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Tournaments  | Story  | 10/20/2013

Fresh World Champ. player notes

Jheremy Brown     
Photo: Perfect Game

With 2013 marking the first year of the WWBA Freshman World Championship, this is the first time Perfect Game is laying eyes on some of these 2017 and 2018 graduates. Some of the players I have seen this summer, some I've either heard about or been told about, and the majority are being "found" for the first time. Walking between the six fields at JetBlue I've been able to see some good arms and solid bats scattered throughout every time slot.

All players are 2017 graduates unless denoted as a 2018

Malik Lissone Brown
– RHP/Bronx Bombers (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
Brown is a lean, wiry-framed righthanded pitcher that I first saw at the Northeast Underclass Showcase where he was up to 79 mph with a loose, easy arm. Jump forward two months and Brown is now topping out at 82 mph with his fastball and filling up the strike zone. The more he throws the better he will become at repeating his mechanics and arm slot, which vary at times.

Malik Spratling
– OF, Chain Stealth (Leesburg, Ga.)
Using his strong 5-foot-11, 170-pound frame, Malik Spratling showed very well with the bat in Chain Stealth's first game that I saw. A righthanded batter, Spratling has good present power, especially for a high school freshman, with more to come. He twice one-hopped the fence in left field, and once he gets going around the bases, he seems to glide around with ease.

Kevin Barham
– LHP, Chain Gold (Conyers, Ga.)
Starting the game for Chain Gold in the first time slot was Barham who showed a quick arm from an over-the-top release. Like most of the players here, his mechanics need some refinement which will come with experience similar to with Brown above. His fastball was 80-82 mph coming out of his hand easy, and he flashed a mid-60s curveball with 1-to-7 shape.

Nick O'Day

Nick O'Day
– RHP, Tri-State Arsenal 15u (2018, Coatesville, Pa.)
The only 2018 graduate on Bob Barth's top team this weekend, O'Day works from a slow paced, balanced delivery, working 79-83 mph early on before topping out at 85 mph later on in his outing. He has deception throughout his delivery, throwing across his body but making it work, and threw an 11-to-5 curveball at 62 mph. At the plate O'Day used his strength to drive a triple to the right-center fielder with a fluid swing.

Brandon Jenkins
– RHP, Tri-State Arsenal 15u (Voorhess, N.J.)
Throwing only the first inning for Tri-State due to some command issues, Jenkins established a record for the tournament that may not be broken for some time. The first few batters of the game faced a fastball that sat 80-85 mph. After a mound visit, Jenkins came out firing the ball, throwing five straight 87 mph fastballs before rearing back for an 88 mph and two fastballs that he bumped up to 90 mph. One of the big things that was going against Jenkins was the pace at which he was working. As soon as he got the ball back from the catcher he would toe the rubber and get into his delivery again, not giving himself a second to collect. Jenkins has a strong, athletic frame with a quick arm and the ball leaves his hand effortlessly with hard arm-side run on his fastball. He flashed two sliders at 75-76 mph with late action.

Justin Bullock
– RHP, Tri-State Arsenal 15u (Creedmoor, N.C.)
Bullock is an interesting pitcher playing for the New Jersey based Tri-State team despite living in North Carolina. Going six innings with over 100 pitches, Bullock was still throwing 80-82 in the sixth, while topping at 84 earlier in the game. He stays in control of his 6-foot frame, throwing easily from a three-quarters angle and getting downhill plane consistently. Given how clean and effortless his mechanics currently are he will continue to add velocity as he matures. Bullock used a 65-67 curveball to complement his fastball and keep hitters honest.

Kristofer Armstrong
– RHP, Easton Rockets (2018, Jupiter, Fla.)
Baseball is in Armstrong's blood, with his father Jack pitching in the big leagues and his brother, also Jack, earning PG All-American status after his junior year of high school before going on to pitch at Vanderbilt before being drafted. The younger Armstrong has an interesting bat/throw listing in the program, as he is listed switch/both (s/b), which in of itself speaks to his athleticism. Switch/both mean he is a switch-hitter and can throw with both hands. Kristopher may end up following the family tradition though as a righthanded pitcher, as he was up to 84 mph (I was told mid-70s from left side) and is still a year away from attending high school. Already 6-foot-1 and still growing, Armstrong was able to stay balanced throughout his delivery, showing a loose, easy arm.

Tarik Latchmansin
– 3B, Easton Rockets (Royal Palm Beach, Fla.)
Latchmansin has the kind of bat speed that you don't even have to see to know he is swinging, as you can hear the barrel of the bat get through the zone. Standing 6-foot-2, 200-pounds, Latchmansin has some present power with the ball jumping when squared up and more power on the way.

Tyler Ahearn
– OF/RHP, Easton Rockets (Jupiter, Fla.)
Ahearn is a very athletic, very interesting two-way prospect at this point early in his career. A righthanded hitter, Ahearn shows a short, quick swing with some pop, doubling in one of his at-bats, while also showing off his foot speed running the bases. Using a full arm circle and throwing from a three-quarters slot, Ahearn showed the ability to get downhill on his fastball, which sat 82-84 mph and touched 86 once early on.

Joe Lancellotti
– RHP/OF/Chandler Freshman National (Bensalem, Pa.)
Throwing at the same time slot on a field next to Ahearn (above), Lancellotti is a similar talent on both sides of the ball. With a` strong, well-proportioned frame with broad shoulders, Lancellotti ran his fastball up to 86 mph on a few occasions, working 83-85 in his first two innings of work before settling in at 80-83 while keeping the opposing bats silent. He stays balanced through his delivery and maintains his velocity from the stretch. Living low in the zone with his fastball, Lancellotti also showed a sharp 11-to-5 curveball at 70-73 mph with some late life.

Trent Vietmeier
– RHP, Marucci Elite Houston (Pittsburgh, Pa.)
Vietmeier needed only 10 pitches to make his presence felt on the first day of the tournament, throwing all 10 pitches for strikes, one of which was fouled off, on his way to striking out the side. Throwing very easy and making it look like he was playing catch, the 6-foot-2 Vietmeier was 83-85 mph with his fastball, topping out at 87 mph.

Tyler Grant
– C, Marucci Elite Houston (2018, Miami, Fla.)
Although he is 13-years old, Grant doesn't look like it physically and his approach at the plate isn't like that of a 2018 player. In his first game with Marucci this afternoon, Grant went with a pitch on the outer half and lined it to the opposite field into the right-center field gap.

Nicholas Candelari
– RHP, Marucci Elite Houston (Houston, Texas)
Standing 6-foot-1, Candelari throws from a low three-quarters slot, getting very good arm-side run on his fastball, which he worked 80-83 mph. With a long, whippy arm action, Candelari uses his frame to get extension and his lower half to get downhill plane off the mound. Showing a good feel for his changeup at 65-67 mph, Candelari maintained both his arm slot and arm speed on the pitch, using his change as his out-pitch.

Ron Washington
– OF, Team Citius 2017's (Houston, Texas)
Throughout the first two days of games, Washington showed some of the top tools in tournament, with potential plus power in his swing, a strong arm and the ability to run the bases well. Washington launched a ball to deep left field in the first swing I saw him take, almost putting the ball over the replica Green Monsters on Field 1 at JetBlue. With a quiet setup at the plate, Washington uses his strong 5-foot-10, 190-pound frame to generate very good present bat speed.

Kai Nelson
– OF, Team Citius 2017's (New York, N.Y.)
Batting leadoff for Team Citius, Nelson has done nothing but hit line drives. His swing works and he has a quick bat with surprising power for his size, driving one pitch to the left-center field gap for a stand-up triple. Quick on his feet, Nelson uses his speed to track down balls easily in center field.

Shane Shifflett
– MIF, Xtreme Baseball Navy (Englewood, Fla.)
Shifflett put his speed on display quickly, getting down the line in 4.38 seconds on a ground ball to the shortstop. In his next at-bat he showed good extension to the ball, going with the pitch and drove a ball to right-center field. He has good present bat speed, and as he adds strength his power will continue to develop.