Tournaments | Story | 9/16/2019

Florida Qualifier Day 3 Notes

Vincent Cervino         Jered Goodwin         Tyler Russo        
Photo: Zac Veen (Perfect Game)

2019 WWBA Florida Qualifier: Daily Leaders | Day 1-2 Scout Notes

Beast Mode Prime made their way into bracket play on Sunday afternoon and one of the more impressive prospects was outfielder Ryan Sonnier (2020, Lawrenceville, Ga.) who showed off a quality package of tools and performed from an offensive perspective. The lanky outfielder stands at an eminently projectable 6-foot-3, 175-pounds with long limbs, plenty of quick-twitch athleticism and there’s a lot of upside from a physical perspective. The Florida A&M commit is a plus runner, which aids him both from an offensive approach to taking long and quick strides in the outfield with some center field traits presently. Sonnier really showed out offensively with a loose, whippy stroke that showed plenty of bat speed. There was some extra-base pop displayed with a long double down the pull-side line on Sunday and there’s reason to believe there’s more power in that frame. Sonnier has a good baseline of tools led by his plus running ability and there’s some intrigue to the overall ceiling of the profile that makes him a fascinating prospect.

One of the more consistent offensive producers this weekend has been Gatorball infielder Sterlin Thompson (2020, Ocala, Fla.) as the Stetson commit has a smooth lefthanded swing and a professional frame to boot. The 6-foot-3, 185-pound lefthanded hitter hit well over .400 this weekend and recorded at least one hit, and many more barrels, in at least every game he played. Thompson is big with lots of room to add strength and the swing is very aesthetically pleasing as he gets on plane with the barrel quickly and is able to create a good amount of natural loft. He has a plan at the plate and can ambush fastballs while creating some buggy whip with the barrel head and impacting the ball out in front. Thompson had a long home run during the quarterfinals on Sunday afternoon to show off the pop and he’s a fascinating draft candidate as scouts and evaluators collect information heading through the rest of the fall.

Florida commit Tyler Shelnut (2020, Lake City, Fla.) got the start during Gatorball’s first game of the day and he was extremely efficient on the bump, earning the win and helping Gatorball advance to Monday. The 6-foot-2, 170-pound righthander has a very solid frame with plenty of quick-twitch athleticism too and there’s vast upside from purely a physical projection standpoint with Shelnut. He’s not a primary arm by trade but the delivery is sound and athletic with a very quick arm and a fastball that worked mostly 84-87 mph on the day. He pounded the strike zone and showed some feel to spin a 12-to-6 breaking ball in the low-70s that should firm up as he continues to develop. What was impressive was his ability to land changeups for strikes and lock up righthanded hitters which is a tough ask out of a high school arm. Of course, Florida likely will be expecting Shelnut to contribute as a position player where the raw athleticism will play, while the swing path is clean and has some bat speed.

FTB Tucci shortstop Dante Girardi (2020, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) had a solid weekend on both sides of the ball and the Florida International commit showed out very well offensively during FTB’s opening round loss on Saturday. The shortstop has been a solid player, and athlete, for some time now and the offensive consistency this weekend has been a key component of the upstart FTB offense. Girardi looks to do damage to both gaps and hit the ball hard out in front, which he did in nearly all of his at-bats on Saturday, lining balls to the pull side and also getting some well-struck baseballs to get robbed of hits. He creates some good separation at contact, allowing him to launch the ball and allow his bat speed and barrel whip take hold. Girardi will be a fun player to watch the rest of the fall as he’ll likely be one of the key cogs come Jupiter for this FTB squad.

Starting game one of the playoffs for the Scorps was Florida commit Jackson Nezuh (2020, St. Cloud, Fla.) and he was very good over three fairly quick innings on the bump. The game wasn’t very much in doubt thanks to a 14-run bottom of the first inning, but Nezuh still showed off impressive stuff as he struck out seven hitters over three scoreless innings. The 6-foot-2, 175-pound prospect has a lean, athletic frame with room to fill and the delivery is fairly compact and dependent more on the timing of the uncoil, but he had no issue with strike throwing or command during this short look. The fastball peaked at 91 mph and sat mostly in the 87-90 mph range. The pitch showed some good life at times and comes out of the hand well while he complemented that pitch with a tight-spinning breaking ball. The pitch is more of a true slurve but showed some power and projects well in the 75-77 mph range. This two-pitch mix was enough for Nezuh to cause hitters fits and he should be monitored closely heading into next spring.

PG All-American outfielder Zac Veen (2020, Port Orange, Fla.) had a very loud bracket play performance. Veen, a Florida commit, hadn’t notched a hit through the first three pool play games, although he did work four walks during that span, before exploding for five hits in the next three bracket play games. The outfielder has a professional body at 6-foot-4, 190-pounds with what looks like some improved physicality and still room for much more. Veen’s swing is picturesque, with a smooth trigger, excellent balance and tremendous bat speed. The batted ball profile would likely look good for Veen as he impacts the ball tremendously and a key difference between his approach early versus now is that he’s more eager to pull the trigger early in the count. He has an exceptional eye at the dish and plate discipline to work walks, but Veen was in ambush mode early on Sunday, and when he’s hitting balls like this it’s not hard to envision an early draft selection for Veen next spring.

Another standout on a strong Scorps team this weekend has been catcher Devin Burkes (2020, Ocala, Fla.), a recent Kentucky commit who has stood out for his tools on both sides of the ball. The 6-foot-3, 200-pound prospect has a nice combination of strength and athleticism and that allows him to impact the game nicely from an offensive and defensive perspective. From behind the plate, he’s pretty athletic in his stance with good footwork, and though the receiving can come and go at times, overall it’s a nice package to build around. He takes good swings from the righthanded batter’s box with a smoother swing plane and drives the ball into the air. The consistency of contact was notable as he drives his weight through his hips well and generates good impact and backspin off the barrel. He’s a solid prospect on a very good team which adds to Burkes’ already impressive profile.

– Vinnie Cervino

In playoff action Sunday the Florida Burn 2021 Platinum got stellar efforts from Satchell Norman (2021 Sarasota, Fla.) and Jake Mummau (2021 Palm Harbor, Fla.).

Norman is known for his ability to catch and throw as well as anyone in the 2021 class while also showing power in the bat. The righthanded hitter hammered to balls to the pull side, the big blow being a line drive double that carried into the left-center field gap. The Florida State commit didn’t catch, however, he served as the starting pitcher for the Burn. He used a compact delivery with a short and repeated arm stroke to pound the zone with an 85-88/89 fastball. The secondary pitcher also showed the ability to spin a low-70s curveball that had good 11-to-5 shape. Norman has the ability to change games in a number of ways.

Mummau can absolutely pick it at shortstop. He made a number of movement plays, culminating by a great play to his glove side that he ranged well to his left and transferred extremely quickly while throwing a strike to first base for a bang-bang out. The uncommitted infielder has instincts and a great first step. He added a long double, showing good barrel accuracy and gets good length through contact. The young prospect should garner a ton of attention this Fall.

FTB Tucci has a physical lineup, but Anthony Shaver (2020 Clermont, Fla.) may pass the eye test as well as anyone. The 6-foot-2 outfielder is well proportioned with wide shoulders and strong forearms. He shows very good bat speed, which always plays in games, as he sat back on a curveball in the first inning of his playoff game today and stood on a line drive that got to the left-center field wall in a hurry. The Florida State commit runs exceptionally well and flew around the bases, seemingly turning on another gear during a standup triple. He has great range in center field and has lots upside as a potential middle of the diamond, middle-of-the-lineup type player.

A well-rounded Ian Farrow (2020 Merritt Island, Fla.) is mostly known for his powerful righthanded bat and explosiveness. The 6-foot outfield/pitcher has tightly wound body with lots of present strength. He swung it well during the Florida Qualifier, showing the ability to backspin balls to all fields. The Florida Gulf Coast University commit closed out the first round playoff game to help his team advance on Sunday. The ultra-athletic player easily translated his abilities to the mound hammering the zone with an upper-80s fastball that peaked at 90. He just competed for his team using almost all fastballs Sunday to will his team to the next round. The is a vast set of tools to dream on here.

The Florida Hurricanes 2020 Platinum had a great run during the event with multiple prospects standing out in a big way. Andrew Stubbs (2020 Fort Pierce, Fla.) has a live body with lots of length and room to fill out. He has whip in his hands and innate timing at the plate. He easily drove balls through the infield during bracket play. The Texas Tech commit has an immense offensive ceiling that was on display as the ball jumped off his barrel. He plays exceptionally hard showing a great IQ taking extra bases regularly. He is a versatile defender but showed soft hands and good arm strength at third base on Sunday.

Hurricanes shortstop, Reynaldo Hernandez (2020 Miami, Fla.) has made huge strides in all parts of his game. He has fluid actions and stayed balanced on many different plays, coming in well on groundballs with the ability to show firm arm strength while changing arm angles. The lefthanded hitter has middle-of-the-order ability with strong hands and a compact swing that allow him to drive balls to all parts of the field. The Florida International commit lofted a ball to centerfield for a three-run double in the first round, then powerfully struck a line drive double to the opposite field gap for another RBI in the quarterfinals. His ability to stay on the left side of the infield and hit for power from the left side of the batter’s box will bring exceptional value at the next level.

Nick Gorby (2020 Port St Lucie, Fla.), a lefthanded pitcher, started the quarterfinal game, flashing ability to sit in the upper-80s while peaking at 91. He has a good three-pitch mix and a long track record of performing. The Texas Tech commit has good feel and a bulldog mentality.

Luke Heyman (2022 Longwood, Fla.) and Elijah Green (2022 Windermere, Fla.) are the two youngest players on the FTB/SF Giants Scout Team 2021 roster, but you wouldn’t know it. Both are ranked in the top 30 prospects nationally and fit in well against older competition.

Heyman showed the ability to consistently finding barrels all over the field. He handled velocity well and turned well to get extend out front. The Florida commit has elite arm strength from the catching position and used it well throwing out a couple runners and back picking another. His power arm, power bat combo is rare.

Green has excellent twitch and very good eye-hand coordination, both allowing him to consistently put together quality at-bats. The Miami commit’s center field profile is easy to see with how quickly he gets up to speed and cover the gaps exceptionally well. Both prospects will get tons of attention as they continue to develop.

– Jered Goodwin

Florida State commit Najer Victor (2020, Clermont, Fla.) showed once again why he is one of the most elite arms in the class working three shutout innings of relief, picking up five strikeouts in the process. The pure arm talent is without a doubt at the top of the class with his electric arm speed and ability to create strong running life to a fastball already up to 95 mph. The physicality in the highly athletic 6-foot-2, 185-pound frame sets the projection sky high as he continues to make jumps in velocity year after year. Pair that with a breaking ball that is turning into a true out-pitch with a developing changeup and you have a high-level college prospect with draft aspirations come June 2020.

Florida commit Sammie Sloan (2021, Lakeland, Fla.) got the start against the top-seeded Power Baseball 2020 team in the first round of the playoffs and tossed 2 2/3 innings, allowing just one run while striking out three. The 6-foot-2, 200-pound righthander has a prototypical pitcher’s makeup with a strong and athletic lower half that allows him to repeat and drive down the mound well. There is definite twitch to the delivery with some deception in the way he breaks his hands and gets going down the mound. Sloan uses a full arm action to extend out to the plate and create good downhill plane to the fastball, worked up to 87 mph in this look having previously been up to 91 mph this summer. He mixes in a tight slider that he tunnels very well off of the fastball to create some swing-and-miss and weak contact.

Florida Gulf Coast commit Jahlani Rogers (2020, Clermont, Fla.) continued a strong week at the plate as he picked up his sixth hit in 11 at-bats in the form of a hard ground ball single through the pull side. Rogers is an exceptional athlete with the ability to stick at any of the three outfield positions with relative ease. At the plate, he uses good hands and strong wrists to meet the baseball out front and drive to the pull side with strong line drive contact. There is some power upside as Rogers continues to add physicality to the frame, but the barrel skills play now and the athleticism he possesses on both sides of the ball should carry him to high success at the next level.

Uncommitted Tommy Ricketts (2020, Babson Park, Fla.) did it on both sides of the ball Sunday as he picked up a three RBI double early on in Round 1 of the playoffs before stepping on the mound in the quarterfinals for an inning and striking out the side. A primary third baseman, Ricketts stands at a physical 6-foot-1, 205-pounds with strength throughout that has begun to play in the swing. The ball jumps off the bat well with natural lift and gap-to-gap power at present. On the mound, he is still relatively raw but allows strength and arm talent to take over as he has worked up to 90 mph with the fastball already and mixes in a solid curveball with sharp, downward action. He commands well with both pitches and has begun to fine tune some of the mechanical rawness he has shown previously. As an uncommitted senior, Ricketts is a talented late grab for a school still looking to close out their upcoming class.

Uncommitted Jackson Hobbs (2020, Brandon, Fla.) put together an outstanding performance in the quarterfinal round as he went 3-for-3 in what would end up as a one-run victory. Standing at 6-foot-2, 200-pounds, Hobbs is a physical first baseman with plenty of power projection in a swing that already shows natural loft to all fields. The ball comes off very well as he has good feel for barreling the baseball and working to the back side comfortably. The bat speed is good and allows him to make solid contact while being a bit reliant on the hands as the body drifts before impact. There is a lot to like at the plate here for another uncommitted senior playing with a talented travel program.

West Virginia commit Ethan Jones (2020, Wesley Chapel, Fla.) was strong once again on the mound as he tossed six innings of one-run baseball, allowing just three hits and no walks while punching out four. The 6-foot-5 lefthander has a ton of physical projection remaining at a lean 192-pounds with room to fill throughout. Jones worked mostly at 83-85 mph with the fastball in this look, having previously been up to 88 mph, creating weak contact as he moved the fastball around to all four quadrants, getting some swing-and-miss up in the zone. He also flashed some feel to spin a loose breaking ball and land it for strikes. The delivery is balanced and highly repeatable leaving the door open for plenty of added velocity once he steps on campus in Morgantown.

– Tyler Russo

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