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.
players are 2017 graduates unless denoted as a 2018
Lissone Brown – RHP/Bronx Bombers (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
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.
Spratling – OF, Chain Stealth (Leesburg, Ga.)
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.
Barham – LHP, Chain Gold (Conyers, Ga.)
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
O'Day – RHP, Tri-State Arsenal 15u (2018, Coatesville, Pa.)
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
Jenkins – RHP, Tri-State Arsenal 15u (Voorhess, N.J.)
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.
Bullock – RHP, Tri-State Arsenal 15u (Creedmoor, N.C.)
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.
Armstrong – RHP, Easton Rockets (2018, Jupiter, Fla.)
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.
Latchmansin – 3B, Easton Rockets (Royal Palm Beach, Fla.)
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
Ahearn – OF/RHP, Easton Rockets (Jupiter, Fla.)
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
Lancellotti – RHP/OF/Chandler Freshman National (Bensalem, Pa.)
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.
Vietmeier – RHP, Marucci Elite Houston (Pittsburgh, Pa.)
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.
Grant – C, Marucci Elite Houston (2018, Miami, Fla.)
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
Candelari – RHP, Marucci Elite Houston (Houston, Texas)
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.
Washington – OF, Team Citius 2017's (Houston, Texas)
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.
Nelson – OF, Team Citius 2017's (New York, N.Y.)
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.
Shifflett – MIF, Xtreme Baseball
Navy (Englewood, Fla.)
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.