Prep Baseball Report

Quick Hits: Top Prospects Showcase

Les Lukach
State Scouting Director

The inaugural Top Prospects Showcase took place on Wednesday, August 1st at O'Malley Field, home of the Harvard Westlake Wolverines. The event attracted over 100 players in the 2019 class many of whom are in our Class of 2019 Top 100 rankings. With over 20 colleges and seven (7) MLB clubs in attendance, the participants were put through a pro-style workout to showcase their abilities.

As part of our continuing coverage of the event we will continue to break down all the data, roll out stats, content, and videos from the event, but first here are some quick hits from what we saw on Wednesday.

NOTE: This is not a top players list merely some quick observations after a brief review of notes. 

+ SS Ryan Flaherty continues to impress with his overall game and this event served to further cemented himself as one of the top shortstops in Southern California. Flaherty posted a showcase best 6.64 (hand timed) in the 60 to open things up. Defensively his actions were smooth and under control. His arm is a potential plus too with an 87 infield velocity. Flaherty showed his power potential at the plate too where his hands lead a consistent barrel path that resulted in line drives to the gaps and flashed some pull-side power.

+ OF/LHP Cooper Benson was lights out at the showcase both at the plate and on the bump. The current #1 player in our Class of 2019 rankings, Benson showed power at the plate with consistent line drives to the gaps and some over-the-fence power from the left side. On the mound Benson was pumping strikes with all three pitches topping at 91 with the fastball and showing major life with his two-seam fastball. The arm is fast and electric with consistent and repeatable mechanics for Benson.

+ SS/RHP Jashia Morrissey continues to see his stock rising in the eyes of evaluators. A silky-smooth toolsy defender, Morrissey shows electric hands with enough arm strength to stay at shortstop at the next level. From the left side Morrissey shows advanced feel for the barrel and some sneaky power to the pull side with a gap-to-gap approach. On them mound Morrissey pounds the zone with a three-pitch mix that he throws for strikes. Topping at 88 with the fastball, the arm is loose, fast, and shows little effort.

+ C Jared Thomas has positioned himself as one of the top catching prospects in the state and backed it up with a huge performance at the Top Prospects Showcase. Thomas opened things up by running a 6.85 (hand timed) 60 before heading into the hitting wheel where he had a showcase high 96 exit velo off a tee. That power transferred over to his BP session where he hit his first ball off the roof of the batting cages beyond right field creating a huge banging sound and immediately catching the attention of scouts in attendance. He peppered the right-center-field gap throughout his round. Behind the plate he posted the best pop-times of the event throwing in the 1.90-1.97 range.

+ MIF Ja'Ja Bellinger has been a known name in SoCal for some time now, that's what happens when you're a four-year starter in football and baseball in high school. His athleticism is obvious at shortstop where his footwork and range are at an elite level. Hands are fast and exchanges are clean as he shows the glove early and has enough arm strength to make throws from multiple angles. At the plate he shows a balanced setup with a smooth load and an inside-out swing that favors the opposite field.

+ MIF Jordan Brown is a Fresno State commit with a wide range of tools that could see him climb draft boards with a big spring season in 2019. After running a 6.75 (hand timed) 60, Brown took to the hitting wheel where he had an 88 mph exit velocity (off tee) before capping with a strong round of BP where he shows some sneaky power. Defensively he plays low and with good rhythm. Has a strong arm with quick/clean exchanges and enough arm strength to make all the throws.

+ MIF Nick Wilson was one of those guys that every time you looked up he was doing things that caught your attention. Ran well in the 60 (7.28) and showed very well in the hitting wheel where he posted an 84 mph exit velo off a tee. During BP he showed he has some power that he generates from a slightly uphill path and his full extension. Defensively he shows the glove early and stays in good rhythm throughout the fielding process. Possess a slightly above average arm that is accurate and fast.

+ OF/3B Tai Walton stood out from the outset when he ran a 6.75 (hand timed) 60 before entering the hitting wheel where he posted an 86 exit velo. His BP round was loud as he flashed his power with a bomb to left-center-field and a few others that went off the wall. Power really projects as his frame should handle the addition of much more strength. Walton registered an 89 mph outfield velocity with throws that were accurate and had carry. Plays through the ball without a lot of wasted body motion.

+ OF Caden Connor certainly helped himself in the eyes of college recruiters in attendance. After a strong defensive campaign where his bat showed flashes last spring, Connor appears ready to take his game to the next level. He shows the ability to stay behind the ball and uses his quick hands to drive the ball the other way. Gets good extension when timing is right and flashes some power potential. A big arm in the outfield with accuracy, Connor shows good lateral speed and body control.

+ RHP Cole Dale appears to be rounding back into the form that made him a Pac-12 commit as a freshman. A strong bodied 6-foot-2, 190-pounds, Dale's frame projects very well for the addition of mass and strength. The arm is fast and consistent and his ability to throw four pitches for strikes is uncommon at this level. He pounds the zone down with a free-and-easy arm action that is repeatable. Maintains the same arm speed on all pitches. It's obvious he's been well coached and taken that coaching to the field.

+ MIF Tyler Cox missed all of last season with an injury and appears to be on the brink of a monster senior season. A consistent middle approach with some power to all fields is what Cox shows. There's present bat speed and an advanced approach from this very cerebral player who carries a 4.0 and scored 34 on the ACT. Defensively he shows the tools to be an everyday shortstop on the next level with plus footwork and lateral quickness in addition to clean glovework and exchanges. Plays low and through the ball and has a enough arm to stay on the left side of the infield.

+ MIF Elijah Jackson has been on pro scouts radar for some time now because of his natural abilities in the middle of the infield and his overall athleticism. Defensively he is rhythmic with a good first step and a strong backhand. His arm is strong and shows the ability to make throws from multiple angles. Jackson's setup is balanced and his swing powerful with plus bat speed. He uses a slight uppercut path to elevate the ball and flashes down-the-road power when his frame fills out a little more.

Others of note:

+ OF/RHP Cameron Mahaffy was limited to just the running and hitting portion due to having thrown in a game the prior day, but the rising senior posted a 7.0 60 and had a an exit velo of 90 off the tee. Appears to have filled out his frame a bit which bodes well for his two-way abilities.

+ MIF Chase Meidroth is a slick fielding shortstop with a big arm but it was his bat that impressed during his BP round where he showed a gap-to-gap approach and flashed some pull side power.

+ OF Oliver Gatica showed a strong, accurate arm from the outfield with online throws that had some carry. At the plate he shows a balanced, quiet load with some pullside power in which he uses his lower half well.

+ LHP/OF Anthony Chiaramonte was intriguing both at the plate and on the mound where he hides the ball well and throws all pitches from the same slot. The arm is free, easy, and quick with easy effort. Good hit-and-run type hitter who will put the ball in play.

+ LHP/OF Seth Spencer is intriguing in that the bat and the arm both play well. Spencer shows power to the pull side and the ability to go the other way at the plate. On the mound there's some effort to his delivery but he shows the ability to throw multiple pitches for strikes.

+ OF Nolan Kutcher has a chance to excel on the college baseball level and potentially beyond that. Uses his lower half very well in his swing that is balanced and rhythmic. Shows above average bat speed and feel for the barrel with some sneaky pull side power. Father played in the Big Leagues.

+ OF Brian West showed very well for himself with a big, accurate arm from the outfield along with his footwork and his ability to make things look easy out there. At the plate he shows a quiet load with a middle approach that projects power. Keeps his hands in a good launch position and shows good forward movement to the ball.

+ INF/OF Blake Wink is a twitchy, athletic infielder that should have the opportunity to play beyond high school given his ability to play multiple infield positions and his explosive bat that flashes power potential. A solid, consistent player all around.

+ 1B Adresse Azzani made a statement during BP when on the first pitch he sent a shot to the wall. Several more balls would follow that same trajectory which makes sense after he posted a 91 mph exit velocity earlier in the day. Once his body fills out - he's 6-foot-4, 175-pounds - the sky is the limit given his present plus bat speed and hand-eye coordination.

+ INF Michael Snyder showed off his power early in his BP round went he sent a ball flying over the trees beyond the fence in left-center field. A big bodied nimble - he plays light on his feet - athletic infielder, Snyder showed that his bat and his defense are on par with many of the top players in the state.