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Tournaments | Story | 9/21/2019

Fall Champs: Day 1 Scout Notes

Vincent Cervino         Connor Spencer         Andrew Jenkins        
Photo: David Case (Perfect Game)

PG Underclass Fall National Championship: Daily Leaders

On a day littered by impressive pitching performances, two arms during the early slot over on the Dodgers side of Camelback Ranch stood out as GBG Marucci Navy’s David Case (2021, Pasadena, Calif.) and GBG Nevada’s Ty Coombs (2022, Las Vegas, Nev.) both had starts to write home about.

Case, an uncommitted southpaw, was remarkably efficient over his three innings on the hill, needing just 36 pitches to toss three hitless, shutout innings. The lefthander has a fairly athletic delivery with a loose, quick arm stroke in the back and motion that allows him to hide the ball nicely. He has a big crossfire front landing step along with the ability to hide the ball for a long time until the point of release. Case worked in the 82-85 mph range with his fastball, filling the zone up with the pitch to both sides of the plate with angle and life. He mixed in his fair share of breaking balls with feel to add and subtract but showed two distinct pitches in a curveball and slider. The curveball was mostly in the mid-60s with 12/6 shape but the slider was notable in the low-70s with sweeping break and he had very good feel for dropping it on the back foot of righthanded hitters. He also flashed a changeup at 75 mph but the breaking balls played up due to his ability to tunnel both the spin and the fastball out of the same low three-quarters arm slot.

Coombs pitched a gem during the opening time slot of the day as he tossed 5 1/3 innings of hitless and scoreless baseball while striking out eight batters during that span. The righthander is the picture of physical projection at an athletic and high-waisted 6-foot-4, 180 pounds with very long limbs and tons of room to add strength. The delivery itself is fairly simple with a turn step into a crossfire landing leg and he whips the arm through the arm circle well. Coombs throws across his body from a true three-quarters arm slot which can lead to some fastball command issues at times, but the pitch was lively, mostly in the 80-82 mph range with him being able to reach back for 83 or 84 mph whenever he needed it. The slider was an inconsistent pitch at times but showed sharpness to it with a good velocity range in the low- to mid-70s. He tunnels both pitches well and was able to really pound the glove side with both of the pitches to get hitters to expand the zone.

Ethan Swidler (2022, San Diego, Calif.) stood out for the CBA Wave over the course of their doubleheader as the backstop showed intriguing tools on both sides of the ball. He’s well-built for a 2022 graduate with a physical 6-foot-1, 195-pound build and that strength aids him nicely on both sides of the ball. Offensively, he uses a well-balanced leg lift to get his lower half drive going and is able to impact the ball with strength; he notched only one hit on the day but the hits should continue to come for Swidler. His defensive skills were noticeable as well, with a bit of an unorthodox set up but very quiet hands behind the plate. Swidler can still block balls well but the soft hands and ability to let pitches travel without disruption were notable and advanced for the age.

GBG Marucci Navy 2021 had a big victory thanks in part to Case’s start but a couple of other notable prospects were relief righthander Kyle Ayers (2021, Sherman Oaks, Calif.) and starting catcher Josiah Chavez (2021, Santa Paula, Calif.).

Ayers showed impressive stuff in relief, especially for that of a primary catcher, as he worked a very quick two frames while punching out four hitters. The arm stroke is longer and deep in the back with a long front side which allows for some big-time torque from the balance point to release. This didn’t lead to many command inconsistencies, as he was on time with his rotation and was able to power fastballs into the strike zone. There’s some head whack to the operation but the fastball quality was very good with a lively 85-88 mph heater that was able to generate a good amount of swing-and-miss. He would complement that fastball with a firm slider that peaked at 80 mph. The pitch showed some two-plane snap at times and gives him a strong present two pitch mix.

Chavez is hard to miss when assessing the playing field as he looks the part of a big-time prospect with an athletic and wiry 6-foot-2, 186-pound frame. Chavez, who came into this weekend as the No. 441 ranked prospect in the class, is a very strong prospect with big wrists and is able to generate notable bat speed from the left side. He remains balanced in the box with an easy stroke that generates the aforementioned bat speed and shows natural loft throughout the stroke. The hands work exceptionally well throughout the stroke and he’s able to impact the ball out in front. His skills behind the plate certainly aren’t too shabby either and at this point Chavez looks like a high-end prospect as a lefthanded hitting backstop.

The final time slot over on the Royals quad at Surprise showed a couple of pitching standouts from the PNW Freshman and AAZ T-Rex game. Joey Pearson (2022, Richland, Wash.) and Michael Kasik (2021, Chandler, Ariz.) were two prospects who showed next-level potential from the bump.

Pearson, who came on in relief for the PNW Freshman squad, showed some electric stuff early on as he got out of a bases loaded, two-out situation for his first out recorded. Pearson looks every bit of 6-foot-3, 155 pounds with a very lean frame that portends a lot of future growth and room to fill out. The righthander has a pretty straight forward delivery with a loose, whippy arm that does get segmented at times but really shows the projection from an arm speed perspective. He came in sitting 86-88 mph in his first five pitches to close out the inning before settling comfortably into the mid-80s. That coupled with his ability to spin a solid breaking ball with shape shows that Pearson could just be scratching the surface of his potential and should be monitored closely.

Kasik was very ho-hum during his start, attacking the strike zone and keeping hitters at bay for a painless three innings on the mound. Kasik is a physical prospect with room for projection upon the 6-foot-1, 195-pound frame and is particularly crafty on the mound, attacking hitters with a lot of fastballs and setting them up beautifully before putting them away. The lower slot and funk in the delivery allowed for deception and allowed his stuff to play up nicely. He also mixed in a breaking ball that he could both land for strikes and get some swings-and-misses out of the zone with.

-Vinnie Cervino

6-foot-2, 190-pound uncommitted catcher Jason Hawkins (2021, Allen, Texas) had an impressive day at the plate and behind the dish. Entering his junior year, Hawkins displayed a very good catch-and-throw ability and logged a 1.94 pop time. The very athletic catcher liked to throw and did it often with high-end arm strength and accuracy. He back-picked a runner at second base in the middle innings and threw out two trying to steal. At the plate, he went 2-for-3 with two RBI and a run scored. He is a linear type hitter who got the bat in the zone quick and stayed in it for a while. He had a line drive swing plane with some slight lift at contact along with quick hands and barrel control. Hawkins is one to keep an eye on over the next two years at Plano Senior High and will not be uncommitted for long.

Nick Moore (2021, Plano, Texas) was dominant in his three innings of work allowing zero hits, walking two and striking out six. The 6-foot-1 righthander threw from a high three-quarters arm slot and worked his fastball that sat 84-86 mph with late, heavy run which he pounded in hard to righthanded hitters. He mixed in a 74-77 mph slider that had 11-to-5 break keeping hitters honest. Moore, who is uncommitted, showcased a medium frame with room to grow and fill out as he matures and will have a chance to make an impact at the next level once he graduates from Plano West Senior High.

The No. 3 ranked 2021 righthander in the state of Utah, Colton Sundloff (2021, Erda, Utah), was on the mound for Mountain West. He showcased an athletic frame with room to fill, a smooth and easy delivery with a three-quarters arm slot that created some downhill plane. His fastball was between 83-86 mph and topped out at 88 mph with run in the early innings and sat in the low- to mid-80s as he settled in. He mixed in an above average slider that he tunneled at 70-74 mph and flashed changeup that he maintained arm speed on. Sundloff should keep improving on the mound with slight adjustments to front side mechanics and looks to be an arm to keep watch on over the next two years at Stansbury High School.

Cayden Collins (2021, Surprise, Ariz.) earned the win for GBG Arizona 2021 allowing no hits, two walks while striking out five batters in three innings of work. Collins sat mostly in the 80-84 mph range and worked a 70 mph slider and flashed a potential out pitch with his changeup that had late fade. The 6-foot-3, No. 1 ranked overall 2021 righthanded pitcher in the state of Arizona threw from a three-quarters are slot, created good run to his fastball and was able to locate to both sides of the plate at the knees. His most impressive pitch was his changeup that was in the low- to mid-70’s that created plenty of swings and misses. Collins is on the radar of many colleges already and it will be interesting to see where this talented prospect lands.

The 6-foot-7, 180-pound No. 5 ranked overall 2021 righthanded pitcher from Arizona Patrick Steitz (2021, Peoria, Ariz.) was on the bump for Canyon Thunder and fanned six hitters in six innings. The uncommitted prospect had a quick arm, stayed online during his delivery with a good follow through and downhill action. He was able to work both sides of the plate with his fastball that topped out at 87 mph. He had a developing feel for his secondary arsenal that will continue to create weak contact and keep hitters off balance. He has plenty of room to fill out his lean, tall frame and projects to add more velocity over the next two years at Liberty High School.

-Andrew Jenkins

PNW Underclass Royal started their tournament off with a bang, earning a 13-1 victory in a game that ended due to the run rule. Uncommitted righthander Hyatt Utzman (2021, Pullman, Wash.) gave PNW Underclass Royal three quality innings while fanning four. Utzman has a short and compact motion with low hands to start that sweep up into a high separation. His shorter arm action fires from a high three-quarters slot and his low leg lift keeps him quick to the plate. His fastball sat mid- to high-80s. Utzman also mixes in a plus 11-to-5 shaped slider that shows potential at the next level. He consistently gets the pitch out and front and snapped a few plus plus sliders off in his outing. He very rarely missed with the pitch, but when he did it simply spun over the heart of the plate, leaking towards him arm side. Utzman likes to pitch with his fastball, but still shows confidence in his breaking ball as well. He’s a high follow moving forward as his arm progresses.

Four of PNW’s 13 runs came from Cameron Hoiland (2021, Renton, Wash.) who smoked a towering fly ball to right that kept going, sailing past the right field wall for a grand slam. Hoiland has a projectable lengthy frame with plenty of room to fill and present athleticism. He uses an upright and open stance with a higher handset, and his hands work well down through the zone after a quiet load. He has a simple low hanging stride trigger, however, he can be late at getting his front foot down as his hanging trigger falls out of rhythm with the pitcher. Hoiland also has a tendency to take massive hacks that cause him to over rotate his lower half and spin off through the zone. There’s plenty of bat speed and strength in his game to drive the ball to all fields, and he’s at his best when using the middle of the field and working his barrel to the inner half. His strength for his frame and feel for the barrel make him another interesting uncommitted follow moving forward.

The PNC Freshman squad received a fantastic outing by long and lengthy uncommitted southpaw Will Woodward (2022, Redmond, Wash.). Woodward has a long arm action from a three-quarters slot and his length and window make life miserable for left-handed hitters as he throws across their bodies. His fastball sat around 78-81 throughout his outing although there’s velocity that is left unlocked in his arm as he cuts himself off slightly down the mound with a shorter stride, and his longer stiff arm action can be improved. Woodward throws a large shaped 12-to-6 curveball against left handers that proves effective especially with his size and length down the mound. As his arm strength improves, expect the tightness of the pitch to improve as well, and he could benefit from a consistent additional breaking ball, or some manipulation of the pitch from its current state. He finished his outing going six full innings while fanning eight and allowing just two hits.

Gavin Meyer (2021, Hemet, Calif.) impressed again on the mound throwing 3 2/3 innings while striking out four. Meyer also possesses projectable length with room to fill out in the future and his arm has a ton of potential moving forward. His fastball sat in the mid- to high-80s while topping out at 88 mph on his day, and it possesses some solid cutting action that runs in on the hands of left-handed bats. His high front side has to quickly shove down the hill after separation and this quick violence to his drop and drive actions creates some slight deception to the plate. His 11-to-5 shaped breaking ball flashes plus ability and should translate well at the next level as his arm progresses. Occasionally, the breaking ball benefits from his natural cutting action as it bites side to side hard late as well as possessing good downward depth. Meyer is still currently uncommitted, but his stuff suggests that he won’t be on the available market for much longer.

San Diego State Commit Sebastian "Pollo" Flores (2021, San Bernardino, Calif.) impressed for CBA Bulldogs with quick hands at the plate and present baseball IQ. Flores uses an upright, open stance with a conventional hand position and a slight hand wag pre-pitch. He has strong balance throughout his swing and is able to keep himself centered despite his high leg kick that lifts up and out over the plate. At times his hands tend to get away from his body forcing his barrel to hook through the zone, and there’s still room for his hands to quiet down into his load. However, he can easily adjust the simplicity of his hand wag back into his load and his barrel control is solid and consistent. Flores’ baseball IQ is promising to see with a good feel for the game in the field and on the bases. He executed a successful delayed steal of second base after his second time on in the game, then swiped third base a few pitches later. You can tell he feels comfortable around the game and he’s a player the Aztecs don’t have to worry about putting into high pressure situations someday.

In the PFA Matadors second game of the day, Long Beach State commit Beto Beltran (2021, Coachella, Calif.) threw three quality no hit innings while striking out five. Beltran has a quick and compact gunslinger-like motion down the mound from a three-quarters to high three-quarters arm slot. He fills up the zone with his low- to mid-80s fastball and changes hitter’s eye levels with intent. His arm sweeps back from a lower set and there’s some slight deception to his slot. He mixes in a solid 11-to-5 curveball with good depth and it compliments his fastball well. With his frame there’s reasons to believe that his arm will continue to get stronger for the Dirtbags and his arsenal could drastically benefit from the implementation of a strong off-speed pitch.

Uncommitted righthander Hunter Hargett (2021, San Diego, 2021) improved his velocity this summer as he topped out at 86 mph at the Pacific Coast Invitational in June but now sits 87-89 mph with good life on his fastball. Something Hargett will have to work on as he progresses is his ability to hide the ball into separation. Hargett mixes in a large, high 11-to-5 shaped curveball that flashes plus ability but is inconsistent with its effectiveness. He’s not afraid to throw his breaking ball back to back as he threw it six straight pitches in a row as seen in the above video. There’s plenty of potential in Hargett’s arm as he continues to get stronger, and there’s enough deception in his motion to suggest that his stuff will translate at the next level.

Tucson Champs 16u defeated Desert Vista High School in the late afternoon and catcher Caleb Herd (2022, Vail, Ariz.) really impressed behind the plate for Tucson. Herd is a slender 5-foot-8, 150 pounds and still has a ton of room to grow and fill out his frame. Despite his still developing build, he possesses a solid arm behind the plate with a quick transfer that sticks balls around the second base bag at right around two seconds flat. Desert Vista High School continually would not learn their lesson on Herd as he threw out two runners in the same inning at one point. His glove work and feel behind the plate are also advanced for his age as he beats balls to spots with his glove and his blocks. Herd also went 2-for-3 with an RBI and a walk at the plate. He has good hands that work direct to the baseball, and a middle-of-the-field approach that looks to put the ball in play. Herd is a high follow and has the potential to be a truly scary well-rounded backstop if his frame matures and if his strength develops.

-Connor Spencer

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