2019 NPI: 17U Notebook


PBR Staff

The National Program Invitational is taking place at LakePoint in Georgia, hosting travel teams in four age groups: 17U, 16U, 15U and 14U. Prep Baseball Report will have quick notes for each level from each day during the event.

Sunday

+ 5 Star National NC continued its offensive barrage Sunday and rode its lineup to the 17U championship, beating the Louisiana Knights 8-0 in six innings. In the semifinals, they beat the Triton Rays 6-1. SS

Ethan Kavanagh was a table setter all weekend and went 2-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored in the championship. He has a level stroke and uses the whole field. With his team up 7-0, OF Trey Truitt delivered the final blow. He tripled on a deep fly ball to left-center field and then scored to give 5 Star the mercy rule lead in the sixth. He looks to do damage in every at-bat, using a direct path and his strength to hit balls hard to all fields. SS Chandler Riley also has a compact, direct and simple stroke that produced hard contact all weekend.

+ RHP Tanner Gresham (5 Star National NC) started the semifinal game and allowed one run on two hits in 3.2 innings. He was up to 90 mph, sitting mostly in the high 80s with a true fastball. He pitches with some effort and a drop-and-drive delivery. His body tended to get away from his arm, causing him to miss up and arm side, which led to four walks and a hit batter.

+ Three 5 Star pitchers—RHPs Duncan Howard, Gus Hughes and Nathan Nygaard, teamed up to allow just two hits and a walk in the championship—no small feat as the Knights lineup was mashing baseballs all weekend.

+ SS Will Safford (Louisiana Knights) got his team out front early in their semifinal matchup against the Arkansas Prospects Menard. He turned on an inside pitch, hooking it down the right field line for a two-run home run. The Louisiana State recruit had a two-run double in his final at-bat and stood out defensively. He showed range and good footwork on a ball up the middle. He also charged a ball, setting his feet for a strong throw and charged another chopper later that required a throw on the run. OF Joe Delaney (Louisiana Knights), reached base in every plate appearance that game on two hits, a walk and hit by pitch. He scored all four times and had an RBI of his own.

+ RHP Logan Jones (Team Elite) has a prototypical frame and was on his game Sunday. He entered in relief and cruised, using his fastball (85-88) with angle and good extension to the plate. He also mixed in a well shaped curveball at 73-75. Jones, a Samford recruit kept hitters off balance by mixing his pitches and locating both on demand.

+ LHP Wyatt Crowell (Team Elite), a Florida State recruit, came out with an aggressive fastball/slider combo. Crowell pitches with some crossfire and angle to his fastball and has hitters do not see it particularly well. His breaking ball has length and depth with the kind of feel that allows him to play with the shape and still be able to land it. He is an interesting package as a strike throwing southpaw with emerging stuff and present feel.

+ 3B/C Tervell Johnson (MGBA) has a strong, sturdy build and is committed to Georgia Tech. He shows the ability to impact the baseball out of his pull approach. At times, Johnson will expand his zone, but when he is making pitchers come to him he shows a bunch of loud contact and the ability to catch up to significant velocity.

3B Garrett Howe (Team Elite) is stocky strong and is a good enough defender to stay on the infield. He also has a very sound swing and approach. He has been a favorite ever since last August when he stood out at the Peach State Games. Howe stays compact at the plate and has the ability to drive the baseball from foul pole to foul pole.

SS James Heramb-Eckert (Rawlings Southeast National) is a smaller, but live-bodied shorstop who showed a lot of hop around the infield and tremendous body control this week. He has good feet, along with a good release and enough arm to make plays look easy. At the plate he will need to generate more bat-speed and power, but his swing is simple and repeatable.

C Joseph Salvo (Team Elite) is a high energy, field general type catcher who continues to impress behind the plate and is more than just a defensive specialist. He has strength to his right-handed swing and the ability to stay on baseballs and drive them the opposite way.

+ RHP Max Charlton (Building Champions) has a medium frame with long, athletic features. He works out of an overhand slot and flashes good angle to the plate at 84-88. His top to bottom curveball was for both strikes and swing and misses below the zone. The Arkansas State recruit has present ability with even more room to grow.

Saturday

+ After a very brief, but noticeable appearance Friday night, RHP Reid Taylor (Performance Baseball) didn’t disappoint in a start on Saturday. The Sam Houston State recruit walked the leadoff batter, but proceeded to retire 18 straight and finished with a no-hitter. He struck out nine and walked two, running his fastball up to 91 and holding high 80s for the whole game. His go to out pitch was a sharp breaking ball that he spun at 78-80.

+ Taylor would have been the performer of the day if not for RHP Jack Mahoney (Top Tier Americans). A South Carolina recruit, he one-upped Taylor with a perfect game, striking out nine. Mahoney did well to establish his fastball, which was downhill and 91-93 in the first, settling in at 88-91. He mixed in a slider and changeup, both of which flashed average. The slider was 78-80 and the changeup was 81-85 with run and sink. Mahoney is athletic with a loose arm and projectable frame.

+ The Royals 17U Scout Team handed the ball to 2020 RHP Caden Wilson (Missouri State commit) for their game against Team Elite Prime and he did not disappoint. He spun five innings of one-run ball to earn the W. A strong bodied righty who throws with effort from a high three-quarter slot, Wilson was up to 91 early with his FB. He settled in with his FB in the 84-88 range, showing sink when down, but true when up in the zone. Mixed in a 72-75 mph curveball in the first couple innings, then morphed the pitch into a slurve at 77-78 during the later innings. Tavian Josenberger (2020 Kansas commit) continued his offensive assault at the NPI with more hard contact, including a double to left field.

+ 2020 OF Houston King (Kentucky commit) slashed and dashed to a pair of hits and a pair of walks for the Arkansas Prospects Menard. From the leadoff spot, the left-handed hitter used his 80-grade run speed (6.30 60-yard at the 2019 Arkansas Preseason All-State) to continually put pressure on the defense, running a 3.91 on a bunt base hit. Another elite runner (6.43 60-yard) for the Arkansas Prospects is also King’s high school teammate, Clayton Gray (Arkansas commit). Gray has sweep to his swing, but he found the barrel for hard contact, lining three singles to his pullside against 5-Star Moss. On the bump, 2020 uncommited and dual-sport athlete Grayson Hitt starred with a FB up to 90 (mostly 85-88) and oodles of athleticism. He’s a high ceiling lefty who has good feel and changes speeds well. His loose arm and good extension out front produced a swing/miss fastball (2200-2350 rpm) that jumped on hitters, especially when it was located down in the zone. He also mixed in a sharp, late action curveball at 73-75 mph (2100-2200), a 80-81 slider/cutter and a 71-72 mph changeup vs. left-handed hitters. All three pitches looked to have above average future potential. Look for his recruitment to get real hot, real soon.

+ LHP Jaden Woods (Houston County HS, GA), who recently decommitted from Georgia State, made a splash relief appearance for Team Elite. The 6-foot-2, 180-pound Woods filled up the strike zone with an 88-90 fastball with seemingly plenty more in the tank. The arm is fast and clean, and repeated his delivery throughout. Did not show a secondary pitch in his two-inning stint.

+ Uncommitted RHP Alex Bryant (Top Tier Roos; Tampa Jesuit HS, FL), a 6-foot-4, 207-pounder with a strong, athletic frame, worked 85-87 with his fastball, and mixed in a 12/6 curveball that he throws with confidence in the low-70s.

+ RHP Griffyn Shelton (5 Star National NC) flashed some intrigue out of the bullpen in 5 Star’s quarterfinal win over Rawlings Southeast National. He was 86-88 with some deception thanks to a shorter arm action. He also mixed in a low-70s slurve with hard lateral sweep. He is uncommitted.

Friday

+ 5 Star National NC continued to swing hot bats Friday in a 4-3 win over UA Building Champions-Sam. They got on the board early after Preston Hall reached on an error and OF Trey Truitt, an East Carolina recruit, squared up a double in the left-center field gap. Chandler Riley, a Charlotte recruit, turned on a pitch with a sound stroke for a hard single to right in the third and then scored when Hall smoked a line drive right at the left fielder that hit off his glove. Hall scored on a passed ball. After giving up the lead in the fourth, 5 Star plated the eventual winning run in the bottom of the fourth on a wild pitch.

+ RHP Evan Lewis (5 Star National NC) started on the mound, going five innings and allowing three runs on three hits and three walks while striking out nine. He has a slight pause and double leg pump in his delivery, but also varies his tempo and sometimes quick pitches to disrupt the hitter’s timing. He has a slight bow-and-arrow arm action and pitches with moderate effort, sitting 85-88 mph with his fastball and mixing in a 70-72 breaking ball with 10/4 break.

+ RHP Gus Hughes (5 Star National NC) got the two-inning save, sitting 87-91 with his fastball and mixing in a 74 slurve.

+ With his squad down 3-0 to 5 Star National NC, 2B Eastin White (UA Building Champions Sam 17U) got a rally started and showed a loose swing on a two-run triple before coming home on a single to tie the game.

+ Team Elite 17U Prime was led by 2020 RHP Caleb Bohn who pitched four shutout innings in his start with a sneaky 83-86 mph FB which generated repeated swing/miss. He also mixed in a 74 SL and 71-72 CH. Bohn is a strike thrower who worked quick and filled up the zone with three pitches. Offensively, 2020 SS JD Day possesses an athletic build at 6-foot-1, 180 pound while showing fluid actions on the dirt with a near average arm. He also put several good swings on the ball with average bat speed and hitting against a firm front side. Day registered an exit velocity of 91 mph at the May 28 Georgia Top Prospect Games. Both prospects are currently uncommitted.

+ Recently promoted to the 17U squad, 2022 C Andrew Daniel was the hero for the Louisville Legends, as he stroked a walkoff single through the six-hole in the bottom of the 7th inning with two outs for a 3-2 win over Team Elite 17U Prime. Uncommitted 2020 RHP Beau Coffman pitched three stellar, shutout innings of relief with a 86-91 mph FB and swing/miss 74-77 mph SL. Getting the start on the bump was 6-foot-3, 200 pound 2020 Adam Weihe who struck out two of the three batters he faced in the first inning by spotting his 84-87 mph FB and mixing in an occasional 72-75 mph CB.

+ Speed and athleticism dominated the diamond when the Triton Rays took on the Royals Scout Team. Switch-hitting 2020 Kansas commit Tavian Josenberger led the way with a pair of hits from the leadoff spot. A plus runner underway, he ran 4.32 and 4.33 down the line from the left side. Uncommitted 2020 MIF Braedyn Sommer took consistent good passes at the plate generating hard contact with a balanced hit setup, strong hands and good extension through the baseball. Also showed above average speed and a near average arm from the keystone. 2020 Notre Dame commit CF Sammy Cooper showed good bounce to his step with sure hands, closing speed and plus arm strength in the big field. Another 2020 Kansas commit Sam Brady got the start for the Royals and allowed one run in six innings. With loose arm action from a high three-quarter slot he worked 82-85 mph with his tailing FB and 71-76 mph CB. The CB showed good shape and spin, and will likely develop into an above average pitch at the college level. Closing the game for the Royals in their 4-1 victory against the Triton Rays 17U was 2020 Virginia commit RHP Avery Mabe. Mabe, an imposing 6-foot-4, 210 pounds, was up to 88 mph with his fastball, sitting mostly 86-87 and complemented the heater with a 75-78 mph slurve.

+ The St Louis Prospects put on an aerial show with several bombs in their 9-1 win over Team Georgia National. RHP Brennan Orf cleared the bases with a deep drive to RF for a double in the third, then uncommitted C Nick Hemken and 3B Tyler Kotsis hit back-to-back jacks in the fourth. Hemken’s moonshot left the bat with an exit velocity of 92 mph and traveled 350’ before landing well beyond the LF fence. Defensively, he showed an above average arm and moved well in his 6-foot-2, 200 pound frame. Orf also got the complete game W on the bump, working a run-rule shortened five innings, allowing only one run. He filled up the zone with a lively FB which sat 82-86 mph and showed late jump through the zone. CJ Cepicky showed off his blazing speed with run times of 4.19 and 4.10 from the right side, beating out two choppers for infield base hits. Tyler Austin continued to show his mettle with more loud contact via a run-scoring line drive single to LF. For more on the Missouri recruit Austin and other St Louis Prospects, please see our Day One NPI 17U notebook.

+ SS Jeremy Clark (MGBA) Long, loose and wiry strong middle infield prospect with fluid actions on the infield. Shows some barrel feel and sneaky bat-speed. Lead with energy and maintained through the good and bad. Strong middle of the field ingredients now with projection at the plate and in body and strength.

+ SS/2B Will Safford (Louisiana Knights Black) Left-handed hitting middle infielder that plays with energy and edge. Strong kid that seems to be in the middle of everything on the baseball field. Balance, bat-speed and barrel feel in the box lead to continuous hard contact. Plays the game similarly to a young Brett Lawrie. LSU fans will love watching this one over the coming years.

+ LHP Caleb Leggett (5 Star National Moss) Medium framed left-hander with long arms. Sat 83-86 with some feel for both sides of the plate at times. Loose actions from a ¾ slot and flashed the ability to land breaking ball for strikes. Good looking pitch-ability left-hander with some projection left in his body.

+ RHP Wes Franklin (Team Elite) Mercer recruit has a long and rangy look on the mound with a side-step, upright delivery. He flashed angle to his fastball at 84-88, and used a change of pace curveball with shape at 68-69.  Still has some projection to his body with feel to pitch.

+ OF Trey Carter (5 Star National Moss) The Florida State recruit looks the part at 6-foot-4, 215-pounds. He shows the kind of arm strength and bat-speed you look for and the production matched. He moves well underway on both sides of the ball.  He saw the ball well today staying on breaking balls and consistently having good passes at fastballs.

+ C Fernando Gonzalez (Team Elite) His recent rival in Georgia has him somewhat under the radar, but it will not be long until he is well known.  The stocky strong catcher is athletic and flexible and looks natural in his movements behind the plate. He has plenty of arm to go with his quick feet and transfer. At the plate he is an aggressive hacker and has no problem getting the bat-head through the zone.

+ RHP Turner Swistak (Louisiana Knights Black) has a good frame at 6-foot-3 and creates good plane from his overhand slot. His fastball ranges from 85-89, with an effective 70-73 mph change of pace top to bottom curveball. Swistak proved tough to handle today and was in control from start to finish today.

+ RHP John Whiteside (Dinger Nation) is a 2020 that still offers some projection, because of his tall, wiry frame and hand-speed.  His fastball flashes quality sink at 80-83. He has the ability to spin the baseball, but works out of a lower slot at times with his breaking ball and loses some shape to the pitch even though he gets more consistent break from down there.

+ The Rawlings Arkansas Prospects-Menard took down Team Elite-Scout 10-2 with an offensive onslaught, as eight of their 10 batters recorded at least one hit and there was loud contact all game. OF Houston King, a Kentucky recruit, showed whippy hands at the plate, keeping them in on a hard single to center field. He also walked three times and scored three runs. SS Marcus Brown had two RBIs, one on a tapper to second base and then an infield single. He made a nice play at shortstop, fielding a ball to his backhand and making a strong throw to first. He is also committed to Kentucky.

+ RHP Ethan Bates, an Arkansas recruit, did his part on the other side of the ball for Arkansas Prospects, tossing five innings and allowing just two runs and two hits while striking out eight. He loads up heavily on his back leg, getting deep on the backside, but keeps everything on time as he drives down the mound. His fastball was 86-88 and he showed good feel for a 77-78 slider that showed sharpness at times, as well as a low-80s changeup with sink.

+ Uncommitted 2020 RHP Beau Coffman (Louisville Legends) pitched three innings of relief, striking out six behind his 86-91 mph fastball. Coffman is currently ranked No. 7 in Kentucky.

Thursday

+ SS Tavian Josenberger (Royals Scout Team) started hot, going 3-for-3 with two singles, a triple, two runs scored and two RBIs. A switch-hitting Kansas recruit, he has a loose swing from both sides. Hitting from the right side, he singled in his first two at-bats, grounding a ball through the left side and then hooking past the third baseman. A pitching change was made before his third at-bat and he flipped around to the left, promptly squaring a ball up for a triple down the right field line. Josenberger showed easy strides in his trip to third base and also stole three bags with ease.

+ LHP Stone Hewlett (Rockhurst HS, MO) started for the Royals and cruised through the five-inning contest, striking out six while allowing just one hit and one walk. He has an up-tempo delivery with moderate effort and pitches exclusively from the stretch. His arm his loose through a high-¾ slot and delivered a mid-80s fastball that flashed some arm-side sink. His breaking ball has tight break and got several swings and misses, sitting 74-77. He also showed solid feel for a 77-78 changeup that was straight, but flashed sink at times. He is committed to Kansas.

+ 1B Trevor Kardell (Royals Scout Team) was 2-for-3 with two singles. A strong right-handed hitter committed to Kansas, he got jammed in his first at-bat, but got a single to right. He later squared up a single to left field. He scored both times he reached base.

+ 3B Garrett Rice (Royals Scout Team), a Missouri recruit drove in two runs, the first with a groundout to second base and the second with a hard double down the left field line.

+ LHP Joe Shapiro (Top Tier Americans) is a drop-and-drive southpaw who keeps his deception with a high front side. He has deliberate actions on the mound and pitches effectively away at 80-83. He uses his curveball in the zone at 73-74 and below the zone at 75-76. He controls the running game well and pitches with a plan. He pitched four innings and didn’t allow a hit or a run.

+ 2022 LHP Jackson Dyer (5 Star McCay) has a medium frame and was thrown into the fire against the Top Tier Americans, but showed some ability and competed well. The young, athletic southpaw was 80-83 with good angle, working slightly across his body with solid deception. His clean arm and athletic build are indicators of good things to come.

+ 2020 OF Brendan Holloway (Top Tier Americans) set the tone all day for Top Tier. The small, speedy outfielder was on the bases early and often, showing some strength to his short stroke. Holloway made several highlight type catches showing he can go get the baseball. He shows a quick first step and reaches top speed quickly.

+ 2020 SS/2B Tony Livermore (Top Tier Americans), a Northwestern recruit, showed good actions all the way around. At the plate his left-handed approach plays, he was on the baseball all day and he showed his speed by running a 3.79 down the line on a bunt single. Defensively, Livermore plays close to the ground with sure hands.

+ 2021 RHP Cole Turner (Dinger Nation) didn’t have results that matched his stuff. He flashed velocity up to 88 and when his arm was on time and on top, flashed solid angle. His curveball was inconsistent, but the execution was right it showed sharp break. His changeup showed very well at 77-78, flashing good hand-speed and life. His stuff fell off quickly as he worked through deep counts, but he flashed next level stuff and is an intriguing prospect that ran into a hot Building Champions club.

+ LHP Walker Williams (Rawlings Arkansas Prospects-Menard) struggled some with his command, but when he was right, he located his fastball down in the zone at 83-86 and spun a breaking ball (72-74) with both length and depth. He’s an aggressive kid with an aggressive delivery. He held the Team Georgia hitters down most of his outing.

+ 2020 RHP Brayden Ballard (UA Building Champions Sam) has a medium frame and works from a 3/4 slot with some drop and drive to his delivery. He works off his fastball well at 82-85, showing quality sink when down, but often finished up in the zone with riding arm-side life. Early on, he struggled getting to his breaking ball (69-72), but developed better feel for the pitch as his outing wore on showing both spin and shape.

+ 2020 RHP Payne Hobbs (Team Georgia) is lanky and athletic. He separates into a stab and inverts to get out, but when he was synched up he showed good stuff in his outing at 86-89 with occasional sink. When he was up in the zone and straight the Arkansas Prospects made him pay for it. His breaking ball is still inconsistent but would flash shape at 72-74 when he gave his arm time to work and was on time.

+ The St Louis Prospects-Kirchner squad featured several interesting prospects for 2020 led by SS Trevor Austin. Austin impressed with consistent, hard contact and good bat speed at the plate. Also an instinctive defender, he showed good range and ran above average down the line on an infield single to short. 3B Brennan Orf showed easy left-handed juice with the ability to backspin the baseball from a 6-foot-4, 210-pound frame. He tripled to the right-center field gap to go with a line drive single to center. IF Anthony Klein added three hits while showing good strength and excellent feel for the barrel with a short, powerful swing. The ball jumped off his bat with a line drive double to left field in his first at-bat, then added another line drive for a single to center before ending a day with another barrelled ball, crushing a drive to left-center that was misplayed into a triple. OF Joey Moorkamp showed an athletic frame at 6-foot-4, 195 pounds, good bat strength and an above average run tool. He added two hits to the St Louis Prospects’ offensive attack in their opening game against the Triton Rays 17U GA. RHP Tyler Kotsis mixed a low-80s fastball with two effective breaking pitches (68-70 mph CB, 73-74 mph SL) that he repeated and threw in any count to keep the Rays off-balance throughout his five innings pitched. Kotsis is a strike thrower who has good feel and isn’t afraid to pitch inside. His arm works well and more velo is likely in the near future.

+ UA Building Champions Mark 17U were led by a trio of 2020 bats in their first game of the NPI. Six-foot-2, 210-pound C/3B Jake English showed a sound mechanical swing with good bat strength, putting consistently good swings on the ball for a line drive double to left field and a deep fly out to center. C/OF Chuck Ingram excelled at the plate with a pair of hits in his two at-bats—a hard hit single through the six-hole and a line drive single to left. He showed a level swing path, above average bat speed and was aggressive on the bases. MIF Dylan Wipperman is an average runner who showed smooth actions and plus instincts on defense and a good swing path at the plate. He had two hits—a line drive single to center field and a bunt single to third.

+ 2020 South Florida commit Blake Wright (Top Tier Roos) stood out with his well-rounded toolset and polished skills. At the plate, he showed a short, quick stroke, barreling a line drive into center field for a single. He also showed smooth actions and a strong arm at shortstop with above average speed underway. Another Top Tier Roos standout was 2020 LHP Parker Stoyan who ran his fastball up to 87 mph, sitting mostly 84-85 with a sharp, late breaking curveball at 73-74 mph.

+ A loaded Louisiana Knights 17U Black team boasted several strong, quick twitch athletes who took man-hacks at the plate. The Knights were led by 2020 Mississippi State commit Davis Meche who showed excellent pitch recognition and big confidence at the plate with good rhythm and a balanced swing. He ran a 4.04 to first on an infield single to the shortstop. 2020 SS Will Safford (University Lab HS, LA), a Louisiana State recruit, showed plus bat speed barreling an infield single off the pitcher’s foot and another single on a line drive to right. He finished the game with a clutch sacrifice fly RBI which allowed the Knights to retake the lead against the Top Tier Roos. 2020 RHP Will Kinzeler (Fontainebleau HS, LA) got the starting nod and did not disappoint. He sat 85-88 mph with his fastball, showing good tilt, allowing the pitch to play up and overpowered the Top Tier lineup through the first four innings.

+ Uncommited 2020 CF Kameron Maxey (MGBA 17U) showed a smooth, easy stroke with power potential and a plus-plus run tool in center field.

+ 5 Star National NC 17U was led by Kentucky 2020 commit Ethan Kavanagh. Kavanagh boasts a short, strong build and very good energy on the field. He ran plus and showed an average arm from shortstop to go along with his whippy swing at the plate. 2020 College of Charleston commit 1B Preston Hall (Myers Park HS, NC) displayed violent intentions to damage the baseball at the plate with quick hands, good weight transfer and well above average bat speed. He homered to right field in his third at-bat against MGBA 17U. Uncommitted 2020 catcher Nathan Nygaard (Sun Valley HS, NC) showed off an above average arm with easy carry and a 2.03 game POP time.

+ SS Hunter Donaldson (Triton Rays) stood out in the Rays’ win over Team Elite Prime. Out of the leadoff spot, the left-handed hitting South Alabama recruit was 2-for-2 with a triple, run scored and an RBI. The triple came in his first at-bat, when he stayed back and dropped the head on a curveball, sending it into the right-center field gap. He made the turn in 4.5 seconds. In his next at-bat, he grounded a ball to the right side, that the second baseman ran down in short right field, but his 4.05 time down the line negated any potential play. Donaldson also made a nice play at shortstop, surrounding a ball to his right and making a throw on the run.

+ RHP/OF William Haberstock (Team Elite Prime) was responsible for Team Elite Prime’s only run, launching a home run to left field in the seventh inning. It traveled 380 feet and had a 93 mph exit velocity off the bat.

+ OF Zac Rice (Triton Rays) has an athletic frame at 6 feet, 165 pounds. He made a nice running catch on a fly ball to deep, straightaway center field. He then jumped on the mound to close out the Triton Rays’ win. He was 84-87 and mixed in a rolling curveball at 71-72.

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