Prep Baseball Report

PBR Showdown: Top Performers seen by @JGoetzPBR

Justin Goetz
Assistant Scouting Director

The Georgia Scout Blog provides insider information and scouting notes from the PBR Georgia Scouting Staff throughout the year. This running blog will feature information on underclass prospects, unsigned seniors, draft prospects, and anything else that is notable. We go the extra mile to provide a wide range of information including player evaluations, velocities, pop times, home to first times, and more. Simply put, the Georgia Scout Blog is loaded with everything you need to keep tabs on the entire baseball industry in the Peach State …

William Cole Johnson OF, Oconee County
Georgia Tech Commit. This was by far the best offensive performance I have seen in a tournament since working for PBR, and there have been some great ones. He may not be the biggest, fastest, or the strongest, but Cole has the #1 most important tool needed to have a long career in America’s Pastime. It’s the hit tool, and it determines a player’s long term value more than anything else in the game. This truly may be the most complete bat in the Peach State regardless of class, and it's due to a combination of rare intangibles and incredibly consistent swing mechanics. His unreal pitch recognition due to 20/20 vision puts him in FB counts more than 99% of HS hitters I’ve seen. This is as disciplined a hitter as they come that doesn’t chase pitches, forcing pitchers to challenge him on a regular basis. When he is challenged, the perfect timing of release points, beautiful swing path, and ability to match plane allow him to capitalize off every FB he gets in the zone. The most effective strategy against Cole is to just walk him, which will lead to OBP’s you never see. This is the most connected swing I’ve seen in a very long time, allowing the hands to do almost no work in the path. The only task Cole’s hands have is to slowly angle the barrel into a perfect launch position by foot strike, and turn the top hand palm late in the path up to set his launch angle and create backspin. Everything in between it is controlled by the shoulders & core due to his perfectly precise shrink/tuck of the back elbow. This stabilizes his bat path perfectly so all he has to do is match the plane of his shoulders with the trajectory of the pitch. Due to his incredibly accurate intangibles and precise+adjustable swing, he’s able to create big power with little to no effort. He’s also an instinctive defender in CF with elite baseball IQ overall. He runs well underway, and has a strong+accurate arm that makes a big impact on the grass & hill. This is one of the safest bets to be an everyday MLB bat I’ve seen in quite some time, and I feel he will hit equally for average and power production.

Chase Tatum OF, Cass
Uncommitted. 6-foot-3, 195 pounds. This player is a great example of how exciting it is to scout at LakePoint, as any game can bring you a completely unknown prospect with the talent to be a pro one day. This is exactly how I feel about Chase, as he has every trait a scout can ask for. He passes the eye test with ease, as the frame would fit right in at an MLB complex right now. The most insane part about all of it is the dude just turned 15 years old. Not often do you come across a player with his potential for power production. The best part? He walks a ton, and is glad to take them anytime they come. It’s extremely uncommon to see an underclassmen with this quality of plate discipline, as it’s typically the last skill to develop in a HS hitter. His ability to see spin early allows him to take calculated risks on FB’s anywhere in the zone. Tatum’s dynamic swing gives him power to all fields, another trait you rarely see in hitters this young. The ball jumps off his bat whether it’s a perfect barrel or not, and his bat speed+bat strength combo is already producing EV’s in the mid 90’s on a regular basis. Despite his large frame he moves very well, enabling him to play CF with relative ease and he has the arm to match. This is a dual sport athlete who started as a varsity WR this spring, which shows his advanced athleticism and ability to perform under pressure. This is a big time follow for the years to come.

Henry Akopov OF, Mt. Paran
Uncommitted. 6-foot, 180 pounds. The CF talent in the 2025 class is nothing short of incredible, with 4 of them in our top 10 and many more a bit further down. Henry’s new arrival into our Top 10 was very well deserved, as he’s taken step after step offensively from better pitch recognition to much more well sequenced swing mechanics. Last year the swing had multiple parts to it, and this spring he came out with very impressive fluidity. His hip timing of release points is better instead of him starting early and having to slow down his fast twitch fibers and sap some of his power. The coil is much more gradual and perfectly timed with the pace of his stride, turning his load from 2 pieces to 1. These adjustment took much effort out of his swing, and allowed him to catch the ball outside his front foot more often. The results? The power production has jumped tremendously, and he’s basically been a walking barrel all spring. Akopov is driving the ball to all fields consistently and his speed has been much more impactful because of it, giving him the opportunity to take an extra base regularly. His top of the scale speed was obviously the 1st thing that caught our attention, but what might excite me most is his ability to play CF. His instincts are innate, reads are lightning quick just like his 1st step, and his routes are precise. The closing speed is nothing short of incredible, allowing him to make plays most CF’s have no shot at getting to. But his glove is of the same quality, as he can make web gem after web gem to save runs for his pitching staff. The ceiling is endless for this electrifying athlete, and he’s only beginning to scratch the surface.

Cooper Lewis LHP, Chamblee Charter
Uncommitted. 6-foot-2, 195 pounds. Other than helping get players signed to the school of their dreams, my favorite part about scouting for PBR continues to be finding players that are either relatively or completely unknown. This is one of them, and it’s an absolute gem. With a prototype frame and a strong lower half, this is a dude built for velocity. Although there is rawness to him pitchability wise, that’s also one of the most exciting things about him. Why? Well, he has some very advanced mechanical traits. The first 2 positives I noticed with his operation were the advanced lower half mechanics and his effortless full circle arm action from an L3/4 slot. He comes set with his largest muscles in the legs fully engaged (pressure on the hammys+glutes) due to a slight bend in the knee of his drive leg. He “sits in the chair” or sinks in the down phase of his delivery and holds that same bend throughout his stride, creating a foundation for his arm action to connect to and fire with. The arm drops effortlessly out of the glove, creating momentum with gravity instead of pulling out of the glove with effort. The result is a gradual build of arm speed that doesn’t use a bit of effort until it’s in a healthy throwing position. Lewis’ arm path is impeccably clean & repeatable, and shows above average deception with it being tough to pick up. His upper half stacks over the rubber and the force+connection of all his largest muscles on the backside promote optimal arm health. As far as his stuff goes, the most intriguing part is his potential for a power sinker. The pitch is very low spin, arrives on a steep plane, and shows sudden+ wicked tail to the glove side. It gets beat into the ground and also gets an impressive amount whiffs low in the zone. His feel to spin a sweeping CB for strikes makes him more than a 1 pitch guy currently. With a future power SNK, feel to spin, and potential for a CH, look for this arm to explode onto the scene in the next year or 2.

Matt Pearch RHP, Dunwoody
Uncommitted. 6-foot-2, 180 pounds. This was my first look at this freakishly athletic arm, and he did not disappoint. Pearch went 6 INN in a playoff game with 13 K’s against a good lineup, grabbing whiff after whiff on his electrifying carry FB and freezing hitters with his bender. This is a player who has an advanced understanding of how to throw very hard at a young age, and the velocity potential is endless. His delivery is even more impressive when you realize he’s a dual sport athlete, the starting QB for Dunwoody. Despite having much less time to work on pitching than the year round baseball players, his delivery is better than most of them. As I’ve pointed out with other future flamethrowers, playing QB has a history of directly correlating to big time arms. Patrick Mahomes is the most famous of them, but there are plenty of notable arms in the Peach State who have made big noise as QB’s - Ethan Martin out of Stephens County HS was a 1st Rd RHP who committed to UT as a QB/RHP. 2022 RHP/QB Sam Horn out of Collins Hill HS (currently at Mizzou) is a mega prospect in both sports, as is Bama QB/RHP Dylan Lonergan out of Brookwood HS. The list goes on, and Pearch’s potential on the bump is quite similar to these other names. You can read more about why his delivery projects big time velocity in the tweet below, but what might be most impressive is his direction or line to the plate. His smooth, controlled up+down+out phases lead to consistent balance and prevent his upper body or arm from having to do any extra work. Most importantly, it allows him to throw consistent strikes with his FB and go to SL. The SL tunnels quite well off his FB up, staying on FB trajectory out of the hand with late bite. His FB has the metrics to dominate games on its own right now, and I feel this is a D1 arm of the highest quality who will develop into a draft prospect over the next 2 years.

Peyton Robidoux RHP, Whitefield Academy
Uncommitted. 6-foot-2, 180 pounds. This was surely one of the biggest surprises of PBR Showdown, but not because we didn’t know him. Last fall at the UGA Campus Tour we got to see his athleticism and overall ability as a position player. He had plenty of feel on the mound but has taken a big jump in velocity over the past 8 months, causing every pitch in his arsenal to play up. He’s retained that pitchability with ease, and now has arrived as a serious D1 prospect on the hill. He showed very impressive composure on the bump, pitching his way out of multiple situations with baserunners on. Peyton’s feel for an extremely advanced CH he can throw in any count causes many hitters to waste their AB’s with weak contact. His true high spin FB worked in the 2350 range and stayed above barrels consistently, also showing effectiveness down in the zone arriving on a steep plane. The ball comes out of his hand very easily and you can tell he’s a natural pronator by the following the action of his hand after release. He has a large frame but looks much younger than his age physically, foreshadowing some extra projection to go along with his standout athleticism. For 6-4-3 to start him in a playoff game shows their confidence in him with the game on the line, and speaks volumes to us as scouts. Robidoux is only at the ground floor of his eventual ceiling on the bump, and Whitefield has themselves an ace to follow up the departure of Brayden May to the SEC.

Eston Simpson RHP, Jefferson
Uncommitted. 6-foot-6, 180 pounds. I don't think anyone would argue that this is one of the most projectable arms in the 2025 class, but what separates him from many other projection arms is the feel to pitch. He’s got 3 pitches in the arsenal he can throw in any count, with the ability to dominate horizontally. Eston’s crossfire angle adds tons of deception to the delivery combined with angle, making it very difficult to track him for both RHH & LHH. He routinely paints the inner and outer edges with his heater, showing interesting life at times but even more impressive is the ability to keep the pitch out of harm's way as the velocity develops. Although he was working in the 84-87 range on this day, he has already hit new PR’s on the pitch since. I feel his CB/SLV is very unique with gradual sweep and 2 plane depth that plays even better than its metrics due to the lower slot and angle his crossfire creates. Not to mention his one of the tallest players in the class, making all pitches even tougher to track out of the hand. Speaking of tracking it out of the hand, you can see how tightly he spins the FB/SLV and this is an arm who is nowhere near the eventual ceiling on his stuff. His CH has tons of potential and is heavy with very impressive fade at times. Simpson is able to control his 3rd pitch better than most, and we feel this is an easy lock as a starter with a 3 pitch arsenal for sure. He can add a CUT/hard sweeper in the future that will make his other 3 pitches that much more impactful, but for now we’d like to continue seeing him fill out and building his 4 seam. We are some of Eston’s biggest believers, and truly feel he will pass many others throughout the country as he fills into the frame.

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