Tuesday, September 18, 2012

PG Evoshield

Perfect Game recently put on a tournament at the Goodyear and Camelback spring training sites.  This tournament brought a number of big names and quality 2013 and 2014 baseball players.

The reports below are based on this tournament only.  Many of these players also played at PG National, of which I have video for all 18 games, and will be writing all-encompassing reports later this offseason.

I was at this tournament for 3 of the 4 days and below are my reports on the players I saw in this time (with attached video when applicable):

2013 Prospects

SS/3B Brantley Bell (Uncommitted) - Bell features a slight uppercut swing w/ avg bat speed.  He likes to ambush and jump on pitches early in the count.  The swing is easy to maintain and is extremely repeatable.  His frame will move the HS SS to 3B at some point, as the 6'2", 175 pounder doesn't have the range to play SS as a pro.  He does feature gd actions and his biggest problem in the field (letting the ball play him) will go away at 3B.  He showed below avg arm speed (82-83 on the mound), but reliable accuracy.  Is the son of Jay Bell and projects as a potential utility IF, if not everyday 3B.  If you draft him now, you are buying the bat and body.

1B/LHS Cody Bellinger (Oregon) - The Oregon commit stood out immediately for his above avg bat speed (I thought he had the best bat speed of all the guys I saw at this tourney).  The wiry hitter generated this bat speed by getting out on his front side, which concerns me going forward.  He actually reminds me a bit of Dodgers minor league OF Joc Pederson.  Bellinger featured an ability to barrel balls and showed the ability to keep his hands back despite his backside collapsing.  As a pitcher, he worked 85-86, topping out at 87, and showed a devastating 2 plane CB at 73 from a 3/4 release.  For me, he is a better prospect as a hitter, but it wouldn't surprise me in the least to see him pitch at 88-90 in 3 years.  With that being said, I do not think he is physically ready for pro ball and would recommend he attend Oregon.


RHS Derek Burkamper (Nebraska) - When it came to prospects jumping out to me, Burkamper was near the top of the list.  A guy that pounds the strike zone, he featured a 3 pitch mix and flashed strike throwing ability with all 3.  The wiry prospect featured a FB at 86-88 that maintained its velo through 4 innings with a CB at 68-75 that flashed gd spin (threw a get me over at 68-71 that was a big breaker and a tight out pitch at 73-75) and a CH at 77-78 that featured gd armspeed.  He creates a windmill arm action for himself, which can make pitching down in the zone a challenge as he moves forward.  He profiles as a potential 5th starter and is a draft guy for me if commits himself to getting stronger and can start bumping 90 before the draft.


OF Kyle Carruthers (Uncommitted) - The small, loose Carruthers DH'd for the Atlanta Blue Jays squad down here and I wonder if an injury was affecting him or if he was just out of sync, as he never looked comfortable at the plate.  A mechanical swing that utilizes a lot of leverage, I saw a player who needed to hit line drives, but instead hit a lot of fly balls.  A good athlete, he was struggling a lot w/ timing and appeared to be hitting tight.  Hard to judge him off this tourney, will be interested to see how he looks when delve into the PG National video.


3B Tyler Cohen (Loyola Marymount) - While I didn't focus on Cohen, it was hard for you to miss him on or off the field.  He was the social butterfly of the GBG Yak squad, helping keep everyone loose and had no issue with self-deprecating humor.  On the field, he showed some bat speed and played the game like it was his last time on the field.  He played extremely hard, was always hard out of the box and showed the ability to take the extra base if the OF's eased up on him.  While he doesn't have the raw tools of a draft guy, you can't count out guys who play the game that hard, as those are the guys who work their tails off in the weight room.  I will be interested to see where he ends up as a collegiate junior.

RHS Tanner Draper (Oregon State) - Projectable mdm, athletic loose body that projects to get up to 200 or 215, features ok present stuff with a FB at 86-89 early, but fell to the 84-87 range in the 4th.  Only saw him throw fastballs in the 2 innings (1st and 4th) that I watched.  He really struggled to command the pitch on this day, but had exceptional arm speed where you can project him to work 89-91 as the body fills out.  Due to physical development, would recommend college.


LHP/OF Grant Gamble (Nebraska) - The Nebraska commit from Colorado didn't do much to stand out either on the mound or in the box.  On the mound, he was a funk lefty working 79-80 and a CB at 63 from a low 3/4 release.  In the box, he showed below avg bat speed with a leg kick.  He features a projectable body and he stood out for his arm strength in the OF when I saw him earlier this year at the MLB Dugout Invitational, but Nebraska is buying the body and potential.  A guy to monitor down the road.

OF Brad Keith (Maryland) - The Maryland commit oozes tools, featuring a projectable 6'3", 165 pound body.  A future corner outfielder, he showed a 6 arm in RF with the potential to grow into more as the body projects.  Currently has below avg bat speed (more due to hitting mechanics then speed), but projects to have avg bat speed.  Doesn't feature a lot of loft now, but can see him running into 7-10 homers a year as he gets older.  To me, he is a future 4th OF who needs college for the body development, as he would be overwhelmed in pro ball.  Definitely a guy to watch as a collegiate junior.


3B Matt Leuty (Nebraska) - Another Nebraska commit, it took me 3 games to start moving off him as a potential pro guy out of high school.  Mdm, sturdy build w/ gd present strength and projects to have the prototypical 3B build.  Avg bat speed in a swing that just needs to more consistently incorporate loft, as I believe there is avg power in there.  I think he is going to hit for avg and power and profile as a 6 hole hitter in a MLB lineup.  At 3B, he showed gd reacions and avg to above avg arm strength.  He should be able to stay at 3B.  The reason I ultimately think he may be better served for college is that he really struggled recognizing some premium pitching (Jack Morello) and think it would be better for his development to face it in college.  Intrigues me and is a draft guy to me if he has a big spring.


LHP Ben Miller (Nebraska) - As this tourney was apparently the Nebraska commit invitational, Miller was yet another lefty arm who showed some intriguing tools.  Has a bit of a bad body with a thick lower half, he is another funk lefty.  He worked 84-86 with his FB that bored in on LHH and followed that up with a CB at 66-72 that flashed avg with tight spin.  He also threw one CH that I saw at 76 that had gd armspeed and looked like it should have been featured in his repetoire more.  His arm action concerns me, as he short-arms the ball and doesn't appear to be a very athletic throw.  I think he is a college guy who will fit nicely in the pen at Nebraska as a lefty specialist with the potential to grow into a draft guy.


RHP Jack Morello (Uncommitted) - You can't help but love the way this guy pitches.  A smallish righty with a loose, athletic build, he absolutely attacks.  He had been shut down for a fairly significant amount of time before this start and you could tell he got tired in the 4th inning, when he began to pitch up and out of the zone.  The first 3 innings, he was great.  He attacked hitters with a FB at 87-89 that jumped on you, a plus CH at 75-78 that had gd armspeed and life and a developing SL at 78-79 that was a short 3/4 tilt pitch.  While lacking the prototypical size of a drafted pitcher, he had a great feel for pitching.  I immediately thought of former Arizona State ace Brady Rodgers when I saw him, as they both have a quick-tempoed delivery and appear to almost jump at the hitter.  While Morello doesn't have Rodgers raw stuff, he has a chance to grow into a draftable guy as a junior.  Any college team would be fortunate to have a Morello on their staff.


1B A.J. Puk (Florida) - The 2 way player (who I believe is committed more for his pitching then hitter) did not pitch in this tourney due to a sore arm (which manifested itself on throws from 1st to 2nd).  The big, strong prospect showed below avg bat speed which improved to avg as the tourney went on.  The ball really jumped off his bat on the 2nd and 3rd days of the tourney.  Showed gd patience on the plate and had an idea how he was being attacked.  There are some concerns, as he really struggled against below avg LHP and he features some length in the swing, which I don't think is going to profile to hit for a lot of average.  He is a well below avg runner.  With that being said, he has near plus plus raw power and will hit 20+ homers in the majors.  Is a definite prospect as a hitter, but I believe most teams will be on him as a pitcher. 


C/1B Chuckie Robinson (Uncommitted) - Robinson is a freak of nature.  I had an idea of him as a player before I saw him in person, but he was extremely impressive.  Featuring a big league body w/ great present strength, he showed the best right handed bat speed at this tourney, if not the best period.  His swing is built to drive the ball, but there are concerns mechanically, as he has a significant hitch and it will hinder him against better velo.  Toolswise offensively, he features 6 or 7 raw power and an ability to command the strike zone.  A current catcher, I believe he is going to outgrow the position, but the bat will play at 1B and he has the requisite athleticism to make himself an above avg defender.  The concern with moving him off C is his plus arm, which helps make up for inconsistent throwing mechanics, as his throws tends to sail due to his feet not being able to catch up to his arm.  Despite his size, he moved behind the plate well and boxed balls.  For me, this is a potential top 10 rounds guy and he if can somehow fix his hitch, he could sneak into the top 5 rounds.

C/1B Ben Rodriguez (Pepperdine) - Rodriguez is a massive high school soon to be senior (6'5", 220) who has a quality frame that projects to continue to get bigger.  While he catches now, he will outgrow the position and his frame is already a problem when it comes to catching and throwing.  As a hitter, he shows below avg bat speed and a patient approach.  He is a below avg runner and speed will never be a part of his game.  I think he should go to college, as I did not see a carrying tool in my time watching.


C/OF Max Schuman (Arizona) - Schuman is a hitter.  Mdm, athletic build w/ ok present strength, he featured avg bat speed in a short to the ball swing.  He will hit for average.  His problem will be the other facets of the game.  Apparently making the transition to C, I only saw him as an OF here and he looked to be bored out there.  He cares greatly about his offense, but did not see the same commitment to his defense.  He is a below avg runner now that projects to be a plodder as he develops.  If he is able to make the transition to C, there is a potential late round draft guy there, but I think he would be best served by going to Arizona and developing his catching ability.


2B Jamie Westbrook (Pepperdine) - Your typical middle infielder, Westbrook is a small, athletic kid w/ a thick lower half and gd present strength.  The leadoff hitter for the Dbacks Elite Scout Team, he was a patient hitter who understood his value was to get on base.  He showed below avg bat speed that improved as the tourney went on, but will never be a power threat, as he will make his living hitting the ball gap to gap and running.  Defensively, he showed a solid avg arm with quick, soft hands and always in control of his body.  I think he can play a serviceable SS and would have liked to have seen him over there.  His tools will definitely play in CF.  An intriguing guy who would be a draft guy for me in the later rounds if he would sign.


RHP Tim Willittes (Uncommitted) - The big bodied (6'4", 215) righty showed a FB at 83-85 (topped at 87) with a big 12-6 downer at 68 that had tight spin.  Came from a H 3/4 SWU and was a guy I really enjoyed watching pitch.  He really focused on the CB and showed ability to throw it for strikes or bury for strikeouts.  He was another guy who absolutely pounded the zone and attacked.  While he isn't a draft guy, he is a guy that can help a lower level D-1 team.


LHP Andrew Wright (Pepperdine) - The big bodied (6'4, 200) lefty pitched at the same time as 2 guys who also pitched in PG National, so I did not focus as much on him.  What I saw was intriguing, as he worked 84-86 in a delivery that featured head violence, but overall wasn't bad.  Would like to be able to focus on him at another tourney, but would be surprised to get that opportunity.


RHR Dominique Key (Uncommitted) - Key was the only player who was not on my initial watch list to jump out to me.  Matched up against McKinney (read below) in their playoff game, he pitched at 89-90 w/ feel for a slurve at 73-76.  One of the reasons you likely don't hear his name is his size, as he is 6'0", 165 and doesn't have a lot of projection to his frame.  This affected him later in the game, as he lost some tick to his FB and pitched at 86-87.  Key is a guy to monitor going forward.

RHP/1B Keaton McKinney (Arkansas) - The 2 way player excelled in both aspects during this tourney.  The 6'5", 220 pounder who is built like a horse showed above avg bat speed and a FB that worked at 90.  As a hitter, he has big time power potential, but also showed a swing that should hit for avg.  He understood how he was being pitched, though he was a very aggressive hitter.  There is 25 HR power there and it is hard to put a guy on the mound when that is the case.  As a pitcher, he worked 88-90 with run, a slurve at 74-76 that flashed avg as a CB and a CH at 78-79 that he had supreme confidence in, throwing 3-1.  He has advanced pitchability and subtracted from his FB at various times while throwing his off-speed in FB counts.  He has the potential for a solid avg 3 pitch mix or better, profiling as a middle of the rotation starter.  For me right now, there is more certainty as a hitter, as his arm is a tick late as a pitcher and the arm action is a bit of a concern.  Potential top 3 rounder.


SS Josh Morgan (UCLA) - Got a one game look at this SS and he showed a lot of tools.  The small, athletic Morgan is built like a cornerback and showed avg bat speed with a slight uppercut swing.  Where he stood out was defensively.  Not a very flashy guy, he was always under control, got gd bat reads and was extremely smooth with soft hands.  He was always on time and always in position.  Profiles as a potential 2 hole hitter who can play an avg to above avg SS.  Excited to see more of him as his draft time gets closer.

3B Jordan Pearce (San Diego) - I saw this kid take one swing as I was leaving the complex Sunday and all he did was hit a one hop double to right center field.  He showed avg bat speed in a simple, slight uppercut swing.  Would like to look at him closer as his draft day nears.

OF Raphael Ramirez (Uncommitted) - Ramirez jumped out to me.  Small and slender with little present strength, he plays a speed game featuring plus plus speed.  Offensively, he featured above avg bat speed and is more then just a slap hitter, projecting to hit 5-7 HR's as he finishes developing.  While he has bat speed and running speed, he features little else.  The swing is solid, but there is a hole inside that can beat him.  He features a 3 throwing arm and the fear is that he will be limited to LF (played CF one day and LF the other day).  He got good enough jumps to potentially profile in CF.  For me, he compares very favorably to Ben Revere, who had to go to college to be the first rounder.  Ramirez profiles as a potential top 10 rounds guy to me right now.


C/2B J.T. Sole (Uncommitted) - A verbal leader, Sole featured below avg bat speed in a close to mature body w/ a thick lower half.  Still refining his catching mechanics, I did have him at a 1.97 pop time.  Shows the potential to hit for avg and the tools to be an avg defensive catcher with time.

RHS Touki Toussaint (Miami) - Almost didn't see Toussaint pitch, but luckily the inning before ended with enough time to start another inning.  And it was well worth it.  Toussaint was overpowering, working 87-90 (up to 91) and featured a big 12-6 downer at 69 that was already average.  The long, loose pitcher features a body that can easily add another 20 pounds and the projection he brings is salivating.  The one concern with him was the fact he was landing on a bent front leg, which made it difficult for him to get the ball down in the zone.  But, this is a pretty easy fix.  For me, he is a potential top 15 pick.

OF Tyler Williams (Uncommitted) - Tyler Williams is a freak of nature.  The 6'3", 200 pounder is just huge for a guy getting ready to be a high school sophomore and he still has room to grow.  Already featuring avg bat speed, the ball just sounds different off his barrel.  Still raw from a mechanics perspective, he has all the tools to profile as a middle of the order bat in a corner OF position.  He is playing in the tourney going on in Peoria this weekend, so I will see if I can find time to get more looks at him.

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