PBR Scout Day: 5 Star Carolina Vipers - Quick Hitters

Brandon Hall
North Carolina Director of Scouting

Prep Baseball Report of NC kicked off its 2018 Scout Day coverage with the 5 Star Carolina Vipers on Sunday January 14th.  PBR’s staff and the players in the 5 Star Viper program converged on The Athletic Barn in Waxhaw.  The facility allowed PBR to run a modified pro-style workout.  Infielders were able to take live ground balls, throwing across the infield.  Outfielders took ground balls from a fungo, throwing to a target that allowed them to show off their arm strength.  Catchers received bullpens and threw to second base to record pop times.  Pitchers threw a controlled bullpen, with an understanding that it is early in their process, as they prepare for their spring season.

The PBR Scout Day featured 28 players ranging in graduating years from 2019 – 2022.  In the pro-style workout, PBR scouts worked to put an evaluation on each player while taking statistics to measure arm strength, exit velocity off the bat, and pop times for catchers.  The 5 Star Carolina Viper players also went through several speed and agility stations allowing for more information in the player assessments.

In the coming days, PBR will completely dissect the 5 Star Carolina Viper Scout Day with statistical information, player evaluations, and video on each player in attendance.  One day after the event, we will take a look at some of the immediate reactions from the day.

Quick Hitters

+ The Athletic Barn is a beautiful facility featuring a large indoor facility with retractable cages.  The live BP during the event was hit in an open cage area, allowing PBR staff to see the ball travel off the bat.  Outside, there is a turfed area for defensive drills, allowing for full length throws across the infield.  A speed an agility area is set aside with close to 40 yards of turf, lined every 5 yards.

+ Nine Infielders recorded an arm strength of 75 mph or better across the diamond during live defensive evaluations.  Sullivan Newsome (C/1B, Weddington HS, 2020) carried the best arm strength, touching 84 from shortstop.  Newsome also led catchers with a positional velocity of 75 mph out of the crouch.

+ For the most part the catchers were erratic from their stance, throwing through to 2B.  This can be expected as many have not worked from the crouch a lot by mid-January.  Two younger catchers did show carry and accuracy at times, producing pop times under 2.10.  Isaiah Lowe (C/3B, Pinnacle Academy, 2021), Andrew Schuldt (C/3B/RHP, Hough HS, 2021), and Joel Simpson (C/OF, CATA, 2019) recorded pop times of 2.07, 2.09, and 2.11, respectively, to lead the group.

+ 15 players recorded exit velocities of 80 mph or better, off their barrel.  Five of these registered better than 85 mph with Jeb Despard (C/3B, Marvin Ridge HS, 2021) leading the way at 88 mph.

+ 9 pitchers threw controlled bullpens, keeping in mind it is mid-January.  Jake Bloss (RHP, Grimsley HS, 2019 touched 81, leading the way.  The average graduating year of the pitchers throwing was 2021.  A 2022 grad, Tanner Lyne (RHP/C, CFA Academy) was the youngest in attendance.  Lyne worked 74-76, touching 77.

+ As part of the workout, players went through three speed and agility tests.  They participated in a 20 yard dash, a 5-10-5 agility test, and a standing broad jump.  Steven Gonzalez (SS, Marvin Ridge HS, 2019) broke the 4.50 barrier in the 5-10-5, running a 4.47.  Gonzalez also recorded the highest standing broad jump at 10’3”.  Nine players recorded a standing broad jump of better than 9 feet. 

+ Along with Newsome, Lowe, Schuldt, and Lyne, several other young players stood out.  Michael Gracer (3B/RHP, Northwest Cabarrus HS, 2021) showed strength and a feel for the barrel in the box.  He also worked up to 78 from an over-the-top slot.  Michael Posse (SS, Northwoods HS, 2021) is physically imposing with a solid swing producing hard contact.  Posse turned in a solid 2.89 in the 20 yard dash, while also jumping over 9 feet in the broad jump.  Off the barrel, he was recorded at 87 mph.