I scouted this past weekend for Perfect Game at their WWBA Underclass World Championship in Ft. Myers, Florida. It was a fantastic event with tons of young talent that will be exciting to follow in the coming years. I was assigned to cover Field 3 at the Lee County Sports Complex and want to use this space to highlight the best prospects I had the privilege of watching this weekend.
Early Friday morning, outfielder Cory Campbell (Cumming, GA) Class of 2016 stood out for TGBA 16u. Campbell has a 5’11’’ 180 lb. athletic frame and should fill out, as he gets older. He has a short, balanced swing and was quick to the ball. What I liked about Campbell was he knew what type of hitter he was and played to it, a rare trait for someone of his age. As a leadoff hitter he didn’t try to do much, peppering line drives all over the field. Campbell is also an above average runner and a polished outfielder. I see him being an upper level Division 1 prospect in the coming years.
Cameron Comer (Powell, OH) Class of 2015 caught my eye later that day. Comer is 6’0’’ 180 lbs., but lean and wiry with a lot of room to fill out. His swing was loose and fluid and he was able to use his long arms to generate leverage and power. Behind the plate his arm strength is good but not outstanding, but he has quick feet and is an above average athlete. I expect him to be a solid Division 1 catcher.
Next I had the Indiana Prospects, who were a pleasure to watch, as they were loaded with “prospects”. Gian Luca Dalatri (Wall, NJ) Class of 2016 stole the show on the day striking out 11 of the 12 batters he faced and going 3-3 for at the plate. Dalatri is 6’5’’ 225 lbs. and is not only big for his age but has room to add strength. On the mound Dalatri has a clean arm action and is already effectively using his lower half. His fastball sat in the 82-86 mph range but it had riding life and played faster that its nominal velocity. He was able to locate it to both sides of the plate as well. Accompanying this fastball was a late-breaking 70-76 mph breaking ball, which no hitter came remotely close to touching.
At the plate Dalatri was impressive as well. He hit with an open stance, high handset, and leg lift trigger. He has a balanced swing with a slight uppercut and because of his size and strength has a very live bat.
Either on the mound or at the plate, Dalatri is one of the top prospects of the 2016 class. He will definitely be an elite level college prospect and with development could be a top draft selection.
Also standing out in the game were Dalatri’s teammates Evans Bozeman (Pensacola, FL) Class of 2015 and Luis Medina (Brandon, FL) Class of 2016. Bozeman is a 6’3’’ 210 lb. first basemen with a large, broad shouldered frame. For a man his size Bozeman did a really good job of staying loose with his swing. He swings down to the ball and back-spinned an extra-base hit to right center field. He has a very live bat and even though he appears to be burly is a good athlete.
Medina is a 6’2’’ 185 lb. catcher with a strong athletic build and looks mature for his age. He is an excellent defensive catcher with plus receiving skills, strong arm, and quick release. Offensively, Medina has plus bat speed and does a good job of keeping his barrel in the zone for an extended period of time.
Both Medina and Bozeman are elite level college prospects and could very well be draft guys in a couple years.
Christopher Machamer (North Canton, OH) Class of 2016 was the star of Saturday’s action and is definitely a name everyone should follow. The sophomore right-hander is 6’0’’ 180 lbs. but very athletic and has room to fill out.
He has outstanding arm speed and does a great job of using his hips to create torque in his delivery. His fastball sat between 88-90 mph and touched 91 early in the game. It has good arm side run and sink when located down in the zone. He showed good command of the pitch and attacked hitters all day with it.
Complimenting this fastball is a 74-77 mph curveball with 11-5 break. Machamer’s curveball has good depth and he showed a quality feel for the pitch.
In warm-ups the pitcher from Ohio also featured a change-up. Personally, I thought this pitch was actually better than his breaking ball. It had both sink and arm side run, and he did an excellent job of maintaining his arm speed.
Machamer is undoubtedly one of the top prospects of the Class of 2016 and with development could go as high as the first three rounds of the draft.
Machamer’s Midwest Pelicans team had another very intriguing prospect in Nick Plummer (Lathrup Village, MI) Class of 2015. I had a chance to see Plummer over the summer and I love watching this kid play. He is 5’11’’ 195 lbs. and an excellent athlete. He shows good body control and a quick first step in the outfield, projecting him as a CF.
At the plate, Plummer has good bat speed and has very strong quick wrists. He is a predominantly pull hitter and tries to drive even pitches on the outside part of the plate to the right side.
I predict Plummer will be a standout at University Michigan where he is currently committed; if he makes it to campus of course.
The Florida Legends team facing the Midwest Pelicans threw a strong arm of their own in the game. Micheal Rodriguez (Hialeah, Fl) Class of 2015 featured a fastball between the 86-88 mph range. His fastball showed good life and he was able to elevate it with explosive movement up in the zone. He was aggressive with the pitch throwing it 25 times out of his 28 total pitches. Rodriguez should be a very good college pitcher at the very least and with added velocity could be factor in the draft.
Sunday morning I got to watch the Evoshield Canes in their first playoff game. I knew this was the team that won the 16u WWBA National Championships in Marietta, Georgia this summer so I eagerly awaited this matchup. With so many D-1 commits, I can’t through their entire roster in this article but will highlight who stood out in this individual game.
Dylan Cyphert (Oil City, PA) Class of 2015, a recent Penn State commit, was the most polished pitcher I saw all weekend. His fastball sat in the 83-87 mph range, but he located it to both sides of the plate and down in the zone. He complimented this pitch with a nasty slider between 70-72 and a change-up at 75-77. His slider had tight rotation and troubled hitters throughout the day. Personally though, I believe his changeup to be his best off-speed offering. He maintains his arm speed very well and showed an excellent feel for the pitch. Cyphert should put up big-time numbers in the Big Ten.
Bryant Harris (Hampton, GA) Class of 2015, Zeke Pinkham (Elizabethtown, KY) Class of 2015, Danny Blair (Bel Air, MD) Class of 2015, and Reid Leonard (Glen Allen, VA) also stood out last Sunday.
Bryant Harris is one of the best prospects of the 2015 class and even though he didn’t get any hits on the day he showed why. At 6’3’’ 200 lbs. Harris is already a physical force and he had by far the best bat speed I saw all weekend. Harris struggled with breaking balls in this particular game and he will have to work on his approach going forward, but the upside with this kid is immense. He could be a very high draft selection two years from now.
Zeke Pinkham, a Louisville commit, was extremely impressive behind the plate. At 6’1’’ 187 lbs. he isn’t as physical impressive as Harris, but is a strong athletic kid. He moves well at the catcher position and has excellent arm strength.
Offensively, he has plus bat speed and does a good job of getting extension with his swing. His swing is loose and fluid and he should be an above average hitter at the next level.
Danny Blair is a 5’11’’ 185 lb. outfielder with very good athleticism. He is a polished fielder with plus range and will be a center fielder at the next level. At the plate he has a short compact swing without much extraneous movement and gets his hands quickly to the ball. Like his teammates above, he has plus bat speed and will be a very dangerous hitter when he gets older. He is currently committed the University of South Carolina but could be drafted in the top 10 rounds two years from now.
Lastly, I will cover Reid Leonard from the Evoshield Canes. Leonard isn’t as heralded a prospect as the guys above but he played a phenomenal game when I saw him. Leonard has an athletic projectable frame and comes in at 6’1’’ 180 lbs. He has good lateral agility at third base and plus arm strength.
At the plate, Leonard has good bat speed and a live bat. He is also very disruptive on the bases, showing good instincts as a runner. Leonard is uncommitted but should be a very good Division 1 infielder.
Later in the day two players from Kentucky Baseball Club grabbed my attention in the consolation games.
Daniel Neal (London, KY) Class of 2015 was the designated hitter in the game I saw him but his bat lived up to the expectations he set for himself with performances at past PG events.
Neal hits from a slightly open crouched stance, with a high handset, high back elbow, and leg lift trigger. He has a quick bat with outstanding bat speed and keeps his barrel through the zone for a long period of time. The ball jumps off his bat and he will show great power as he develops. He is uncommitted but will make a top-notch college program very happy.
Neal’s teammate Ethan Maxey (London, KY) Class of 2015 isn’t as prominent on the national stage but is also a player that shouldn’t be overlooked. Maxey is a 5’10’’ 175 lb. catcher and while he doesn’t have the projectability of some other guys, he is a gamer and a leader on the field.
You could tell watching the game; he commandeered the respect of all his teammates. He even gave a headfirst slide into first base late in the game to try and get his team the victory (impressive for a consolation game).
From a skill standpoint, Maxey has good arm strength and does an excellent job framing pitches. Hitting, Maxey uses a slightly open stance, with high handset and high back elbow. His swing is balanced and fluid and he showed power by driving a ball deep into the gap.
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