Prep Baseball Report

Future Games: Team GA (Position Players) - Ceilings & Floors, Tools & Intangibles

Justin Goetz
Assistant Scouting Director

There are nearly endless attributes needed to become a complete baseball player. Some are easier to see and evaluate, usually tools. Others are more difficult, typically intangibles. Each player has a trio of separators, meaning skills that put them a level above other players with similar talent. The key of baseball is scoring runs & saving runs, and every skill discussed here has an impact on at least one of the two. 

When you go to a baseball game, the five tools (Hit for Average, Raw Power, Run, Field, Throw) are the easiest to notice. Some parts of evaluating a player like ceiling/floor, swing mechanics, pitch recognition, baseball IQ, and aptitude are tougher to determine. The 5 tools are more physical in nature having many subsets, and the intangibles are a lengthy list of a player's “Mental Makeup”. 

In the 2023 PBR Future Games, the athletes on Team Georgia are loaded with so many of these characteristics, each player having their own special traits. These rankings are based on the MLB scouting scale, with only Average to Excellent being used (avg, solid avg, above avg, good/plus, ++ , and excellent). Below I will explain the ceilings/floors, each of the most important tools & intangibles (with separators for each player), and list the Top 5 players on our club that most exemplify these skills. 

HIGHEST CEILING - These are the players with the most overall future potential. High ceiling players exhibit the best combination of athleticism, tools, and projection. Of course makeup and intangibles come into play, but they can only get most players so far. There are always exceptions. While high ceiling players may bring more risk, they also bring more reward if the ceiling is reached.

1. Terrance Bowen, IF. Separators: Dual Sport, Bat Speed, Raw Power, Athleticism, Projection.
2. Michael Dee, SS. Separators: Dual Sport, Athleticism, Projection, Fast Twitch, Defensive Actions.
3. Henry Akopov, CF. Separators: Fast Twitch Fibers, Strength, Overall Tools.
4. John Stuetzer, SS/CF. Separators: Dual Sport, Athleticism, Hand-Eye, Versatility at 2 Premium Positions.
5A. John Loudon, CF. Separators: Fast Twitch Fibers, Strength/Frame, Overall Tools.
5B. Reiston Durham, SS. Separators: Fast Twitch Fibers, Age, Overall Actions.

SAFEST FLOOR - These are the players who may not have the most athleticism or 5 tools, but typically check more boxes in the intangible department. Most importantly, high floor players show the most consistency game by game. The long term track record of success brings less risk. Finding a player with a very high ceiling and high floor is ideal, but quite rare.
1. Michael H. Stonecipher, C. Separators: Hitting Intangibles, Defensive Value, Baseball IQ.
2. John Davis, CF. Separators: Hit for Avg, Plate Discipline, Instincts.
3. Judson Hartwell, 3B. Separators: Track Record, Hit for Avg, All Fields Power, XL Frame.
4. Jared Glenn, 3B. Separators: Track Record, Hit for Avg, Hitting Intangibles, Swing Mechanics.
5A. Michael Dee, SS. Separators: Defensive Value, Vision, Hand-Eye, Projection.
5B. John Stuetzer, SS/CF. Separators: Defensive Value, Hit for Avg, Pitch Recognition.
5C. Vick Gann, CF. Separators: Hand-Eye, Fast Twitch Fibers, Makeup, Approach.

SWING MECHANICS are just half the battle to becoming a great hitter, but there are no MLB hitters with bad swings. There might be hitters with unorthodox swings (Hunter Pence, Kevin Youkilis), but they still check all the boxes as far as hitting absolutes go. Hips start/control the swing, rhythm, timing, sequence, repeatability, launch position, weight distribution (at landing), linear connection, still head. These are just some of the hitting absolutes. The players below consistently put themselves in the best position to hit on our Future Games roster.
1. Jared Glenn, 3B. Separators: Fluidity, Sequence, Body Control, Swing Path.
2. Terrance Bowen, IF. Separators: Effortlessness, Posture, Separation Timing, Linear Connection.
3. Michael H. Stonecipher, C. Separators: Timing, Hip/Shoulder Separation, Torque, Linear Connection, Swing Path.
4. John Davis, CF. Separators: Sequence, Hip Pace, Weight Distribution, Swing Path.
5A. Judson Hartwell, 3B. Separators: Balance, Barrel Tip, Repeatability, Adjustability.
5B. Michael Dee, SS. Separators: Effortlessness, Rhythm, Efficiency (load+separation).
5C. Henry Akopov, CF. Separators: Timing, Sequence, Explosiveness.
5D. John Loudon, CF. Separators: Body Control, Overall Efficiency, Adjustability.

HIT FOR AVG (MLB Average BA = .248.) is the toughest tool to project on, because it will always be the most difficult facet of the game to consistently produce in. Not only is the hit tool the most important tool for the long term success of a position player (other than C), but it involves the most intangible skills of all 5 tools. A hitter cannot survive long term at the MLB level without intangibles. Pure hitters need a slew of them such as - approach, pitch recognition & plate discipline, timing, hand eye coordination, ability to decelerate/accelerate, adjustability, strong hands, swing mechanics, etc. This tool will only be evaluated on future potential, as no HS hitter could hit consistently at the games highest level currently.

1. Michael H. Stonecipher, C. A/AVG. Separators: Baseball IQ, Approach, Pitch Recognition, Decision Making, Plate Discipline.
2. John Stuetzer, SS/CF. Solid Avg. Separators: Timing, Hand-Eye, Reaction Time, Adjustability.
3.Jared Glenn, 3B. AVG. Separators: Approach,Timing, Pitch Recognition, Swing Mechanics, B2B
4. Judson Hartwell, 3B. AVG. Separators: Approach,Effortlessness, Adjustability, Swing Mechanics.
5A. John Davis, CF. AVG. Separators: Approach, Plate Discipline, Hand-Eye, Swing Mechanics
5B. Michael Dee, SS. AVG. Separators: Pitch Recognition, Hand-Eye, Adjustability.

RAW POWER (Current and Future) - This is one of the more straightforward tools that can be measured in BP and in game. The hitting ability of a player will determine how often their raw power shows in game, which is called power production. The raw power tool generally stands for how often can the player hit the ball out of an MLB ballpark in BP, and how far over the wall? HS players will get stronger, hence the current and future grades.

1. Terrance Bowen, IF. A/AVG to ++. Separators: Bat Speed, Frame, Athleticism, Swing Mechanics.
2. Judson Hartwell, 3B. AVG to ++. Separators: Frame, Loft, Tall Guy Pwr, Manipulates Barrel.
3. Brady Christman, C/OF. Solid Avg to Plus. Separators: Raw Strength, Bat Speed, Intent.
4.Michael H. Stonecipher, C. AVG to Plus. Separators: Swing Mechanics, Rotational Acceleration, Swing Path, Intent
5A.Henry Akopov, CF. Near Avg to A/AVG. Separators: Fast Twitch Fibers, Bat Speed, Raw+Grip Strength.
5B.Jared Glenn, 3B. Near Avg to A/AVG. Separators: Frame, Bat Strength, Swing Mechanics+Path, Hand-Eye.
5C.John Loudon, CF. Near Avg to A/AVG. Separators: Fast Twitch Fibers, Bat Speed, Raw Strength, Frame.

RUN is one of only 3 tools that show up every day, and it’s one of the simplest skills to evaluate. Once a player is an Upperclassman in High School, you know at the very least whether they’re good, average, or below average runners. Any runner can improve their speed to another level, but a below average runner at age 16-18 is never going to develop blazing speed. With the exception of elite athletes, most players get slower as they grow older. This tool will be evaluated on current and future potential.

1. Henry Akopov, CF. ++/Excellent (6.44 60 yd). Separators: Fast Twitch, Effortlessness, Baserunning, Top Speed.
2. Vick Gann, CF. ++/Excellent (6.50 60 yd). Separators: Acceleration, Quickness, Explosiveness.
3. John Loudon, CF. ++/Excellent (6.53 60 yd). Separators: Acceleration, Effortlessness, Long Strides, Ground Force.
4. John Stuetzer, SS/CF. Plus/++ (6.62 60 yd). Separators: Quickness, Long Strides, Baserunning, Long Speed.
5A.Brady Christman, C/OF. A/AVG/Plus (6.67 60 yd). Separators: Ground Force, Explosiveness, Top Speed.
5B.Terrance Bowen, IF. Solid Avg/A/AVG. (6.73 60 yd). Separators: Projection, Athleticism, Long Speed.

FIELD is another tool that can play every day. No matter if you go 0 for 3 at the plate, a good defender can always save runs for his team to make up for not producing any offensively. At the games premium defensive positions (Catcher, SS, CF) are where defense holds the most value. MLB players such as C Jeff Mathis, SS Nick Ahmed, and CF Billy Hamilton have created long careers due to their defensive prowess, despite below average hitting. This tool will be evaluated on future potential only, as there has rarely (if ever) been a HS defender that could field at an AVG MLB clip in HS.

1.John Stuetzer, SS/CF. Plus (CF), A/AVG (SS). Separators: Anticipation, Instincts, Footwork, Exchange, Hip Fluidity, Range, Routes
2. John Loudon, CF. Plus. Separators: 1st Step, Hip Fluidity, Instincts, Effortlessness, Range.
3. Michael Dee, SS. A/AVG. Separators: Smooth Actions, Body Balance, Exchange, Internal Clock.
4. Henry Akopov, CF. A/AVG. Aggressiveness, Range, Instincts, Closing Speed, Fearlessness.
5A.Michael H. Stonecipher, C. Strong Avg. Separators: Baseball IQ, Catch & Throw, Receiving, Blocking.
5B. John Davis, CF. Strong Avg. Separators: Anticipation, Instincts, Routes.
5C. Landon Ludwig, C. Strong Avg. Separators: Arm Strength, Transfer, Agility, Athleticism.
5D. Reiston Durham, SS. Strong Avg. Separators: Anticipation, Instincts, Footwork, Arm
5E. Vick Gann, CF. Strong Avg. Separators: Anticipation, 1st Step, Acceleration, Hand-Eye.

is the 3rd tool of 5 that play every day no matter what. Arm strength & arm accuracy can allow a players defense to play up as a whole, save a pitching staff, save a players career (converting to pitching), and make for one of the most exciting plays in a game. Instincts, footwork, exchange/transfer, baseball IQ, and body control are skills that can aid this tool. This tool will be evaluated on future potential.

1. Landon Ludwig, C. Plus. (1.86-1.93 pop time, T91 as RHP, 82 C velo). Separators: Arm Strength+Speed, Arm Accuracy, Transfer.
2. Brady Christman, C/OF. Plus (92 OF velo). Separators: Arm Strength, Arm Speed.
2. Michael H. Stonecipher, C. A/AVG (81 C velo). Separators: Transfer, Arm Speed+Accuracy, Arm Action, Carry.
3. Michael Dee, SS. A/AVG. (86 IF velo). Separators: Exchange, Arm Action+Arm Spd, Projection, Changes Angles.
4. John Stuetzer, SS/CF. Solid Avg. (85 IF velo). Separators: Exchange, Footwork, Release, Changes Angles.
5. Reiston Durham, SS. Solid Avg. (83 IF velo). Separators: Arm Strength, Carry, Projection (Age).

PITCH RECOGNITION & PLATE DISCIPLINE are the most important intangibles a hitter can have, and they go together like peanut butter and jelly. Being able to see the baseball spin out of a pitcher's hand allows the hitter to make an early, correct swing decision and have the time to adjust their body, mind, and swing path to a certain pitch. Good vision provides the hitter with a confident & prepared mindset, proper timing, tracking ability, tells them whether to decelerate/accelerate per pitch type, and typically goes together with plate discipline. Hitters without pitch recognition and plate discipline can’t control the strike zone and won’t make consistently good swing decisions. When a hitter is undisciplined and can’t lay off secondary pitches out of the zone, they won’t see many fastballs. Hitters who don’t see spin well won’t capitalize off hangers, which may be the best pitch you get in an AB. Good hitters also force pitchers to throw them FB’s in the zone. These skills need a solid approach. A plan to hit the ball where it's pitched, work toward a certain part of the field, look for certain pitches in certain zones, or work a pitcher into their strengths, etc. Evaluated on future potential.

Pitch Recognition (Future Grades) 

1. Michael Dee, SS. Plus (Visual Edge Score - 81.34)
2. Michael H. Stonecipher, C. Plus (Visual Edge Score - 80.90).
3. John Stuetzer, SS/CF. Plus (Visual Edge Score - 78.91)
4. Judson Hartwell, 3B. A/AVG (Visual Edge Score -  76.06).
5A. Jared Glenn, 3B. A/AVG.
5B. John Loudon, CF. A/AVG.

Swing Decisions/Plate Discipline
(Future Grades)

1. John Davis, CF. Plus. Separators: Approach, Patience, Timing
2. Michael H. Stonecipher, C. Plus. Separators: Vision, Preparation, Still Head.
3. Vick Gann, CF. A/AVG. Separators: Approach, Ability to Waste Pitches.
4. Jared Glenn, 3B. A/AVG. Separators: Still Head (Swing Mechanics), Patience, Judgement.
5A. Judson Hartwell, 3B. Solid Avg. Separators: Vision, Confidence, Quiet Actions.
5B. John Stuetzer, SS/CF. Solid Avg. Separators: Vision, Body Control, Strength.

are an intangible skill that you cannot teach. You either have them or you don’t. A player can make their instincts better by constantly evolving, studying the game, and with elite preparation. But a player with bad instincts will never be able to make it an elite skill. This innate feel for the game allows a player to react naturally and correctly just before a play happens. This feel can benefit in any facet of the game. Making a perfect read of the ball as a hitter makes contact, one handing a pitch below the zone to prevent rollover, stealing a base before the pitcher makes his first move. Intangible evaluated on current only.

1. John Stuetzer, SS/CF. Excellent. Separators: Anticipation, Reaction Time, Dual Sport.
2. Michael Dee, SS. Plus. Separators: Anticipation, Feel, Dual Sport.
3. John Davis, CF. Plus. Separators: Anticipation, Baseball IQ, Awareness.
4. John Loudon, CF. A/AVG. Separators: Reaction Time, Feel, Athleticism.
5A. Michael H. Stonecipher, C. Separators: A/AVG. Awareness, Baseball IQ, Anticipation.
5B. Henry Akopov, CF. A/AVG. Separators: Athleticism, Aggressiveness, Fearlessness.

The best way to have elite IQ on the diamond is to play an endless amount of baseball and study the game relentlessly every day. The constant hunger to know everything about the game leads to the highest level of preparation, and the more you know about the game the more you’ll think 1-2 plays ahead. Players with high baseball IQ are prepared for every possible scenario on each singular play. This intangible will be evaluated on future grades only.

1. Michael H. Stonecipher, C. Excellent. Separators: Preparation, Awareness, Aptitude.
2. Vick Gann, CF. ++. Separators: Approach, Preparation, Feel.
3. John Davis, CF. ++. Separators: Preparation, Approach, Awareness.
4. Jared Glenn, 3B. Plus. Separators: Approach, Focus, Calmness.
5. John Stuetzer, SS/CF. Plus. Separators: Feel, Awareness, Aptitude.
5B. Judson Hartwell, 3B. Plus. Separators: Discipline, Approach, Feel.
5C. Landon Ludwig, C. Plus. Separators: Preparation, Awareness, Feel.

APTITUDE is a natural ability to adjust on the fly. This ability can be improved by repetition and constant studying. It’s not always the case, but usually the best athletes have the best aptitude. A player can hide their weaknesses with pure talent, but eventually a player who can’t make consistent adjustments as they go to the next level of competition will plateau career wise or decline.

1. Michael Dee, SS. Separators: Athleticism, Dual Sport.
2. John Stuetzer, SS/CF Separators: Athleticism, Dual Sport.
3. Michael H. Stonecipher, C. Separators: Baseball IQ, Awareness.
4. Terrance Bowen, IF. Separators: Athleticism, Dual Sport.
5A. Judson Hartwell, 3B. Separators: Baseball IQ, Awareness.
5B. Henry Akopov, CF. Separators: Athleticism, Awareness. 


Everyone on the roster!

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