Prep Baseball Report

Standouts of the MWSA Showcase

David Seifert
Director of College Scouting

The 15th annual Midwest Scouts Association Showcase was held on Saturday, August 1 at the Urban Youth Academy in Kansas City, MO. The event featured some of the top prospects from throughout the Midwest, including No. 83 ranked Gray Thomas (Heritage Hall HS, OK), No. 84 Noah Miller (Ozaukee HS, WI) and No. 85 Noah Smith (Marist HS, IL).

Beginning the day with the 60-yard dash, there was plenty of speed to burn, with two individuals running 6.5 or better and eleven individuals at 6.70 or better (hand-timed):

6.45     Chase Jans (Blue Valley HS, KS)
6.50     Chase Mason (Viborg-Hurley HS, SD)
6.61     Isaiah Frost (Blue Springs South HS, MO)
6.62     Q Phillips (Brookfield East HS, WI)
6.62     Noah Smith (Marist HS, IL)
6.62     Shea McGahan (Lindbergh HS, MO)
6.63     Kendall Diggs (St. Thomas Aquinas HS, KS)
6.65     Devin Neal (Lawrence HS, KS)
6.70     Josh Caron (Sun Prairie HS, WI)
6.70     Alex Ritzer (Stillwater HS, MN)
6.70     Owen Washburn (Webster HS, WI)

Moving onto batting practice where the noise of the ball off the bat of 1B Kyle Hayes (St. Charles East HS, IL) could likely be heard for several blocks around the baseball complex. With strong hands and good balance Hayes showed plus present thunder to all fields. With the second most present raw power on this look (but the potential for the most in the future) was South Dakota OF Chase Mason. He again showed the same easy swing that he did at the recent Midwest ProCase as the ball jumped off his bat with just a flick of his wrists. With a 6.50 sixty and plus raw power Mason (video below) was the top speed/power performer at this event.

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Other sluggers showing present better than average raw power included catcher Alex Calarco (New Trier Township, IL) and fellow backstop Josh Caron (video below).

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Several others showed signs of better than average raw power in the future, including OF Eddie King (Marian Catholic HS, IL), 3B Kendall Diggs and OF Cross Jumper (Jonesboro HS, AR). Additionally, C/1B Carter Jensen (Park Hill HS, MO) can normally be counted on to show some big-time raw power. He didn’t take the loudest of batting practice on this look, but saved some hard contact for the scrimmage that followed.

Next up was a round of infield/outfield. Top outfield arms on this look included Cross Jumper, Chase Mason and Q Phillips who all thew average to better. According to my eyes, it was Jumper who took home the top honors for the strongest outfield arm. Moving to the infield, Kendall Diggs, Noah Smith, Noah Miller, Max Peterson (Lincoln Southwest HS, NE) and Brody Green (Owasso HS, OK) all threw average or better while Jack Mosh (St. Pius X, MO) showed fringe average arm strength, but it played closer to average with his quick field and release. Overall, the top infield arm belonged to Diggs.

Moving to behind the plate, Alex Calarco showed the top raw arm strength with an above average mark, while Shea McGahan topped the POP time at 1.84 with fringe-to-average arm strength. His time may have been a little quick as he cheated a bit, gaining more ground towards the pitcher than would be normal in a game situation. The next best POP time was Ian Daughtery (Kingfisher HS, OK) at 1.97 with average pro-level arm strength. Other catcher grades were Carter Jensen (45/50 arm, 2.02-2.10 POP), Joey Spence (West Bend East HS, WI) (50 arm, 2.03-2.08), Josh Caron (45 arm, 2.0-2.07 POP), Will Rogers (Mounds View HS, MN) (45 arm, 2.01-2.09 POP) and Camden Janik (Wauconda HS, IL) (50 arm, 2.01-2.07 POP).

After a brief break from the pre-game, a 14-inning scrimmage began with Gray Thomas on the bump, opposing Vincent Trapani (Eau Claire Memorial HS, WI). Both pitchers touched 93 mph with their fastballs, but Trapani showed superior control using a shoulder tilt delivery which produced steep down plane in his one, quick inning of work, while Thomas struggled to find command of his arsenal from a low three-quarter slot.

Other top performers on the mound:

Kaleb Applebey (Mt. Carmel HS, IL)- A lessor-known arm from southern Illinois, Applebey mowed down the opposing batters with a 88-91 mph fastball and 75-76 mph slurve. His funky delivery was not the most beautiful, but what came across the plate was extremely effective as the righty struck out four of the five batters he faced. He recently committed to Wabash Valley JC, IL.

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Nick Argento (Wayzata HS, MN)- The North Carolina recruit showed good arm side life on his 88-90 mph fastball and a sharp slider in the low-80s. The right-hander has good pitchability and his arm works well.

Drew Blake (Stillwater HS, OK)- Aggressive lefty who showed good stuff and pitchability with a 88-91 mph fastball and above average 72-74 mph curve which he repeated for strikes. Made it look easy during his one inning of work.

Drew Christo (Elkhorn HS, NE)- Working down-the-hill, Christo came out pumping strikes, showing good athleticism and easy velo with his 90-93 mph fastball. With a large, strong frame at 6-foot-4, 225 pounds Christo has immense upside with a fluid delivery and clean arm action. The right-hander also flashed a short slider at 84 mph.

Zach Dantuono (Westminster Christian Academy, MO)- Quick armed righty with high spin heater at 90-91 mph and a 76-81 mph slider.

Josh Kingery (Atwater Cosmos Grove City HS, MN)- Undersized, yet aggressive lefty with a sinking 87-88 mph fastball and 71 mph curve.

Branson Kuehl (Rapid City Stevens HS, SD)- Athletic with a quick arm and competitive edge, Kuehl was up to 92 with his fastball and flashed a plus 82-83 breaking ball for consistent strikes. Overall, the right-handed Utah recruit had the best breaking ball of the event.

Ben Kudrna (Blue Valley Southwest HS, KS)- From a high three-quarter slot, the righty worked up to 92 with his fastball, sitting 90-91 while showing a 79-80 mph breaking ball and good feel for his 77 mph changeup.

Caden Marcum (Paola HS, KS)- Quick-twitch Tennessee recruit showed elite arm speed with an 85-89 mph fastball and a great feel to spin it with a 72-75 mph curve. There’s a lot of projection, but also a lot to really like with this highly athletic righty.

Tucker Novotny (Park of Cottage Grove HS, MN)- The big lefty (6-foot-5, 230 pounds) showed a sneaky 84-89 mph fastball with a long arm action and good extension out front.

Eric Orloff (Glenbrook North HS, IL)- Big lefty showed scattered, but effective control of his 85-89 mph fastball and a 69-71 mph curveball. Despite its low velocity, his super deceptive breaker plays up.

Victor Quinn (Liberty Wentzville, MO)- Athletic, live-armed righty who recorded the highest velocity of the showcase at 95 mph. However, control problems plagued Quinn as he struggled to find the strike zone.

Jackson Wentworth (Waukee HS, IA)- The event’s top performer on the mound award went to this athletic, quick-armed righty and Kansas State recruit. With high level pitchability, Wentworth attacked the strike zone with a 90-91 mph downhill fastball, while mixing in an above average 75-76 mph curve and an 82 mph changeup.

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The overall top positional prospects on this one-day look to my eyes were Kendall Diggs, Carter Jensen and Chase Mason. Mason has a present raw hit tool, but with time and experience his athleticism will help him close the gap to those currently held in higher esteem. Jensen has the most advanced hit tool of the three, complemented with a well-rounded toolset. Diggs is a great one to dream on with his tools and athleticism, while also showing skill for the game and toughness at the hot corner, taking a bad hop grounder off the throat in the middle innings. His enthusiasm throughout the day was also very refreshing to watch. Taking home the top prospect honors on the mound was Drew Christo, who not only showed well, but also has immense upside with his athleticism and easy velo with a fastball already touching 93.

Again, it was only a one day, mid-summer look. There will be plenty more opportunities for each prospect to showcase their tools and skills in advance of the 2021 MLB Draft. Some showed better than others on this look, but that’s the nature of the beast.

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