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Showcase  | Story  | 8/4/2022

CPBL Futures Game Scout Notes

Brian Sakowski      Cade Schares     
Photo: Brendan Lawson (Perfect Game)
CPBL Prospects All Star Game Scout Notes

Our Canadian excursion came to a close earlier this week following the CPBL Futures Game, a carbon copy of Saturday’s Prospects Game, though with, on average, plays a little bit younger.

Brendan Lawson (2024, Toronto, Ontario) stole the show from a positional player perspective, showcasing a bevy of tools while also performing with the bat in a huge way. Lawson is a solidly-built 6-foot-3, 185 pounds, with good projection remaining on his frame along with a good bit of present strength there. A left-handed bat, Lawson won MVP of the game following a multi-XBH performance, and it’s easy to see the upside overall the more you watch him. He’s composed at the plate and does a good job staying balanced in spite of a bigger and more complex move, allowing both the barrel to lag really well in zone as well as his front side to really create leverage. The actions and hands are solid in the infield right now, and given that along with his athleticism, he should stay on the left side of the infield long term, whether that’s at short or third. He looked like a future star in this event, to say the least.

Brayden Ricketts (2024, Brampton, Ontario) showed a lot to like to his overall profile throughout the course of Monday’s action. A left-handed hitting catcher, Ricketts has legitimate bat speed at the plate with advanced strength in his core and hands, and when he’s on time the ball jumps off of his bat differently than others. He’s got solid tools behind the plate as well, showing consistently-improving receiving tools to go along with good arm strength, and he popped in the 2.1-2.2 seconds time consistently in-game. The upside of a left-handed, power-hitting catcher exists here, and while he still needs to continue refining his game, the tools and ability stand way out.

I was impressed by the all-around game of Jorge Valdes (2024, Milton, Ontario), a left-handed hitting outfielder who has a good collection of tools. We saw all of these guys take a ton of swings over the course of the weekend, both in game settings and in BP, and the consistency of Valdes’ stroke through BP and into game play stands out. He’s not overly physical yet but has some strength in his wrists and a whippy barrel, showing real ability to square the ball up to all fields with enough strength to work either gap for extra bases. He moves well in center, takes good routes, and has more than playable arm strength from center as well. A well-rounded player with a good collection of tools, Valdes will continue getting stronger as he matures as well, and is an obvious D-I fit.

Hendrik Vandermeer (2024, Simcoe, Ontario) is massive at 6-foot-6, 205 pounds, with a very long and very projectable body that is just now starting to fill out. Vandermeer’s swing has some length to it as a result of the length of his limbs, and while he’s going to continue needing to cut down on the swing as he gets stronger, you can see the bat speed he’s able to create and just how much leverage those limbs create, and it combines to give him impressive present power as well as monstrous power projection. He smoked a double in this one that left the bat in a hurry and it’s easy to envision the 6-foot-6, 230-pound version of Vandermeer having plus power in time.

Benjamin Kautto (2025, Toronto, Ontario) had a big day at the plate, picking up repeated barrels and standing out even as one of the younger players in attendance. Kautto is a medium-framed, left-handed hitting catcher with solid strength to his body at present. It’s a very controlled and direct swing from the left side with innate feel for moving the barrel around and really showing the ability to consistently barrel the ball with authority. He is comfortable creating lift and does a very good job of staying connected through the stroke, and has a whole-field approach that he executed quite well. There’s power into both gaps and even more in the dead-pull direction, and it’s pretty exciting to envision the upside here as a left-handed hitting catcher who can really hit.

A Nebraska commit, Matt Evans (2023, Great Lake Canadians) is a lithely-built, left-handed hitting outfielder with some seriously loud tools at his disposal. Evans has good speed, running an event-best 6.60 60 time on the laser during the showcase day of the event, and he shows that speed off in the outfield. He’s refining his reads and routes but once he decides on a destination, the speed he travels with does stand out. His left-handed swing is loose and whippy with bat speed and barrel path both checking positive boxes, and he hit a bomb to left center field in this game that just seemed to keep flying. With his speed and potential to play centerfield along with the makings of real left-handed power, Evans is a name to remember for the draft moving forward.

Jesse Dale (2024, Toronto, Ontario) has the makings of a huge offensive prospect moving forward, showing off those kind of offensive tools both in BP and in games. Listed 6-foot-1, 190 pounds, Dale has very good present strength to his game and his swing path allows him to consistently and easily elevate the baseball, allowing that strength to really show up and show out. He can lose balls pull side with huge back spun carry and brought that swing into the game as well, finding a fair number of hard barrels in his at-bats, though without a ton to show for it. A third baseman by trade, Dale’s calling card is going to be his offense for the most part moving forward, but he has the makings of a legitimate college prospect with that bat.

Very long and lean at 6-foot-4, 160 pounds, Josh Davis (2024, Great Lake Canadians) is an uncommitted, left-handed hitting outfielder who has some real traits to his present game. He’s obviously projectable with that much length to his frame, and there’s a fair bit of bat speed present as well, making it somewhat easy to project continued power gains to his profile. He’s already a good hitter, repeating a more complex move relatively well and showing off consistent timing skills as a result, and he can spray liners around well at the moment. He’s also a burner out of the box, going 3.91 seconds down the line on a perfectly placed push bunt, and can impact the game with his speed.

-Brian Sakowski

As the starting pitcher for Team White, right-hander Matthew Brown (2024, Ontario) showed a lot of pieces to like on the bump. Standing at a long and lanky 6-foot-4, 185 pounds, Brown lived 85-86 mph and topped out at 88 mph. He featured a hard slider with short, cutting action and was very comfortable with the pitch, as threw it often and located it for strikes. The arm action is very fluid and easy, and he has advanced arm speed for his age. The projection is easy to see, and Brown is a high ceiling uncommitted arm who will begin to draw the attention of college coaches very soon.

Evan Schweizer (2023, Oakville, Ontario) would toe the rubber to start for Team Black, and we got a good two-inning look at the physical 6-foot-5, 205-pound right-hander. Schweizer showed a full, three-pitch mix with surprising pitchability for his size. He ran the fastball up to 83 mph with 2300+ RPMs, which is an excellent sign for future velocity development, especially given the imposing figure. He also flashed a breaking ball for strikes, but his best pitch might have been his changeup, which tunneled well off the fastball and showed late fade at 78 mph. The operation is very clean and easy all around, and you can expect a big jump from Schweizer in the near future.

Makai Cisneros (2024, Whitby, Ontario) was impressive in his two innings of work, showing a legit four-pitch repertoire. The live-armed prospect lived 86-87 mph and topped out at 88 mph with 2200+ RPMs on the fastball. He featured two distinct breaking balls, a slider at 77 mph and a curveball at 72 mph, and he could even pull the strong on a changeup. Cisneros located at the knees and the corners with the fastball, making his secondary offerings even more effective. The arm action is long and loose with plenty of life to it, the wiry 6-foot-1, 165-pound frame has more growing to do. Cisneros projects well long term and will continue to get batters out at this level and beyond.

Owen Slater (2024, Whitby, Ontario) was an interesting, projection-type arm who delivered a quick, one inning of work. Slater was up to 85 mph from a lower three-quarters slot, and has been up to 87 mph in previous looks. He has a lanky 6-foot-3 frame with plenty of room to fill, and he flashed two secondaries for strikes. After starting the season in the low-80s, he has been a big riser so far this summer, and you can expect that trend to continue moving forward.

Liam Cruickshank (2024, Mississauga, Ontario) was one of the biggest surprises of the day, as the big right-hander touched a couple of 88s during his outing and flashed intriguing potential. Standing at a strong and physical 6-foot-4, 200 pounds, Cruickshank is an imposing figure on the mound. He utilizes a long arm action with deep plunge and releases from a high slot. The secondaries are still developing, and although there are a few inefficiencies within the delivery, it's nothing that can’t be cleaned up in time. It’s still very raw at present, but the upside is certainly massive, as he could easily be a low- to mid-90s arm by this time next year.

Alex Uher (2024, Pickering, Ontario) was impressive in his inning of work, running his fastball up to 87 mph with 2500+ RPMs. The ball really explodes out of his hand, and the pitch has tons of carry through the zone, making it tough to hit when it’s at chest height. Uher utilizes a long and loose arm action with a high energy delivery, and there is plenty of arm speed to project on. He flashed a breaker for strikes as well, and he is an intriguing uncommitted arm with a lot of pieces to like.

Ethan Wolf (2024, Duart, Ontario) and Adam Cameron (2024, Ontario) both tossed an inning for their respective squads, and both are physical right-handers who we see making big jumps in near future. Wolf was up to 87 mph and even showed a curveball and changeup within his arsenal. The arm works and there is more velo to unlock as he becomes more polished. Cameron is a 6-foot-4, 210-pound prospect that sat 83-85 mph with late arm-side life. He is also young for the grade with a December 2006 birthday, meaning he has yet to scratch the surface of his potential.

Carson Tehan (2024, Ontario) provided a solid inning of work later in the game, sitting in the mid 80s and topping out to 88 mph with 2400+ RPMs. The quick-armed right-hander profiles as a good bullpen-type guy at present, as he can fill up the zone with a heavy fastball and land his breaker for strikes. He utilizes a very simple and compact operation with a short arm action, and there is some twitch to the delivery.

Ethan Swaby (2024, Ontario) really opened some eyes and put-up staggering numbers in this one, running his fastball up to 87 mph with 2500 RPMs and flashing a wipeout slider at an impressive 2800+ RPMs. The spin rates were notable, especially for such a young prospect who is nowhere close to reaching his peak. He has a long and loose 6-foot frame with plenty of room to fill. The delivery is smooth, the arm action is tight and compact through the back, and he releases from a lower three-quarters slot. Our quick look at Swaby was a good one, and the young right-hander has a sky-high ceiling.

-Cade Schares