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Tournaments | Story | 10/5/2014

Florida Qualifier notes, Days 1-2

Jheremy Brown        
Photo: Perfect Game

Although he may not show the big velocity yet, Jovani Moran (2015, Sabana Grande, P.R.) showed plenty of things to like in his Game 1 start in Friday's action. Listed at 6-foot-1, 165-pounds, the South Florida commit has very long, lean limbs with a high waist and projects extremely well as he continue to add strength to his frame.

Topping out at 88 mph with his fastball while sitting comfortably in the mid-80s, Moran’s velocity was playing up as he creates very good extension at release, seeming as if he is handing the ball to the catcher. He shows a quick arm coming through the back side and generates downhill plane, though he throws across his body at times but makes it works as he is able to locate to his glove side and come in on righthanded hitters. Throwing predominately fastballs, Moran showed both a mid-70s changeup with fade to his arm side and an 1-to-7 curveball up to 76 mph.

Standing at 6-foot-2, 195-pounds, righthander Thomas Romero (2015, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) has his fastball get on hitters quicker than even the velocity would dictate. With long arms and an over-the-top release, Romero generates severe downhill plane on his fastball, with the ball jumping out of his hand.

Showing a clean, quick arm action, Romero topped out at 92 mph, working in the 87-91 mph range throughout with the ball coming out of his hand cleanly and with limited effort. It’s a firm fastball and plays up with the plane he is able to create, but he also shows a sharp, late breaking 12-to-6 curveball with depth at 76 mph which he used to help strike out seven batters in two-plus innings out of the bullpen.

Shortstop Ramon Guzman (2016, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) showed interesting tools on both sides of the ball, but particularly shined defensively. With a long, lean build, Guzman looks closer to 6-foot-1 or 6-foot-2 rather than 5-foot-11 as listed in the program. His hands and transfers are incredibly quick and his actions are smooth, moving well to both sides. A righthanded hitter, Guzman showed quick hands in the box as well, turning on an inside 92 mph fastball for a standup double in his first at-bat. He stays balanced through his swing well and showed a nice feel for the barrel, creating line drive contact to his pull side and the middle of the field.

Kerby Camacho
(2015, Camuy, P.R.) showed light actions on his feet behind the plate and did a nice job of receiving Moran. The loudest tool that Camacho showed was his arm, as he made multiple, accurate throws down to second base with sub-2.00 pop times. He wasn’t afraid to show it off in game action either, throwing out two runners at second base – one of which was from his knees – and attempting back picks at all three bases as well.

Shortstop Robert Montes (2015, Miami, Fla.) had a strong summer for Elite Squad Prime and continued to swing a hot bat in their first game of the tourney, leading the team with two base hits. The South Florida commit made consistent contact with a strong feel for the barrel, driving the ball twice to left field for two ground-rule doubles, and in his final at-bat he lined out to deep left-center field for a loud F-8. He moves well up the middle and shows above average arm strength on his throws across the diamond.

A University of Miami commit, Andrew Cabezas (2015, Miami Gardens, Fla.) started the game for Elite Squad Prime. Standing at 5-foot-11, the righthander shows an advanced IQ on the mound with a strong understanding of how to pitch and how to mix all three of his pitches. In the early innings Cabezas was sitting 89-90 mph, showing a loose, whippy arm action, generating nice arm-side run on the pitch. His slider was the better of his two breaking balls, throwing it in the low-80s with tight spin and short, late break. With his curveball, Cabezas would add and subtract velocity to it with intent, showing 11-to-5 break and was up to 73 mph with the pitch.

Throwing in his first Perfect Game event as a member of IMG Academy, Anthony Holubecki (2016, Elburn, Ill.) threw 4 2/3 innings, recording nine strikeouts while issuing only one walk and scattered four hits. A University of Notre Dame commit, Holubecki continues to make strides on the mound and showed a developed feel for his changeup, a pitch that shows very interesting potential. As he continues to throw it and maintain his arm speed on the pitch, he will be able to add velocity to the mid-70s offering and generate more deception to the pitch, as it already comes out of his hand like a fastball with fade to his arm side.

Standing 6-foot-4, 190-pounds, the righthander is able to create easy velocity with his long, loose limbs and a fast arm. Early in the game Holubecki showed 92 mph before settling into the upper-80s while still touching 90 mph, both from the stretch and wind-up, with life down in the zone. As eluded to earlier, his changeup showed nice potential with very good life to his arm side at 75 mph and he also showed an 11-to-5 curveball with some depth which he threw for strikes.

South Carolina commit Danny Blair (2015, Bel Air, Mary.) is a player that Perfect Game has been able to watch grow over the last couple years and it looks like he has begun to add strength to his frame while still maintaining looseness and his speed on the bases. Batting leadoff for IMG Academy Black, Blair has begun to show strength in his lefthanded swing, driving the ball to his pull side during both of IMG’s games yesterday, picking up a home run in the second game.

Debuting at No. 55 in the initial class of 2017 rankings, righthander Conor Grady (2017, Tampa, Fla.) was given the ball in Game 1 for Ostingers Baseball Academy 17u. Looking at Grady, he passes the eye test physically as he stands at 6-foot-2, 185-pounds with very long, loose limbs with a high waist and a projectable frame.

Throwing from an extended three-quarters arm slot, Grady shows a full arm action coming through the backside, working from a steady tempo’d delivery before driving to the plate. Although he stays tall at release, the young righthander was able to work downhill with his fastball, which topped at 87 mph and worked comfortably in the mid-80s throughout his outing, generating very good run to his arm side. Grady’s changeup is presently his best off-speed offering as he maintains his arm slot and shows similar fade to his arm side at 75 mph as his fastball. His feel for his curveball developed nicely the more he threw it, with his best one coming across at 72 mph with 10-to-4 shape and late tilt away from the righthanded hitter for strike three.

Righthanded pitcher Francisco Arias (2015, Brandon, Fla.) came in to throw the last two innings for SCORE International 18u and impressed in the brief look. With a strong, physical 6-foot-4, 230-pound build, Arias showed a live, electric arm that produced a fastball in the 90-93 mph range with downhill plane and life when he gets on top of the ball. His delivery is a bit raw as he uses mostly his arm and opens his front side early, but as he continues to refine his mechanics and incorporate his lower half Arias should be able to add another tick or two to his fastball. He maintained the velocity well over the two innings, including from the stretch, and did a nice job of staying low in the zone. A pitch that showed above average life and solid potential was his slider, a pitch he threw three times and shows hard, late biting life up to 81 mph.

When lefthanded pitcher Clayton Morell (2015, Boynton Beach, Fla.) threw in the Florida Top Prospect Showcase in the middle of August, he worked in the 85-88 mph range with his fastball. Jump forward to the first day of the WWBA Florida Qualifier and Morell came in relief for the Scorpions South Upperclass working 88-90 mph, touching 91 once. With a lean, quick-twitch 6-foot-2, 155-pound frame, Morell showed a fast arm from a lower three-quarters slot. Though there is effort at release, the uncommitted Morell was able to work downhill with his fastball, showing simple mechanics, and projects for more velocity as he continues to incorporate his lower half into his delivery.

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