Scout Notes from PG Park at LakePoint

 

4/10 HS Scout Notes >>
  

4/10/2017 8:36:59 PM

Monday's action at PG Park saw the Tennessee-based Knoxville Christian take on Next Level Academy in a doubleheader. 



One of the top players for the class of 2018, and ranked no. 76 nationally, Ryder Green (2018, Knoxville, Tenn.) performed well both at the plate and on the mound. Players for both teams ran a 60-yard dash before the game, and Green recorded a blistering 6.5 second time. The athleticism and speed out defensively where his athletic versatility allows him to play both shortstop and centerfield successfully. A premier hitting talent at the plate, Green put on a show during batting practice routinely hitting home runs well out of the park and one even over the scoreboard in left-centerfield. The swing itself is loose and easy with explosiveness in the hands. The Vanderbilt commit showed the ability to impact the ball with very good strength out in front and it showed in-game. Green had a triple and a long home run during the second game of the doubleheader. 

On the mound, Green had a rocky start but after the first inning he was able to right the ship. The arm action was mostly clean with a small hook in the back and attacked hitters primarily with his explosive fastball. Green sat 89-91 mph with the pitch that had late life to it. He was able to work the pitch effectively to both sides of the plate and wasn't afraid to throw the pitch up and inside to righthanded hitters. The curveball flashed sharpness and he showed the ability to throw it for strikes and for swings and misses.

Infielder Jerry Hammons (2018, Cookeville, Tenn.) also showed interesting potential and hitting tools throughout the event. Going nearly home run-for-home run with Green, Hammons showed immense raw power by sending balls out of the yard with relative ease. His physicality stood out with present strength and size throughout his 6-foot,  215-pound frame. The BP swing was much longer and home run-oriented than the in-game swing. There is an exaggerated hitch in the load but he is strong enough to bring the bat through the hitting zone quickly creating good bat speed. The hitting tools are legitimate and as he continues to refine and develop his mechanics, Hammons has a solid future at the plate with the ability to drive the ball loud and far. 

First baseman and righthanded hitter Cedric Clark (2018, Conyers, Ga.) started things off in the bottom of the first inning of game one with a screaming line drive that traveled for a long home run. The ball came off the bat at 101.9 mph and traveled an estimated 388 feet. Clark has an immense, physical frame with strength throughout his body at a listed 6-foot, 235-pounds. The swing itself is pretty simple and he showed the ability to create topspin on the ball. He elevated quickly through the swing and took a pitch that was about at his head and drove it over the fence. Clark added multiple more hits throughout the day including an RBI double later in the day. 
3/27 HS Spring Swing Scout Notes >>
  

3/27/2017 10:45:22 PM

Tall righthander Ryan Loutos (2017, Deer Park, Ill.) got things started for the Barrington Broncos by sitting in the high-80s and touching 90 mph in the first inning. The frame is extra large, standing tall at 6-foot-4 and 220-pounds, and the arm shows looseness through the back of his delivery. Loutos shows good arm strength in his delivery and is able to throw fastballs past opposing hitters without a ton of effort. The arm slot is a pretty standard three-quarter release and he did a good job on Monday afternoon at keeping the ball low in the zone to induce weak, ground ball contact. Loutos filled up the strike zone, throwing strikes on around 75% of his pitches. He mixed in a curveball and changeup to give him a three-pitch mix, but for the majority of the outing worked off the fastball. The pitch sat 87-89 mph early on and the frame and size allowed him to maintain his velocity deep into the outing. It was true in movement but when the pitch was low in the zone it was hard to square it up consistently. As he continues to refine his repertoire and his mechanics he will only get better as the tall righty impressed. 

Two of Loutos' teammates impressed with the bat during their doubleheader on Monday as Tyler Acosta (2018, Barrington, Ill.) and Will Yonton (2018, Barrington, Ill.) led their team to two wins. 

Acosta demonstrated, seemingly, his entire skill set during the games as his hitting ability, speed, and defense shone on Monday evening. The Illinois commit is very athletic with a very projectable 6-foot-1, 165-pound and shows very impressive speed, particularly in the batter's box. Clocked at 4.35 and 4.36 seconds to first base from the right side, the combination of his speed and instincts allowed him to stretch hits into taking extra-bases. The speed played well in the outfield as his quick first step and speed allowed him to correctly read fly balls and even make a sliding catch out in centerfield. At the plate, he showed some bat speed and hand quickness and drove balls with backspin. The approach is a simple, line drive-oriented mentality in the box and the swing is pretty compact and allows him to drive hard hit liners to all fields. 

The 6-foot-3, 215-pound Yonton displayed immense physicality and strength in the batter's box. The build is very strong with broad shoulders and he impacts the ball hard through contact. The swing is quick through the zone with some leverage being displayed and the stance shows a high hand set and high back elbow. Yonton has good raw power and was able to collect two hits over the course of Monday's events. The swing will get a bit uppercut-happy at times, but he has a good power profile from the right side of the plate.

Starting, and finishing, the game for the Glenwood Gators was lefthander Daniel Holley (2017, West Point, Ga.). The southpaw has a shorter frame on the mound, listed at 5-foot-8 and 160-pounds, but has some build. The fastball started out at 83-85 mph in the first inning but settled in around 81-84 mph. There is some violence in the delivery with an exaggerated leg lift, but the arm action is pretty clean throughout and he showed good arm speed which allowed him to gain velocity. Holley throws a changeup and a curveball, the latter of which has slurve-like shape to it. The changeup flashed and showed a similar arm speed and action as the fastball. He threw from a high three-quarter slot which allowed him to generate plane on his fastball despite only getting downhill occasionally. Holley finished off the complete game while only allowing three runs and giving the Gators a victory on Monday night. 

Patrick Thatcher for Madeira had two big hits for the Mustangs that were loud drives to the pull gap and put runs on the board. He has a large frame with present physicality on the build throughout his body. Thatcher has a lot of raw strength and power in his frame and he did a good job of transferring that into his swing on Monday night. The bat speed is average but he did a good job at extending through the point of contact. The hand load is stiff at times but he was consistently on time with the swing and was a big reason why the Mustangs were in the game until late in the affair. 



Perhaps the most impressive performance of the evening, in terms of pure pitching tools, belonged to freshman righthander Logan Austin (2020, Salem, Ala.). He stands at a tall and lean 6-foot-2, 157-pounds with a very lanky build that indicates huge physical projection in the years to come. The auburn commit worked 84-85 mph in the first inning and settled in at the 82-84 mph mark after the first; there was some downward life on the fastball when in the lower part of the strike zone, however the pitch was mostly straight. The arm action was very long with looseness throughout though the length of the arm circle might cause timing issues going forward. Austin creates separation and releases from a higher three-quarter arm slot; there is effort in the delivery with some head whack. The stuff that Austin showed is what really stood out. The most dominant pitch he threw was a changeup/splitter hybrid pitch that his coach called a changeup; the similar arm speed combined with the amount of action the pitch had made it nearly unhittable. The pitch was about 10 mph slower than the fastball and had tremendous downward action; it also registered around the 1500 rpm mark via TrackMan. Austin went to the pitch often, and for good reason, which helped him rack up a ton of swings and misses. The curveball was another effective pitch that he threw less often than the aforementioned two. The pitch showed sweeping action with occasional sharp break and added a third pitch to his overall repertoire. The arm speed was similar on both pitches, however he threw his secondary pitches with a bit less noticeable effort. Austin shows a very advanced feel for mixing speeds and pitch selection, and advancement on his changeup, with a strong set of overall pitching tools moving forward.
3/12 JuCo Notes >>
  

3/12/2017 8:21:08 PM



Righthander Yesiel Valdez took the mound for Indian River CC during the afternoon session of their doubleheader and showed off a live fastball early on. He has a strong build and is physically mature with a strong lower half as well. The Dominican Republic product showed a long arm action that starts out slow but whips pretty hard through the release. Valdez showed some hip explosion and landed online, if not slightly open at times. He is a power pitcher and will attack with his fastball in early counts. The command is a bit inconsistent but the pitch will be throws for strikes and he's not afraid to elevate the fastball with two strikes. The fastball sat from 90-92 mph early on and had short arm side life to the pitch. He showed a slider and curveball to use for offspeed pitches. The slider was around 80 mph and had tight spin and short break with 10/4 shape. The curveball showed 11/5 shape with more depth and sharp down break to it. Both pitches could be thrown for strikes and the slider was very effective at getting swings and misses when it was down in the zone. 

USC Lancaster squared off against Indian River CC during the first junior college game of the day and first baseman Evan Edwards showed off solid hitting tools. Edwards is off to a fantastic start to the season and had nine home runs coming into this weekend's action. The North Carolina State commit stands spread open at the plate with a high hand set and high back elbow. He is a bit smaller in stature but he has good in-game power to the pull side of the field. The approach is looking to drive the ball with backspin to all fields and go with the pitch. Edwards showed good bat speed at the plate with a direct hand path and the swing itself was very smooth and fluid. He generates loud line drives and can hit the ball with authority to the opposite field if need be. 
3/8 DII Scout Notes >>
  

3/8/2017 12:00:00 AM

Southern Indiana squared off against Young Harris and a number of players showcased their individual tools during the game.

Young Harris got out to an early lead in part to two of their position players. Shortstop Zach Odom (2017 Elig., Blairsville, Ga.) and first baseman Zach Wall (2017 Elig., Hayesville, N.C.) both showed some impressive hitting tools.

Odom is a medium built shortstop who is athletic up the middle. He was sure-handed all afternoon and showed clean fielding ability. There were times where he took a bit long on the gather but his releases and transfers were relatively quick. The footwork was really well and although the arm strength wasn't very impressive, he made all the plays during the game. He also had a quick, compact swing at the plate. Odom sprayed line drives throughout the game collecting two singles to centerfield and to right field on liners early in the game. He has a line drive swing plane and the bat travels quickly through the hitting zone. Odom starts out with a relaxed stance at the plate and his hands heighten upon the load. He creates some separation but is at his best with a contact and line drive oriented approach near the top of the lineup.

Odom's teammate Zach Wall showed some big-time pop from the right side during the game. He had two impressive shots: one was a hard hit, opposite field home run early on and the other was a rocket off the left-centerfield wall for a game-tying double in the bottom of the ninth. Wall stands wide at the plate with a small stride toward the pitcher to create separation. He looks to hurt the ball but has strength and power to all fields. The early home run was a laser shot to right field that traveled out in a hurry and he laced a line drive to deep centerfield later in the game. The strength plays a bigger part in his swing than the bat speed does at this point but his strength allows him to deposit home runs to any part of the field. The swing is a bit long but he was consistently on time with the barrel of the bat during Wednesday's action. 


The closer for Southern Indiana came into the game for the top of the ninth inning and righthander Justin Watts (2017 Elig. Bryan, Ohio) showed off an electric fastball early on. The pitch sat consistently in the 90-92 mph range and topped out at 93 mph during his outing. Watts showed off a pretty loose arm action with a slight arm hook in the back and threw from an extended three-quarter arm slot. He threw exclusively from the stretch and landed online with a delivery that had some effort. He showed a bit of recoil upon delivery of the pitch, but he repeated his mechanics well and was able to spot pitches to both sides of the plate. There was slight backside collapse and some drop and drive incorporated into the lower half of his delivery. The fastball was pretty straight but he worked the pitch to both sides of the plate. He mixed in a short slider from 79-82 mph that had short life to the arm side. The pitch did not break much and the movement of the pitch was primarily on one plane. The closer was unfortunately dealt the loss as Young Harris fought back to win 9-7, but Watts showed some interesting tools with a live fastball.
3/4 DII/HS Scout Notes >>
  

3/6/2017 12:08:02 PM

Righthander Ethan Howard (2017 Elig, Prophetstown, Ill.) started the first game for the University of Illinois-Springfield and put together a dominant outing for the Stars. Howard finished with a complete game-seven inning shutout while allowing only four hits on the afternoon. He used a three-pitch arsenal but attacked hitters early on with his fastball. The pitch sat 88-90 mph for the first few innings with late cut to the pitch as well. The faseball generated a lot of swings and misses and he commanded the pitch well to both sides of the plate. He held his velocity well late into the game and was consistently around 87 mph during the seventh. Howard had some deception to the delivery and threw from a high three-quarter slot with little effort. The changeup traveled in the high-70s with not much movement but was an effective change of pace pitch. The curveball was inconsistent at times but his best curveballs were nasty ones. The pitch flashed tight spin and some depth when he got on top of the pitch. 

South Forsyth had a long day that saw the War Eagles play in two extra inning games. During the first game for them, righthander Cooper Davidson (2018, Alpharetta, Ga.) came in during the eighth inning to try to preserve the tie and give his team a chance to come back and win. Davidson hit 90 mph early on and peppered opponents with fastballs consistently in the high-80s. Davidson has a large, physical presence on the mound with a tight arm action and threw from a lower three-quarter arm slot.The fastball was his primary weapon and the pitch had heaviness with some short arm side run to it as well. The approach on the mound was to generate weakly hit ground balls and that worked very well for Davidson on Saturday afternoon. The velocity would drop in the stretch but he was able to spot his fastballs low in the zone to generate ground balls. He mixed in a changeup and curveball as well and both secondaries are still developing into being future weapons. 

6-foot-4 lefthander Jared Tobey (2017 Elig., St. Clair, Mich.) got the start for Wayne State in the first game of their doubleheader and was effective early on. Tobey had a pretty loose arm action and had a crossfire element to his landing. He created good angle on his fastball but had an inconsistent release point at times and thus left some hittable pitches up in the zone. The fastball sat from 88-90 mph with some arm side wiggle to the pitch. Tobey was at his most effective when he commanded the pitch over the inner half of the plate and was very difficult on same-handed hitters. The most impressive pitch in Tobey's arsenal was his curveball. The pitch had incredible depth and he showed a consistent feel to spin the pitch during his entire outing. The pitch worked well for both swings and misses and called strikes, but it was most useful on two-strike counts as a legitimate weapon. Tobey also had a very deceptive pickoff move to first base. 

After adding a home run Friday night, Wayne State outfielder Griffin Harms (2017 Elig., Bingham Farms, Mich.) was at it again on Saturday showcasing his impressive hitting ability in both games. The redshirt senior has a very physical, athletic frame with a small toe tap as a timing mechanism. The high hand set is very high as he is holding the bat high above his head. Harms has good present bat speed with a direct hand path to the baseball through the point of contact. He swings with a lot of intent and was clocked at 4.36 seconds to first from the right side of the plate. 

Outfielder Cabera Weaver (2018, Decatur, Ga.) showed impressive hitting tools on Friday night and he was at it again on Saturday evening. Late into an extra inning affair between South Forsyth and South Gwinnett, Weaver laced a triple to the left centerfield gap. The swing is pretty loose and fluid and he has very good bat speed to go with it. The athleticism plays extremely well as he was able to race around the bases to end up at third. He was able to score on a wild pitch later in the inning to give the Comets the walkoff victory. 
3/3 HS/DII Notes >>
  

3/3/2017 12:00:00 AM

The South Gwinnett Comets squared off against the Mobile Christian Leopards on Friday night and Comets outfielder, and no. 84 ranked player in the 2018 class, Cabera Weaver (Decatur, Ga.) stood out. The Georgia commit has a very projectable frame at 6-foot-3, 175-pounds and has a lot of quick twitch athleticism to go along with his physicality. The outfielder has outstanding bat speed at the plate to go along with a swing that keeps the barrel in the hitting zone. He has a very good feel for connecting with the ball off the barrel of the bat and he has natural power in his swing and frame. The swing is a bit long at times but he is strong enough to get it through the zone quickly and connect with the ball loudly out front. Weaver's athleticism plays very well in the outfield with great range as well. Weaver finished 1-3 with a loud single in his first at-bat.


Righthander Hunter Brown (2019 Elig., St. Clair, Mich.) got the start for the second game of Wayne State's doubleheader and was electric early on. The 6-foot-2, 203-pound freshman sat 88-90 early on and the delivery was pretty easy throughout the outing, although he threw with some effort later in the game. The arm was pretty loose and kind of whippy and he showed good command of the strike zone with the fastball. The velocity dipped as the outing went on but he was pretty consistently 86-88 mph when working out of the windup. The fastball was at its best when he got on top of the pitch and created good plane. When the arm slot was lower the pitch would flatten out and look more hittable. The curveball is a developing pitch but flashed tight break at times. He fights his front side a bit upon landing but landed online toward the plate and pounded the strike zone consistently throughout the evening. Brown showed toughness on the mound and the ability to work out of tough situations and finished the night with five innings of one-run baseball.
2/28 D1/JuCo Notes >>
  

2/28/2017 11:23:46 PM

Today was a light day of action at PG Park. The Alabama State Hornets squared off against the Ohio Bobcats. The Hornets won 12-6 thanks their huge ten-run third inning. All runs scored in the third for the Hornets were with two outs. Diandre Amion had a hot bat and gave the Hornets their first hit in the first inning with a line drive to center in and also had a RBI double down left field line. Amion has a slightly spread stance, with his hands close to chest and small load. He does a great job of taking his hands to the baseball and getting slightly underneath the baseball with a line drive swing plane to create solid contact to both sides of the field. He showed a great ability to drive the ball to the opposite field with ease. Receiving the win for the Hornets was Burke Echelmeir. Burke did an excellent job locating most of his pitches low in the strike zone creating an abundant of ground ball outs. His fastball ran from 85-88 mph, and paired it with a good sinking changeup thrown mostly at 81 mph and a good hard slider that he was able to maintain in the same slot as his fastball to generate a few and swings and misses.

The Georgia Highland Chargers faced the Roane State Raiders in a Tuesday Doubleheader. The Chargers won both games by a score of 6-2 and came back in the later innings of the second game to win 5-4. Jonathan White continues to show solid contact and showcased his power with a three-run blast in the first inning for the Chargers. Jake Lovvorn started the first game for the Chargers and received the win. Freshman David Hussey, closed out the game with his mid-80s fastball that touched 90 mph with life to seal the win. Roane State came out swinging in the first game and tacked on four runs in the first two innings with help from former 20th round pick Shamoy Christopher who brought in a run with a line drive single to left field in the first inning. Christopher had better quality plate appearances on the right side as opposed to the left and caught a solid game overall behind the plate in the first game throwing out a runner in the bottom of the sixth. The Chargers were able to put up up two runs in the fifth inning and three runs in the sixth inning, while their bullpen threw five scoreless innings. Grant Bodison made his return to the field and made a great finish to a double play making a strong throw to first in the bottom of the third inning. 

2/26 D1/NAIA Notes >>
  

2/26/2017 8:01:27 PM

There were a few teams wrapping up their three game series on Sunday. The Canisius Golden Griffins continued to rack up a high amount of hits as they defeated the IPFW Mastadons by a score of 13-6. The Mastadons came out swinging, putting up five runs on six hits in the first inning. The Mastadons batted around the order that inning with almost half of their lineup providing an RBI. Dylan Wilbert, did the most damage with a two-run single. The Golden Griffins fought back and put up a run in the second and fourth and put up ten runs in the seventh. Sophomore William Krull showed some power with a solo blast in the fourth inning and senior Jake Lumley added onto the ten-run seventh inning with a two-run double. Krull went 3-4 on the day.

 

The NHIT Highlanders picked up a win today against the Chicago State. Tyler Stafflinger started the game for the Highlanders, throwing six innings and giving up two runs on three hits while striking out four. Bryan Habertstroh recorded his second save of the year, throwing 3 innings and giving up one run on three hits and striking out one batter. Michael Anastasia had the hot bat today for NJIT as he went 2-4, with a double and two RBI.

 

The Ohio Bobcats and SIU Edwardsville Cougars went into extra innings, with the Bobcats coming out on top winning 2-1 in the thirteenth inning thanks to a lead off double down left field line by Sophomore Rudy Rott, a sac bunt by Junior Michael Klein and a sac fly by junior Evan Bourn to bring in the go ahead run. Senior Jake Rudnicki threw four innings and allowed no hits and no runs while striking out 7. The righthanded pitcher located his fastball low in the zone effectively and also was able to generate swings and misses with his slider by throwing the pitch in the same slot as his fastball to produce early swings from the Cougar’s batters. Junior reliever Jake Roehn picked up the win and senior Matt Mikolajczak received the save.

 

There was a doubleheader between two NAIA schools, the Cleary Cougars and Goshen Maple Leafs, with the Cleary Cougars winning both games with a score of 4-3 and 11-0. In the first game, the Cougars put up 4 in the first and were able to hold off a fourth inning comeback attempt by the Maple Leafs in the who scored three in that inning, but failed to put up any more runs to win the ball game. Cleary’s Tyler Vaughn brought in two runs with a single in the first inning and recorded the save throwing two innings and allowing no runs while giving up three hits and striking out two. In the second game, The Cougars came out swinging putting up three runs in the first and second inning and never looked back. Senior Reid Beffrey had a two-run double to centerfield in the first and an RBI triple in the second. Senior Badih Jawad received the win for the Cleary Cougars.

2/25 HS/D1/JuCo Notes >>
  

2/26/2017 7:24:57 AM

There was plenty action today at Lakepoint as we had games at the collegiate and high school level. Walton High School, ranked 9th in the nation, played a doubleheader against the Johns Creek Gladiators and the Houston County Bears, winning both contest. LHP Luke Bartnicki (2018, Marietta, Ga.), ranked no. 12 in the class overall, started the first game for the Raiders and threw six innings, giving up only one hit, while striking out nine and walking 2. Bartnicki throws with a smooth, simple delivery that he has no trouble repeating. His FB was 90-92 in the 1st and afterwards mostly sat from 86-89. The fastball was extremely effective when paired with his good slider and the slider has the ability to break both planes with tight spin. He mixed in a changeup that had fading life and ran from 78-80. Senior Jason Rooks (2017, Marietta, Ga.) displayed some nice pop going 4-9 and two RBI and catcher Jason Avers (2017, Marietta, Ga.) went 5-7 with four RBI.

 

Johns Creek fell to the Walton Raiders, but rebounded to defeat the East Paulding Raiders. The game was tied at 2, until Cameron Reamer (2018, Johns Creek, Ga.) broke the tie with a three-run blast. Ty Delancey (2017, Dallas, Ga.) started the game for East Paulding and threw five innings, allowing two runs and four hits while striking out two. Delancey threw a fastball that ran from 82-85 mph that he worked low to most batters and mixed in his late breaking mid-70s curveball.

 

The Houston County Bears dropped their first game against the Walton Raiders, but were able to pull out a win against East Paulding. Their bats came alive as they won 8-3 and put up four runs in the 4th and 5th inning. Austin Hittinger (2017, Warner Robbins, Ga.) had a great day at the plate for the Bears, as he hit a combined 3-7. The East Paulding Raiders had a tough day, as they lost both games to Johns Creek and the Houston County Bears. A bright note for the Raiders was Ty Delancey, again, showcasing his power as he hit a solo in the Raiders game against the Bears in the top of the 3rd inning.

 

The Ohio Bearcats and SIU Edwardsville Cougars split in today’s contest, as the Ohio Bearcats won the first game 6-4 and the Cougars winning the second contest 7-4. The Cougars put up 5 runs in the 4th inning and never looked back. Junior Dustin Woodcock (2015, Jacksonville, Ill.) had some strong at bats on Saturday, hitting 3-10 and squaring up a lot of baseballs. Woodcock stands upright and slightly open with a quiet load and small load with a slight lift of his foot. With his physical frame, he had no trouble going the other away against the opposing Bobcats pitchers. He also showed toughness as he fouled a ball off his face in the second game, but fought through the pain and continued to play. The former Louisville Cardinal, Butch Baird (2014, Big Prairie, Ohio) threw today for the Ohio Bobcats. Baird's fastball ran from 84-88 mph with life as he worked it low to majority of the Cougars hitters. When Baird found himself in a jam, he was able to mix in his slow curve (64-68 and changeup which sat in the upper-70s) to get batters to hit the ball into routine outs.

 

The Georgia Highlands Mustangs and Sinclair CC Tartans played some close baseball, but it was the tartans coming out on top in both games. The top of the order for Tartans were on fire in the beginning of the first game as Brandon Henson (2016, Reynoldsburg, Ohio), Colin Shepherd (2016, Westerville, Ohio) and Trevor Hafner (2016, Perrysburg, Ohio) put together a gang of hits to put up 5 runs in the first inning and never looked back.  The second game between the Mustangs and tartans went into extra innings. The Tartans came out on top as they were able to tack on two runs in the 11th to earn the win. Freshman Glen Richardson (2016, North Canton, Ohio) worked a few innings in relief for the Tartans in the second game. He did a good jobs of mixing speeds with his FB, but it mainly ran from 87-91 and he paired that with his curveball which ran from 73-75. Richardson does a great job of working inside and locating low on batters. With his ability to mix speeds on his FB, he was very effective against Mustang hitters in his relief appearance.

 

The Canisius Golden Griffins won both of their Saturday games as they beat Chicago State 8-1and NJIT 6-1. The Canisius Golden Griffins have had some pretty active bats this weekend. Liam Wilson (2013, Ayr, Ontario) and Jake Lumley (2013, Windsor, Ontario) stuck out the most in the first game for the Golden Griffins as Wilson went 4-5 and Lumley went 3-4. In Canisius' second game against NJIT, the game remained close until the Golden Griffins put up three runs in the sixth inning and never looked back. Junior Ryan Stekl (2014, Lancaster, N.Y.) went 3-4 with two RBIs and Brennan Smith (Webster, N.Y.) recorded his first save throwing 2.2 innings and allowing one hit while striking out two. The NJIT Highlanders also dropped their first game to the IPFW Mastadons as the Mastadons broke a 3-3 tie by putting up a run in the sixth and seventh innings to edge out a win. Brandon Phelps (2013, Fort Wayne, Ind.) recorded a save and induced a 6-4-3 double play to conclude the Mastadons 5-3 win. 

2/24 D1/JuCo Notes >>
  

2/25/2017 6:18:01 AM

Friday consisted of some good baseball being played and featured three division one and one junior college game. The Chicago State Cougars and the IPFW Mastodons went back and forth in the late innings of their 3 pm battle, but the Cougars came out victorious with a three-run inning in the top of the ninth fueled by a Jacob Vanitvelt RBI double and Matt Paciello RBI single to center to cushion the lead.

The Ohio University Bobcats and SIU Edwardsville Cougars played a very close and tight game with the Cougars coming on top 2-1, thanks to the catcher, Brock Weimer, game winning RBI single to centerfield off of the Bobcats senior reliever Jake Rudnicki in the 8th.  Mason McReaken received the save for the Cougars throwing with a three-quarter arm angle and good running fastball that ran from 87-89 mph.

The Georgia Highlands Mustangs defeated the Sinclair CC Tartans 6-3. Colby Taylor worked quickly and efficiently and continuously pounded the strike zone with a fastball that ran from 86-90 mph which he did a great job of running in on batters.  Taylor also showed a changeup that flashed a lot of potential and showed a great fading action and generated plenty of swings and misses. He was able to replicate arm speed for each pitch thrown which left most of the Tartan hitters off balanced. A notable thrower for Sinclair today was freshman, Jack Goonan. He worked from the half and reaches his arm all the way back to throw a nice smooth fastball in the low-90s. Goonan also threw a pretty sharp and hard curve in the low 80s and mixed in his mid 80s change from time to time. Third baseman, Jonathan White barreled the baseball consistently, as he brought in the first run of the ball game for the Mustangs and showed off his range with a diving force out play in the middle inning of the game.

Today’s final game was between the Canisius Golden Griffins and IPFW Mastodons. After being defeated by Chicago State, IPFW started the game off rough conceding three runs in the first inning. They fought back and put up a run in the second inning and decreased the lead by one with the help of Robert Young III solo shot to left. Zachary Sloan started the game for the Golden Griffins and threw very well. Sloan has a medium frame and long lower half with a smooth and balanced delivery. He throws with an over the top arm angle, with a fastball that runs from 86-89 mph with life and a nice tight breaking slider that has the ability to break both planes. Canisius eventually pulled away and scored fiver runs in the eighth and won the game 8-4.

2/23 HS Spring Swing Scout Notes >>
  

2/23/2017 12:00:00 AM

Thursday was a bit lighter on the schedule but still saw two one-run games at Perfect Game Park. North Oconee squared off against Hiram while North Paulding faced off against Dunwoody.



North Oconee tabbed their ace to start on the mound as the no. 1 ranked prospect for the 2018 class, per Perfect Game, Kumar Rocker (Watkinsville, Ga.) looked to get the Titans the victory. Rocker opened up the game by sitting 90-92 mph early on and wearing out the strike zone with fastballs. He commanded the pitch very well on the evening and the fastball had late, heavy life down in the strike zone. The Vanderbilt signee mixed in few offspeed pitches but showed a hard changeup in the low-80s and a breaking ball with sharp, late break and tight spin. Despite it being February, Rocker looked as polished as ever racking up strikeouts as the opposing hitters could not match up against the high-velocity fastball. He showed outstanding arm speed and the arm action was very clean throughout the delivery. He still throws with almost no effort and he looked very impressive during his outing. Rocker racked up eight strikeouts in just four innings of work as he allowed only one hit throughout his performance and helped secure the 1-0 victory. The junior campaign is often one of the most important seasons for high school prospects and the no. 1 prospect in the class showed once again what makes him so special of a talent on Thursday night.

Pitching in their game against North Paulding was righthander Josh Hudgins (2018, Dunwoody, Ga.) and Hudgins helped keep a scoreless tie going late in the game. Hudgins stands on the mound at a listed 6-foot-1, 199-pounds with a very athletic build loaded with quick twitch. The delivery consisted of a simple side step and leg lift into the release of the pitch with a loose arm action throughout. Hudgins throws across the front side of his body but has a lower three-quarter arm slot and a crossfire element to his landing to work with which allowed some deception to opposing hitters. He mixed in few offspeed pitches and primarily relied on a fastball, which sat from 83-86 mph topping out at 87 mph, that had some late arm side life. He worked both sides of the plate effectively, pounded the zone with strikes, and worked very quickly on the mound. Hudgins would ultimately not factor into the decision, North Paulding won on a walk-off single in the bottom of the eighth, but the uncommitted arm showed a lot of promising tools during his performance. 
2/22 NAIA/HS Spring Swing Scout Notes >>
  

2/22/2017 9:19:18 PM

Bryan College and Toccoa Falls squared off for a double header on Wednesday at Perfect Game Park at Lakepoint. Bryan won both games and showed players who had intriguing skill sets. 

The 3-hole hitter for the Lions, and former Los Angeles Angels draftee in 2012, Justin Morhardt (2017 Elig., Winstead, Conn.) had a strong day at the plate and smoked the ball in almost every plate appearance. Morhardt has a strong, physical frame with muscular build throughout his listed frame of 6-foot-3, 220-pounds. He keeps his hands close to his body and then separates into a deeper hand load as the pitch comes in. Morhardt creates leverage throughout the swing with a line drive/flyball approach and looks to hit the ball for power. The lower half is very strong and he does a good job at shifting his weight through the point of contact to generate power. He hits from both sides of the plate but presently the lefthanded swing is more fluid. Morhardt had a number of extra base-hits on the afternoon but none was more impressive than his no doubt, walk-off shot to deep right field, that traveled an estimated 355 feet, to win the first game of the doubleheader. 

The Lions had an impressive effort from the back end of the bullpen to close out the second game and sweep the double header. Righthanders Brandon Marklund (2017 Elig., North Vancouver, Canada) and Chad Burrows (2017 Elig., Nassau, Bahamas) both reached 90 mph and helped quell the opposing offense.

Marklund came in late in the game and immediately made his presence known with a fastball in the low-90s. The pitch sat from 90-93 mph and had late life to it. He stands at a lean 6-foot-1, 185-pounds with remaining room on his frame to fill out. An avid collector of maple leafs according to his bio, he throws from a three-quarter arm slot with good arm speed on his delivery. The arm action has some violence to it but he is able to repeat his delivery well. Marklund did not throw a lot of pitches but the majority of the pitches were fastballs located to the glove side and showed a feel to command the pitch well. He also mixed in a couple of changeups in the low-80s with not much depth but similar arm speed to his fastball. 

Closing out the game was the 6-foot-4, 240-pound senior closer for the lions Chad Burrows. The physical righthander attacked hitters with fastballs that were mostly straight and sat from 87-90 mph. The arm action was full throughout the back and slightly rigid with a soft stab in the back. Burrows has a high leg lift and hides the ball well making his overall delivery a bit deceptive, especially to same-handed hitters. He worked the fastball to both sides of the plate and got downhill occasionally. There was not much lower-half involvement but he filled up the strike zone and closed out the victory with an uneventful top of the seventh inning. 

The Cartersville Hurricanes and Walton Raiders squared off in a highly-anticipated matchup between two of the top programs in the state. Cartersville came away with a big 10-1 victory on Wednesday night and their big batters were the primary reason for the victory. 

One of the more dangerous hitters for the 2018 class collected another deep home run as Devin Warner (Euharlee, Ga.) helped the Hurricanes pile on their lead. A switch-hitter, Warner took all of his at-bats from the left side on Wednesday and in the past Warner has been more of a power threat from the left side. The Auburn commit has tremendous bat speed and his hands explode directly to the ball upon his swing. The swing is leveraged for power and overall the swing is very smooth. Warner's listed frame of 6-foot-2, 205-pounds makes him an extremely physical prospect and gives him tremendous raw power. He shifts well into contact with strong use of his lower half and hips. Warner took a hanging breaking pitch and deposited the pitch deep into the night and over the right field wall. He remains one of the top power hitters for the class and continues to hit home runs in big situations.

Warner's teammate and starting catcher on Wednesday Jonathan Martin (2019, Cartersville, Ga.) was the first Hurricane to hit a home run on the evening. Martin took a fastball and carried it over the left-centerfield wall to put the finishing touches on Cartersville's four-run top of the first. The Alabama commit has a shorter, more compact swing path with some bat speed throughout the zone and more of a line drive approach. The swing incorporates an inside hand path with a small stride toward the pitcher and the ability to hit the ball hard out in front. Martin can add depth to an already dangerous Cartersville lineup and if he can hit the ball with home run power he could develop into one of the top hitters in the state. Cartersville routed the Raiders by a score of 10-1 and showed that the Hurricanes are going to be a force to be reckoned with in the state, especially if they continue to hit like they did on Wednesday night. 
2/18 HS Spring Swing Scout Notes >>
  

2/19/2017 12:36:15 AM

Rhett Daniel (2018, Carrollton, Ga.) started off the first high school time slot of the day for the Carrollton Trojans. Daniel is listed at a very tall and lean 6-foot-5, 178-pounds with a lot of room on the frame for physical projection. He threw from a longer arm action with a full arm circle through the back and showed early that he planned to attack hitters with his fastball. For the majority of the game the pitch sat from 83-86 mph and topped out at 87 mph on occasion. The fastball was mostly straight and it was at its most effective when he pounded the lower third of the strike zone with it. Daniel found trouble when the fastball was up, but for the majority of the afternoon the pitch was very hard to lift off the ground. He also mixed in a changeup and curveball that were both developing secondaries that registered in the mid-70s. Daniel finished the day with four strong innings allowing only three hits and one unearned run while striking out three.

Daniel's teammate and Carrollton's centerfielder and leadoff hitter Michael Wright (2017, Douglasville, Ga.) showed off an interesting skill set highlighted by his speed. The Southern University signee has a tall, projectable frame at a listed 6-foot-2, 185-pounds. Wright oozes athleticism and his high-end speed allows him to cover a lot of ground in centerfield; he can range to both sides in order to make tough catches. At the plate, he has a compact swing path with a contact-oriented approach. The stance is a bit stiff with a high hand set and closed, narrow stance, however his swing is very quick through the hitting zone and allows the barrel of the bat to impact the ball at a high velocity. He uses his speed to beat out ground balls and even reach base via bunt; Wright was clocked at 4.05 seconds to first base on a bunt from the right side. 

One of the more impressive feats of strength was a no-doubt home run that came off the bat of shortstop Tristan Capocci (2017, Villa Rica, Ga.) for the Alexander Cougars. Capocci has strength throughout his physical build, registering at 6-foot and 200-pounds, and it showed with his majestic shot to left that just missed the scoreboard. The Navy commit got a high fastball and drove the ball well out of the park, and he knew as soon as he hit it. Capocci has a very quick, compact swing from the right side with a short leg lift trigger and a wide base. He showed some separation in his swing with good bat speed and a line drive plane to his swing. He also showed off clean defensive actions at short with sound footwork and average-to-above average arm strength from the position. Capocci has a personal best of 6.92 in the 60-yard dash and is overall an impressive athlete on the baseball field with the ability to impact a game near the top of the lineup.

Closing out the win for North Paulding and earning the save was talented righthander Chandler Wood (2019, Dallas, Ga.). Wood has an ideal pitchers frame as he is listed at 6-foot-3, 215-pounds with physicality present throughout his build. There is some effort throughout the delivery but overall it is pretty textbook with quick arm speed and a hook through the back of his arm action. He attacked hitters early and often with a heavy fastball that sat from 83-86 mph with downward life to the pitch. Wood's misses were rare but when he did they were often low and out of the zone. He showed a curveball that showed advanced spin to the pitch despite its short break. The pitch sat in the high-60s and was extremely difficult to read out of his hand, due to the deception in his delivery with his high leg lift. Wood showed all the makings of, and looked the part of, a very effective pitcher and with his velocity as high as 90 mph in the past, it will be fun to monitor his development throughout his sophomore campaign. 

Blessed Trinity is a baseball program known for consistently being one of the top high schools in the state of Georgia. A pair of Titans showed off impressive tools in their 8-1 victory over Alexander as lefthander Patrick McNamara (2017, Roswell, Ga.) and first baseman Cole McNamee (2017, Milton, Ga.) led the way.

McNamara was awarded the start and immediately made his presence felt. The Presbyterian commit has a very compact, deceptive delivery and that combined with his good extension allowed his stuff to play exceptionally well against opposing hitters. He worked very quickly with an upbeat tempo and his high three-quarter arm slot added yet another tool in his arsenal to make his pitches more difficult to square up. The fastball sat in the mid-80s, topping out at 85 mph on the day and was mostly straight with occasional heavy life to it. The pitch was extremely difficult in the lower third of the strike zone with a difficult angle to it. The curveball flashed tight spin and was a bit inconsistent, but when the pitch was on, opposing hitters had no chance and it was utilized as a swing-and-miss pitch. McNamara had some control issues, at times his mechanics were out of sync which led to four walks, but his stuff was very impressive and he was able to record three hitless innings while striking out four. 

One of the hardest hit balls that this scout saw all Saturday came off the bat of McNamee. He laced a line drive on a trajectory slightly over the head of the shortstop and the liner almost took the shortstop with it. The Wake Forest commit is a very physical 6-foot-4, 230-pounds and that present strength and build plays well into a righthanded power profile. McNamee has quick hands and a swing on a line drive plane with some leverage and life in the swing. He showed a good feel for controlling the barrel head of the bat and was able to square up most pitches he swung at on the afternoon. McNamee shifted his weight into contact on occasion and has the raw power to be a consistent threat to leave the ball park. 

Allatoona High School's opening season tournament was moved to Perfect Game Park at Lakepoint late in the afternoon on Saturday so Allatoona HS, Chapel Hill HS, McEachern HS, and South Paulding HS all played doubleheaders late into Saturday evening.



Perfect Game All-American and potential high draft pick Kyle Jacobsen (2017, Acworth, Ga.) showed off the tools and skill set that makes him so sought after. The defense, speed, and athleticism is as good as it has ever been with good speed on the base paths and the tools to stick in centerfield at the next level. Jacobsen made loud contact on a number of at-bats including a triple to the right-center gap and a very loud fly out to deep centerfield. The South Carolina commit starts slightly open with a high hand set and his extremely quick hands allow him to generate good bat speed throughout the zone. He gets good separation with a long stride toward the pitcher and showed fluidity in his swing. Jacobsen has long shown the ability to generate loud contact both in the past and present, and he will look to show off his hit tool consistently during his senior campaign with the Buccaneers. 



Closing out the busy Saturday at Lakepoint was a matchup between McEachern and Chapel Hill where senior lefthander Marlin Willis (2017, Powder Springs, Ga.) showed why scouts are tantalized by his present abilities and what he projects to become. Willis's frame is very tall and lean with plus projection throughout his 6-foot-4, 195-pound build and leaves to the imagination what velocity could await once he reaches physical maturity. The arm action is very long with looseness throughout and he releases from an extended three-quarter arm slot. The Georgia commit has some shoulder tilt and gets plus extension down the pitching rubber. Willis' fastball sat in the 85-88 mph range with some short, late arm side wiggle. The velocity varied at times and he was able to bump up the pitch to hit 90 mph twice. He showed an awareness for the running game with an excellent pickoff move. Willis throws with effort at times, and the delivery is pretty simple and compact. The length of the arm action may cause some timing issues, he did struggle with control at times, but when he is in sync the combination of extension, angle, and release made his fastball deadly. The curveball was not thrown often but it sat in the mid- to upper 70s with 1/7 shape, tight spin, and very good depth. Willis remains one of the highest upside arms in the class and could be in store for a huge draft boost with a big high school season. 
2/12 JuCo/NAIA/HS Scout Notes >>
  

2/12/2017 8:42:46 PM

University of the Cumberlands Patriots squared off against the Mount Mercy Mustangs for the opening game of NAIA play on Sunday. Cumberlands starter Zach Hurley (2017 Elig., East Bernstadt, Ky.) turned in an impressive effort on the mound and showed off some good tools in the process. Hurley stands on the mound with a strong lower half and has physicality present throughout his frame. He throws from a longer arm action with a slight wrist hook through the back of the delivery, though the arm circle is very full. Hurley started by working his fastball to both sides of the plate and showed good command of the pitch throughout his start. The fastball was his biggest weapon on Sunday as the pitch sat from 86-88 mph and topped out at 89 mph on the day. The pitch did not have much movement to it, but Hurley got on top of it often to create a tough angle for opposing hitters. He mixed in a slider that was a decent pitch, but he used it with confidence and effectiveness. Hurley showed impressive pitchability throughout the day: he pitched backwards, threw his breaking ball for both strikes and swings and misses, and hit his spots often. Hurley finished the day with a complete game shutout and three strikeouts. 

There was a High School Spring Swing doubleheader going on at the same time between Next Level Academy and East Cobb Academy. Next Level was able to win both games and a couple of players who recently participated in the 2017 World Showcase stood out. 

Catcher Paul McIntosh (2017, Miami Gardens, Fla.) showed that he has made a lot of progress and is better able to utilize his defensive tools behind the plate. McIntosh's most impressive tool behind the plate was his arm strength. He registered a number of in-game pop times in the 2.00 range and threw out at least two baserunners on the day, both of which were not particularly close. The Alabama State signee also showed good wrist strength and receiving skills to go along with quickness and athleticism to showcase his blocking ability. McIntosh's calling card as a prospect, however, is the bat. The offensive tools are as good as ever with the ability to drop the barrel head onto the baseball and to create natural leverage in his swing. He shifts his weight well into the point of contact and he still has very good bat speed. One of his offensive highlights on the day was a double rocketed down the left field line in the second game.

The other participant of the World Showcase who impressed today was righthanded pitcher Myles McKisic (2017, Delray Beach, Fla.). The 6-foot-2, 184-pound righthander is very slender and projectable on the mound with little effort throughout his delivery. He throws from an extended three-quarter arm slot with a long arm action and did a good job at getting downhill on Sunday. McKisic is extremely athletic in general, he is a rare player who can play shortstop or centerfield, and his athleticism shows on the mound. He worked using a two-pitch repertoire of fastball and curveball on Sunday. The fastball topped out at 88 mph on the day and sat between 84-87 mph. The pitch had some late life to it including some cutting action. The fastball was tough to get good contact off as he created a difficult entry angle into the strike zone. The breaking pitch had slurvy action to it and came in the mid-70s with some depth; he showed some feel to spin the pitch. McKisic's command was excellent in his final inning of work and made short work of opposing hitters in the seventh inning. The Pensacola State commit is an intriguing potential two-way prospect who has shown the ability to hit and play very good defense in the past. 



Perfect Game Park was nearly filled to the brim with professional scouts leading up to the final game of a three-game set between junior colleges Georgia Highlands and Walters State. There was a lot of buzz surrounding the starting pitcher for Walters State Ricky Karcher (2017 Elig., Saline, Mich.). The former Michigan Wolverine showed a lot of potential on the mound Sunday and showed enough tools on the mound to be on teams radars come June. Karcher is listed at a lean 6-foot-4, 195-pounds and looked it as well. He has a very quick, clean arm with a bit of a soft stab throughout the back of his delivery. Karcher throws with very little effort on the mound and came out of the gate firing fastballs between 91-93 mph consistently. With the delivery being almost effortless it's not crazy to wonder how hard the velocity might be upon peak physical maturity. The pitch had some late life and because he threw with such little effort he could ramp up the velocity as needed. On a two-strike pitch early on, he threw with noticeably more effort and registered his fastest velo of the day at 95 mph. He extended well towards the plate and created some separation. The velocity dropped a bit in his second inning of work but he did labor through his two innings of work on the mound. The command was a bit shaky although he worked pretty well side-to-side. Karcher ran into some issues today but he showed a lot of promise and potential for the future on the mound Sunday. 
2/11 JuCo/NAIA/HS Notes >>
  

2/11/2017 8:15:34 PM

Noah Gapp (2017 Elig. St. Albert, Canada) had an imposing frame on the mound for the Cumberlands Patriots and fired six shutout innings in their first game of the day. Gapp started with a drop and drive element on the mound with a leg lift tight to the belt and a slight pause at his balance point. He alternated his directionality to the plate at times, occasionally working over his front side and crossfire down the mound. He had quality arm strength and overall ease to his delivery which came through a 3/4 slot. His arm swing worked long through the back with a slight stab and clean acceleration through release. His fastball worked 88-91 mph early on with short arm side life. The pitch generated a lot of first pitch swings, and though they were not swings and misses, they were usually hit on the ground and fielded. Gapp used a three pitch mix on the mound, folding in both a changeup in the low 80's and a slider touching the mid 80's. The changeup showed quality depth and fade with replicated arm speed and he was willing to double down on the pitch to left handed hitters, attempting to get them to chase. His slider was easily his third offering with shorter snap and tight spin, but he lacked confidence in the pitch. Gapp's 6-foot-6, 220-pound frame certainly catches the attention of scouts, but his extension through the ball helped him separate himself. He consistently was getting seven or more feet of extension through the ball, really finishing through it on the mound.

In the game between the Cumberlands and Bethel, a pair of player's drove the ball exceptionally well with Brian Benz (2017 Elig., Arlington, TX) and Lucas Riddick (2017 Elig., Dyersburg, TN). Riddick opened up the first inning for Bethel, while facing Gapp, and drove a triple loudly off the wall for a triple. His swing worked quick and compact to drive the ball 99 mph off the bat. Riddick showed quality bat to ball skills and quickness to his hands. Benz provided the power for the Patriots' offense clubbing a very deep, and quite loud, two-run home run to right-centerfield. TrackMan registered his home run at just over 418 feet with a naturally lofted swing plane and plenty of strength to drive the ball in his frame. 



The doubleheader between Georgia Highlands and the highly touted Walters State provided little offense, but plenty of pitching. Walters State opened with Sam Gardner who fired an impressive 5 2/3 shutout innings on the mound working his fastball between 89-92 mph and topping out at 93. Gardner's arm action worked long through the back with occasional stab as he changed with looks to the plate. He threw from a high 3/4 slot and occasionally straight over the top, working over his front side at landing. He casted his glove side out with a high front shoulder, but tucked well through release and was able to repeat his release point reasonably well. Gardner carried a no-hitter into the 5th inning, pounding the zone and working hitters hard inside with his fastball. He worked with a plan on the mound and his ability to locate his fastball to both sides of the plate, let the effectiveness of his slider, that worked in the upper 70's play up a bit. Like his fastball, his slider worked best when located on the outer third, away from a right handed hitter, usually freezing them with two strikes. That approach helped him collect 10 strikeouts on the day. 

Backing up Gardner out of the Senators bullpen was Missouri commit Nile Ball (2017 Elig., Decatur, GA). Ball pitched in this series last season, using a similar, short arm action with a quick arm through release. There are parts of Ball's delivery that look a bit disjointed from the stretch, but he made it work in a quick 1 1/3 relief stint, registering a save. Ball let his front side drift down the mound and lets his leg swing way in front of his body before release. He threw from a 3/4 arm slot with a fastball that worked in the low 90's, up to 93, from the wind-up and in the upper 80's and up to 90 from the stretch. He showed a pair of secondary offerings in the form of a changeup which he enjoyed throwing consistently to right handed hitters. For a player with a quality fastball he relied heavily on on his off-speed pitches, both the changeup and a slider that worked in the upper 70's. He threw only a handful of fastballs, but they showed short running life to the arm side and he challenged hitters to all zones of the plate. 

Competing against both Ball and Gardner was Colby Taylor (2017 Elig., Fayetteville, GA) for Georgia Highlands. Taylor fired a sterling five inning performance on the mound impressive command a fastball that worked in the upper 80's, touching 89 mph with good life. His arm action was still slightly hooked in the back and came through release from a 3/4 arm slot. He showed both a curveball and changeup for his off-speed pitches and mixed all three very well in his time on the mound. 



Starting and eventually earning the win for the Senators in the second leg of the doubleheader was Hunter Stratton (2017 Elig., Bristol, TN). Stratton has a physical build on the mound with broad shoulders and good present strength. He started with a short leg lift that didn't quite reach his belt and a very deep hip turn from the wind-up. The hip turn created some deception, but caused him to become slightly disjointed throughout. Stratton's arm action was short and quick through the back with a hard hook before accelerating through a 3/4 arm slot. What hampered Stratton's command was working so hard over his front side and stiff landing leg. He had trouble finding his release point and consistently missed low in the zone with his fastball. His fastball did work in the low 90's early on in the game and got up to 93 mph for the first handful of pitches with short arm side life. He mixed in a quality slider with 10-to-4 shape and generated a handful of swings and misses. When his fastball was commanded well, it was up in the zone and challenging hitters after setting them up away with his slider.

Ivan Johnson (2017 Elig., Atlanta, GA) has made his way to the Home Plate Citadels for the spring leading up to his draft year, and the 2017 shortstop looks considerably more physical than in past viewings. Johnson, a switch hitter, took nearly all of his swings from the right side in Home Plate's doubleheader. He showed present bat speed from both sides of the plate with better feel from the left side. He did turn in quality at-bats as a right handed hitter with plate coverage with length and a leveraged swing at the point of contact, collecting a pair of hits. 
2/4 NAIA and JuCo Notes >>
  

2/4/2017 7:34:15 PM

The first game of the day between the #1 Keiser Seahawks and the #8 UNOH Racers did not disappoint. The pitcher's duel started with the physical Kyle Thomas (2017 Elig. Mississauga, ON) taking the mound for UNOH with a durable 6-foot-3, 200-pound frame. Thomas used a short, compact arm action that was hooked through the back with quality arm strength through release. His fastball worked 90-92 mph with good arm side life. He had trouble keeping his fastball low in the zone and should have challenged hitters up and out of the zone. He landed open down the mound slightly on a stiff front leg and repeated well enough. He threw four innings on the mound and mixed in a pair of breaking balls early on. He threw a harder slider at 79 mph with shorter depth and bite that he really pulled across his body. Thomas looked far more comfortable with his curveball that sat in the mid 80's with 10-to-4 shape and quality spin. The pitch was thrown in the correct count and helped supplement his fastball when it was not as effective. 

For the #1 Seahawks, Kyle Keatts (2017 Elig. Jupiter, FL) was dominant on the mound with seven strong shutout innings, allowing just three hits. Keatts did exceptionally well to repeat his long, fluid arm action on the mound and pound his fastball to the lower third. Keatts has a smaller, more physical frame, but uses it well to get his momentum down the mound with solid extension. His fastball worked in the upper 80's and touched 90 mph with short arm side life. Keatts showed a quality swing and miss pitch with his slider in the upper 70's that showed above average spin and helped him rack up a handful of his eight strikeouts. Keatts impressively got 16 of his 21 outs via either strikeout or groundout, limiting the potential damage leaving his fastball up in the air. 

Though he has did not collect a game in either game, Tivon Faneyte (2017 Elig. Christchurch, VA) showed some of the best raw bat speed of anyone playing in either game going on. Fanyete has good strength in his frame with a short, leveraged swing and routinely turned in exit velocities over 95 mph. Most of what he hit happened to be lined right at fielders, but with his current approach and ability to drive the ball that should not last long. 

Georgia Highlands shortstop Grant Bodison (2017 Elig, Simpsonville, SC) delivered yet again at the plate for the Chargers. For the second day in a row he launched a towering home run to left field. Bodison has a longer hand path to the ball when he looks to tap into some of his raw power with higher end bat speed. He needs to find consistency with his timing mechanisms and his path to the ball as he faces better pitching throughout the year. He did show well defensively today, showing arm strength back to his high school days with the same first step quickness.



Andy Rivera (2017 Elig. Miami, FL) turned in perhaps the most impressive outing of the day for any pitcher. He helped Chattanooga State salvage the series, picking up the final game with a dominant start and helped quiet the very loud Highlands offense. Rivera used a loose, full arm action on the mound from an extended three quarter slot. Rivera maintained good directionality to the plate and attacked hitters right away with a fastball that worked 90-93 mph with good arm side life. He worked over his front side quite a bit and landed on a stiff front leg. Rivera generated good deception with a deeper hip turn and the extended slot, but managed to work both sides of the plate efficiently. He worked almost exclusively off of his fastball in the outing, but did show a changeup in the low 80's that showed late depth and drop out of the zone. He replicated his arm speed well for the changeup, which caused it to play up, but the development of a third pitch, and one that could work away from righthanders would give him a quality three pitch arsenal. 
Georgia Highlands Notes 2/3 >>
  

2/4/2017 12:00:00 AM

Shortstop Grant Bodison (2017 elig. Simpsonville, SC) made his Highlands debut in loud fashion with a very high arching home run to left field. Bodison has quality hand speed at the plate and will show the ability to drive the ball in the air. His hand path can get long at times with trouble repeating his swing path, but he has raw tools at the plate. Bodison starts open and tall in the box with a quick toe tap into another set position. He drove the ball well when on time, but will look for consistency with additional at-bats. He reached base in all but one of his four trips to the plate, with the home run, a single, and a pair of walks. His approach will need to be refined as he moves through the spring, being a bit more selective, but he made a strong impression in their first game. Defensively, Bodison was tested early and often up the middle. His first step is above average, with long strides and quality actions to the ball. He struggled with accuracy and arm strength when set and on the move, spiking a pair of throws, but still showing quality athleticism. 

 

Brandon Bell (2017 elig. Fayetteville, GA) picked up where he left off after a strong freshman season. Bell moved down to the four spot in the order, helping to replace some of the offensive production vacated by the likes of Zach McCrum and Daniel Gooden. Bell worked with a new hand set and slightly more active hand load, but showed similar bat speed and strength. Bell's swing works through his core and he certainly has enough strength to drive the ball in the air. He blew the game open early on with a loud grand slam home run that left the bat at 104.5 mph off the barrel with a short, leveraged swing that barely snuck over the left field wall because the pitch was hit so hard. The Georgia State commit stayed back on a curveball in an 0-2 count and could be underway to another big season. 

Infielder Israel Zackery (2017 elig. Conyers, GA) showed quality athleticism on the right side of the infield with clean footwork around the bag. He showed a compact swing with a line drive swing plane. Zackery had good rhythm in the box from a wide base with a clean weight shift into contact.

Righthanded pitcher Colby Taylor (2017 elig. Fayetteville, GA) showed quality arm strength on the mound and pitched well in his outing. He used a medium arm action through the back with a slight hook before coming through from a three quarter arm slot. He landed in-line to the plate with balance and repeated his slot at landing well. His fastball showed good heaviness with short arm side life at 84-88 mph and up to 89 mph early in the game. Taylor showed average extension through the ball and worked through it best when from the windup, cutting off when from the stretch. He worked around the zone and kept his fastball low, not allowing a run. He also worked in a curveball with 10-to-4 shape and good depth. He mixed the pitch in well and threw it with confidence. The pitch showed average spin, but showed good feel on the mound, throwing it in the correct count, keeping hitters off balance. 
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