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Tournaments  | Story  | 7/12/2017

16u WWBA Day 5 Scout Notes

Jheremy Brown      Vincent Cervino     
Photo: Perfect Game

Daily Leaders | Player Stats | Day 1 Notes | Day 2 Notes | Day 3 Notes | Day 4 Notes

Starting off day five of the 16u WWBA National Championship was uncommitted righthander Anthony Tomczak (2019, Boca Raton, Fla.) who showed impressive velocity early on to set the tone for the rest of the day. The 6-foot-3, 180-pound righthander worked quickly and efficiently through his start as he was able to locate his pitches effectively to the tune of striking out six batters in three innings. He throws with a relatively low effort delivery and the arm action is compact and fairly online through the back.

Tomczak worked off a strong two-pitch mix of fastball and breaking ball with the former working in the 85-88 mph range for the duration of the outing. The fastball had good heaviness to the pitch and the breaking ball was an effective secondary offering to throw off hitters timing. The righthander has had a very strong tournament by striking out nine in only five innings with no runs allowed and should find himself with a good amount of offers following his strong week on the mound.

Excellent pitching did not only come at LakePoint, however, as righthander Jacob Hodorovich (2019, Scott Township, Penn.) showed off high-end tools during Baseball U Prospects’ victory over at Perry Park on Tuesday morning. Hodorovich is listed at 6-foot, 175-pounds but that appears to sell him short on both height and physicality as the size on the mound is very good.

He worked 88-92 mph for the first couple of innings and began to settle into a groove. The arm stroke is very long and fluid through the back and his high three-quarters release point, in conjunction with his extension and size, allows him to generate excellent downhill plane when low in the zone. The plane makes his fastball very difficult to square up and most hitters would just hit the ball into the ground.

The curveball was excellent on Tuesday morning as the pitch flashed above average at times with sharp, downward movement. The curveball came in as high at 79 mph and would show excellent two-plane break to fall off the table and entice chases. Hodorvich has shown that he is one of the top arms in general for the ’19 class and he should have his fair share of college offers following his performance at this event.

A couple of Georgia players had long home runs to help give their teams advantages in primary catcher Tyler Tolve (2018, Marietta, Ga.) for the 643 DP Cougars Sterling and outfielder  Michael Pisacreta (2018, Marietta, Ga.) for the East Cobb Colt .45s.

Tolve is young for the class, still only 16 and 11 months, and has shown a good feel for the barrel of the bat at recent PG events. The Kennesaw State commit has excellent athleticism with solid speed – 4.29 seconds to first lefthanded – and that allows him to play almost any position on the field, such as during Tuesday’s game when he patrolled right field. Tolve connected on an elevated fastball early in the game to drive it a long way out of the park. The ball left the bat at 93 mph and traveled an estimated 378 feet to give Tolve another no-doubt shot to add to his resume.

Pisacreta is another rising senior who showed power during Tuesday’s game. As a part of a bigger offensive effort, Pisacreta launched a home run that just hooked fair around the pole in deep right field. The blast traveled an estimated 324 feet and left the bat at 92 mph. The swing itself is short and compact throught he hitting zone and he showed the ability to cover all parts of the plate. Pisacreat did a good job at staying on a naturally lofted plane to get on the ball well and drive it out of the park.

Pisacreta’s teammate Jake Gooch (2019, Cartersville, Ga.) has been no stranger to hard hit balls this summer and added three more during his performance at the plate. Gooch has a very interesting profile as a prospect with incredible arm strength behind the plate and righthanded juice in his bat. He played in the corner infield during the game on Tuesday but the arm strength is good enough to be an asset no matter what part of the field he is playing. Gooch is very loose in the box with good rhythm to the stance and rocks his momentum and weight forward through the shift and into the swing. He can leverage to pull the ball and has incredible strength through the point of impact. Gooch added a run-scoring double to go along with two other hard hit lineouts to third base.

Righthander Garrett Zaskoda (2019, Sealy, Texas) turned in a strong start for Houston Kyle Chapman and did a good job at delivering the strong start to give his team a chance to come away with the victory. Zaskoda showed a pretty compact and polished delivery and did an extraordinary job at repeating in order to better hone his command. There is good arm speed throughout and he began his start by attacking hitters with fastballs in the 86-88 mph range. The release comes from a high three-quarters arm slot and he works extremely quickly on the mound. Zaskoda consistently got ahead of hitters to set them up in favorable counts and would mix in a power curveball in the mid-70s as well. Zaskoda only allowed two hits through three innings on the mound and the combination of fastball command and consistently being ahead worked out very well for him on Tuesday and will continue to work well should he show similar tools.

After impressing at the Sunshine South Showcase, catcher Dylan Butcher (2019, Baytown, Texas) showed high-level tools at the plate in Twelve’s victory on Tuesday night. The Twelve lineup can hurt you up and down the lineup but the cleanup hitter Butcher had a particularly strong performance. He ripped two singles in the game, including one that scored a run in the first inning and left the bat at 95 mph into left field. He has good bat speed and is consistently showing leverage throughout the swing to the pull side. There are times when Butcher will pull off the ball but when he connects with the barrel his tremendous strength allows the ball to jump off the bat and get smoked to the pull side of the field.

Closing out with the 9:45 p.m. slots, righthander Jackson Emus (2019, Clinton, Mass.) came in and shut the door for the New England Ruffnecks over a three-inning stint. The 6-foot-5, 220-pound righthander had both his fastball and breaking ball working which aided him in striking out six batters over those three innings while not allowing a single hit. Emus has a lot of moving parts to the delivery, but is a power pitcher at heart. He attacks hitters with his fastball, which worked 84-87 mph for the majority of the game on Tuesday night, and is not afraid to run the ball up in the one if need be.

Emus showed a pretty good feel for his breaking ball, which had slurve-like shape to it but significant break down and to the glove side. There is some recoil to the overall mechanics, however the arm is very loose and moves like a whip throughout the arm circle. Emus has already shown a big jump from a year ago and has made himself into a significant prospect for the next level; given the track record, it’s scary to see what could happen should he make another jump.

In an abbreviated outing on the mound, righthander Blake Adams (2019, Springdale, Ark.) came in to throw only a little bit more than an inning but still showed an extraordinary jump from a year ago. The righthander worked 89-92 mph in the first few innings and showed off incredible arm strength during the process. It is hard to gauge the performance of one outing based on only a few pithes, but the velocity jump is hard to ignore.

– Vinnie Cervino

The No. 73 overall ranked player in the 2019 class, Jimmy Starnes (2019, Richmond, Va.), got the start for the Virginia Cardinals on Tuesday afternoon at LakePoint. Starnes was solid working four innings and allowing only a single earned run while striking out five, though some inconsistencies with command kept him pitching with runners on.

Starnes has a pretty projectable frame, with slenderness throughout his frame and a quick arm combining to form pretty significant velocity potential once he adds strength. His fastball worked up to 89 mph in this start, settling in right around 84-88 mph for the duration. His delivery has some effort to it but he does a good job consistently getting his hips inline and showing solid extension through his release from a high three-quarters arm slot, capable of generating some plane to the plate. His best offering on this day was his slider, thrown in the 75-78 mph range that he tunnels extremely well, creating very good spin that looks like a fastball out of the hand until the bottom drops out of it. He got a good deal of swings and misses on the pitch when he commanded it.

Over at Woodland High School, Phenom Signature ran their record to 5-0-1 via a 12-0 victory. D.J. Jefferson (2019, Las Vegas, Nev.) got the start and in a quick two-inning appearance showed the big-time upside that has made him the No. 15 player overall in the 2019 class rankings. Jefferson is an extremely long and lean prospect with very good projection remaining throughout his build, and in conjunction with his present arm speed, make his upside truly outstanding.

Jefferson came out firing 91-93 mph bullets then throttled back to more 88-91 mph as he reigned in his command through his short outing. He’s got a very long arm stroke, with a deeper plunge through the back and a full circle up to a three-quarters slot release. The arm is often still flat at foot strike, or even still working its way up through the back, so there are some timing concerns that could help explain why Jefferson sometimes has trouble working down in the zone. When he does get his arm up on time and get over his front side the fastball showed above average life to the arm side as well as significant plane.

Spencer Jones (2019, Encinitas, Caif.) has long been one of the more intriguing two-way players in the country, as he shows both huge pop with the bat as well as big-time potential on the mound. He’s always shown an innate ability to get barrel on baseball, something that is no small task for someone with as long of limbs as Jones has and as he’s continued to physically develop the power has come along as well. He really drove a ball on Tuesday evening, off the very top of the fence in center field at Woodland High School, a mammoth shot that likely would have gone out had he not hit it so much on a line. Jones is committed to Vanderbilt and the Commodore staff is undoubtedly extremely excited about what Jones can do both with the bat and on the mound once he lands in Nashville.

CBA Marucci ran their pool play record to a perfect 6-0 on Tuesday night at LakePoint by way of a decisive 10-0 victory a total team effort. Cameron Repetti (2019, Cypress, Calif.) got the start, and the primary middle infielder showed some legitimate upside as a pitcher. Repetti worked four shutout innings, allowing a pair of hits with three walks while striking out four along the way. He did a good job working his fastball to both sides of the plate, working in the 83-86 mph range with good angle, especially to the glove side. He also showed the ability to land his curveball for strikes consistently.

The CBA offensive attack was led by Joseph Naranjo (2019, Chino, Calif.), a Cal State Fullerton commit whose lefthanded bat shows legitimate potential. Naranjo had three hits on the day, including a double, and tallied five RBI as well. There is serious smoothness to his lefthanded stroke, showing the ability to cover the plate well and get barrel on pitches throughout the zone. He shows some extra-base pop as well, and the way his body projects moving forward makes it easy to project some serious pop in there once he reaches physical maturity.

Gabe Briones (2019, Riverside, Calif.) really stands out defensively behind the plate, where the totality of his defensive profile is really advanced. He’s an adept receiver, capable of framing pitches on both sides of the plate with a soft glove hand and strong wrist and the arm strength is very advanced for a 2019 prospect. He’s got quick feet and shows off both the feet and the arm when throwing to a bag, something he likes to do often in the back-pick format. A Southern Cal commit Briones also projects to hit for some pop at the next level to go along with high-end defensive acumen.

Tim Cao (2019, Oak Ridge, N.C.) got the tough-luck loss for NCBA, but still showed some serious upside on the mound. Cao has a lithe, athletic, quick-twitch build that seriously projects in terms of physicality, and his arm speed is legitimate as well. He worked up to 90 mph with his fastball, settling in more 85-88 mph and showing some legitimate heaviness to the pitch with arm side run as well. He showed the ability to land his curveball for strikes, thrown in the mid-70s with 11-to-5 shape and quality depth but his real wipeout pitch was his split-change hybrid that he threw in the upper-70’s with beneficially low spin rate and fantastic action when thrown properly. It would absolutely drop off the table with fade at times and looks like it’s going to be a weapon pitch for him moving forward.

A primary infielder committed to East Carolina, Connor Norby (2018, Kernersville, N.C.) came on in relief for NCBA and showed one of the better breaking balls of the event thus far. Norby throws from a very compact low three quarters arm slot looking like he’s just grabbing the ball and slinging it, but showing legitimate stuff. Norby threw 30 pitches across his two innings, allowing only one walk while striking out five CBA hitters. Norby worked up to 89 mph with his fastball showing extreme angle to the plate with command to the glove side, a weapon vs. hitters of either handedness. The real weapon however, was the slider he threw in the upper-70s that was truly dominating. It absolutely looks like a fastball coming out of the hand, then takes an abrupt right turn (from hitter’s perspective) before disappearing down and to the glove side. He was able to both throw it as a chase pitch as well as land it for a strike in addition to throwing it to both sides of the plate at will.

– Brian Sakowski

There are a couple of reasons that third baseman Rece Hinds (2019, Niceville, Fla.) is ranked No. 2 in the country per Perfect Game in the 2019 class, one of which and perhaps his loudest, is his righthanded bat. Hinds quickly passes the eye test as he walks to the on-deck circle or out to third base and with a single swing the notion that his 6-foot-3, 195-pound frame exudes is confirmed. Quiet in his first two at-bats of the night yesterday, it was only a matter of time before the Louisiana State commit found the barrel and he did just that; in a very loud fashion. With extremely fast and equally as strong hands and rhythm to his swing, Hinds turned on a fastball up in the zone and squared up quite possibly the hardest hit ball of the tournament, a line drive that one-hopped the left field wall and registered 105 mph off the barrel. It’s a special bat for Hinds who’ll only continue to fill out his frame with additional muscle, meaning the ball is only going to jump harder moving forward. (To see the Hinds’ double, click here.)

All the way down in the Peachtree City young lefthander Rece Ritchey (2020, Huntington, Pa.) took the mound for the Flood City Elite 16u Navy squad and he didn’t disappoint as he shows plenty on his fastball already and projects for a good bit more moving forward. Listed at 6-foot-2, 155-pounds, Ritchey has at least an inch on that listed height and looks even taller given his high waist, square shoulders, and overall twitchy athleticism.

While he wasn’t the sharpest in terms of his overall command, Ritchey showed a lot of things on the mound which when you add them all together, result in something that could be really good in a couple of years. The first thing that jumps about Ritchey is just how quick his left arm is coming through the back, helping produce a fastball that topped 87 mph both out of the windup and stretch. He would tend to stride open down the mound causing scatter around the zone with the fastball, but when Ritchey stayed on top of the ball he lived down in the zone and flashed cut action in on the hands.

The velocity comes easy for the uncommitted lefthander and the physical projection is evident just by watching Ritchey walk to the mound. Working in the 83-86 mph range, Ritchey’s arm is both clean and loose and his velocity comes rather easy, helping to envision additional gains to his heater moving forward. Ritchey also showed quality spin to breaking ball, a pitch that shows mostly 1-to-7 shape with depth in the 72-74 mph band, feature occasional late snap to the back foot of righthanded hitters.

As said above, all the ingredients are there for Ritchey to keep taking the steps and with his performance this tournament he’s squarely on the radar of major collegiate programs.

A solid athlete who’s already committed to the University of Virginia, Kyle Teel (2020, Upper Saddle River, N.J.) put his athleticism on display, as well as his defensive versatility, as he opened the game behind the plate for the Teel Ravens before jumping out to shortstop after a couple of frames. Currently ranked No. 108 in the class of 2020, Teel shows tools on both sides of the ball, including a lefthanded swing that’s only going to get better as he fills out his 6-foot, 160-pound frame. As it is now, Teel shows nice looseness to his hands and possesses a strong understanding of the strike zone as well as a handle for the barrel through the zone. He moves well defensively and did a nice job of blocking balls off the turf with quickness to his footwork and also showed a strong, loose arm from behind the dish with present carry down to second base.

The younger brother of Bryce Denton, a second-round pick by the St. Louis Cardinals, Zane Denton (2019, Brentwood, Tenn.) is very much a prospect in his own right and unlike Bryce, is a switch-hitter as opposed to a righthanded only swing. Strongly built at 6-foot-1, 190-pounds and already ranked No. 76 in the class of 2019, Denton’s biggest trait on the field is his bat and it’s a legitimate switch-hitting profile. After seeing a double down the opposite field line lefthanded earlier in the tournament, Denton began last night with another double, again down the left field line, though this time it was righthanded. He did nice job of recognizing curveball and kept his weight back, spinning on the pitch while finding the barrel. From both sides of the plate the barrel stays in the zone for a while and there’s definite bat speed and strength, areas of his game that’ll only continue to increase as he continues to develop physically.

Jerrion Ealy (2019, Carthage, Miss.) was detailed earlier in the tournament as he impacted the baseball from the right side with relative ease and showed some adjustments to his overall swing since the Junior National. With intent to his swing on every load and an understanding of the strike zone, Ealy attacks the ball when he lets the barrel fly and though he was held hitless he was able to put another element of his game on display; his speed. In his first at-bat Ealy hit a ground ball to the shortstop and though he broke his run down the last few steps he still posted a 4.01 (3.98 on a couple watches) to first, which is elite speed and an easy double plus grade. That same speed should also help Ealy establish himself as one of the top defensive outfielders in the class of 2019 as he simply glides to the ball and can cover vast amounts of ground with ease and shows closing speed to either side.

Ben Rozenblum (2019, Coral Springs, Fla.) and his Elite Squad teammates took the field in the last slot of the night, but that didn’t deter the uncommitted catcher from making his presence felt on both sides of the ball. A solid athlete who can play in the infield dirt when on behind the plate, Rozenblum knows how to take charge of a game whether it’s calling the pitches or controlling his pitcher, showing a present feel and intangibles for the situation. In between innings Rozenblum worked in the low 2.0s and showed both flexibility to his actions and a strong right arm, a tool he showed by back picking a runner at first base with zip and carry. HE also showed well with the bat, lining a fastball down the right field line for a double courtesy of quick and strong hands, registering 97 mph off the barrel.

It was his only hit of the night but Garrett Browder (2019, Kenly, N.C.) made sure it was heard and his message was received. In the top of the first the uncommitted righthanded hitting catcher turned on a fastball, showing natural leverage while utilizing the present strength in his 5-foot-11, 188-pound frame, and sent it deep over the left-center field wall for a no doubter off the bat with an exit velocity registering at 92 mph and traveled an approximate 370 feet per TrackMan. It was the first home run of the tournament for Browder though he is hitting .500 over his team’s first six games with three doubles and three singles.

It was a quick look at uncommitted righthander Michael Polk (2019, Alpharetta, Ga.) as he worked the final five outs of the game for Team GA Gold 16U, but it was an impressive outing nevertheless as he showed a few things on the mound which enticed college recruiters. At a long and lean 6-foot-2, 165-pounds, Polk projects extremely well physically and given the fact he’s able to generate upper-80s velocity with relative ease, it’s easy to see another jump in velocity coming sooner rather than later. Polk’s arm action is clean, on line and most importantly very quick through the back, helping generating his 85-88 mph velocity with limited effort. His delivery is simple and he does an ice job of repeating with plane and short running life down in the zone to his heater. He flashed a single changeup at 78 mph and maintained his arm speed well showing fade as well as a couple of curveballs at 71-72 mph, a pitch that’ll continue to develop as he maintains his arm speed and works on top.

– Jheremy Brown