Prep Baseball Report

Diamonds in the Rough: Week 8

Ted Williams
Ground Forces

Over the next few months, the Prep Baseball Report (PA/NY) crew will be highlighting players in several different article formats, including Ted Williams’ "Diamonds in the Rough" feature series.

The recruiting process can be tough sledding at times and for whatever reason, talented players can remain uncommitted for extended periods of time. Included below are some players who have stood out at events throughout the showcase year and deserve more love for their abilities. More specifically, we will be focusing on five uncommitted prospects who each possess highly-seasoned tools to build off of during the '21 season. 

Jacek Strain C / RHP / Shenendehowa, NY / 2021

The Spin: Strong and sturdy at 5-foot-11, 176-pounds, the primary backstop was a standout at the Northeast Open in August showcasing advanced twitch in all phases of the game. The right-handed hitter utilized sink into a physical lower half generating an aggressive, but efficient hip turn through the baseball yielding a well advanced 29.4 G’s of rotational acceleration during his batting practice round. Strain stayed completely connected throughout the swing, which effectively turned quick hands (22.2 mph peak per Blast Motion) into natural bat speed (71.3 mph max) while getting behind the baseball early in the box (63% on plane efficiency). A 58.3% flyball rate hints at loft in the swing and gives off confidence that the Shenendehowa product can slot into the middle of a collegiate batting order down the line with ability to drive both gaps with authority. We expect the bat speed to continue developing at the plate as most of the strength comes from the ground up at the moment, meaning an impressive 94 mph bat-exit velocity could continue creeping up towards the triple digit range in the near future. Defensively, the primary catcher featured natural catch-and-throw ability with quick feet getting straight-line in a hurry. Advanced feel for the transfer in and out of the glove allowed for pop times as low as 2.01 while flashing above-average arm strength from the crouch (79 mph) with carry to it. A true athlete behind the dish with noticeable feel while blocking, Strain projects to be a possible day-one starter depending on the level he chooses.

Will Markott 3B / OF / Kenmore East, NY / 2021

The Spin: An absolute force offensively, the physical 6-foot-3, 200-pound third baseman was a man possessed at the NY State Games in July with easy rhythm and fluidity in the swing. The right-handed hitter had one of the higher bat speeds (76.3 mph) at the entire event generating plenty of loud pull-side contact towards the LCF gap. A 23.7 mph hand speed per Blast Motion allowed him to get his swing off consistently at the front of the plate as long levers raced towards impact yielding an impressive 98 mph bat-exit velocity / 91 mph average. An 83% hard hit rate (batted balls over 90 mph) coupled with a 50% line drive rate showed off optimum consistency during his round and suggested the ability to hit for average and power down the line. With top batted ball distances hovering around 354 feet via Trackman Baseball, Markott brings above-average juice to the table in a large, but athletic frame which means he possesses both a high floor and high ceiling offensively. Defensively, the primary third-baseman showed off average range in either direction with a soft glove hand playing accurately out in front. With a current 75 mph arm strength from the hot corner and seeing how well the bat projects, it wouldn’t be out of the question for the Kenmore East product to slide over to first base at some point at the collegiate level. Regardless of where he plays defensively, it will be hard to keep an impact bat like that out of the lineup for long. 

Mateo Sucre RHP / 1B / The Calhoun School, NY / 2022

The Spin: 6-foot-1, 185-pounds and oozing with durability, the primary right-handed pitcher jumped off the page during the Team Beast scout day in September with a fastball that gets on hitters in a hurry. The Calhoun School product featured a slow pace on the rubber with below-average tempo in the delivery, but when the arm came through it whipped towards the plate with lightning-like quickness. Sucre displayed powerful lower half drive on the stride out towards the plate allowing for an average of 7.28 feet of extension on a 82-84 mph fastball, which got up to 2239 spin and 18.5 inches of induced vertical break (per Trackman Baseball). He was able to pitch well off of it showing impressive ride above the belt early in counts, giving way to a late, downer breaking ball (-9.3 inches of IVB / 2423 RPM) at 73-75 mph appearing mainly as the out pitch. A sharper-breaking slider at 71-74 mph actually showed higher spin at 2573 RPM’s with better horizontal shape to it across the plate (9.5 inches of HM). Most impressively, the righty could kill spin (1633 average) on a 75-76 mph changeup that saw better extension than the fastball (7.84 feet) and up to 13.2 inches of HM to the arm-side. Considering the fact he controlled the zone with four above-average pitches in any count, the feel was there and we wouldn’t be shocked if this is a solid “riser” candidate in the class rankings over the course of the next couple years as the velocity continues increasing.

Randy Ventura SS / 2B / Syosset , NY / 2022

The Spin: Slightly undersized at 5-foot-7, 145-pounds, Ventura had an impressive makeup at Team Beast Scout Day in September where he featured well above-average athleticism in all facets of his game. After clocking in at a smooth 6.86 60-yard dash with a lightning-quick first step, the primary right-handed hitter stole the show with noticeable consistency at the plate (58.3% line drive rate / 73% on-plane efficiency) allowing for advanced bat to ball skills while utilizing a line-to-line approach. The efficiency was there too with connection in the swing, pointing towards possible future power development (24.1 G’s of rotational acceleration) and an 88 mph bat-exit velocity per Trackman Baseball should give confidence that he has a good chance of trending that way. With added strength in the coming years only heightening a strong floor offensively, we expect Ventura to be a good “riser” candidate and move up the rankings accordingly at one point or another. The primary shortstop demonstrated easy gliding movements across the diamond with advanced range to either side while utilizing a quick 85 mph throwing arm from an accurate, high ¾ slot. Though the size might keep him at the second base position at the next level, he has all the makings of an All-Conference defender with the chance to become a force offensively as well. One of the more seasoned players in the entire NY '22 class, the Syosset product personifies what it means to be a “Diamond in the Rough.”

Aidan Bergholc 3B / RHP / Kennedy Catholic, NY / 2023

The Spin: Looking like a football recruit in a large and powerful 6-foot-1, 210-pound frame, Bergholc punished baseballs at the NY State Games in July with bat-exit velocities creeping into the 98.2 mph range. The right-handed hitter had some Josh Donaldson to him in the load with an elbow-to-knee move for rhythm purposes allowing for high level consistency at the plate. A 24 mph hand speed (per Blast Motion) generated an easy pull-side approach as the barrel was able to repeatedly deliver with a purpose on the inner half of the plate. With bat speeds as high as 74 mph coupled with rotational acceleration numbers creeping up into the 19 G range, Bergholc could create usable juice to all fields, evidenced by a 345 foot peak batted ball distance during batting practice. Even better for his future projection, the Kennedy Catholic product stayed off of the ground with a 67% fly ball rate / 33% line drive rate playing perfectly into his desired approach. Though the defense at the hot corner doesn’t stand out at the moment, Bergholc could handle a first base position at the next level with soft hands coupled with average, but doable range in either direction. Altogether, this is a prospect that is ready to enter a collegiate lineup now and will only continue heightening his ceiling with improved defensive play. 

Previous Diamonds in the Rough


2021 Preseason All-State - South/Central PA 02/06 Iron Horse Sports Complex
Super 60 Pro Showcase NATIONAL 02/07 MOSH Performance Center
2021 Preseason All-State - Pittsburgh (3PM Session) PA 02/07 All American Fieldhouse
2021 Preseason All-State - Pittsburgh (9AM Session) PA 02/07 All American Fieldhouse
2021 Northeast ProCase (2021 Grads Only) PA 02/13 Liberty Sports Arena
2021 Preseason All-State - Erie PA 02/13 Erie Premier Sports
2021 Preseason All-State - North/Central PA 02/14 Liberty Sports Arena
2021 Preseason All-State - East (11AM Session) PA 02/27 Keystone State Baseball Academy
2021 Preseason All-State East (3PM Session) PA 02/27 Keystone State Baseball Academy
2021 JR PA State Games Trials - Central PA 03/06 Liberty Sports Arena
2021 JR PA State Games Trials - East PA 03/14 Keystone State Baseball Academy
2021 JR PA State Games Trials - West PA 03/14 All American Fieldhouse