Florida Preseason Classic Day 1

Nathan Rode
National Supervisor

BRADENTON, FL—The second annual PBR Florida Preseason Classic started Tuesday at IMG Academy. Like its debut in 2018, the event is loaded with draft talent that will attract hordes of scouts over the course of three days.

The first game featured IMG Academy and Central Pointe Christian Academy, FL. RHP Kevin Melendez, a Bethune-Cookman recruit, turned in a strong start for Central Pointe, but 1B Will Bartlett (IMG Academy, FL) spoiled it with his 2-for-3, three RBI day. Bartlett went with a slider away in his first at-bat, driving a triple over the right fielder’s head. In his second trip to the plate, with one man on, he annihilated an inside fastball for a home run to left field. It was 111 mph off the bat and traveled 399 feet, according to TrackMan Baseball.

Aside from Bartlett, Melendez kept a loaded IMG lineup off balance by mixing speeds well and varying his tempo. His fastball sat in the low 80s and he was able to throw his slider for strikes and as a chase pitch.

In the nightcap, RHP Hunter Mink (Palm Harbor University HS, FL) also had a good start spoiled, as TNXL Academy rallied in the sixth inning. Mink has a lively fastball at 89-91, touching 92, from a 3/4 slot. His slider was inconsistent, but flashed sharp bite and 3/4 break at 76-77. His twin brother, Tanner, helped him a ton on defense, showing excellent footwork, body control and a strong arm at third base.

RHP/OF Joe Charles (TNXL Academy, FL) is known for throwing gas on the mound, but he was the only guy to square up Mink, smoking a 91 mph fastball for a double to right-center field and later turning on a pitch for a hard single to left field.

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