JUPITER, FL - LHP Hunter Barco (Bolles HS, FL) and RHP Joe Charles (First Academy HS, FL), both top-15 nationally-ranked prospects in the 2019 class, squared off Sunday in one of the final pool-play games before the playoffs began at the WWBA World Championships.
October 24, 2017
Digging In: Jupiter Day 4 Notebook
October 24, 2017
While Charles flashed his premium velocity and sharp breaking ball at times, Barco’s declarative performance very well may have elevated him as the No. 1 overall prospect in an extremely talented 2019 class.
Pitching for the Braves Scout Team/East Cobb, the 6-foot-4, 205-pound Virginia recruit showcased his electric three-pitch arsenal, all the while leaving room for projection as he continues to fill into his athletic frame. Barco has a future workhorse-type build of Madison Bumgarner, and you don’t need a Walt Disney-like imagination to think the stuff isn’t too far behind.
Coming out of a long 3/4 slot with slinger-like arm action, Barco effortlessly filled up the strike zone with 91-94 mph fastballs, all with wicked arm-side run. The fact that he can command such movement, seemingly putting it where he wanted, is extremely rare at his age. Now mix in an 82-85 sweeping slider with sharp, late bite and a mid-80s changeup with fading action - all coming out of the same window and arm action - and hitters have little chance for success.
As was the case for a Central Florida Gators team loaded with high-level bats. In three innings pitched, Barco struck out seven with no walks and hit one batter. He yielded one hit while throwing 66 percent strikes.
As for Charles, the 6-foot-2, 180-pound North Carolina recruit struggled with strikes. His fastball ranged between 90-92 mph, peaking at 93.5, with a hard 80-82 mph curveball with downer action. In two innings, Charles allowed three hits, two runs, struck out three, walked two and hit two batters. He threw 39 percent strikes.
Other highlights from Sunday’s action …