Top 10 Stories of 2016 Countdown- No. 2: 2016 Underclass Games Standouts



By Mike Maerz
Director of Florida Operations/Area Scout

As we continue the countdown of the Top 10 stories in 2016, the 2016 Underclass Games: Standouts article comes in at the second spot. 

This article highlights some of the top 2020s in attendance including No. 1 ranked C Jackson Miller along with RHP Ryan McCauley and OF Brandon Fields. OF/LHP Raymond LaFleur III lead the way for the 2019 class while uncommitted 2018s in IF/OF Miguel Soto and OF Jordan Garcia impressed as well.

Here is a re-post of that story that ran on Wednesday September 21, 2016. 

No. 2: 2016 underclass games standouts

By Doug Freeman
Florida Scouting Director

With the 2016 Underclass Games in the books, we look back at some of the standouts from the event. It included a pro-style workout, batting practice, and game play. There was a great turnout of young talent, with a vast majority of the standouts being a 2019 or 2020 graduate.

Although the younger classes stood out over the course of the day, there were still quite a few talented 2018s that performed well. The first of which was an athletic, left-handed hitting outfielder in Jordan Garcia (JW Mitchel HS, FL). Garcia showed big time projection and a feel for the barrel with power potential both in batting practice and the game. Also standing out from the 2018s was SS/OF Miguel Soto (TNXL Academy, FL). The projectable, quick-twitch shortstop showed the ability to stick at short as well as an advanced approach with gap-to-gap power potential.

The day was filled with potential Division I caliber 2019 graduates, but a few really stood out on the day, the first of those being RHP Hunter Mink (Palm Harbor University HS, FL). Mink showed a late-sinking fastball up to 86 mph with good shape to his slider. 1B/LHP Raymond LaFleur III (JM Tate HS, FL) showed the potential to be a high-end two-way player. With an advanced left-handed swing and 80-83 mph fastball with an easy arm action there is a lot of upside with both. SS Keniel de Leon (Olympia HS, FL) really stood out defensively, and showed the potential to be a high-end defensive player at a premium position.

The 2020 graduates that stood out definitely did not perform or look like a high school freshmen. C Jackson Miller (JW Mitchell, FL) stood out from the left side of the plate with big power potential and behind the plate with 2.02-2.08 pop times. RHP Ryan McCauley (JW Mitchell HS, FL) was 82-84 mph, topping out at 86 with big potential and feel for pitching. 3B/OF Brandon Fields is a good athlete with big time bat speed. C Travis Stapleton (Real Life Christian Academy, FL) showed feel for the barrel from the right side and above-average defensive actions and 2.02-2.08 pop times. Finally, OF Joseph Coffey (West Orange HS, FL) showed a lot of quick-twitch and athletic potential.

Check out the list of standouts below with their full evaluations.

Jordan Garcia, OF/RHP, J.W. Mitchel HS, FL (2018)
The very projectable 6-foot-2, 175-pound two-way player was very impressive throughout the day. During batting practice, the lefty stood out with an advanced approach to go with the present toolset. Driving balls up the middle and to the opposite field the entire first round, he then showed the ability to drive the ball pull side in his next round. With a leg kick trigger, he was consistently in rhythm and on time to the ball. He showed a great, slightly uphill path through the zone with the ability to adjust to the pitch. Throughout both rounds of batting practice and during the game he consistently found the barrel, squaring balls up from gap to gap. The high-end toolset and advanced approach with the projectable frame would make him a potential middle-of-the-order hitter at the next level. Defensively, he showed an average arm with a short arm action from the outfield with the ability to cover ground and make all of the plays in a corner outfield position. On the mound, he carries over the short arm action with fastball that ranged from 74-80 mph and a breaking ball that topped out at 64 mph. His future is in the left-handed batters box as the swing projects to play at a very high level.

Miguel Soto, SS/OF, TNXL Academy, FL (2018)
The 6-foot, 180-pound MIF/OF showed big potential with the bat throughout the day. With an athletic, high-waisted frame and quick-twitch actions, he showed an advanced gap-to-gap approach during batting practice. In the game, he barreled a double into right-center field, showing a good bat path with potential power. He also showed potential in both the infield and outfield with smooth footwork and good hands from the infield. His arm will play from the left side as he topped out at 80 mph with room to grow. From the outfield, he had low, accurate throws with carry, topping out at 84 mph and showing the ability to make the necessary throws from the corner outfield positions.

Jonathan Alonso, 1B/OF, Northside Christian HS, FL (2018)
The 6-foot, 200-pound right-handed hitting 1B/OF has a strong lower half with shoulders and an upper half that could still fill out some. He showed a quick short swing through the zone with aggressive mostly pull side approach. He tended to square up the baseball gap-to-gap and showed some above average hand eye coordination. As he learns to create a little more rhythm and stay on time more consistently the present strength should turn into some above average power for his class as the bat speed and strong lower half already is present. Defensively he showed a strong slightly above average arm from the outfield and solid actions around first base. He moves well and with the bat and arm strength he projects as a solid corner outfielder at the next level.

Brendan Bell, 3B/RHP, Park Vista Community HS, FL (2018)
The 5-foot-10, 170-pound 3B/RHP took two solid rounds of batting practice. The right-handed hitter showed a level swing with a good path through the zone. He showed an ability to find the barrel, even though the swing would get long at times. As he continues to learn how to be consistently short to the ball, he should have a chance to hit for gap-to-gap power. Defensively, he shows average actions and good hands with enough arm strength to stay at third. The right-handed pitcher showed a quick arm from a 3/4 slot. There was effort in the throwing action, but the fastball ranged from 82-86 mph with some arm side run. A weak front side limited a bit of the velocity potential currently, but as that gets strong the velocity will jump. He still needs to improve his off speed as he did not show a feel for the slider or changeup currently. Overall he is athletic with a quick arm and potential both in offensively and on the mound.

Hunter Mink, RHP/OF, Palm Harbor University, FL (2019)
The athletic 6-foot, 180-pound RHP/OF, showed athleticism and a quick arm on the mound. Landing slightly closed, with a crossfire action, he threw from a ¾ slot with a quick and easy arm action. The fastball ranged from 84-86 mph with late sinking action which resulted in three strikeouts and two jammed weak ground balls in the 5 hitters he faced. At times, his arm got trapped behind him, but when he got extended there was life on the fastball with more to come. The slider has a good shape to it and ranged from 68-69 mph. The right-handed hitter starts from an open stance and uses a low hand load trigger. He has an uphill path and tended to get long, but shows some bat speed. His potential is on the mound and has a high upside being athletic with a quick arm.

Raymond LaFleur III, 1B/LHP, JM Tate HS, FL (2019)
The extremely athletic and projectable 1B/LHP was impressive all the way around. The left-handed hitter hits from a tall setup with a medium leg kick and small hand load. He stays in good rhythm and is on time to the baseball. An advanced approach and very good path through the zone produced a first round of line drives to opposite field and a second round of balls driven to the pull side. He stays balanced and relaxed and trusts his hands and path through the zone resulting in consistent quality swings and a line drive single in the game. There is a lot of room to grow and fill out and with the present tools and bat speed expect him to grow into plus power. He was also impressive on the mound. With long, easy, over the top arm action he stays in line to home showing a fastball that ranged from 80-82 mph. He also showed a sweeping slider that ranged from 66-67 mph with shape and potential. There are present tools that play well above his class with an extremely high ceiling both at the plate and on the mound that make him one of the top 2019s in the state.

Keniel  De Leon, SS/2B, Olympia HS, FL (2019)
After evaluating the course of the day, he has shown the makeup to be a very high end defensive shortstop in his future.  The 6-foot, 155-pound shortstop showed extremely good footwork and smooth actions. He showed soft hands with a very quick first step and the ability to make all of the plays at a premiere position.  His arm has potential to play from the left side and will continue to improve based on his frame and athleticism. At the plate, the right-handed hitter has some quick twitch actions with a level swing path through the zone. He would get a little long at times, but consistently found the barrel both in batting practice and the games. As he continues to get strong and log more at-bats, the swing should become shorter and lend to gap-to-gap power as his frame is athletic and projectable with plenty of room to fill out. Expect him to be a high end talent, especially as the bat continues to progress.

Matthew Corlew, SS, Trinity HS, FL (2019)
The 6-foot, 160-pound shortstop has an extremely projectable, high-waisted frame. He tends to stand out defensively, even though there is some choppiness in his steps, he has a very quick first step and moves through the ball well with soft hands that work well out in front of his body. As he continues to get a feel for his body, the athleticism and first step quickness should translate into better footwork all around making him an above average middle infielder. At the plate, the right-handed hitter has very quick hands through the zone but tends to cut himself off before getting full extension through the baseball. He also doesn’t get full use out of his lower half, but still showed his athleticism with a line drive triple to the left-center field gap and another single during the game play. As he learns to use his athleticism both offensively and defensively he will continue to get better and has a chance to be very good on both sides which makes him a high follow going forward.

Derek Crum, OF/LHP, Gaither HS, FL (2019)
The 5-foot-10, 165-pound OF/LHP showed potential on the mound in his 2 innings of work.  Striking out hitters with all three of his pitches.  Crum throws a knuckleball and curveball along with his fastball that ranged from 83-85 with a quick and easy high ¾ arm action. At the plate, the left-handed hitter showed bat speed and quick hands through the zone. With a leg kick trigger creating rhythm, he stays on time and consistently gets quality extension in an aggressive approach. He shows some present pull side power and as he continues to get stronger, with the above average bat speed, he should have above average power. In the outfield he showed athleticism working through the ball well showing strong low accurate throws with some carry. The all around tools will make him a high end D1 prospect in the near future.

Jack Jasiak, RHP/SS, Springstead HS, FL (2019)
The projectable 6-foot-1, 160-pound RHP/SS showed some all around athleticism. At the plate, the right-handed hitter hits with a large leg kick and low hand load at launch. At times the hands did not launch from the same spot, resulting in some inconsistent and long swings. The second round he seemed much more comfortable, launching more consistently and on time resulting in a lot of hard contact driving balls gap-to-gap. Defensively he showed consistently actions at short, with good footwork and hands. He could create a little more fluidity through the ball, but that should come as he grows into his body and plays more games at the position. He showed an above average arm, which also translated to the mound. On the mound, from the stretch only, he showed a short quick arm with a fastball ranging from 85-87 mph topping out at 88 mph. There is a lot of projectability on both sides of the ball. With room to fill out and present bat speed he should develop above average power as well as have potential on the mound with a quick arm and more velocity to come.

Cal McCallum, 2B/OF, Maclay HS, FL (2019)
The 5-foot-10, 165-pound 2B/OF showed off athleticism both in the workout and game portions. During batting practice, he showed an aggressive approach, attacking the baseball creating above average bat speed. He still needs to get stronger, but he showed quick hands and a balanced leg kick that translated to multiple hard hit balls in the game as well. At second, he showed the ability to make a multitude of plays both to his forehand and backhand while showing off the athleticism making a great over the shoulder play down the right field line from second. A lot of present tools and projectability make him very interesting going forward.

Tanner Mink, 3B, Palm Harbor University, FL (2019)
The 5-foot-10, 165-pound third baseman has an athletic frame with room to grow.  He featured an upright stance with a good level planed swing. This translated into the game, showing a quick bat with a hard hit ball to third base. He also showed his bat speed with an exit velocity of 85 mph off of the tee. Defensively, he showed a quick first step and good rhythm through the baseball. Showed the ability to make all of the plays and plenty of arm strength to stick at third base. As Mink continues to mature and grow, his athleticism and present tools gives him the potential to skyrocket.  This is an intriguing athlete with a lot left to go given his frame and will be a follow going forward.   

Jackson Miller, C, JW Mitchell HS, FL (2020)
The 5-foot-10, 165-pound left-handed hitting catcher shows above average all around tools. Offensively, a calm and confident approach and big leg kick trigger keeps him on time and balanced throughout his swing. A slightly uphill path, his bat stays in the zone a long time with above average bat speed. A gap-to-gap approach led to consistently line drive and flashes of above average pull side power. Behind the plate, he shows the ability to both receive and block at an above average level, with strong wrist and athleticism. He could improve on the flexibility and setup lower, but that will come with more games caught. Also showed a good transfer and quick feet while staying under control with pop times that ranged from 2.02-2.08. The all around skillset is already above average and he project to have a plus bat and above average catcher which is why he is one of the best 2020s in the state.

Ryan McCauley, RHP/1B, J.W. Mitchell, (2020)
The 6-foot-3, 200-pound right-handed pitcher was very impressive in his two innings of work. He showed advanced feel for pitching, especially for his class. With a clean high ¾ arm action, he is balanced and in line. When he learns how to drive down the mound and get some extension, there will be a big jump in the velocity. His fastball ranged from 82-84 mph and topped out at 86 mph. He also showed a feel for a plus changeup that he would turn over with the same arm speed as the fastball at 70 mph. The curveball tended to back up on him, but showed good shape at 69 mph. He has an extremely projectable frame, clean and easy arm action and feel for pitching. As he continues to develop, he will have a chance to be a very high end pitching prospect.

Brandon Fields, OF/3B, Dr. Phillips HS, FL (2020)
The 5-foot-10, 180-pound physical OF/3B shows high end athleticism and a lot of quick twitch actions. He has stood out before and continues to become more and more physical. With that increased physicality has come a little stiffness, but he was still impressive. At the plate, he has a bit of a wrapped top hand, but still creates plus bat speed for his class. The swing is a little shouldered and he tended to cut himself off before getting fully extended, but when he gets fully extended the ball jumps off of the bat. As he continues to figure out the mechanics and his body, the high end bat speed and hand-eye coordination could lend to some high-end power in the future. Even with some of these adjustments he can make, he still drove the ball to the pull side in batting practice as well as a double off of the left field wall in the game. Defensively, he moves extremely well in the outfield. He shows the ability to really be able to go get the baseball. He currently relies on his athleticism to get him in the right spot, but showed a few really good routes as well. Also showed an average arm with some effort. Overall, the pure athleticism could not get much better for someone his age and the potential is limitless. There are some things that will need to be cleaned up in the swing to hit higher level pitching, but there is no reason to believe these things won’t happen with more at-bats under his belt.

Travis Stapleton, C, Real Life Christian Academy, FL (2020)
The athletic 5-foot-8, 160-pound catcher showed a lot of upside throughout the day. The right-handed hitter, from an open stance showed a level line drive swing during batting practice. Quick hands produced above average bat speed, consistently finding the barrel driving the ball from gap-to-gap. Defensively, he showed above average actions both in the workout and the game. With a very quick, clean consistent transfer and above average arm he had pop times ranging from 2.02-2.08 with room to shave that by working on staying in line with his footwork. This also translated to the game, throwing out two runners with strong and accurate throws. He projects to be a plus defensive catcher and above average offensive player. Overall, very intriguing prospect that could be a high end player as he progresses.

Joseph Coffey, OF, West Orange HS, FL (2020)
The 5-foot-10, 150-pound outfield is a very intriguing young athlete. He showed his all around athleticism both at the plate and in the field. The right-handed hitter showed above average bat speed for his class as well as a compact level swing. He showed the ability to make athletic adjustments in the path of the swing and the present bat speed and frame has him projecting with an above average hit tool in the future. From the outfield, she showed an average accurate arm with some carry that will continue to improve as he gets stronger. The athleticism and present tools makes him a very intriguing player going forward.

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