Diamonds in the Rough: Week 9 Breakouts


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 possess breakout abilities, which could catapult them up the class rankings at any point this calendar year. 

Connor Joedicke SS / RHP / Margaretville , NY / 2021


The Spin: Long and lean at 5-foot-10, 150-pounds, the primary shortstop showcased his above-average two-way abilities at the NY State games this past Summer with seasoned movements in all phases of the game. Leading the way with an impressive defensive round, the Margaretville product glided around the diamond while consistently beating the ball to the spot in the approach. Joedicke utilized dynamic footwork and a live 82 mph throwing arm from the left side of the infield allowing for an advanced, sub-4.0 second pace on almost every play (4.18 on the backhand) pointing towards legitimate “impact defender” qualities on that side of the ball. Offensively, the right-handed hitter displayed complete control of a leg hang in the timing phase, which generated repeated hard contact towards the left-centerfield gap, evidenced by a peak bat-exit velocity of 93 mph (40% hard hit rate) per Trackman Baseball. Though a 20% line drive rate / 50% groundball rate both need improvement, a 75% on-plane efficiency suggests the bat to ball skills are there in the box. With hand speeds approaching 24 mph, (23.8 mph via Blast Motion) the swing should work flawlessly when facing higher velocities in-game. We might have liked the right-hander most on the bump where he demonstrated standout feel for a clean delivery, flashing explosive arm-speed out of a high-¾ release slot. The Margaretville product lived up in the zone with an 82-84, T86 mph fastball getting up to 16.4 inches of HM to the arm-side. A 68-70 mph curveball was the out pitch with hard, late shape (13.5 inches HM) biting across the zone. An adequate third pitch at the moment, the changeup came out slightly stiff at 72-74 mph, but held the zone at 50% making it effective for changing speeds in any count. This is a prospect who could get on the field early at the collegiate level, both as a position player and on the mound.


Jake Brink RHP / OF / Salisbury School, CT / 2022


The Spin: A New York resident who attends school in Connecticut (Salisbury School), Brink was a standout at multiple PBR NY events over the summer, blowing the doors off of the NY State Games with a monster batting practice session and pacing the Gothams scout day in August on the bump. The newly classified ‘22 worked up to 88 mph with the fastball (84-87) generating an average of 6.5 feet of extension from a whippy, power high-¾ slot. Though he didn’t get on top of the curveball on this date, it flashed solid 11/5 shape at times (-6.1 IVB / 5.2 HM) giving way to a more dominant 72-73 mph slider as the out pitch (-10 inches IVB / 50% zone rate). The changeup keeps getting better with ability to kill spin (1524 average) while showing increased command (100% zone rate), fading with 10.4 inches of HM to the arm-side. The 6-foot-2, 200-pounder oozes starting pitcher’s traits and looks to be an innings eater at the next level. Offensively, the right-handed hitter used his large and powerful frame to repeatedly punish baseballs to the pull-side, notching several advanced Blast Motion measurables. Bat-exit velocities creeping into the 98 mph range will only continue to increase, which means a 50% fly ball rate at the plate should play seamlessly into the in-game approach. Lightning quick hands (26.3 mph max hand speed) turned usable bat speed in the box (75 mph) into efficient rotational power through the contact window (27.6 G’s RA) allowing for light-tower power on occasion. It was no shock to us in June when he launched three home-runs during a top batting practice session, ending his round with a 356 foot no-doubter over the left field wall. This has all the makings of a big-time riser in the class who could skyrocket his stock with another impact performance in the near future.


Xander Payne RHP / OF / Medina , NY / 2022


The Spin: Continuing to add significant strength and arm speed in an athletic, 5-foot-10, 170-pound frame, Payne’s arrow has been pointed heavily north over the past twelve months. The primary right-handed pitcher is a high-level mover on the bump with an up-tempo delivery, giving way to powerful backside leg drive and a quick, high ¾ slot at release. An 83-84 mph fastball continues to play up in velocity with advanced ride (21.5 inches IVB) and slightly above-average spin (2157 RPM’s) showing the ability to create issues above the belt. With good command of the strike zone while notching a 50% zone rate on the fastball, a slow-breaking 62-64 mph curveball sweeps across the zone in advantage counts, accruing up to 19.3 inches of HM. Likewise, a 67-69 mph changeup has the chance to be a legitimate swing/miss pitch to left-handed hitters with additional arm-speed and sell through the throwing window (27.4 inches HM). The Medina product possesses multiple special qualities on the mound, including a bulldog mindset in-game and the ability to fearlessly attack the strike zone early in counts. An above-average repertoire will keep developing as he gains more physicality and feel over the ensuing years, which could be a scary sight for opposing hitters. A candidate to be a heavy riser over the last couple legs of his high school career with no shortage of arm talent, we would not be shocked if Payne was pushing upper 80’s/90 mph by the time he signs his letter of intent.


David Bernard Jr 1B / 3B / Schenectady , NY / 2022


The Spin: The 6-foot-1, 230-pound mauler featured impressive low-effort strength at our NY Futures event in September with bat-exit velocities reaching triple-digits at the plate (101 mph per Trackman Baseball). A mainstay on our Blast Motion leaderboards, Bernard Jr. posted a 74.6 mph bat speed along with 24.6 G’s of rotational acceleration hinting at consistent, usable juice in the box. Even more impressively, the right-handed hitter launched a 375 foot peak batted ball distance on a moonshot over the left-centerfield fence during his batting practice round, showing off the insane power ceiling he possesses. With future improvements expected to create more loft in the swing, (30% fly ball rate at the moment), the Schenectady product could continue seeing his power numbers surge. Though the approach right now is mainly pull-side oriented, long limbs and improved balance in the lower half give us confidence that he can develop backside pop down the line as well. Defensively, the first baseman featured adequate feel around the bag with a controlled, attacking style utilizing his weight and momentum over the toes in the movements. The glove hand played softly out in front with high level accuracy which should allow for a comfortable stay at the position moving forward. Still slightly raw in the swing with the offense leading the way when projecting future success, the ceiling looks to be very high as raw power dominates the “hit tool.”


Ty Santabarbara RHP / 2B / Guilderland , NY / 2022


The Spin: We were big fans of the athletic 6-foot, 170-pound right-hander at the NY Futures event in September due to sneaky strikeout potential on the bump and multiple big secondary offerings. The Guilderland product was well-connected throughout the mechanics with above-average arm-speed and fluidity out of a high ¾ release. The fastball rode with extra life (22.5 inches IVB / 21.1 inches HM) appearing tough to barrel above the belt while filling up the zone with plenty of consistency early in counts (40% zone rate). A wicked 74-76 mph curveball at 2415 RPM’s was enough evidence that he could really spin it, getting multiple swing/misses at the plate (17.4 inches HM) while flashing similar release heights to the fastball (5.81 feet / 5.91 feet). Though the slider featured less shape than the curveball, (-4.9 inches IVB / 6.1 inches HM) it held the zone at a 67% rate showing valuable “get me over” ability to set up other quality pitches. The changeup (72-74 mph) could continue improving as well, as it demonstrated a significantly lower release height than the fastball, (5.16 feet / 5.91 feet) though it did see the highest average extension of all his pitches (6.34 feet). Overall, you’re looking at a ‘22 arm with three highly developed pitches and a fourth coming along (CH up to 10.5 inches of HM) giving him a serious arsenal to attack collegiate hitters with. Once the velocity keeps climbing and added strength gains come in short order (the ability is there), Santabarbara will thrust himself into the top 100 of the class rankings and could reach an even higher ceiling down the road.

Previous Diamonds in the Rough

UPCOMING EVENTS

SHOWCASE STATE DATE LOCATION
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