Tournaments : : Story
Saturday, April 05, 2014

PG HS Showdown Day 2 Recap

Jheremy Brown        
Photo: Perfect Game

One of the top arms in the 2015 class, lefthanded pitcher Thomas Szapucki (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.), took the hill in a highly anticipated start as it was his first Perfect Game event since he touched 94 mph in Jupiter. The University of Florida commit has a strong, athletic build at 6-foot-2, 190-pounds and controls his frame very well when on the mound.

Szapucki has many things going for him that makes him especially hard to square up without taking fastball velocity into consideration. Throwing from a lower three-quarters arm slot, the lefty hides the ball very well, adding to his deception. He creates good angles with his fastball from the first base side, working downhill and consistently shows the ability to spot to both sides of the plate.

Now take all of that and add in the fact that Szapucki topped 93 mph this outing and worked 90-92 mph early on before settling in at 88-90. Along with the velocity, the fastball features hard arm-side run and comes out of his hand clean and easy.

His slider proved to be a hard pitch to hit, especially when he stayed on it, with hard 10-to-4 break at 78-81 mph. Szapucki also flashed an 81-83 mph changeup and a 2-seam fastball with late arm-side run.

Szapucki's delivery is somewhat similar to that of 2013 Perfect Game All-American's Cobi Johnson in that he cuts himself off with his lower half, but does so with intent and still manages to get over his front side. With a little more extension in his follow through, it’s easy to envision Szapucki adding another tick or two to his fastball, a scary thought knowing what he is already capable of.

It’s not often you see a freshman touching 88 mph on the mound. It’s also not common to see a freshman committed to a big Division I program such as Florida State. Szapucki's Dwyer High School teammate Tyler Ahearn (Jupiter, Fla.) falls into both of those categories, having committed to FSU within the last two weeks.

Ahearn's frame is very projectable and shows a quick arm that is only going to produce more velocity as his frame begins to physically mature His shows a short arm action in the back and is able to generate nice downhill plane and with the late run on his fastball, Ahearn proved to be effective when he stayed low in the zone The Florida State commit worked his fastball between 86 and 87 mph and showed a nice feel for both a low 70s curveball and a 75-78 mph changeup, all of which helped Ahearn to induce ground ball contact 

Garrett Wolforth
(2016, Spring, TX) is the starting catcher for Concordia Lutheran despite being a sophomore, and did more than enough to hold his own behind the plate. The Dallas Baptist commit moves well on his feet and showed no problem handling off-speed pitches in the dirt. The arm strength of course is the calling card and Wolforth showed it off, both in warm-ups and in game action.

A University of Tennessee commit, 2015 third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes (Tomball, Texas) put some of the best swings on Szapucki’s fastball, singling in back-to-back at-bats. The first hit was on an 89 mph fastball with hard tail and was a bit elevated, but Hayes stayed on it and lined it into center field. In his next trip to the plate, Hayes showed the same level of bat speed but turned on a pitch this time and shot a hard ground ball through the 5-6 hole.

Paul Campbell
(2014, Revere, Mass.), like Austin DeCarr (detailed yesterday),is committed to play for Clemson and gives Salisbury a second reliable starter. He was picked up for the spring of 2014 and showed some of his best velocity on Friday. Campbell throws from with a long, whippy arm action that is very loose and generated a fastball that touched 91 mph throughout the first couple of innings. He ended up settling in at 88-89, but also had long layoffs in between innings as the Salisbury offense continued to roll. Due to his arm slot, Campbell gets nice arm-side run and is difficult to hit when he stays low in the zone.

When Campbell stays on top of his curveball the pitch shows nice 11-to-5 shape with depth and tight spin. At times he gets around the pitch causing it to lose shape and flatten out a little bit.

Despite the long layoffs, Campbell cruised through his five innings of work in a run rule shortened game, and didn’t allow his first base hit until the top of the fifth inning with two outs.

Endry Guzman
(Bani, Dominican Republic) is an interesting third baseman and outfielder for FTB Platinum and shows nice tools on both sides of the ball. He has a strong, athletic frame and is able to generate very good bat speed in his swing, which resulted in hard line drive contact over the course of two games. He moves well at third base and shows plenty of arm strength across the diamond. Guzman is a player I will be sure to bear down on during tomorrow’s action.

From the beginning of the game it looked like 2015 lefthander Logan Allen (Fletcher, N.C.) was going to have a nice game for IMG, but a “nice game” turned out to be an understatement. After striking out the side in the first inning, Allen went on to collect eleven more strikeouts en route to a complete game no-hitter.

Allen has always been a favorite at past Perfect Game events and we've come to expect him to deliver a solid performance each time he is given the ball. A South Carolina commit, Allen sports a big, strong physical stature which still projects as he has a young look and will continue to add strength to his 6-foot-2 frame.

Staying tall and balanced on his backside, Allen uses his lower half very well and is able to generate severe downhill plane throwing from a high three-quarters arm slot. A lefty throwing downhill is hard enough for some high school kids to hit, and when you factor in that he was sitting 86-89 and touching a 90 in the early going with near pinpoint command, and it’s easy to see why hitters had a hard time squaring him up. Even when his fastball was 86-87 mph he kept missing bats due to the angle and location of the fastball, spotting well to either side at any time.

His curveball is a solid secondary offering, showing nice 12-to-6 life with depth and late break. And like his fastball, the curveball was commanded very well and he back-doored it to a few righthanded hitters for a called strike three.

Luke Bonfield
(2014, Skillman, N.J.) made a small adjustment with the placement of his hands between IMG’s first game and their game yesterday by slightly raising them back to where he had them last summer. The results quickly followed as Bonfield did what he did all summer for the Atlanta Blue Jays – consistently hitting hard line drives. Batting leadoff, Bonfield came out swinging on first pitches. In his first at-bat he lined an 88 mph fastball to left field and squared up a changeup in his second at-bat for a hard ground ball up the middle. Later in the game Bonfield collected his third hit of the game, a hard hit double.

Like the rest of the DeSoto Central team, Dallas Woolfork(Southaven, Miss.) is an intimidating presence, especially on the mound standing 6-foot-3, 225-pounds. Ahead 3-0 in the top of the seventh, DeSoto summoned Woolfork from the bullpen to close the game and he did just that, retiring the first three batters he face and was very impressive doing so. Working exclusively from the stretch with a long, quick arm action, Woolfork worked his fastball in the 89-90 mph range, touching 91 a couple of times. By throwing from a lower arm slot, the Mississippi commit generated late and heavy run to his arm side. He was also able to stay on top of his slider which can be an out-pitch at the next level with 10-to-4 tilt and late break, and was thrown between 79-81 mph.

Bernard Gilot
(2016, Apopka, Fla.) and Cash Case (2017, Mount Dora, Fla.) are two underclassmen who have bright futures for Montverde. Gilot put his strength on display yesterday at JetBlue Park, blasting a fastball over the Green Monster in left field that was gone the moment it left his bat. Tonight Gilot hit a ball straight up in the night’s sky that had a hang time of over six seconds and seemed to hang in the air even longer than that.

Even though he is a freshman, Caseis playing in his second PG High School Showdown and found himself matched up against the hard throwing Woolfork. Showing no signs of intimidation, Case dug into the lefthanded batter's box and turned on an upper-80s fastball for a single, ripping the pitch down the right field line past a diving first baseman.

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