On the Hunt: Day 3 Sophomore Underclass Ft. Myers
October 16, 2017
By Shooter Hunt
The Sophomore Underclass Championship in Ft. Myers had been dominated by hitters, for the most part, until Sunday when many of the premium arms stepped to the mound in some of the more meaningful games and playoffs. The best performance that I witnessed on Day Three of the event came from 2020 LHP Timmy Manning (Cardinal Gibbons HS, FL) of Elite Squad. The Florida recruit was facing an impressive, FTB-Tucci Berryhill lineup, and though he would find runners on base in multiple innings, his ability to work out of them was impressive, and Elite Squad would end up winning, 11-1. Pitching with a blister on his pitching hand, Manning sat mostly 84-87 with a fastball that featured heavy life to the arm side, and he showed control of the pitch to both sides. The ball appears to jump out of the 6-foot-1, 175-pound, long-limbed left-hander’s ear as he has a very short arm stroke that releases out of a high ¾ slot. Manning appears to rip the ball out of his mitt, late, to get his arm moving even quicker, and the FTB hitters were unable to do much with his fastball when he was down in the zone. While his changeup is currently an average pitch at 76-77 with some fade, it is Manning’s curveball that really separates him as one of the top left-handed pitchers in the class. To the naked eye, it is easy to see the high spin-rate of the pitch, which takes 1/7 shape early in counts with more sweeping, back leg type, late in counts, against right-handers. He was able to vary the speed of the pitch at 68-72, and it was best when throwing harder. What impressed me most about Manning was his advanced feel for disrupting timing. He varied his leg lift from the stretch, strategically, against some of the bigger leg kicks of the FTB lineup sneak fastballs by them. Overall, the athletic, Manning has a chance to continue his progression as one of the top pitchers in the class, and should be greatly aided in the future by more muscle being added to his wiry frame.
+ Helping the cause at the plate was 2020 OF AJ Shaver (South Lake HS, FL) who smacked a triple to get the lineup going. The physical, 6-foot-1, 192-pounder has a short stroke that really packs a punch, and his bat lag allowed him to drive the ball deep to right field. He is balanced at the plate getting strength from his legs while demonstrating the ability to use all fields.
+ For the Banditos, 2020 SS Samuel Infante (Monsignor Pace HS, FL), a Miami recruit, who showed advanced actions in the field and at the plate. The slick-handed shortstop has a quick first step and is always a threat to make a sensational play. At the plate, he had excellent at-bats including a double to the wall in left field. He starts with an open stance with his hands held high before a leg kick loads them back before working through the zone on a level plane with a high, loose finish. His aggressive hips clear with ease, and should help to contribute towards what will become even more power in the future.
PLUS 12 MORE STANDOUTS: