Tournaments : : Story
Saturday, October 05, 2013

Florida Qualifier Day 1 notes

David Rawnsley        
Photo: Perfect Game

There were two sets of games Friday evening at Terry Park to start the 2013 WWBA Florida Qualifier, plenty of time to bounce around the four fields and get some initial scouting impressions.

Perfect Game’s Jeff Dahn profiled the young and talented FTB Chandler team, and they rolled to an easy 12-3 win over ProStyle Baseball Academy in their first game at the Stadium Field. 2015 Lefthander Michael Zimmerman, a Florida commit who goes to nearby Gulf Coast High School in Naples, threw the first three innings in shutout fashion for FTB, striking out seven hitters and allowing only one hit. Zimmerman is 6-foot-3, 180-pounds with long, slender arms and is extremely projectable. He pitched in the 84-87 mph range with a low-70s curveball that showed good depth and a nice 78 mph changeup. He’s going to be very good in a few years.

First baseman
Jason Heinrich, another 2015, had a nice righthanded swing with present bat speed, going 1-for-2 with a pair of RBI hitting cleanup for FTB. He also impressed me by running to first in 4.34 second despite his strong 6-foot-1, 190-pound build. As he is also expected to pitch this weekend, I suspect he has plenty enough athletic ability for a corner outfield slot in addition to first base.

2014 righthanded pitcher and infielder
Tyler Leonard put on a nice show for the Sarasota Baseball Club in their 8-0 win over the South Florida Storm, throwing a five inning complete game shutout and striking out 10 hitters while also going 2-for-3 at the plate with three RBI. Leonard has an easy full “old fashioned” hands over head delivery that produced a fastball up to 86 mph, and he only threw 54 pitches in his five innings.

Maybe the most interesting game of night was the matchup between the loaded IMG Academy team and the South Florida Elite TPX. Some might have wondered about standout 2015 lefthander Logan Allen starting the first game of pool play instead of a later contest for IMG, but they needed all five of his no-hit, six strikeout innings to start the game. I’ve seen Allen frequently this summer and he’s been dominant every time out. He pitched primarily with his fastball this game, topping out at 87 mph.

The reason IMG needed Allen’s effort, plus two more no-hit innings from the bullpen, was that the Elite starting pitcher, 2014 righthander Louis Beck was even better, throwing five innings, allowing one scratch single and striking out 11 hitters. Beck wasn’t overpowering, topping out at 83 mph, but his low-70s changeup was outstanding, with hard late life, and he commanded his upper-60s curveball well. Beck threw 35 fastballs, 20 changeups and 12 curveballs and had the IMG hitters so off-balance that his 83s probably looked like 88s. It was an impressive display of pitching.

IMG quickly scored four runs, two on a double to right field by highly ranked 2014 outfielder Luke Bonfield, to win 4-1.

Perhaps the most intriguing prospect of the night for me was Team Tampa Bay Warriors 2014 shortstop Derek “D.J.” King, for the most part because I’ve never seen him before. King attends Fort Meade High School, where presumptive National League MVP Andrew McCutchen played when he was a PG All-American, King has attended a handful of WWBA tournaments but is uncommitted and not well known in the scouting community. King had a difficult game to scout, as he walked twice and didn’t get much action at shortstop, but everything he did was with prospect level actions. He definitely passes the eye test at 6-foot-3, 190-pounds, and is a player that lots of people will be bearing down on in the near future.

South Florida Elite Squad Prime righthander Andy Rohloff is another uncommitted senior who was very impressive. Rohloff pitched in the 85-89 mph range for three innings against King and the Warriors, but the most impressive thing about his fastball was it had outstanding consistent hard run and bore to it. With some deception in his delivery along with a curveball and live changeup, Rohloff looked to provide a very uncomfortable at-bat, especially for a righthanded hitter.

I had a nice talk at the Stadium Field with Los Angeles Angels lefthander and new PG scout/scorekeeper Carmine Giardina before the game about his PG experiences playing for Chet Lemon’s Juice at a number of events, including twice in Jupiter, along with his time with the Angels. Giardina reached AA this season and says “he finally gets it” about his delivery and how to get hitters out and was very optimistic about his professional future after a couple of years of injuries, including TJ surgery. I’d be pretty optimistic if I was a healthy strong armed 25-year old left hander in AA.

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