Prep Baseball Report

Wladyka Fall Showcase: Standout Perfomers

Brian Gelalia
Assistant Scouting Director

PBRNJ was on site at Breslin Field in Lyndhurst to get eyes on the 67 participants in this year's annual Wladyka Baseball Fall Showcase.  Players from Wladyka Baseball and Full Count Baseball were all on hand to partake in the weekends events. Saturday was the skills portion where we got a chance to see an immensely talented group participate in a supremely organized pro-style workout.  The weekend concluded Sunday with 2, 7 inning games.

During the 60 yard dash portion we really got a chance to see some explosive times.  Among the best times was ‘20 INF Garret Kurtz (Mahwah HS, NJ) who ran an impressive 6.69 seconds.  Kurtz has put on substantial size and has ability to drive the ball to opposite fields.  Outfielder ‘20 OF Andrew McDermott (St. Joseph’s Montvale, NJ) added to his already strong resume on the weekend recording a 6.75 seconds in the 60 yard dash.  McDermott was impressive in all phases, he is a top of the order hitter from the left side with a projectable defensive skill set (84 mph arm strength). McDermott plays with a high motor and flashes the ability to utilize an explosive first step to help track fly balls from any outfield position.

From an offensive standpoint we saw solid back to back days from players such as 2018 PBR Future’s Game Participant  ‘20 1B Luke Chenault (Pope John HS, NJ) who pieced together the best batting practice round of the day while also tallying a 95 mph reading on his exit velocity.  Chenault has continued to show real feel for his swing. He has a very quick and compact hand path and shows the ability to generate gap to gap power consistently.  

Chenault along with Wladyka Baseball teammate ‘20 SS Raymond Ortiz (St. Peter’s Prep, NJ) stood out Sunday with some advanced measurables, recording a 91 mph arm strength and an exit velocity of 90 mph.  Both carried over into Sunday’s gameplay as Ortiz showed versatility and raw athleticism at multiple positions all day long.  Ortiz has strong lateral movements and uses his loose and lanky frame to get to balls and show the ability to throw from multiple arm slots.  

Another player having a tremendous weekend was ‘20 OF/3B Craig Sodano (Pascack Valley HS, NJ).  Sodano had arguably the loudest hit of the day when he drove a fastball to the left field wall for a double.  Sodano has been coming on this fall displayed a very versatile skill set during the 2 days. Sodano ran a 7.09 seconds in the 60 yard dash and possess the ability to track the baseball as a projectable corner outfielder.

An intriguing player to watch all weekend was ‘21 SS/RHP Josh Kuroda-Grauer (Franklin HS, NJ).  A raw athlete who stood out with his size and speed, Kuroda-Grauer did a little bit of everything over the weekend, recording a 6.93 seconds in the 60 yard dash along with an exit velocity of 84 mph.  He added multiple hits on the day including a stand up double. Kuroda-Grauer has a tall, lean build that can easily add size. Kuroda-Grauer has a loose arm action from a high ¾ slot and flashes the ability to make throws from multiple arm slots from the shortstop position.  On the mound he had a fastball ranging from 78-79 touching 80 multiple times.

On the mound there were a few standout performers.  ‘20 RHP Mike Ruggieri (Northern Highlands HS, NJ) was impressive touching 86 mph with his fastball while consistently sitting 84-85 mph.  Ruggieri flashed an 11/5 curveball with late break at 71-74 mph. The 6-foot-6 right hander has a very strong lower half with a repeatable delivery and arm action from a high ¾ slot.  Ruggieri has certainly solidified himself as a projectable D-1 top of the rotation arm.  

Another top performer who really jumped onto the scene was ‘21 RHP/OF Matt Rowe (Metuchen HS, NJ).  Rowe was electric on both days on the mound.  His fastball sat 82-84 while touching 87 mph multiple times.  The fastball was accompanied by slider which Rowe  showed advanced feel for that was up to 71-72 mph and had hard, late 10/4 shape. Rowe works with a fast tempo while maintaining 4 pitches all from the same high ¾ arm slot and posed a real challenge on hitters he faced.

 ‘20 RHP Vin Vartolone (Lodi HS, NJ) took the bump in game 1 and showed the ability to throw 4 pitches all for strikes.  Vartolone’s fastball sat 80-82 mph while touching 83 mph and more than one occasion with good down angle.  Vartolone flashed two different breaking balls with an 11/5 curveball at 65-67 mph with good depth along with a slider at 69 mph that was tighter and had 10/4 shape.

A few more arms that showed well this weekend was ‘20 RHP Justin O’Connor (Bayonne HS, NJ) and ‘20 LHP Blake Helmstetter (Don Bosco Prep, NJ).  O’Connor really works to get downhill with his fastball as he shows tremendous ability to get over his lead leg to create downhill tilt to a heavy fastball which sat 81-82 mph and touching 83 mph.  O’Connor’s breaking ball has gradual 11/5 shape that he was able to use as his putaway pitch on the afternoon. O’Connor established a glove side down fastball in his outing that really helped him work ahead in counts on his counterparts during his outing.