Prep Baseball Report

Under Armour All-American Game: Workout Highlights

By Sean Duncan
Executive Director

EVANSTON, IL – If you follow the national scouting scene, there were no big revelations at the Under Armour All-America Game workout Friday at Northwestern University. Many of the top 2017 prospects, and two underclassmen, went through offensive and defensive evaluations in front of a packed house of scouts, leading up to Saturday’s Under Armour All-America Game at Wrigley Field.

While all the position players performed solidly, here are a handful of noteworthy observations, at least from my perspective:

+ SS Brady McConnell (Merritt Island HS, FL) has seen his stock skyrocket this summer with a series of impressive performances on the national circuit. On Friday, McConnell only solidified his lofty status as the top-ranked Florida prospect and No. 4 overall. The highly athletic 6-foot-2, 175-pound Florida recruit delivered arguably the most consistent rounds of BP of the day. Indeed, many other prospects displayed much bigger BP power – and the balls were flying out gratuitously, to be sure – but McConnell’s athleticism, path and bat speed produced one rope after another. He swings with intent, generates premium bat speed with his hands, and maintains excellent balance throughout. And once he begins to fill into his highly projectable frame, those backspin lasers will be leaving the yard with much more frequency. Between his BP and his easy athleticism at shortstop, McConnell was in my opinion the big winner of the day.

+ Not far behind McConnell was OF/INF Royce Lewis (Aliso Viejo HS, CA). The 6-foot-2 Lewis is known for being a high-motor athlete, one who can play several positions well and make things happen with his instincts and speed. Lewis showed during BP that he has more firepower in his hands than originally thought. Using a balanced, simple approach, with hands set high, he generates easy bat speed. The effort in the swing was minimal – you’d see the ball jump off the barrel and think that was a well-struck ball, and the next thing you know it’s off the batter’s eye in centerfield. Call it sneaky power, which was in my notes. But putting a ball over four-bills with wood, I’d say that’s just power.

+ On the topic of power, there was plenty of it on display. The ball was carrying out of Rocky Miller Park like it was Rocky Mountain Park, which is a fictitious field in Colorado I just made up to play off the word Rocky. Arguably the most impressive power display of the day was delivered by OF Cole Turney (Fort Bend Travis HS, TX), a physical 6-foot, 190-pound left-handed hitting Arkansas recruit. Turney consistently lifted balls well beyond the right-field wall, including one that went halfway up a building that houses Northwestern’s indoor facility (it was far, trust me). … OF Jordon Adell (Ballard HS, KY), a Louisville recruit who’s ranked No. 3 overall, had inconsistent rounds of BP, but once he started to get loose and on time, he unloaded on a few tape-measure blasts. … OF Garrett Mitchell (Orange Lutheran HS, CA) and 1B Nick Pratto (Huntington Beach HS, CA), both left-handed hitters, also shined during BP.

+ He may be the youngest prospect in the game, but 2019 1B Triston Casas (American Heritage HS, FL) fits right in among the top senior prospects in the country, both physically and offensively. The hulking 6-foot-3, 230-pound Miami recruit is the No. 1-ranked 2019 prospect in the country for good reason. Everywhere Casas goes, he does damage with his left-handed bat. Rhythmic, simple and strong, Casas is offensively advanced well beyond his years. On Friday, he showed power to left-center, center and right-center and right field. Three days prior, I watched Casas playing with the 17U USA National Team Development workouts at Northwestern crush a home run to right-center in game action.

+ In regards to the catchers in attendance, MJ Melendez and Sam Praytor (Helena HS, AL) stood out defensively. Melendez, a left-handed hitting Florida International recruit who recently moved to Florida from Alabama, delivered consistent low 1.80-1.88 pop times, and fired a 1.75 from his knees. He features highly athletic feet and a strong, accurate arm. Praytor, a 5-foot-10, 205-pound Alabama recruit, delivered consistent 1.86-1.90 strikes on the bag.

+ Defensively in the infield, SS Nick Allen (Francis Parker HS, CA), a generously listed 5-foot-9 Southern California recruit, shined, followed by McConnell.  

We will provide complete reports from the Under Armour Game on Saturday. Game starts at 3 p.m. at Wrigley Field.

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