Prep Baseball Report

Quick Hitters: Winter Future Game Trials / Unsigned Senior Showcase

Brandon Hall
North Carolina Director of Scouting

On Sunday January 21st, 38 players from across North Carolina, and neighboring states, converged on The Hitting Factory in Taylorsville, NC.  The day allowed for two events to run simultaneously as PBR hosted the Winter Future Game Trials and an Unsigned Senior Showcase. 

The Hitting Factory is a spacious indoor facility with two training areas in the main building.  The first training area allows for multiple cages and the ability to open some dividing nets to create a bigger 45'x45' cage.  The bigger cage area allows for a better evaluation and feel for the hitters as PBR scouts could see the ball fly.  The 2nd training area is a turfed area set up for indoor soccer or lacrosse, with walls and netting surrounding the workout space.  Players were able to run through agility testing, as well as take ground balls in this space.  It also allowed pitchers to throw their bullpens during their evaluation.  As The Hitting Factory continues to grow, they can expand into an attached building they have already setup with cages and the home of a future strength center.

The Winter Future Game Trials / Unsigned Senior Showcase workout included players going through a modified pro-style workout.  Each position player ran a laser timed 20 yard dash, a 5-10-5 agility shuttle, and tested in a standing broad jump.  They also went through a defensive workout that allowed PBR scouts to evaluate footwork, hands, throwing mechanics, and carry.  Each positional workout recorded a radar reading on the throws.  Catchers were able to throw for pop times as well.  Offensively, hitters worked off a tee to get exit velocities and then took several rounds of BP in front of PBR’s staff.  The pitchers threw controlled bullpens, with an understanding that we are still in January.  The bullpens were filmed and the radar gun assisted in evaluating their stuff. 

Each player attending the event will receive a full PBR profile in the coming weeks with updated stats, and evaluation, and film from the workout.  In the coming days, PBR will release more information from the workout, but first the Director of Scouting for PBR North Carolina gives his initial impressions of the workout in Taylorsville.

Quick Hitters

+ There were some impressive body types on the younger and older players at the event.  Several players made an impression just going through to get their head shots.  One player that may draw some reaction is 2018 Abana Kafai (1B/LHP, Mt. Tabor HS).  At 6-foot-3, 190 pounds, the frame has strength and athleticism.  Broad shoulders and a slender mid-section suggest he will be able to add strength, and maintain his quickness in the coming years. 

+ The primary catchers that threw stood out with aggressiveness and arm strength.  Carter Merrill (C, Stuart Cramer HS, 2020) carried 78 mph out of the crouch.   In a workout setting, the catcher may be able to be more aggressive than in a game setting, but several took advantage.   Maxwell Doherty (C, Lake Norman Charter, 2020) carried 76 mph out of the hand and a pop time of 2.10.  Two older catchers matched the younger guys with Joshua Topper (C, Hickory Ridge HS, 2018) and Logan Person (C, South View HS, 2018) touching 77 and 76, respectively, out of their stance.

+ In door settings in North Carolina can create some issues that mid-west and northern facilities may not have.  One in particular is getting run times on players.  Because the weather is typically nice most of the year, there are not a lot of facilities that allow for a full 60 yard course to run on.  To adjust, PBR has run 20 yard dashes, 5-10-5 agility shuttles, and taken standing broad jump lengths.  Christian Thomas (OF, Central Cabarrus, 2020) jumped on the scene this summer with a quick 60 time at the PBR Scout Day with the CBA Copperhead.  He followed it up with an event record 20, laser timed at 2.71.

+ Two 2020 infielders stood out with their arm strength, and carried it over to other parts of their game.  Jake Soorus (OF/INF/RHP, North Lincoln HS, 2020) touched 88 across the diamond with an extremely quick arm and clean actions.  Alex Rodriguez (SS/C, Southeast Guilford HS, 2020) has clean actions and a quick arm producing carry at 85 from shortstop.  Rodriguez is a switch-hitter that showed arm strength behind the plate as well. 

+ A PBR Event veteran continues to impress… AJ Jones (SS, Southern Nash HS, 2020) has gotten noticeably bigger.  The frame is still thin and can continue to add strength.  Parts of his game flow with ease.  He has played better in game settings than workout settings, in the past, but stood out in Taylorsville this weekend.

+ JUCO infielder Nicholas Sciubba (Inf, Guilford Tech, 2018) is a red-shirt sophomore from Cardinal Spellman in NY and attending Guilford Tech as a red-shirt Freshman.  There is strength in a 5-foot-10, 180 pound frame.  Showed quickness with a 2.82 twenty and 4.66 5-10-5 agility shuttle.  Exit velocity up to 87 as he made consistent barrel contact.

+ Emery Propst (LHP, 2020) is an intriguing lefty out of East Burke HS.  The lefty features a quick arm from a difficult slot that has to create discomfort against hitters.  The fastball flashed at 81, but seemed to play much harder.

+ 6 arms topped at 77 or better… And several should continue to bump up as the weather warms.

+ 2 hitters with exit velocities of 89 or better… 8 above 85… and 14 worked above 80 off the barrel.

In the coming day and weeks, we will continue to profile the event, breaking down the top stats, each individual player’s performance, and top prospects.  Each story will appear at Prep Baseball Report.  Follow us on Twitter or Facebook for instant updates.