Prep Baseball Report

Intriguing Uncommitted 2018's From NCTB Fall Classic

Shooter Hunt
National Crosschecker

With the early signing period coming to a close this week, and many players making their college decisions official, In the Weeds takes a look at some of the promising, uncommitted 2018 players that showed well at the NCTB Fall Classic in California. Though the early window for players to sign is nearing its end, there is still a spring season to be played in which coaches will be looking to fill gaps in their recruiting classes. Still more, coaches at Division Two, Three, NAIA, and Junior College will be fervently seeking players, and offer, sometimes, better situations for players to grow into their best versions of themselves. The seven players below exhibited the skills necessary to compete at some level in college, and are well worth coaches taking a look at moving forward.

Marshall Hunt RHP / 1B / Chico High, CA / 2018

Hunt’s warm-up pitches and first few batters immediately perked me up as his quick, whippy arm was running a fastball up to 88 mph. There appears to be much more in the tank for the 6-foot-2, 170-pound right-hander, and a jump in velocity in the near future seems promising. Delivering out of a high ¾ slot, Hunt created a downward plane that made it difficult for batters to get good swings off. HIs fastball appeared to jump through the zone as he gained momentum down the mound throughout his athletic delivery. HIs curveball (72-75) was an above average, swing and miss type pitch when thrown at its best. It featured tight spin with 11/5 shape, and was late-breaking at times, and he finished his first outing with a 2792 RPM swing and miss strike out on the pitch.. He also showcased a changeup at 78-79. Hunt did not hold his 86-88 velo outside of the first couple of innings, and he struggled with command at times, but with his projectable frame, and quick right arm, I expect him to be even better in the future as he develops with a program at some level.

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Ryan Belloumini C / OF / Valley Christian, CA / 2018

Belloumini’s soft hands behind the plate, and his ability to receive well, stood out to me at the NCTB Fall Classic. At 6-foot, 185-pounds, Belloumini sports a thick, durable frame with some strength. He was as low as a 1.96 with his pop times, and featured a quick transfer with a strong, accurate arm. He moved athletically behind the plate, and even showed the ability to play a corner infield position if need be. At the dish, Belloumini’s hands started quietly below his shoulder with his front foot open in a slight crouch. He squared off with a minor knee knock with his hands loading further down and back before working quickly to the ball on a level plane with a loose finish. He showed strength in his bottom hand with some lag in the zone, and his simple approach allowed him to work line drives from gap to gap. He projects for more pull side power in the future. Overall, I was a fan of Belloumini’s overall game. He had a couple big hits for his team, and worked hard behind the plate in every inning with every pitch. He will be a welcomed addition to a program at some level, and any pitching staff will appreciate his work behiind the plate.

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Porter Slate 2B / 3B / Petaluma, CA / 2018

Slate’s feel for the barrel stood out all weekend as he effortlessly sent balls from gap to gap. A lean, athletic, 6-foot-1, 160-pounds, Slate is still developing physically, but exhibits strong wrists at the plate. Hitting from the left side, Slate sets up square before rocking his weight back with fluent hands movement down and back to go along with a short stride. His hands work quickly to the ball on a level to uphill plane, and seem to lag in the zone for a long period of time before he finishes loosely with two hands. Slate found the barrel in most of his at-bats, and was a doubles threat every time he stepped to the plate. Though his times are not blazing, Slate is an above average athlete who can play any infield position, and likely either corner outfield spot. Though he may get overlooked for his more average to slightly above running times, Slate’s ability to hit should not be dismissed, and a program at some level will want to have him in their lineup.

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Zach Thomas SS / RHP / Cantwell Sacred Heart, CA / 2018

Thomas’ clean, repeatable delivery allows him to pepper the bottom of the strike zone. The 5-foot-11, 170-pound right-hander works uptempo and compact with a short, almost catcher-like arm swing, before showing some quickness in his arm out of a ¾ slot. His fastball sat 83-85 as he commanded it to both sides of the plate with sinking action. He demonstrated advanced feel for disrupting hitter’s timing as he worked quick while adding and subtracting. HIs slider is more of an average pitch at 72-74, but he utilizes it effectively as he can throw it for strikes, and also move it out of the zone late. He also showed similar feel for his changeup at 76 mph. More than anything, Thomas showed feel for how to pitch, and with his sinking fastball he should be able to get outs at some level in college. A solid athlete, Thomas looks quicker than his 7.14 60-yard dash time while playing the field. He moves around athletically although his glove is more of an average tool moving forward. At the plate, he takes more of a “grip and rip” approach with a bigger leg kick that syncs up with downward hand movement before late hand coil triggers his path uphill. He was able to jump on some pitches throughout the weekend, and has a “gamer-type” feel to him. Overall, Thomas should have a chance to contribute at some level on the mound, especially with his ability to sink his fastball for strikes, and for some schools he may be able to contribute as a position player with his solid athleticism. 

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Anthony Diaz C / RHP / Gahr, CA / 2018

Diaz’s loose wrists and quick hands enable him to drive the ball from gap to gap. The right-handed hitter features quick hands with a fluent load before working slightly uphill through the zone after a late hand coil. He showcases some present power to the pull side with more coming in the future. Never getting cheated at the plate, the thing that stood out the most, to me, about Diaz was his balance at the plate without being fooled. He tracked pitches well, and rarely swung at anything outside the zone. At 5-foot-9, 190-pounds and running a 7.63 60-yard dash, Diaz may get overlooked by some programs, but his ability to hit as well as his above average receiving skills should allow him to contribute to a program at some level. Diaz was consistently between a 2.0-2.05 with his pop times, and has a stronger arm behind the plate. He also showed some feel for pitching as he ran his fastball up to 84 mph on the mound from an over the top slot while countering it with a gradual, 68-69 curveball that took 11/5 shape.

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Colton Hamman SS / 2B / Chico High, CA / 2018

The program and coaching staff that ultimately gets Hamman on campus is going to be pleasantly surprised with the player they have brought in. The wiry, 6-foot, 170-pound shortstop is still very much filling out his athletic frame, but he shows fluent movement at the plate and in the field. The switch-hitter looks more comfortable right-handed where he sets up in an athletically crouched position with his barrel pointed straight up and hands just below the shoulder. His fluent hands load back in connection with a knee-knock leg kick before the bat drives through the zone on a direct path with a loose, high finish. He shows the ability to hit line drives to all fields, and his balance at the plate should help him continue to progress in college. On the infield, Hamman has clean hands, a quick release, and an accurate arm (80 mph). Though still somewhat rangy, I expect Hamman to continue filling out, and with his smooth approach at the plate, could help out a program at some level in college.

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Cameron Geyer OF / Granada, CA / 2018

Geyer was just a solid ballplayer all weekend at the NCTB Fall Classic, and quietly went about his business while playing hard and collecting some hits. At 5-foot-10, 170-pounds he has a proportional frame that features some athleticism. An adequate outfielder with an 85 mph arm, Geyer is capable of making most plays with his 7.28 60-yard dash speed. At the plate, the right-handed hitter has a fluent load starting open with his hands next to his ear, and then squaring off with a short stride as his hands move down and back. He shows some quickness to the ball with some strength through the zone on a level path with a higher finish. At times, there was some minor twitch present in the swing which makes me believe that Geyer may be able to add a bit more power in the future as his frame continues filling out. Overall, Geyer is a solid player who, given some more time to mature and gain experience, could help a team at some level in the future.

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