Midwest Future Games Highlights and Notes

By Mike Rosenbaum

In the event’s first game, Missouri was able to muster only four hits and ultimately dropped the nine-inning contest against Illinois at Benedictine University, 11-1. On Sunday morning against Indiana, the first inning could not be completed before the skies opened up and heavy thunderstorms delayed the game. But more than four hours later, with the sun shining and the field dry enough to resume play, both teams once again took the field. Due to the lengthy rain delay, the original format of two seven-inning games was scratched as the coaches elected to play one ten-inning game.
The Missouri offense finally erupted late in the game, scoring all five runs after the fifth inning to defeat Indiana, 5-2. Fortunately, the low-scoring contests and poorly timed weather didn’t prevent the Missouri players from showcasing their talent. Here are notes on every player from the weekend:
INF/RHP Cort Lesmeister (Ray-Pec HS) flashed his potential as a two-way player with smooth hands and accurate arm on the infield, and 77-80 mph fastball on the mound. He demonstrated natural instincts at several infield positions and possesses the necessary range. 
OF Kolby Follis (Bolivar HS) opened a lot of eyes by running a 6.65 60, which was one of the event’s better recorded times. More importantly, Follis flashed his speed in the outfield and on the basepaths. On the weekend, the right-handed hitting outfielder collected a bunt single and opposite-field double, stole a base, and showcased a 79-81 mph arm from the outfield.
SS/RHP Danny Mannion (Marquette HS) was another two-way player for Team Missouri, playing shortstop and pitching in both games. He ran a 7.15 60 and showed good instincts at shortstop, as well as an accurate 77-78 mph arm across the infield. On the mound, Mannion was extremely efficient as he pumped strikes and worked ahead in counts. His fastball sat 80-83 mph.
INF/C Turner Miller (Ladue HS) had consistent pop times of 2.15-2.16 behind the plate and a 72-73 mph arm. Miller also showed an ability to play third base and made accurate throws across the infield. At the plate, he showed improved power to center and the other way, not to mention the ability to barrel up the ball.
3B/SS Drew Harper (Sikeston HS) had a solid overall weekend, as he showed the ability to play three infield positions and had good at-bats. The 6-foot-1, 175-pounder was 77-79 mph across the infield, and robbed a hit with a diving, backhanded catch while playing second base. At the plate. Harper collected Missouri’s only extra-base hit against Illinois when he laced a double down the left-field line.
C/1B Jack Klages (Vianney HS) was also sharp behind the plate for Missouri, registering pop times of 1.97-2.03, to go along with an accurate 76 mph arm. Like Harper, Klages also had good at-bats all weekend and demonstrated advanced plate discipline and knowledge of the strikezone. 
OF Brandon Gutzler (DeSmet HS) had a strong weekend in right field, showing his speed (6.94 60) by ranging all the way to shallow center to make a diving catch and showcasing one the better outfield arms (80-84 mph) at the event. Gutzler also flashed his raw power during batting practice and consistently made solid contact in both games.
In Game 1 against Illinois on Saturday, it was the Chase Young Show in left field. Using his good speed (6.86 60), Young (Dexter HS) saved two runs from scoring when he made a diving catch in the fourth inning, followed by a catch in the fifth that will be talked about at the event for years to come. On a ball that was crushed to deep left and seemed destined to result in extra-bases, Young made a spectacular, over-the-shoulder, basket-style catch on the run to prevent another run from scoring.
Ranked No. 1 in Class of 2013, C/RHP Tanner Murphy (Malden HS) once again impressed over the weekend. Murphy showed his potential behind the plate with 1.76-1.86 pop times and 78-79 mph throws, and on the bump with an 84-87 mph fastball. He also demonstrated his power to all fields during batting practice, as he deposited a ball well over the left-field wall amidst a steady rain. Murphy also had a much improved 60 time of 6.97.
3B Matt Brown (Vianney HS) also had a much improved 60 time of 7.18 and showed impressive range at third base considering his 6-foot-2, 210-pound frame. With throws of 75-78 mph across the infield, Brown’s throws were crisp and accurate in both games. At the plate, the right-handed hitter had one of the better rounds of batting practice, as he repeatedly peppered the right-center gap with line drives and just missed leaving the yard multiple times.
C Drew Pearson (Cabool HS) played well behind the plate for Missouri with a 1.99 pop time and 78-79 throws to second.   The right-handed hitting backstop also played a major role in Missouri’s 5-2 win over Indiana on Sunday when he laced an RBI-single to right in the ninth inning.
OF/1B Lex Kaplan (Ladue HS) flashed all the tools that have made him a top-5 ranked player in the state. He ran a 6.89 60 and showed true instincts in the outfield, as well as a strong, 81-84 mph arm. Kaplan also demonstrated his versatility by logging time at first base against Indiana. At the plate, his level, line-drive swing was on display during batting practice as he sprayed the ball back up the middle and the other way.
1B/LHP Dre Gleason (Ft. Zumawalt North HS) had an impressive weekend on the mound, in the field, and with the bat. Against Illinois, the 6-foot-2, 235-pounder made a diving, backhanded play at first base that was unfortunately overlooked due to Young’s web gem just one batter later. The left-handed hitter also showcased his bat speed and light-tower-power during batting practice, as he belted several balls to deep center and nearly demolished a car windshield with a prodigious blast to right. On the hill, Gleason showed one of Missouri’s top arms with an 84-88 mph fastball.
SS/2B Brad Jelenik (Warsaw HS) recorded Missouri’s second-best 60 time (6.78) as well as the strongest arm from the left-side of the infield at 77-80. The toolsy, 6-foot-2, 175-pound infielder has a nice frame and excellent range at both middle infield positions, as he demonstrated in both games. Jelenik also has solid bat speed and a consistent, line-drive swing with power that will continue to develop.
OF/LHP J.C. DeMuri (Parkway West HS) was one of two players to collect hits in both games over the weekend. Against Illinois, the 6-foot-3, 195-pounder picked a knock to left-center, and then an RBI-single down the first base line against Indiana. DeMuri also ran his best 60 (6.97), and showed an accurate, 80-81 mph arm from the outfield. As a pitcher, the left-hander sat 79-81 mph with a sharp breaker.
RHP/1B Jacob Boiling (St. Joe Central HS) showed he’s an all-around talent thanks to a 6.94 60, 81-84 mph fastball, and ability to drive the ball at the plate. The 6-foot-5, 190-pounder tallied Missouri’s first RBI of the weekend when he drove home Kolby Follis with a double down the left-field line against Indiana.
RHP Brandon Miller (DeSmet HS) had a solid weekend on the bump, as the right-hander worked in both games and demonstrated the ability to throw three pitches for strikes. With a fastball clocked at 80-84 mph, the 6-foot-3, 175-pounder also showed off a curveball with good depth and splitter that dropped off the table. Against Indiana, Miller allowed one hit and struck out three over two innings.
RHP Brian Howard (SLUH HS) emerged as Missouri’s top right-handed pitcher at the Midwest Future Games thanks to his projectable 6-foot-7 frame and increased velocity. The lanky right-hander showed his best fastball of the year, sitting at 85-88 mph, and complemented it with a 64-65 mph curve and 74 mph changeup.      
Although he suited up for Team Ohio over the weekend, it did not prevent C/INF Joe Schrimpf (CBC HS) from demonstrating his versatility. The 5-foot-10, 185-pounder looked good at second base and behind the plate, registering a 2.04 pop time and 74 mph arm. Given his broad stature, Schrimpf moves well at both positions and on the bases – as indicated by his 7.24 60. The right-handed collected Ohio’s only hit, a two-out double down the left-field line, against Indiana LHP Trent Astle.
INF/OF Jansen Smith (Rock Bridge HS) also played for Ohio. The 5-foot-9, 175-pound utility player had good pop in batting practice and showed considerable pull power. Smith also ran an improved 60 at 7.46.
Suiting up for Indiana, OF/RHP Andrew Curry (Sante Fe HS) showed improvement across the board at the Midwest Future Games. His 60 time improved (7.24), as did the velocity on his fastball. The 6-foot-4 left-hander sat 81-83 mph and featured a curveball with more depth and bite.
RHP/1B Drew Bridges (Carthage HS) saw his stock rise over the weekend, after the left-handed hitter put on a show during batting practice. At 6-foor-3, 195-pounds, Bridges showed his impressive bat speed and power by belting countless balls well over the right-field fence. Against Illinois, Bridges collected an RBI-single in the first inning to give Ohio an early 1-0 lead.
For more notes and stats on all the weekend’s games, be sure to browse the Liveblog

For complete Missouri results, click here.