Tournaments : : Story
Tuesday, July 23, 2013

17u PG World Series - Day 2 notes

Todd Gold        
Photo: Perfect Game

During the course of the five-day 17u Perfect Game World Series (July 21-25) Todd Gold and David Rawnsley will be providing daily recaps of notable prospects and their respective performances.

Contributing: David Rawnsley

17u Perfect Game World Series: Event pageScout blogs

The nightcap of a day that featured five time slots turned out to be primetime viewing as 2014 RHP Grant Holmes (Conway, SC) took the mound for the EvoShield Canes and was absolutely dominant. Holmes sat 93-96 with plus-plus life on his fastball and pounded the strike zone to strike out the side in the first inning against a talented top of the Houston Banditos order. He backed his big league heater with a plus breaking ball with big depth and surprising control in the mid-80s. He would go on to strike out the first eight hitters he faced before inducing a weak groundout to second to end his third and final inning of work as the Canes coasted to a blowout victory. By the third inning Holmes had settled into the 91-93 mph range topping out at 95 and showing good control to both sides of the plate.

Marucci Elite couldn’t quite move to 3-0 on the tourney, but they did manage to avoid the loss column in spite of several errors thanks to the efforts of 2014 LHP/OF
Alex Verdugo (Tucson, AZ). Verdugo crushed a go-ahead homer to right field to put Marucci ahead in the fifth. After the Dallas Patriots pulled even at 5-5, Verdugo was summoned to preserve the tie, striking out two of the three hitters he faced in a perfect inning of relief. Verdugo sat 90-93, pounding the strike zone with a fast, loose arm and good lower half mechanics, he used his fastball to set up a plus curveball with huge depth and good 12-to-6 shape at 79-80 to put hitters away.

After a quiet start to the tourney, 2014 OF
Marcus Wilson (Los Angeles, CA) made up for lost time in a hurry. He tore into a fastball in the morning game that looked and sounded like a home run off the bat, but with the wind blowing in and unusual humidity (for Arizona standards) due to a light drizzle, he had to settle for a ground-rule double. The ball had to be removed from play as a strand of the ball’s core was dislodged, creating an extra ridge next to a seam. He would wind up 3-for-3 in the morning game and then smashed a triple to left center in the nightcap, where he not only showed his power to drive the ball to the warning track, but also flew around the bases to get into third safely as the Florida Burn defense got the ball back into the infield very quickly. Wilson has big-time upside and has made rapid strides towards reaching it throughout this spring and summer.

2014 LHP/1B
Michael Mediavilla (Hialeh, FL) was in control against a talented East Cobb Braves lineup. He sat 84-88 with good downhill plane on his fastball and worked ahead consistently. Mediavilla paired his fastball with a quality changeup in the upper-70s. The Miami Hurricanes commit used his changeup to strike out East Cobb slugger Michael Chavis in their first matchup.

2014 3B
Michael Chavis (Marietta, GA) would get his revenge on Mediavilla when he came to bat in the fifth inning, crushing a fastball over the fence in left field to break up Mediavilla’s no-hitter. Chavis has shown considerable improvement in his defensive ability since announcing his arrival on the national stage at this tournament a year ago when he split his time between 2B and LF and had an up-and-down showing defensively (while doing serious damage with the bat). He has developed into a quality defender at third base over the past year.

Marucci starter 2015 RHP
Andy Pagnozzi (Fayetteville, AR) was the victim of some bad luck with a pair of costly errors behind him, after throwing very well early on. While his 6-foot frame doesn’t offer the length to generate a lot of torque to his delivery, he managed to run his fastball up to 90 mph with a short, quick arm action, and he spun a quality 76 mph 12-to-6 curveball well. He showed good pitchabillity in his start, especially for an underclassmen on a big stage like this one.

San Diego Show 2015 RHP
Drew Finley (San Diego, CA) ran his fastball up to 88 mph, sitting in the 82-86 mph range comfortably. He used a simple lower effort delivery to stay around the strike zone with all three pitches and showed a quality 12-to-6 curveball with good shape and depth. His Show teammates came from behind in dramatic fashion as 2013 LHP/1B Andrew Wright (San Diego, CA) crushed a fastball over the wall in left center for a walk-off two-run home run.

While the South Florida Elite-East Cobb Braves matchup featured a lot of power, there was an 80 tool lurking at the bottom of the South Florida Elite lineup: 2014 CF
Anfernee Seymour (Pembroke Pines, FL) who ran a 4.28 home to first, with a turn. On a ground ball to shortstop he flew down the line in 3.95 seconds. In terms of game speed getting down the line, Seymour’s time is right on par with the likes of Mike Trout and Byron Buxton.

Dallas Patriots 2015 SS
Tristan Metten (Lewisville, TX) had a good day out of the leadoff spot in the order for the Pats, going 3-for-3 with a walk, a double and two runs. He also showed good defensive actions at shortstop, while he doesn’t yet have big range he handled everything within his zone very well with smooth hands, a quick release and a playable arm. He and 2014 OF Chace Sarchet (Lubbock, TX) were the two biggest standouts for the Patriots from a scouting standpoint. Sarchet has a long, athletic build with projectable strength at 6-foot-3 and 190 pounds with a quick swing from the left side. Sarchet had a sacrifice fly RBI.

CCB Elite 2015 OF
Nick Oar (Pleasantville, CA) grabbed the attention of scouts right away by smashing a ground-rule double that bounced off of the warning track in right center field in his first at-bat. He would later pop up with a towering fly ball and continue to make loud contact the rest of the day and he’s a player the PG staff will be keeping an eye on as the tourney progresses.

Teammate 2014 SS
Logan Steinberg (San Francisco, CA) was CCB’s biggest defensive standout, moving very well for a tall lanky shortstop. Standing at 6-foot-4 and 190-pounds he was shockingly light on his feet with solid defensive range and made several good plays defensively.

2014 1B
Luke Rasmussen (Los Gatos, CA) had the loudest contact of the day, lining out to centerfield on a ball that registered at 96 mph off the bat.

DBacks Elite Scout team 2014 LHP
Nick Meservey (Scottsdale, AZ) showed the difficulties that a lot of tall young pitchers struggle with in repeating and controlling his long levers through his delivery, but with a very projectable 6-foot-5 frame he topped out at 88 mph and flashed the potential that led to a large contingent of scouts gathering behind the plate for his start.

The star of the first round of games Monday morning was unquestionably PG All-American Kel Johnson (2014, Home Schooled, Palmetto, GA). The East Cobb Braves slugger got a changeup his first at-bat, and even though he got it a bit off the end of the bat, easily lifted it over the left field fence for a two-run home run. In the bottom of the sixth inning, with the Braves trailing CCB 4-3, Johnson led off the inning with a clean single up the middle and came around to score the tying run. Johnson came up to the plate later in the inning as East Cobb batted around and blasted a double off the centerfield wall to score the final two runs. The thing that was most impressive about Johnson’s swings were how short and under control they were; they weren’t “power” type swings, especially the single to lead off the sixth inning. Johnson grounded out hard to shortstop in his other at bat otherwise he could have gone 4-for-4 in the game.

Casey Lenoch (2014, Home Schooled, Newman, GA) was East Cobb’s savior on the mound, throwing five innings of relief and only allowing two hits and an unearned run. Lenoch throws from a side-arm release point and topped out at 84 mph while not walking a hitter. I talked to him briefly after the game and remarked the similarities between his mechanics and UCLA closer and College All-American David Berg, who I’d seen pitch Saturday night for the USA National Collegiate Team vs. Cuba. Lenoch smiled and said he’d heard that comparison before.

South Florida Elite Squad LHP
Aaron Soto (2014, Archbishop McCarthy HS, FL), who has committed to play for Tennessee, is the kind of pitcher who can frustrate the best of hitters. He faced a lineup full of them Monday morning and proved that (Marucci Elite’s lineup is strong enough that PG All-American outfielder Monte' Harrison is hitting ninth). The 5-foot-10, 170-pound Soto used an 83-85/86 fastball that he spotted flawlessly to the outside corner to both right-handed and left-handed hitters and a sharp downer curveball similarly spotted in the upper-60s to handle the Marruci hitters. The velocity is actually an uptick from what he’s shown previously, as he usually tops out at 84 mph. Soto threw a complete game, striking out 10 hitters, but allowed two runs in the fifth and one in the sixth to take a 3-0 loss.

Marucci Elite's
David Michael Burkhalter (2014, Ruston HS, LA) was also impressive on Day 2 of the 17u PG World Series. Burkhalter has an easy delivery and works very downhill with a fastball that was in the 87-90 mph range to go with a big downer curveball that had good power at times. Burkhalter also had command of the outside corner and mixed his pitches well. He’s a 4.0 student with a verbal commitment to Tulane and he looks like the type of pitcher who should be able to immediately contribute at the college level. He struck out 11 hitters in 5 2/3 shutout innings.

Marucci Elite OF
Justin Smith (2014, Bartram Trail HS, FL) and 3B Joe Dunand (2014, Gulliver Schools, Miami, FL) took the best swings against Soto and had strong games. Smith, a Perfect Game All-American, has shortened up his spread stance and is hitting taller and is better able to extend through contact and use his plus/plus raw strength. Dunand has been swinging the bat better and better as the summer has progressed and is undoubtedly opening some eyes in the scouting community.

Smith went 3-for-3 with a hard single up the middle, a slow roller and a double into the left field corner in Marucci Elite's second game, a 5-0 win over the East Cobb Braves. Dunand went 2-for-3 with a double and three RBI in the same game. Both young men are in the zone.

2015 OF
Jonah Davis (Francis Parker HS, CA) was impressive for the San Diego Show on Monday. The junior to be was given a 9 PG Grade at the Sunshine West Showcase in early June and looks to be every bit of that now and has plenty of projection to improve. He is a 5-foot-11, 175-pound left handed hitter with strong, quick hands and present gap power. He ran the 60 in 6.8 at the Sunshine West, but looks to be a step or two faster than that on the baseball field. Interestingly, Davis lists some of the schools he’s interested in as Brown, Columbia, Harvard and Stanford, which leads me to believe he’s a very smart young man as well as a talented baseball player.

Marucci Elite got their second workman like effort from a starter, as RHP
Maverick Buffo (2014, Spanish Fork HS, UT) threw four shutout innings to start the game against the East Cobb Braves. Buffo mixed his pitches well, pitching in the upper-80s while touching 90 mph and throwing both a curveball and a slider effectively. Buffo has a commitment to BYU and might have lasted another inning except for a 10-plus pitch battle with PG All-American Michael Chavis in the first inning. Chavis fouled off about a half dozen Buffo offerings before taking an 88 mph fastball deep up the left centerfield alley for a triple.

The Florida Burn already have established their credentials on the field but are now looking to join the ranks of the Dirtbags, Orlando Scorpions, East Cobb Astros and others for eye catching uniforms. Their fluorescent orange jersey tops are, well, eye catching to say the least.

EvoShield Canes RHP
Jake Godfrey (2014, Providence Catholic HS, IL) has a big strong body and good present stuff. He came into a high leverage late inning situation against the Florida Burn Monday afternoon and threw a very heavy 90-91 fastball that Burn hitters pounded into the ground over and over. His upper-70s curveball was a very good pitch as well with hard, tight spin and bite but to his credit he pitched aggressively with his fastball and let his infielders get the outs.

The Florida Burn have won multiple WWBA national championships in the last 12 months not always because of the weight of their physical talent, but because of their strong fundamental execution in all areas. The Burn’s two primary coaches, Craig Faulkner and Mark Guthrie, are also the coaches of the Venice High School team that finished the spring ranked No. 2 in the country by Perfect Game and Venice players make up a significant part of the Burn roster. That mastering of the fundamentals enabled them to pull off the 2-2 tie Monday afternoon with the EvoShield Canes. The Burn executed at least four bunts successfully and handled defensive challenges cleanly. Then, in the bottom of the sixth and final inning, EvoShield loaded the bases with one out. Canes 3B
Charles Cody, left shin bloody from a tag play in the top half of the inning, lifted a high fly ball to medium left field. Left fielder Brandon Elmy throw a perfect one-hop strike to catcher Michael Rivera to tag out the runner in a bang-bang play for the third out. Anything else but a perfect throw and tag meant a Canes victory.

Rivera play is always a pleasure. He’s thrown out three runners in two games trying to steal and consistently sells out to block balls, even with no one on base. He then got hit with pitches his first two at bats Monday afternoon to add a couple more bruises to his collection and wasn’t too happy about it. He is one of the true gamers in the 2014 class.

DBacks Elite Scout Team
Ryan Castelllani (2014, Brophy College Prep, AZ) threw a masterpiece against the San Diego Show Monday evening, posting a rare seven inning shutout in the DBacks 4-0 victory. It’s worth noting that the Show scored nine runs against the defending champion South Florida Elite Squad earlier in the day. Castellani won’t overpowering as he allowed eight hits and saw the Show take some hard cuts on outs, but started 20 out of the 30 hitters he faced with strikes and only threw 97 pitches total. Castellani touched 90-91 early but generally pitched at 87-89 down in the strike zone and varied the shape on his breaking ball between a 11-to-5 curveball and a shorter slider, while mixing in about 10 changeups. It was a very mature pitching performance by the UCLA commit and speaks well for his future.

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