Prep Baseball Report

Unsigned Senior Showcase: Top Overall Performers

By: Zac Bottoms
Arkansas Scouting Director

Our Unsigned Senior Showcase at Hendrix College on was a great success. We had forty-five players in attendance, and ten different college talent evaluators. The talent level was very good from top to bottom. Today, we look at the top performers from each position.

Robert Harrison, RHP, Wynne HS
Harrison is a 6-foot-1 190- pound right-hander, worked from a high ¾ arm slot with a short quick arm. He has smooth rhythm and comes to a controlled balance point. He commanded his fastball on glove side with velocity of 82-84 mph. He attempted to work arm side but did not command that side of the plate as well. The fastball was heavy with late sink. He commanded his curveball for strikes. It had a 11/5 shape with sharp movement he threw it at 72-73 mph, besides having good shape it maintained its deception due to throwing it at near fastball arm speed. His change-up is a work in progress, with little movement and velocity readings of 71 mph. If he will lengthen his arm action and have consistent extensions, I believe his velocity will increase. His mound presence and his ability to pitch inside to right-hander hitters makes him ready to pitch when he steps on campus.

Jake Bever, C, Camden Fairview HS
The 6-foot 200 pound catcher, has a solid frame and is has a strong upper body. He is an average athlete running a 7.38 in the 60. Bever is a strong armed catcher. He threw pop times ranging from 2.07-2.38. His arm is accurate with carry. His pop times will improve if he will clean up his foot work. He stands up instead of gaining ground toward second on his exchange. He received the ball deep and worked hard to block balls. He struggled to stay around balls that he attempted to block on the first base side. Offensively he starts from an athletic stance, from there he goes into a short stride with a short line drive swing. Bever maintains balance through his swing. Overall he has good bat speed registering 87 mph on our exit velocity testing. He stayed to the pull side during batting practice, attacking every pitch. I personally would like to see him use his lower half more and implement some sort of hand load. At this point his power comes from physical strength. A few mechanically fixes and Bever will be a solid doubles threat on a consistent basis.

Josh Stephens, MIF, Har-Ber HS
Stephens is a 5-foot-9 165 pound middle infielder that has a good approach to the game with solid measurable tools. He ran a 6.69 in the 60 and a 4.2 home to first from the right side. Offensively he has a very quiet swing with very little movement. He starts from an athletic stance, from there he has a slight load back, which leads into a short stride. His bat speed is average, with level bat plane that produces line drives on a consistent basis. I would like to see him have a more distinct load and use the lower half more, overall he understands who is and stays to his game, hitting line drives to the middle of the field.  Defensively he plays through the ball with soft hands and fluid footwork. His exchange is long and his arm strength measured 81 mph from short stop.

Courtland McDonald, OF, Jacksonville HS
The 5-foot 8- 165 pound Outfielder, may be a little undersized but is not lacking in strength. One of the most put together players that attended our showcase. It is very obvious that this compact athlete spends his spare time playing football. McDonald tested well running a 6.74 in the 60, he threw 85 mph from the outfield and registered an 88 mph during the exit velocity testing. Defensively he has good instincts and an accurate arm. He needs to clean up some footwork to get rid of the ball more efficiently. Offensively he starts from an open stance, he dives back in over the plate. This causes him to get around balls due to swinging around his front hip, as the swing progresses his balance is pulled backwards. He has success with balls on the outer third. If he can get his lower half cleaned up he will be a more consistent hitter.

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