Fall Campus Tour : Kennesaw State - Quick Hits
January 13, 2023
C Gunner Fokken (Carrollton, 2027) was the most impressive player at the event. A switch hitting catcher with advanced swing mechanics and a nearly identical swing from both sides? That’s like finding gold, especially when the kid is in middle school! This will prevent him from ever having to see a same side breaking ball, as all will break into his barrel. While both sides are clean, the left side is truly perfect and is honestly a work of art. It’s only an advantage that 75% or more of the pitchers he faces will be right handed. His hips control the lower half, with a smooth pace. He’s able to create optimal momentum while never straying far from his center of balance on the negative move or the forward move. This minimizes head movement, so he can track and adjust to any pitch underway. His hands are quietly active in one spot and the chest loads the hands for him on a perfect diagonal plane. Gunner has minimal separation but creates very efficient torque in the forward move. His perfect linear connection begins with the back elbow tucking with ease clearing the way for a knob led path that spends forever in the hitting zone. He hits from a perfect weight distribution (55% backside 45% front) with very balanced hands through the zone. The top hand stays palm up through contact, creating perfect backspin to the gaps. Defensively is more of the same, showing good footwork, great direction, and a quick transfer with a short and athletic arm action.
‘27 C Gunner Fokken (@g_fokken2027)— Justin Goetz (@JGoetzPBR) January 14, 2023
Wowed at KSU. Switch hitter, advanced swing mech from both sides? It was like finding gold. Clean, compact & efficient. Ability to manipulate barrel any pitch any zone. Min. separation built for velo! Catch & throw ✅@PBRGeorgia @ShooterHunt pic.twitter.com/fah29qfg8X
SS Brandon Stephens (Decatur, 2023) this broad shouldered, long levered baller came away one of the most impressive athletes at our KSU event. He might only be an average runner now, but he glides with lengthy strides you would typically see on the basketball court. I see him getting much faster as he fills into his frame. It’s a very well sequenced swing with balance, rhythm and timing. The head stays very quiet and is centered between the base when he lands, and the weight is properly distributed (55% backside, 45% front side) creating a powerful position to throw the hands from. Stephens has exceptional hand eye & seems to catch every pitch just outside his front foot with perfect extension. He has the length and feel barrel to get hits on breaking pitches that would otherwise end up below the zone. It's a low effort swing built for games, and he’ll get more used to turning up twitch as strength comes. Defensively, his footwork stands out both laterally and through the ball, with soft hands and innate ability to change arm slots based on the play.
OF Christopher Ahrens (Shawnee, NJ, 2025) was one of the more well rounded players at the event, standing out in the 60 with a 7.0 with an explosive first step. There’s no doubt his run tool will play up in game, as he shows considerable twitch in all facets. Offensively, he was one of the most impressive swings by far with 91 EV and squared up everything. He sinks perfectly into his lower half during the negative move, compacting his swing and creating a powerful and connected position before the hips even touch & go off the backside. The swing flows like water, with perfect hip pace allowing his upper half to separate gradually in stride. There are no pauses or deceleration of momentum in the swing, as it happens in impressive sequence with unreal ease of effort. He creates his power from the ground up, an upper half tilts south on a diagonal plane to go north and match pitch plane for lofty barrels. Ahrens has strong hands through contact and good balance throughout. His instincts and fluid hips defensively make him an advanced defender for his age, and he has an absolute CANNON at 87 mph with carry and accuracy.
OF Matthew Lee (Wellesley, MA, 2025) peppered the gaps with laser after laser with his times up swing. He produced one of the higher rotational accelerations we’ve seen in 2022 at 37.8 with big time bat speed for his age (80 mph). He has a business-like approach at the plate and looks to output controlled violence with his aggressive lower half. Lee rides the backside in stride very well, creating unreal linear connection as the hands are thrown. The swing is unique with the barrel just off his shoulder but he gets to proper launch position and it actually makes him more efficient and connected. His knee to knee clearance is explosive and gets to maximum tension just before contact. This is a player with serious bat 2 ball skills. Defensively he plays in an athletic crouch that helps him stay down through the ball when fielding. The arm is advanced for his age, producing 84 mph throws with solid accuracy.
OF Turk Williams (North Paulding, 2026) is an impressive athlete for his age with a well rounded skill set. His actions stood out from the plate to the mound, doing everything with relative ease. Turk has a smooth, balanced swing with good rhythm and balance. This allows him to build up power for controlled violence after landing, and you notice the explosiveness. His wide base and toe tap make for a well grounded approach, and a starting point to clear his hips in stride as well as decelerate on offspeed pitches. Williams has a slow flow in the hands that create a clean, little C load that allows him to produce a direct path to the baseball. With a lengthy frame and broad shoulders, there’s plenty of raw power potential in this one. His EV’s were mostly in the low 80’s with a 78% sweet spot percentage, proving he’s got the hand eye to be a serious bat. He’s got plenty of bat speed that will continue to tick up as he gets stronger. Turk has an absolute cannon from the OF for his age, with multiple throws reaching 83 mph. This is undoubtedly a good sign for him on the mound, where he has some natural feel.
SS Cesar Rodriguez (Jonesboro, 2023) had easily one of the most athletic swings in the event. The flow in his hips and hands are extremely impressive, leading to the most dynamic forward move in the event. Rodriguez shows innate feel for hip/shoulder separation and creates ridiculous torque due to his incredible timing and sequence. His lower half mechanics are dynamic. They move at a free yet controlled pace and create perfect lower half momentum which takes pressure off his hands and help accelerate them post landing. Cesar drove the ball to the left center gap consistently with easy backspin, occasionally buggy whipping balls on the inner half. He has a natural ability to turn the barrel in tight space and has strong hands through contact. There is considerable power potential here as he grows into his body, as this is a very athletic frame. He moved well in the infield and showed off nice arm strength at 84 mph. Probably more of a fit at 3B, but the bat is going to play wherever he ends up.
C/3B William Barbary (Chapel Hill, 2024) is a very projectable backstop with picturesque swing mechanics and a quiet confidence about him we really like. He has a very athletic body for a catcher with broad shoulders and long levers. Offensively, he had one of the most effortless and efficient swing paths of the event. There’s no wasted movement in the swing and a simplified lower half that keeps the head quiet for tracking. It’s a compact path that gets optimal barrel angle late for backspin doubles to the pull side gap. Barbary makes it look easy at the plate, and that typically fares well against quality pitching. He has a simple forward move and the hands work in and out of launch position easily in one fluid motion. This is surely a bat with huge potential in the Chapel Hill lineup. He barreled his way to an 87 mph max EV, averaging 81. His catch and throw is very solid, turning in 2.00 - 2.08 pop times with throws on an accurate one hop. The transfer is nice and the reason for his pop times. The arm was up to 83 in the infield, showing there’s much more arm strength that can be activated behind the dish.
C Andrew Doherty (North Gwinnett, 2024) was one of the more consistent players in the event, doing everything well with good fundamentals. He possesses a very simplified swing with quick hands, with extra movement getting in the way of him attacking the ball. The swing is short to, long through and he sprays the ball to all fields with quality contact. It’s a quiet head and minimal stride that fits perfectly with his short, repeatable load. He’s a patient receiver with the ability to stick pitches easily. This helps him in the catch & throw game, where he’s very impressive and was one of the better pop times in the event (2.08 - 2.10). He gets very good direction toward the bag and puts accurate throws on the inside of the bag again and again. With his EV getting up to 90 mph, there’s plenty of pop in this interesting backstop.
C Abhay Raheja (Forsyth Central, 2024) one of my favorite swings in the event! A momentum based swing with good lower half pace where the upper half gradually times up and goes along for the ride. This creates an extremely low effort forward move that gains optimal ground for extra power. His hips clear with impressive ease in stride while holding backside bend and allowing him to be in a perfect position to hit at landing. It’s a very clean, level bat path and one of the most repeatable I saw during the Fall Campus Tour. The ball jumped off his barrel with backspin to both gaps and his swing is a work of art. He moves well behind the plate and had the most accurate throws in the event, turning in a 2.18 pop time. This should be an asset for the Forsyth Central offense this spring.
SS Colin Jones (A3 Baseball Academy, 2024) gets shot out of a rocket in the 60 yd dash with an exceptionally quick first step. Although he ran a 6.9, this is undoubtedly a plus runner in game it was a rough weather day which impacted ground conditions. He’s got fast hands at the plate and was one of the most compact at the event. This is a ball of muscle who does everything explosively, and you can tell he has passion for the game. He got up to 88 EV and was peppering balls to the pull side repeatedly. Jones doesn’t just have physical strength, the arm is right there with it. He showed exciting arm strength from the OF at 86 mph and got to balls easily.
OF Trae Wilson (Hillgrove, 2024) One of two brothers that showed ease of effort in all actions at KSU. He moved well in the 60 with lengthy strides and covered up ground. He has a simplified, non-manufactured swing and tons of feel for the barrel. There’s a lot to like about his ability to find the sweet spot as he has impressive bat 2 ball skills. The approach is more left center to right center, but there’s plenty of feel for going the other way. Wilson can work his hands above the high ball to flatten out path, just as well as he can steepen the barrel on low balls. He showed instincts, good footwork and soft hands in OF.
OF Trent Wilson (Hillgrove, 2024) Is the other brother that his similarly quick hands and feel for the barrel. He has a unique lower half move where he lands early but the hips still clear properly and he’s timed up. This is an athletic mover who covers a lot of ground in the OF and his arm is a weapon in the mid 80’s that can cut down runners. He shows good footwork in the outfield and funnels through the ball properly with accurate throws helped by good momentum. He and his brother Trae had an on plane efficiency of 93%, showing nice level swings.
RHP Ryan Travis (Roswell, 2023) this is a wiry strong, broad shouldered athlete with impressive ability to repeat his mechanics at a high level. Unsurprisingly, that led to him having really good command at the KSU Campus Tour. He’s very patient over the rubber with optimal stride length and the ease of operation is everything you’d hope for in an arm. He had a live tailing FB in the 80 mph range that he repeatedly dotted to both edges. His 70 mph SL is an absolute weapon, producing an ABSURD amount of horizontal break, up to 26 inches and averaging 20. This is a certified street sweeper thats going to get high amounts of swing & miss on a regular basis this spring. With some added strength, he can make a jump and be a great addition to a college staff especially with the SL. He’s worked into the mid 80’s before.
RHP Andrew Gable (Whitewater, 2024) this is a player with a very repeatable overhead windup who put up ridiculous IVB numbers on his FB, up to 25 in. He’s patient over the rubber and his FB comes in on a steep plane in the upper 70’s. His SL is equally unique, with spin in the 2300’s and real downward tilt with some late sweep. This is a strike thrower who can repeat his delivery and stuff quite well. He’s a pitch to contact type who can turn in low pitch count innings.