field while swinging wood, yet Richardson did just that though it came as a surprise to almost nobody given the way the ball exploded off of his barrel in batting practice. As physical as he is athletic at 6-foot, 190 pounds with a 6.56 in the 60-yard, it was the swing Richardson put on a hanging slider up in the zone that'll have people recalling the moment for Junior Nationals to come. While the ball did just sneak over the wall at a recorded 336-feet, if not for Richardson's combo of bat speed and strength it likely would've been a fly out, but instead the future Mizzou Tiger drove the ball 92 mph off of the barrel, a continuation of impressive metrics which were recorded during his round of BP. 

Seven Alemais, All Hallows HS, Bronx, N.Y. | Wake Forest
Wearing No. 11 for the Orange club, Alemais wasted little time in making his presence known in his team's second game of the showcase, leading things off before quickly depositing a no-doubter over the Blue Monster in left field with an 89 mph exit velocity which traveled 344-feet. Wake Forest has become known for their big offensive numbers as a club and Alemais looks like he'll fit right in, finding a couple more well struck barrels throughout the event while also gunning a runner from his knees in live action with a strike down to second base. 

Matthew Priest, OF, Maranatha Christian Schools, San Diego, Calif. | Uncommitted
Priest immediately became a talking point of the showcase after running an event best 6.15 60-yard, which was best described as seeing him "float" down the lane, even at a strongly built 6-foot, 175 pounds. The twitch and athleticism continued to be put on display as he generated serious barrel whip through the zone with outstanding bat speed and more than enough strength at impact as evidenced by his 98 mph exit velocity during his round of batting practice. Though he was mostly quiet through his first few at-bats, the uncommitted Priest made his final swing count as he sent a 352-foot blast over the left field wall, registering at 91 mph off of the barrel to put an exclamation point on what was already an eye opening performance.