Prep Baseball Report

2019 PDP: Thursday Notebook

Nathan Rode
National Supervisor

ST. PETERSBURG, FL—The Prospect Development Pipeline League is in its second week of action and after a few days of workouts, is back to playing games. Thursday’s action took place at Tropicana Field, the home of the Tampa Bay Rays. There are four teams in the PDP League: Team Howard, Team Jeter, Team Jones and Team Larkin. Pitching was the main story as several arms stifled opposing lineups between both games.

Team Jones vs. Team Larkin

+ RHP Mick Abel (Jesuit HS, OR) is squarely in the conversation as one of the top high school pitchers in the 2020 class. That was evident Thursday as the Oregon State recruit closed things out for Team Jones, pumping 91-95 mph fastballs with extreme ease. His delivery is loose and athletic and he also mixed in a slider that was inconsistent, but ranged from 82-86. In three innings of work, he struck out three. He allowed a run on three hits and a hit batter. Only one of the hits was strong contact. Abel’s first batter was SS Drew Bowser (Harvard-Westlake HS, CA) and he blew up his bat on the first pitch, using some nifty footwork to dodge the flying lumber, but still make a play. Bowser got his revenge, squaring up a fastball away for a double as the right fielder tried to make a sliding catch and the ball got by him.

+ LHP Timmy Manning (Cardinal Gibbons HS, FL) started for Team Jones and struck out four while allowing just one hit in three innings. He has a long frame and a fastball that sat 87-90. His breaking ball flashed late break, but had bigger, sweepier shape at times, ranging from 73-76. He also mixed in a straight changeup at 80.

+ RHP Max Rajcic (Orange Lutheran HS, CA) continued to show his swing-and-miss fastball, which sat 91-94. The slider looks better than the couple outings I saw in the spring, showing late, hard tilt at 78-80. He allowed a run on two hits and struck out six, all on the fastball, closing things out for Team Jeter.

+ OF Enrique Bradfield (American Heritage HS, FL) hit out of the leadoff spot for Team Jones and showcased his plus speed. He walked in his first at-bat, stealing second, moving up on a wild pitch and scoring on a sacrifice fly. He got jammed in his second trip, but reached first in 4.1 seconds for an infield single. He then tapped one back up the middle, getting down the line in 4.08 and driving in two runs. His speed also showed up in the outfield where he used his plus range and long, easy strides to track down a ball in the gap.

+ IF Yohandy Morales (Braddock HS, FL) had a couple hard-hit balls in his first two at-bats, driving in Bradfield with a sac fly to right that was 92 off the bat. He also crushed one to deep center that was tracked down. It was 93 off the bat. He looked good defensively, showing fluid feet and athletic movements while making strong throws on the move.

+ C Jack Bulger (Dematha HS, MD) has had some good rounds of BP and his proficiency for hard contact translated to the game. He stayed on a slider down and hit it off the end of his bat for a single to center field. He then grounded out to second base with a 106 exit velocity.

+ After walking in his first at-bat, SS Werner Blakely (Detroit Edison HS, MI) turned on fastballs in his next two. He squared up an 89 mph fastball for a hard single past the first baseman that was 97 off the bat. He then flew out to right field with a 93 exit velo.

Team Howard vs. Team Larkin

+ Much like the first game, the best arms were saved for last and LHP Nate Savino (Potomac Falls HS, VA) was the most impressive arm of the day, closing things out for Team Larkin with five strikeouts in three innings, including the final four batters he faced. He was 94-95 at first, then settled in at 91-94 with tailing life to his fastball. Coming out of a 3/4 slot, his slider had hard, lateral break at 75-77 and got hitters to lock up or take bad swings. Savino, a Virginia recruit, has a loose, easy delivery and high leg kick.

+ Opposite Savino at the end of the game was RHP Jared Jones (La Mirada HS, CA). He pitched two innings, allowing two walks while striking out three. He was 92-95 in the first with arm-side run before dropping off to 89-92.

+ RHP Carson Montgomery (Windermere HS, FL) had a solid outing, allowing two runs on two hits and a walk while striking out three. His fastball was 89-92 and he mixed in his usual breaking ball, a darting slider with short, hard break at 80-82.

+ RHP Carson Swilling (Smiths Station HS, AL), an Auburn recruit, struck out six in three innings, getting several swings and misses on his fastball. He leaned on the pitch heavily, which sat 89-92 and touched 93. His curveball was 74-78 with early, rolling break, but he flashed one with harder, sharper action.

+ OF Austin Hendrick (West Allegheny HS, PA) has been the center of attention in BP and he blistered some baseballs in the game, squaring up them up in his first three at-bats. He first reached on a fielder’s choice and then grounded out on a ball that was 106 off his bat. He latered singled with a 93 mph exit velo.

+ 1B Michael Brown (Vacaville HS, CA) has some swing-and-miss tendencies, but he is also very strong and can put a charge into the ball. He flew out to deep center field in his first at-bat with 98 off the bat and went the other way against a 95 mph fastball that was 99 off the bat as he lined out to third base.

+ C Kevin Parada (Loyola HS, CA) entered the game late and got one at-bat, but made the most of it. Against an 89 fastball away, he squared it up at 104 off the bat, shooting it into the right-center gap for an RBI double.

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