Over the next three days David Rawnsley and Jheremy Brown will be providing their observations from the first three (of four) days at the 2013 PG EvoShield Underclass National Championship. The event is being held at two prominent baseball complexes/spring training sites, Camelback Ranch (Dodgers and White Sox spring training) and Goodyear Ballpark (Reds and Indians).
– David Rawnsley
righthander Ryan Cole McKay started the Round of 16 game
against the San Diego Show Blue. He has a prototype pitcher’s body
at 6-foot-5, 205-pounds that really stands out. McKay’s fastball
was pretty steady at 87-89 with big running life at times but he
allowed a couple of runs in the first inning when he went with his
fastball too often and hitters seemed to see it pretty well.
Starting in the second inning he started mixing in his mid-70s
curveball and upper-70s changeup more frequently and he cruised,
finishing with seven strikeouts in four innings. McKay’s curveball
is a big sweeper from his extended three-quarters release point, and
his changeup was outstanding this outing, with ideal arm speed and
big sinking action at the plate. Based on this look, which was much
better than the last time I saw McKay, he is the type of pitcher who
can ideally throw a 50/25/25-percent type mix with his
fastball/curveball/changeup and be very successful with it.
Lucas Herbert is one of the best defensive catchers in the
country, but he had one problem with McKay. McKay is very slow to
the plate, in the 1.7 – 1.8 second area due to a big leg raise, and
Herbert stood up very early to catch the ball on two stolen base
attempts to rush his throws. There was no way he was going to get
either runner, even with a perfect throw (and both of them were), but
by standing up early he “stole” two potential strikes away from
his pitcher. McKay will learn to quicken his delivery from the
stretch, while Herbert will learn that getting the strike call is
important as well.
Kyle Dean is one of the better outfield prospects in the
country and has a very strong 6-foot-2, 195-pound build. He didn’t
square up the ball while I was watching to show off his power
potential, but he did run 4.20 and 4.27 home-to-first times from the
right side on my watch and also made good jumps and showed nice range
baseman Danny Casals impressed me with his bat, as he packs
plenty of power into his 5-foot-11, 165-pound build. He had a couple
of doubles up the gaps and even his outs were hit hard.
Jiovanni Orozco started the quarterfinals against GBG Marucci
Navy and was equally effective as McKay after being given an early
7-0 lead, throwing 4 2/3 innings of shutout ball with five
strikeouts. Jheremy Brown told me that the 5-foot-11, 185-pound
Orozco struggled getting his fastball down in the strike zone during
his first start on Thursday and I can see why that would be an
occasional problem. Orozco has a very deep and long arm action in
back but comes all the way back for a high three-quarters to over the
top arm slot on release. His hand travels a long way with the ball
and if his timing is off at all and he isn’t over the ball and out
front on release, he’s going to be up in the zone. This outing he
was very much in sync, spotting his fastball well in the 86-90 mph
range. Like McKay, Orozco is a pitcher who has three quality pitches
and he mixed them well, with his big downer low-70s curveball being
game against the San Diego Show Blue gave me a chance for my first
look at highly acclaimed 2016 outfielder Mickey Moniak. A
college coach had told me the day before that Moniak was a potential
five-tool player who might end up being the best hitter in the 2016
class. “Hitting looks so easy for him, it’s like he’s seeing
the game in slow motion,” was his exact comment. Moniak singled
against McKay in his first at bat, then struck out and drew a pair of
walks, so I didn’t get to see much in the way of contact. He did
play a very good centerfield on defense and showed his speed coming
in on the ball and on the bases. The lefthanded hitter should be a
fun one to watch develop.
Marucci Navy catcher Ryan Fineman did lots of things well in
his two games Sunday, especially with his receiving and throwing.
Jheremy Brown and I have got him consistently under 2.0 seconds in
both his game and between innings pop times this week. But maybe his
most impressive moment came in his first at-bat against SACSN Sunday.
He had just caught a 50-pitch first inning (in 105 degree heat) that
saw his team fall behind 5-0. Leading off the second inning, he
spanked a double off the left field fence when his body was probably
telling him it would rather sit down in the shade in the dugout.
baseman Brendon Davis enjoyed an outstanding tournament,
finishing 9-for-15 at the plate with a pair of walks and six runs
scored in five games for GBG Marucci Navy. He has extremely good
barrel skills and squares the ball up to all fields with more
authority than his 6-foot-4, 160-pound frame indicates he should
have. He also has very good one-spot athletic tools on defense with
big arm strength and should be a plus defender at third base. The
big challenge for Davis is going to be improving his speed, as he is
a consistent 4.6 seconds from home to first from the right side.
Hopefully that will come as he adds lower body strength to his
Marucci 2016 righthander Isaak Gutierrez had himself an
eventful and busy weekend. He was CBA’s starting pitcher Saturday
morning, but when his team jumped out at a 10-0 lead after two
innings, he was quickly pulled after throwing only 18 pitches. He
came back to start again in the Round of 16 playoffs Sunday morning
and threw 7 2/3 shutout innings in CBA’s 1-0 extra-inning win.
Gutierrez only threw 88 pitches in that game, meaning he threw a
total of 106 pitches to get 29 outs, which is awfully impressive at
any level. Gutierrez threw only fastballs and changeups from a very
efficient and simple delivery, topping out at 85 mph.
– Jheremy Brown
than checking out some of the playoff games happening at the Goodyear
complex, I ventured over to Camelback to see some arm that were
throwing in the consolation game between GBG Marucci Blue and the
West Coast Mariners. GBG used seven different pitchers (three from
the 2017 class, four from 2016) which was beneficial as I wasn't able
to see them this weekend, and this strategy at least gave me a
glimpse at their arms and position players. The West Coast Mariners
brought back all their arms that threw the first day of the
tournament on Friday night.
the pitchers that stood out in this group, Jack Aldrich
is a lefthanded pitcher from Oak Park, Calif. who pounds the zone
with a mid- to upper-70s fastball and a 1-to-7 curveball at 68 mph.
He employs a smooth, clean arm action and is able to generate some
Plant is a long-limbed righty from Upland High School, who
projects well over the next few years, especially when he adds some
strength to his 135-pound frame. His fastball topped out at 80 mph
and he throws with a full arm circle from a three-quarters angle.
Morrow was the final 2017 arm to throw and he was impressive,
sitting 80-83 mph with his fastball, and he also flashed a big
breaking ball at 68 mph with late break and potential for the pitch
to become very good. For a young player, he repeats his delivery very
well, which is balanced and online with good use of his lower half.
Without even playing a high school game, Morrow is a player to keep
an eye on throughout the next four years.
most impressive arm of the day wasn't even listed as a primary
pitcher, and that's because he is a high level hitter and third
basemen. Spencer Steer is a 2016 who bumped his fastball up to
89 mph and sat 86-88 mph on the pitch. He has a short arm action in
the back and a very quick arm which helps generate his velocity.
Steer showed feel for an 11-to-5 shaped curveball which was up to 70
mph. Right now he throws across his body a bit, but with simple
refinements that can be corrected he should see his command get even
better with a bump in velocity. Steer struck out the side and his
velocity was up from when he threw at the Sunshine West Showcase (85
mph) earlier this summer.
Moore came back to throw an inning, having thrown a couple
innings the previous day, where he topped out at 88 mph. This outing
he was 84-85 mph, topping 86 mph with occasional arm-side run. With a
quick arm and good arm speed, Moore also flashed a 12-to-6 curveball,
showing good depth on the pitch.
listed in the program was 2016 Ricky Rivera, a righthanded
pitcher who stands 5-foot-10, 135-pounds. Throwing from a high
three-quarters arm slot, Rivera peaked at 84 mph , sitting at 79-82,
and despite his size, was able to get some downhill plane. He
maintained his velocity from the stretch well and he also threw an
upper-60s to low-70s curveball for strikes.
2016 shortstop Will Proctor stands out both physically, with a
strong 6-foot-2, 180-pound frame, and with his tool-set. He moves his
feet well to get into an easy fielding position with fluid actions,
soft hands, a quick transfer and a strong arm.
the plate Brett Davis showed well with a quick transfer and a
strong arm, which he like to show off, attempting a number back-picks
both to first and second base. Davis routinely turns in good pop
times in between innings that are only going to improve in time.
now seen the the West Coast Mariners each day of the tournament,
mostly due to the fact that they rolled out a Division-I quality arm
each and every day. Starting on the mound on Sunday was 2016 Kenyon
Yovan, a righthanded pitcher who topped at 89 mph the other
night. After playing third base in between pitching and swinging it
out in the sun, it would be expected his velocity would dip a little,
but it only dropped two mph, topping out at 87 on this day. With a
strong, mature frame, Yovan throws shows a short arm action and a
curveball at 69 mph which has sharp break.
Oxnevad threw for the second time this tournament and I was able
to see him both times. With a lean, projectable 6-foot-3 frame,
Oxnevad topped out at 85 mph, showing good downhill action with
arm-side run on his fastball. Once again, he showed off his very good
pick-off move, picking off two more baserunners.
things can sometimes go unnoticed in a baseball game, like a two-out
bunt single by a three-hole hitter. That's exactly what Lucas Herbert
(detailed above) did, laying down a bunt down the third base line,
helping SACSN National start a five run first inning.