Prep Baseball Report

Oklahoma Prospects Shine At Midwest Scouts Association Event

By Andy Urban
Oklahoma Scouting Director

In late July, the Midwest Scouts Association held their 11th annual showcase at the Kansas City Royals’ Kauffman Stadium. The event featured 44 of the top 2017s and 2018s from Arkansas, Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Wisconsin. There were eight prospects from Oklahoma, all in the 2017 class, and they represented the Sooner State well.

Here’s a look at the eight Oklahoma prospects at the event:

Justin Cooke, C, Norman HS
Oklahoma recruit. 6-foot-2, 195-pound frame, strong build, proportional strength. Advanced  switch-hitter, middle-pull approach, with plate discipline. In game, Cooke took pitches well and was balanced and on time in his three at-bats. Slightly open and narrow set up, coiling load, quick hands, flat bat path, high finish through contact. Showed more lift from the left side. Cooke stayed hard and flat up the middle in his three at-bats, grounding out twice and lacing a single to center field.  Defensively, strong but flexible in the squat, throws from a true catcher’s slot, strong arm with carry; accurate, clean exchanges, a best pop time of 1.97 during showcase. Also ran a 7.7 60.  

Brody Gibson, C/RHP, Metro Christian Academy HS
Oral Roberts recruit. Athletically built 6-foot-3, 185-pound catcher and pitcher. Defensively, showed solid footwork and quick arm, registering a top pop time of 2.04 during the workout. Right-handed hitter, balanced setup, slight arm bar load, created consistent pullside lift during BP. Went 0-for-3 during game play. Also ran a 7.81 60. … Right-handed pitcher, relatively new to the mound. Works from high-3/4 slot, fastball ranged between 83-86 mph with some heavy feel when down in the zone.Reportedly has been in the upper-80s earlier in the summer. Curveball sat 71-72 with 12/6 action, while flashing 72-73 changeup with some fade.

Tanner Griffin, C/SS, Bixby HS
Oklahoma State recruit. 6-foot-1, 205-pound frame, strong athletic build, fills out a uniform well. Defensively is a versatile defender as a catcher/infielder, but his carrying tool is his right-handed bat, which he showcased during his BP rounds. Offensively, showed easy opposite-field power, consistently staying inside the baseball using a short leg kick, strong hands, and long extension through the baseball. Results in the game were more in the middle of the field, with a hard single and flying out to center. Also showed athleticism by running a 7.19 60. Defensively as a catcher, utilizes his strong lower half and directional footwork to produce a top pop time of 1.95 with true carry and accuracy. At shortstop, showed average range and hands to go with a strong, accurate arm. His size may facilitate a move to the corner, where his arm and offense would profile.

Hal Hughes, MIF, Norman North HS
Louisiana State recruit. 5-foot-10, 160-pound right-handed hitting middle infielder. Athletically, ran a 6.98 60 and showed fluid, easy actions in the field. Moves well laterally with soft, reliable hands and above-average arm strength. Arguably one of the best defenders in attendance. Offensively, has a quick, handsy approach. In the game, Hughes showed good hand-eye, putting the ball in play in three at-bats with a pair of groundouts and a lineout to left field.

Zack Matthews, RHP, Wellston HS
Oklahoma recruit. 6-foot-1, 210-pound right-handed pitcher with stocky, strong build. A clean, smooth arm action, high-3/4 slot, above-average effort. Fastball sat 91-92 mph with occasional run. Throws slider with intent at 78-79 mph and showed depth with 10/4 shape. More control than command, going deep into counts, but effective. Highly competitive demeanor on the mound; a recently converted catcher.

Roman Phansalkar, RHP, Heritage Hall HS
Arizona recruit. 6-foot-2, 170-pound frame, long, loose, and athletic with room to add size and strength. Works from a 3/4 arm slot, abbreviated stride, consistently repeats delivery. Arm action is free, easy, and whippy out front, producing a fastball that sat 87-89 mph with slight arm-side run. A college-ready slider showed late explosion in the bottom of the zone at 78-80 mph. He pitched a stress-free inning and was in total control.

Kaden Polcovich, MIF, Deer Creek HS
Oklahoma recruit. 5-foot-10, 180-pound middle infielder, physically advanced frame with defined lower half. High-level athlete, ran a 6.69 60, fourth-fastest at the event. Offensively, a polished switch-hitter with a middle-opposite field approach. Hits from a balanced base, slight squat, moderate leg kick, hanging longer from the right side. Strength in hands, short and compact to the ball, though slightly more consistent from the right side during BP. Went 0-for-2 in game play. At shortstop, Polcovich showed excellent range and an above-average arm.

Jake Taylor, C/3B, Shawnee HS
Oklahoma State recruit. 6-foot-1, 200-pound frame, broad shoulders, thick legs, strong hands. One of the more impressive offensive prospects in attendance. Right-handed hitter, front leg heavy setup, barrel tipped towards the pitcher, maintains excellent rhythm throughout, moderate leg kick, short stride followed by bat speed that produced a different sound off the barrel, launching balls from line to line with power. Taylor easily produced two of the better rounds of BP at this elite event. Defensively, showcased efficient footwork, clean exchanges, and a strong arm, delivering accurate throws with a top pop time of 1.94. Also ran a 7.52 60.

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