Maryland Fall Invitational: Early Thoughts
November 8, 2018
Last Saturday, November 3rd over 40 players from across the Old Line state came to Mount St. Mary’s University for the 2018 PBR Maryland Fall Invitational. Players from the 2019-2022 classes went through a pro-style workout including BP and bullpens in front of college coaches from across the region and PBR Maryland staff. Below are some early thoughts on top performer’s from the day.
St. John’s College OF/RHP James Wood highlighted the talented group of players on hand with his size, athleticism, and ability to both swing it and pitch. The class of 2021 prospect is already turning heads with his raw ability and physical 6-foot-5, 200 pounds frame. At the plate, Wood’s swing is free, and loose from the left side. He showed easy power to the pull side taking one way over the fence in right field during his second round of BP and littering both rounds with hard hit balls. On the bump, Wood showed a quality three pitch mix with a fastball that sat 82-83 mph, a hard 11/5 breaking ball with big, sharp break at 66-69 mph, and a change-up with plus fade at 72-73 mph.
Three other arms were 80+ mph on the day beginning with uncommitted class of 2019, Gage Utz of Old Mill. Utz is physically imposing on the mound standing 6-foot-4, 215 pounds. Pitching with tempo, the righty sat 79-81 and touched 83 a couple times. His slider had some sweeping 10/4 action to it at 64-67 mph and change-up showed some fade at 64-66 mph. Utz showed long, clean arm action and strong down to out lower half drive during the bullpen. Class of 2020 RHP Ryan Pastor from Georgetown Prep showed a controlled wind-up and smooth delivery with sound mechanics and very quick arm speed through release. The athletic 6-foot, 155 pound righty was up to 82 mph with a 12/6 breaking ball at 63-67 mph, and 65-67 mph change-up with slight fade. John Dhima from Urbana is another interesting uncommitted 2020 right handed pitching prospect. He has a controlled wind-up and delivery with long, clean arm actions throwing from a high three-quarters slot. Fastball sat 80-81 mph and he also threw a breaking ball at 66-68 mph with 11/5 shape as well as a 70-73 mph change-up. There looks to be more in the tank as well which certainly makes him one to keep and eye on come spring.
As a positional group however, the Fall Invitational will be remembered for the strong catching group that was on display. Eleven catchers in all participated and seven of which tossed pop times of 2.13 or below. Leading the core of catchers was Huntingtown HS class of 2021 Dakota Wright with his 72 mph arm velo, 2.06-2.09 pop time range, and 86 mph exit velo at the plate. The 5-foot-10, 210 pound backstop was accurate on all of his throws to second base and showed a quick bat, short swing, and gap-to-gap pop at the plate. St. Mary’s class of 2021 backstop Logan Scully posted the event’s top pop times ranging 1.96-2.00 on five throws with a positional velo of 70 mph. Scully took two solid rounds of BP showing a gap-to-gap line drive type swing and some pop. Rounding out the event’s top three catchers based on pop times and velo was yet another class of 2021 prospect from Thomas Johnson HS, Trevor Yusko. Yusko ranged 2.02-2.13 on pop times with a 70 mph positional velo to go along with a solid 82 mph exit velo at the plate. Yusko showed quick bat speed, a gap-to-gap approach, and some pull side power. He was also up to 78 mph off the bump with a big sharp 12/6 and 11/5 breaking ball that sat 65-70 mph.
The class of 2020 catching core had a nice day as well with several posting very good numbers. Urbana’s Armani Bullock posted five pop times ranging 2.10-2.19 with a positional velo of 70 mph behind the dish and an event best 87 mph exit velo at the plate. The solid 5-foot-11, 220 pound prospect showed fast bat speed, a strong lower half, and raw power offensively driving several balls through the gaps in BP. Middletown catcher Chase Weller was consistently accurate on five pops to second with times ranging 2.13-2.16 to go along with a 70 mph positional arm velo as well and an 81 mph exit velo at the plate. Weller is a gap-to-gap line drive type hitter with occasional pop. Class of 2020 Brett DeWees from Manchester Valley HS posted pop times ranging 1.95-2.14 with an exit velo of 83 mph at the plate. The 6-foot-1, 195 pound prospect showed a nice line drive swing with some pop to the pull side during BP.
Two Gettysburg Area HS (PA) players had solid workouts at this year's Fall Invitational. Class of 2020 catcher Dylan Ed showed some gap-to-gap power at the plate driving multiple balls throughout BP in the gaps and using the whole field well. Ed posted a 82 mph exit velo and behind the plate he showed accurate throws to second base with pop times ranging 2.09-2.27. High school teammate and class of 2020 outfielder Dillon Gebler ran a 7.05 60-yard dash and showed off a 77 mph arm velocity and 79 mph exit velo. Gebler is a line drive type hitter that showed some pop to the pull side during BP.
Other position players of note include third baseman James Hawkins from Chesapeake-AA. The class of 2020 prospect has a solid, athletic body type, strong lower half and 6-foot, 185 pound frame. At the plate, he showed a gap-to-gap line drive approach and really used the whole field well in his rounds of BP. Hawkins was also solid in the field at third base setting up early to the ball, working through it, and making strong throws across the diamond at 81 mph. His 85 mph exit velo was tied for second highest of the Fall Invitational. Archbishop Spalding class of 2021 Ben Wieman is another athletic third basemen with a strong arm and some juice at the plate. He stands 6-foot-1, 165 pounds with more room to grow and fill out. Across the diamond, Wieman threw 80 mph and he too recorded a 85 mph exit velo at the plate. At the plate, Wieman showed good balance and stays behind the ball well. He took two really nice rounds of BP squaring up several balls while showing some gap pop. Bryce Quartucci from Urbana showed athleticism and sound actions in the field. The class of 2020 OF/MIF handled the bat well at the plate and used the whole field during BP squaring up several line drives.
Rounding out the top performers were two outfield speedsters. Uncommitted class of 2019 Tre Jones of Caesar Rodney (DE) posted an event best 6.94 60-yard dash to go along with an 82 mph exit velo. The tall, lanky, and athletic 6-foot-2, 163 pound outfielder and right handed pitcher stayed gap-to-gap in BP with some pop and was also up to 78 mph on the mound during his bullpen. 5-foot-6, 150 class of 2020 prospect Logan DeBord from Oakdale ran a 7.00 60-yard dash and posted a 80 mph arm velo from the outfield to go along with a 78 mph exit velo at the plate. DeBord is a scrappy player with a line drive approach and stayed gap-to-gap during BP.
Stayed tuned the next two weeks as we begin to break down more of the top prospects by position in our Notebook series. A schedule of what’s to come is as follows:
November 13th 2018: Fall Invitational Catcher’s Notebook
November 15th 2018: Fall Invitational Infielder’s Notebook
November 19th 2018: Fall Invitational Pitcher’s Notebook
November 21st 2018: Fall Invitational Outfielder’s Notebook