Diamonds in the Rough: Week 7


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 standout uncommitted prospects with the ability to step onto the field earlier rather than later at the next level.

Ryan Tomczak 1B / RHP / Cathedral Prep, PA / 2021


The Spin: Extremely physical in a football player’s build at 6-foot-2, 230-pounds, Tomczak has all the makings of a bruiser in the middle of a collegiate lineup. The right-handed hitter put forth a standout batting practice round at the PA State Games with a multitude of impressive advanced metrics getting on plane early with a short, simple stroke (88% peak on plane efficiency per Blast Motion) while hinting at the ability to hit for average down the line. Couple that with the obvious power output in the box (77.2 mph bat speed / 94 mph bat-exit velocity via Trackman Baseball) which generated a noticeable 55% hard-hit rate and you have a hitter that can hurt you in multiple ways. A 27 mph hand max hand speed looked rather easy with low effort which should allow him to handle velocity with no problems at the next level. With increased feel for “palm up, palm down” at impact while likewise improving a 36.4% ground ball rate, Tomczak could thrust himself up the rankings and make himself a must have power bat in the class. Although the primary first baseman displayed average range around the bag and adequate feel for his body in space during defensive evaluations, the chest stayed downward over the baseball when arriving at the fielding window allowing for semi-soft hands to play out in front of his toes. While he won’t give you advanced defense at the corner, the bat is more than enough to enter him into many collegiate lineups and with added work, could be a plus tool in the future. 


Eli Harpalani SS / 2B / Pittsburgh Central Catholic, PA / 2021


The Spin: The 5-foot-8, 170-pound primary shortstop featured a quality blend of power/speed with increased athleticism and strength in all phases of the game. Harpalani started off the “Dirtbags Virginia” Scout Day in June with a bang registering a 6.87 60-yard dash with a quick first step. He carried that over to defensive evaluations where advanced footwork and lateral movements allowed for well above-average arm strength (85 mph) across the diamond while showing the ability to make all of the plays necessary to stick on the left side of the infield moving forward. The Pittsburgh Central Catholic product shined the most offensively where he had the most to offer with loft present in the swing (46% fly ball rate) while repeatedly getting leveraged at the front of the plate generating hard, pull-side contact to the LCF gap. For a smaller frame, the power output was legitimate: Harpalani displayed usable juice with an out-of-this-world 34.2 G’s of rotational acceleration coupled with a 70 mph bat speed which points towards future power development as he matures. An 81% percent on-plane efficiency via Blast Motion suggests for the ability to hit for average as well making one of the better pound-for-pound movers in the state that much more dangerous in the box. A high floor candidate who is still coming into his own, we’re very confident in his chances to be an impact player at the collegiate level which could happen sooner rather than later.


Michael Trommer 3B / RHP / Archbishop Wood, PA / 2022


The Spin: Ranked 66th in the state in the ‘22 class and still not getting enough love, Trommer possesses legitimate two-way abilities and put forth some of the better polish we’ve seen at an event this past calendar year. The primary 6-foot, 185-pound third baseman blew the doors off of the Northeast Open in July with good pace at the hot corner (less than 4.20 seconds on average) while flashing athleticism in the movements. An accurate 80 mph arm strength with carry across the diamond only further slots him into that position and with the ability to make all the plays on the run, you’re looking at an advanced defender later on at the collegiate level. The left-handed hitter turned in one of the top batting practice rounds of the day generating quick hands into the zone (24.50 mph hand speed via Blast Motion) while whipping the barrel through impact (78 mph bat speed). Add in plenty of efficiency in terms of a 50% line drive rate and an 88% hard hit rate according to Trackman Baseball, and you have an extremely tough out at the plate. Trommer can still add weight scary enough, which makes you think an already impressive 97 mph bat-exit velocity will approach triple digits in the coming year. The right-handed pitcher worked from the stretch only, peppering the zone at a 40% rate while sitting 83-85 mph with the FB. Low spin (1714 average) made it play better at the knees with added downhill shape from a 5.21 foot average release height. The curveball was the out pitch showing sharp, two-plane action on occasion getting up to -14.1 inches of induced vertical break as well as 13.4 inches of horizontal movement. Add in a 74-76 mph CH that killed spin and was repeatedly in the zone at a 75% rate, and you have a legitimate repertoire ready to compete day one at the next level.  


Yasir Gardner-Sizer OF / Pottsgrove , PA / 2022


The Spin: One of the top performances of the year at the Last Chance Showcase in October, the 6-foot-1, 178-pound outfielder did everything at a high level, pacing the event with a 6.84 60-yard dash. Gardner-Sizer put forth the top defensive evaluation of the day gliding with ease in any direction while getting downhill through the baseball with a purpose. The Pottsgrove product consistently showed the ability to handle any of the routes on the route tree with comfortability for his body in space, and if you needed anymore evidence that he could be a day one starter at any outfield position, look no further than an absolute 90 mph laser from his position as well. An impressive 91 mph bat-exit velocity allowed for consistency for the right-handed hitter at the plate with a simple, gap to gap approach in which a 42% line drive rate played well into (per Trackman Baseball). The timing mechanism was polished allowing for quickness in the hands (22 mph hand speed via Blast Motion) and long arms to get leveraged towards the front of the plate, which kept him off of the ground for the most part (25% ground ball rate). A previous Arkansas-Pine Bluff commit, we have a feeling Gardner-Sizer has not yet reached his potential and possesses one of the top ceilings in the entire ‘22 class. With a good chance to continue getting better while also having the talent necessary to start earlier rather than later at the next level, it would be wise to throw your hat into the ring now before he pops and generates big-time interest. 


Frank Kula SS / RHP / Laurel Highlands, PA / 2023


The Spin:
Long and lean at 5-foot-10, 140-pounds while flashing solid athleticism in all facets of the game, Kula was all over our Blast Motion leaderboards at the US Elite Scout Day in October pacing the ‘23 attendees in multiple categories. The left-handed hitter turned the bat around early with a quick, sudden swing that generated plenty of usable power in the box and a mostly pull-side approach to the RCF gap. Looking deeper, an uber-impressive 31.1 G’s of rotational acceleration (per Blast Motion) hinted at obvious power potential down the line and worked well with a short time to contact (23.2 mph hand speed) allowing for the ability to handle high level velocity if need be. Considering that he recorded a 68% on plane efficiency while putting forth a 36% line drive rate according to Trackman Baseball, you have a young hitter that possesses solid consistency as well. A 7.00 runner with long strides, Kula has the frame and movements necessary to stay in the middle of the infield at the collegiate level and that narrative should only be furthered with advanced footwork and good overall pace at shortstop. Although the arm strength is slightly lacking at the moment, (72 mph) we have faith that it will develop over the coming years, but worst case-scenario he could be an above-average defensive second baseman at the next level. 


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