Diamonds in the Rough: Week 2


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. Featured in this article: two physically gifted '21's, two '22's bound to garner considerable interest, and a projected big-time riser in the '23 class. 

DIAMONDS IN THE ROUGH: WEEK 2

Alexander Meckley RHP / 1B / Gettysburg, PA / 2021


The Spin: It’s hard not to notice complete dominance and our first ever look at the 6-foot-3, 220-pound right-handed pitcher gave us just that in October at the US Elite Scout Day. Talk about a mound presence: Meckley just looked imposing with impressive durability and strength throughout the build emphasizing starter projection at the next level. Add in a full arm circle, a heavy 90 mph fastball with high command (69% zone rate), and room for more velocity yet, and you’re talking about a very interesting uncommitted ‘21 prospect. The righty gets it done with advanced pace while exuding complete control on the bump, liked to get ahead with the FB and put hitters away with a mix of differently shaped breaking balls: a 72-74 mph CB with depth / 11/5 shape and a harder 78-80 mph SL with late horizontal action. While both offspeed offerings are only slightly above average at the moment in terms of spin, he hides the ball well creating deception at release in order to give hitters plenty of issues in the box. A 77-78 mph SPL has the chance to be an out-pitch with more refinement while showing late downer action. Overall you’re looking at a future rotational piece at the collegiate level who possesses both a high floor and high ceiling. 


Chris Juchno OF / McDowell, PA / 2021


The Spin: A standout two-sport athlete starring as the QB1 at McDowell as well, Juchno was a high follow at the PA State Games where he put forth a considerable effort (6.61 60-yard dash / 86 mph arm strength from the OF / 97 mph bat-exit velocity). Obviously all you have to do is look at the frame and his 60-yard dash time to be wowed, but the left-handed hitter had one of the best rounds at the entire event announcing his presence with a 53% line drive rate to go along with a 54% hard hit rate according to Trackman Baseball. There was advanced fluidity in the stroke which carried over to game action where he recorded multiple extra base hits. With high level bat to ball skills to go along with well above-average adjustability in the box, Juchno can work line to line with the approach and features the ability to hit for average and power at the next level. While the arm strength and straight line footspeed hint at a stay in centerfield moving forward, the ‘21 OF could handle any of the three positions if need be. The ceiling keeps heightening each time we see him play and it’s only a matter of time before Juchno’s stock goes through the roof. 


Matthew Williams 1B / RHP / Warwick, PA / 2022


The Spin: A heavy riser over the past couple years, Williams has added considerable strength (now 6-foot-5, 225-pounds) and refinement to the swing allowing for a complete hitter who offers middle of the order consideration at the next level. The right-handed hitter gets it done by staying short through the zone with advanced bat speed (78.5 mph per Blast Motion) and uses plenty of leverage in order to keep the ball off of the ground (10% groundball rate). When he elevates, he’s efficient: recorded an impressive 30% line drive rate / 60% fly ball rate while generating a standout 80% hard hit percentage during batting practice at the PA State Games in June. If you’re looking for more examples of consistency, the Warwick product notched a 94.43 mph average bat-exit velocity per Trackman Baseball (102 mph peak) and featured a 303 foot average batted ball distance. An in-game terror who ambushes fastballs while getting much better at staying on the breaking ball as well, Williams continued ascension would put him into the “must follow” tier. Defensively, the athleticism is there (7.09 runner in the 60-yard dash) and quick lateral movements coupled with a soft glove hand inspire confidence to stick at first base going forward. 


Gavin Lill RHP / West Chester East, PA / 2022


The Spin: One of our favorite arms that we saw this year, Lill featured a lightning-quick arm from a ¾ slot with advanced hip-shoulder separation and pace making hitters extremely uncomfortable in the box. On multiple occasions at the PA State Games, 2305 spin FB’s almost took the hands off of opposing hitters with an average of 13 inches of induced horizontal movement per Trackman Baseball. Pair the FB (T88 mph) with a wipeout 77-79 mph SL getting up to 2588 rpms, (2491 average) and you can see how the strikeout numbers start to pile up. Most impressively he commanded the zone with both offerings (53% zone rate / 50% zone rate) allowing himself to stay in attack mode on the bump and ahead of hitters at all times. Recently showed off a CB with more depth to it than the SL getting up to 2476 spin while dropping in an occasional 80-82 mph CH with noticeable arm-side fade. It was evident this summer that the ‘22 RHP has the “it” factor on the mound and allows himself to compete at a high level every pitch. With a strong and athletic 6-foot-2, 200-pound frame to dream on coupled with an unmatched work-ethic, we expect Lill to continue seeing his stock rise heavily throughout the ‘21 spring / summer. 


Andrew Malec 3B / RHP / Cathedral Prep, PA / 2023


The Spin: The ‘23 corner infielder heightened his stock as much as anybody this summer with a strong performance at the PA State Games and a heroic effort at the PA Limited Series in July. The 6-foot-4, 175-pounder generated loft in the swing (57.1% fly ball rate / 29% line drive rate) but also featured sneaky good bat to ball skills (67% on plane efficiency). A max rotational acceleration of 25.2 G’s per Trackman Baseball hinted at some power potential down the line to go along with an already solid 89 mph peak bat-exit velocity. Showed off advanced feel for the barrel spraying hard contact from gap to gap during the PA Limited Series for the Keystone State Bombers where we saw him accrue five base-knocks in two games of action. Demonstrated two-way capabilities commanding the zone with an 80 mph heater (60% zone rate) while getting up to 2568 spin and 6 feet of extension on the release. Add in a 69-71 mph two-plane breaker with 11/5 shape and 2448 rpms and you’re looking at strikeout potential on the mound as well. The raw data tells you that Malec is already a really good player but the in-game successes should speak for themselves; the kid can absolutely play and will find himself continuing to head north in the rankings if he keeps developing as expected. 

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