Prep Baseball Report

Prospect of the Week

Andrew MacLean
PBR Alberta Director of Scouting

Each week we will highlight a prospect in the province. We look at an updates in their measureables as well as a projection looking forward.

Interested in attending a PBR Alberta event? Check out our schedule by clicking here.

Alberta Insider: Prospect of the Week

Week Eight

Micheal Brisson 2B / SS / Prospects Academy, AB / 2019

Academy: Prospects Academy
Summer Team: St. Albert Cardinals

Prospect Update: Lean and muscular 6-foot-1, 175-pound frame, athletic build. One of the top defensive infielders in the province, can play either position with good lower half actions, arm strength and a smooth glove that plays well at the next level. Ran a 6.7 this past fall with the Prospects, speed translates well on the infield as he has shown ability and range to go get balls in the hole. At the plate there is projectable strength and bat speed, at times he tends to get stiff and loose some rhythm, but hands are quick and short through the zone with a slight uphill path. Athletic actions with good balance throughout swing and finish.

2018 Projection: Brisson will suit up for his club team St. Albert Cardinals who will travel for tournament play on top of regular play the NorWest League here in Alberta. A top 40 invite last year for with Team Alberta, the skilled infielder should be a lock up the middle this year for the Summer Games. The 2019 is currently uncommitted, as he continues to work on adding strength and size to his game he looks ready to put up big numbers and gain some attention from college coaches in 2018.

Week Seven

Evan O'Toole RHP / OF / Vauxhall Academy, AB / 2019

Academy: Vauxhall Jets

PBR Events Attended: Vauxhall Pro Day 2018

Prospect Update: O’Toole made the move to play in Alberta with the Jets in the fall of 2017 after competing with his home province of Nova Scotia (Bridgewater) at the Canada Summer Games this past August. The uncommitted 2019 grad has made the most of his new set up in Vauxhall to say the least as he has quietly developed into one of the top young prospects in the province. The two-way player who topped out at 89 last week off the mound is also amongst the best defensive outfielders in his class. Listed at 6-foot-3, 185-pounds, he is definitely not done growing and has a ton of room to add muscle and strength in all areas, he will be a must-watch for college coaches this spring when the Jets depart for Vegas in April.

2018 Projection: There is a big challenge ahead of O’Toole coming from the east coast of Canada, he will be taking a big step up in competition when he takes the field with the Jets for the first time. With a fastball that sits 86-88 and has nasty late arm-side run when he is on top and release point is where it needs to be, the right-hander should fit in nicely to the pitching staff as his stuff will play well at this level. As he develops his game in Alberta, his stock continues to rise and will be an important member for the Jets this year.

Week Six

Chas Wheatley RHP / Strathcona, AB / 2020

Academy: Prospects Academy, St. Albert, AB

Summer Team: Edmonton Cardinals

PBR Events Attended: Calgary College Prospect Showcase 2018

Prospect Update: Wheatley caught our attention with an impressive performance at the first event of the year in Calgary. Listed at 6-foot-6, the exciting 2020 prospect obviously stands out physically, he was a standout on the mound as well where he had the top overall fastball velocity of any class topping out at 84 mph in late January. The Prospects Academy product has a lot of room on current frame to add size and strength and very likely he will continue to grow in height prior to graduation. Arm action is relatively clean with low effort through entire mechanics, ¾ arm slot creates good arm-side action on fastball and change-up that was 75-77, slider at 74-75 that was inconsistent with command and release point but did have good late downward action when he stayed on top of pitch. Wheatley will definitely be on our radar over the next few months as we get into summer action, huge ceiling for this exciting young right-hander.

2018 Projection: Wheatley will be taking the mound for the Edmonton Cardinals coached by Taylor Burns out of South Edmonton. The Cardinals will be taking their top team on the road this year as they have opted out of Baseball Alberta NorWest League competition in favor of a travel/tournament schedule for 2018. For Wheatley, this means that he will be challenged facing tough competition and quality hitters acting as a great test for the 2020 prospect who will definitely be getting looks for Team Alberta this summer as a sophomore. With an extremely projectable frame, live arm underdeveloped strength there is definite upside with Wheatley who came out of nowhere at the College Prospect Showcase in Calgary.

Week Five

Dryden Howse SS / C / Foothills Composite, AB / 2020

Academy: Okotoks Dawgs Academy

Summer Team: Okotoks Dawgs

PBR Events Attended: Southern Alberta Talent ID 2017

Prospect Update: Howse has proven to be one of the top Alberta prospects in his class over the past two summers at the Alberta Summer Games Zone Championships. The uncommitted 2020 infielder is ahead of most when it comes to strength and athleticism proven by ability to play multiple positions, Howse carved hitters on the mound from Bantam distance of 54ft and is just as impressive behind the dish throwing out would be base stealers. He looks best on the infield with a quick first step, athletic actions and arm strength to make plays in the hole at shortstop but definitely has the tools to catch at the next level with continued work and development behind the plate. His exchange and arm strength are very good at his age, very quick side to side movement and footwork getting out of crouch.

2018 Projection: Howse trains in the offseason with the Dawgs Academy as he makes the jump to Midget (18U) from Bantam (14U) the change of distance will pose no issues for Howse, his strength and size will translate to the high school game. Good competition will also not be an issue playing with one of the Dawgs travel teams who have one of Canada’s toughest high school schedules year after year. What position Howse begins to take more to at the high school level will be something to keep an eye on throughout 2018, expect to see him near the top of the upcoming PBR Alberta 2020 Rankings and compete for a spot with Team Alberta where he will be competing against the very strong 2019 class.

Week Four

Justin Breen 3B / 2B / Father Mercredi, AB / 2019

Academy: Merc Baseball Academy

Summer Team: Fort McMurray Oil Giants

PBR Events Attended: Calgary College Prospect Showcase

Prospect Update: Breen has been working hard in the weight room this off-season with his focus on athleticism and quickness. He looked leaner and stronger at the Calgary College Prospect Showcase on the 27th where he posted the top infield velocity of 83 mph and his exit velo of 88 mph kept him in the top three. A top performer from the event that had a lot of young and talented players, he had one of the best rounds of BP where he was consistently finding barrels, showed an uphill path that could translate into legit power in the future. Was selected to play with the Milwaukee Brewers scout team this past January at the MLK tournament in Phoenix adding to his tournament resume that also includes; Tournament 12 and Canada Summer Games with Team Alberta.

2018 Projection: With his home team (Fort McMurray Oil Giants) hosting the Midget AAA Canadian National tournament in 2018, the uncommitted 2019 grad will have yet another opportunity to showcase his skills on the national stage. He is surrounded by a strong group of teammates who will look to take the crown of national champions. He will be a no-brainer selection for both T12 and Team Alberta again and will be looking to take on more of a leadership role in the middle of both lineups. He is an absolute must follow for college coaches as he continues to develop his game, we expect him to be committed to a competitive Division 1 school before the leaves change color in the fall.

Week Three

Liam Froment LHP / Prospects Academy, AB / 2019

Summer Team: St. Albert Cardinals

Prospect Update: Froment trains in the off-season with the Prospects Academy based out of new complex in St. Albert (Five Tool Fieldhouse.) Strength and weight training is run by Absolute Human Performance who develop individual training programs for elite athletes. Froment is one player who has definitely benefited from the new training facility. He has been focused on gaining strength and velocity with an emphasis on his lower half. This hard work is visible with Froment weighing in at 195-pounds compared to 180 when playing for Team Alberta this past summer. With three pitches that can be thrown for strikes in any count, there is a quiet confidence and poise about Froment that can not be taught. Good rhythm throughout delivery, short and clean arm patch, loose and easy arm action. He understands how to hold runners with a variety of looks and timing, quick to the plate, and has the ability to make a big pitch when needed.

2018 Projection: Liam projects to be the ace in 2018 for one of the top teams in Alberta, St. Albert Cardinals building on the successful year he had in 2017 as a grade 10. He will be a shoe in for a starting spot with Team Alberta and if he continues to progress he may get some looks for the Canadian Junior National Team as well. Expect Froment to establish himself as one of the top arms in his class not only in Alberta, but the entire country this year. The looseness and feel he has is above his age group, and we expect the measurables to continue to rise as he matures and develops on the mound. It’s already a three-pitch arsenal, and with the actions and ease Froment works with, the stuff will only sharpen as well.

Week Two

Adam Macko LHP / Vauxhall High School, AB / 2019

Commitment: Purdue
Team: Vauxhall Jets

Prospect Update: Macko, the recently committed left-hander of Purdue University had a coming out party in 2017 as he improved all parts of his game, as well taking care of his strength and developing physically as he continues to mature. The 6-foot, 165-pound junior works with a fastball in the 84-87 range while he has been up to 89 mph this past year with feel and command of the fastball. He’s a three pitch guy with depth and spin on his curveball at 70 mph while the changeup is clean out the hand and backs up off his fastball well. He attacks hitters with quality strikes and shows the feel you look for in young arms when pounding the zone and moving the ball around the plate with all his pitches. The delivery and effortless actions make him a very intriguing arm moving forward with no red flags and lots to project moving forward.

2018 Projection: As we start to creep closer and closer to baseball activities in 2018, Macko looks to keep trending in the right direction and build off of his 2017 campaign. The frame is going to naturally get stronger and bigger while we can see the velocity continue to climb and work his way into the upper 80’s consistently. Although velocity plays a key role, the stuff and pitchability of Macko, along with his feel and actions on the mound make him one of the top arms in the country and give him a chance to get himself on the National stage with early success this year. Look for Macko to take the lead role on the Vauxhall staff and be someone who can go deep into games while giving opposing hitters fits at the plate. We look forward to covering it all in 2018.

Week One

Cesar Valero SS / C / Okotoks Dawgs, AB / 2019

Committed: Oregon State
Academy: Okotoks Dawgs
PBR Events Attended: Southern Alberta Talent ID 2017

Prospect Update: Muscular 6-foot-1, 180-pound frame, athletic build, long legs, projectable strength in all areas. One of the top right-handed hitters in Canada. Loose and effortless swing that stays level through the zone, strong to contact, ball jumps off the bat, easy power right now with more as he adds strength. Shortstop with good lower half actions with range and arm strength, under control with soft hands. Ran a 6.97 at Okotoks workout and has shown the ability to track balls in the outfield. Currently one of the top prospects in Canada for 2019 class, strong skill-set in addition to his raw physical tools make Valero a high-follow in the 2019 MLB Draft Class.

2018 Projection: On top of his tournament schedule with the Okotoks Dawgs, Valero is looking to become a regular in the middle of the lineup for Greg Hamilton and Team Canada in 2018. The OSU commit has been working hard on fine tuning what he sees as weakness’ in his game and is excited to get out on the field and see the fruits of his labor. 2018 will be all about growth for the exciting prospect; on the diamond and in his physical maturity, it would not be surprising if he is listed at 6-foot-3, 200-pounds by this time next year. Expect to see him showcasing his skills at the upcoming Calgary College Prospect Showcase on January 27th.