2018 Preseason All-State: Quick Hitters

Brandon Hall
North Carolina Director of Scouting

The premier winter scouting event in North Carolina took place on Sunday January 28th at On Deck Academy in Pineville, NC.  The beautiful facility allowed PBR to conduct a full pro-style workout while it was pouring outside.  For the second year in a row, the event sold out, with over 60 of the top players in North Carolina on hand.

Each player went through a full workout, updating statistics for their PBR Profile page as well as adding a new evaluation and video.  Pitchers threw a controlled bullpen, understanding it is still January, where they were asked to continue with their build-up process for the spring.  Position players completed a full defensive and offensive evaluation.  Every player also had the ability to run a 30 yard dash on a laser timer and a 5-10-5 agility shuttle.  Finally, players test in a standing broad jump.

PBR’s staff included three former D1 coaches and recruiting coordinators as well as a number of coaches with a tremendous back ground at various levels of baseball.  Also, on hand were several pro scouts, working to get an early look for the spring.  The event was broadcast live through Twitter and Periscope, allowing PBR to hear from coaches from as far away as Arizona.    Video was taken of each athlete and the video will be cut into short clips, highlighting their performance on the day.

In the coming days and week, we will begin to dive into all of the information and scouting notes from the day.  Today we peak at some quick notes from the event, including numbers that stood out and themes from the day.

2018 Preseason All-State: By The Numbers

  • 70 players registered with 64 completing the day.  The flu is nasty this time of year and several prospects bowed out late with it.
  • By Class: 6 SR, 39 JR, 18 SO, 1 FR
  • 19 players ran a 4.00 or better in the 30 yard dash.  Tafton Hensley (2019, South Iredell HS, 2019) led all runners with a 3.71.
  • 19 of 26 infielders charted a positional velocity of 80 mph or better.  Trey Donathan (SS, Charlotte Christian, 2019), a Davidson commit, topped the charts at 89.
  • The outfield arms in this group were special.  To rank in the top 5 an 88 was required.  Zack Michael (Apex HS, 2019) peaked with a 91 from the left side.
  • 4 of 6 catchers flashed advanced carry with a position velocity, out of the crouch, of 74 or better
  • 13 hitters registered an exit velocity, off the barrel, of 90 mph or better.  32 were better than 85 mph.  Colton Stotler (SS, West Wilkes HS, 2020) carried 87 from both sides of the plate.  Ronald Evans (3B, Pro5 Academy, 2019) led all hitters at 98 off the bat, and he used wood.  7 of the top 9 were corner infielders.
  • While the pitchers are still gearing up for their year, several young guys showed some early arm strength.   12 arms worked at 83 or higher.  Two 2020s landed in the top 4 with Andrei Beal (RHP, Parkwood HS) and Mitchell Seymour (RHP, Leesville HS) working at 86 and 85, respectively. 
  • Prep Baseball Report takes pride in running comprehensive evaluations for players and families, furthering their reach with college coaches and pro scouts.  By employing and working with former college coaches, pro scouts, and high school coaches, PBR works to surround baseball players with baseball knowledge at its events.  This event featured 30+ players that have attended a PBR of North Carolina event in the past year and a half.  We are extremely appreciative of the support and the continued trust.

Size Matters

Walking into the facility on Sunday morning, the roster looked to have some physicality to it… The truth behind that statement hit quick as players began to file in for their head shots.  In just the morning session, 9 arms took the bump, listed at 6-foot-3 or better.  Jackson Reid (RHP, Mooresville HS, 2019) has a lean frame that screams projection at 6-foot-7, 180 pounds.  There is quickness in the body as well as he ran a 3.91 thirty and flashed 85 on the bump.  There is a lot of length to sequence in his delivery, but it is apparent he is getting close. 

The biggest of the arms, and on the day was 6-foot-9, 225 pound Ian Asken (RHP, Apex Friendship HS, 2019).  While Asken is still rounding into form and finishing up basketball duties, there is plenty to be excited about.  As the body syncs, we expect to see a velocity and stuff spike from the righty.

Eleven position players, many of them young guys, are already listed at 6-foot-2 or taller.  The tallest of the bunch were Corey Avant (OF/RHP, Sun  Valley HS, 2020), Trystan Jenkins (RHP/SS, Mitchell HS, 2018), and Alex Sniffen (3B/RHP, New Hanover HS, 2019).  While Avant and Jenkins have lean, athletic frame, Sniffen is a the picture of power with broad shoulder and a thick lower half.  Each player made scouts take notice in their own way.

But Size Doesn’t Matter

In one breath we talk about projection and body types and in the other we can talk about tools over projection.  Zack Michael fits that bill with an athletic and strong frame at 5-foot-10, 165 pounds.  One of the better athletes in the 2019 class, having committed to NC State, he did not disappoint the PBR Staff and scouts in attendance to see how he has continued to develop.  There is quickness evident in everything he does.  During the OF evaluation, his first warm-up throw popped 91 on the gun, immediately drawing the attention of everyone.  The swing is extremely quick and should result in some power as he learns to find the barrel with consistency.

Alex Rodriguez (SS/C, Southeast Guilford HS, 2020) participated in his second PBR event in as many weeks, again impressing.  A good athlete, Rodriguez has comfort behind the dish and at shortstop, playing each position with athleticism.  There is arm strength hand quickness, and he is working to continue the ability to switch hit.

On the bump, Nolan DeVos (RHP/2B, Hickory Ridge HS, 2019), Matthew Upchurch (LHP/OF, Lincoln Charter, 2019), and Andrei Beal each threw well, drawing interest from coaches and scouts in attendance and watching on-line.   Each listed under 6-foot, pitch with their own style working to maximize their stuff. 

The Main Event

The final cage group on Sunday saw the corner infielders working their way from the practice cages to the exit velocity to the live cages… Loudly!  Multiple guys posted exit velocities of 90 mph or better, including Ronald Evans’ 98 with wood.  Bryce Vestal (3B, East Wilkes HS, 2018) is an uncommitted left handed hitter with pop.  The exit velocity peaked at 94, showing looseness throughout the swing.  A two sport standout, he may be a steal for a club looking to add pop.  The big bodies in this final group just seemed to motivate each other as they continued to post impressive stats. 

Colson Miller (1B, Burns HS, 2019) is a hulking 6-foot-2, 230 pounds.  Once in the box, there is quickness and power in the bat.  He is under control as he generates an exit velocity of 90 mph.  Others hitting in the same group as Miller put on a show as well, with physical frames.  Seth Sigmon (1B, Alexander Central, 2019) seems to have good hand-eye coordination with a simple swing that produces power.  Noah Burnette (1B, Pisgah HS, 2019) uses a leg kick to get his weight shifted and then unleashes on the baseball, punishing ball after ball with uphill leverage. 

2020 Preston Hall (3B, Stuart Cramer HS) generates his power from quickness, over strength.  Every swing is turned loose, using a leg kick and crouch, similar to Bryce Harper.  There is uphill leverage and a feel for the sweet spot as the power potential showed with a 93 mph exit off the barrel.

What’s Next

We will continue to dive into the numbers of this impressive group of players.  In the coming days we will release the full statistics from the event, highlighting top performers.  As the videos are cut and posted, we will break down the players from the event with in-depth reports.

This is the first event that PBR of North Carolina has run twice.  The talent level at both Preseason All-State’s has been impressive but we may look up in a year and see just how special this event really was.