Prep Baseball Report

PBR Future Games: Team Carolinas Quick Hitters

Brandon Hall
North Carolina Director of Scouting

We are a little over a week removed from Team Carolina making its first appearance at the PBR Future Games in Indianapolis, IN at the Grand Parks facility.  North Carolina players had appeared on Team Mid-Atlantic each of the past two years, but this was the first time South Carolina was represented in the primetime event.  With over 250 college coaches in attendance, and every workout and game taking place in one 4-field clover, the players from Team Carolina were under the microscope.

Team Carolina carried eighteen of the top underclass, uncommitted players from the two states.  Each position player would go through a pro-style workout on day 1, taking reps at their defensive position, running a 60, working through offensive exit velocity testing, and taking live BP.  Every position player had their moment in the spotlight as every college coach and pro scout in attendance hovered around the main field where each player went through their defensive workout and took live BP.  Position players also took live BP and infield/outfield each of three days, prior to live game action. Pitchers in the event, for Team Carolina, each threw three innings in live games, with most spreading the innings over two appearances.

Over the course of the four day event, Team Carolina captured a lot of buzz on the mound and in the field.  Below we will take a look at some of the quick hitter reactions from the event. Videos have been posted on each player in attendance on their PBR Profile.  In the coming days we will dive into the stats from the week, as well as adding evaluations on all of the Team Carolina players.

CLICK HERE for a look at the complete Team Carolina Roster


Quick Hitters

+ The physicality of Team Carolina caught the attention of the college coaches in attendance.  The median size on the Team Carolina roster was 6-foot-1, 180 pounds. Caleb Freeman (RHP, J.L. Mann HS), Jackson Kirkpatrick (RHP, McMichael HS), and Nick Neal (1B, Randleman HS) each stood above 6-foot-4.  Neal has an impressive physicality at 6-foot-6, 296 pounds with agility in his feet and hips.

+ One of the caveats that makes the Future Games special is the fact that every player on the roster is uncommitted.  Team Carolina had to make several late adjustments as players in the region began to make some decisions. Since the Future Games ended, the staffs of PBR North Carolina and South Carolina have been extremely busy on the phone.  Shortly after the Future Games Chandler Riley (MIF, Cox Mill HS) committed to Charlotte, who had multiple coaches in Indianapolis for the event.  Several other players have begun to setup visits as schools work to capitalize on their work throughout the Future Games week.

+ Score is not kept during BP, but Team Carolina seemed to win that portion of the day, each day… By day two, players from the Junior Future Games fields were making their way to watch Team Carolina take BP.  College coaches and pro scouts filtered over from the live game to watch the display as well. The median exit velocity of Team Carolina’s testing came to 91 mph off the barrel.  Neal broke the event record during his testing, touching 104 mph off the bat and each of his swings registered above 99mph.  Trey Truitt (OF, East Mecklenburg HS) and Preston Hall (3B, Myers Park HS) also topped the century mark in testing.  

+ The first arm to throw for Team Carolina created instant buzz as Ben Peterson (RHP, Apex HS) flooded the zone with a fastball / curveball combination.  The fastball reached 89, sitting 85-89 with an overhand breaking ball thrown for a strike at will.  Following Peterson, Gus Hughes (RHP, Grimsley HS) popped the top velocity for Team Carolina working 87-88 and touching 90 in his one inning on day 1.  Several arms took advantage of their second outing, settling into the environment. Braxton Elms (LHP, Lewisville HS) and Jackson Kirkpatrick each bumped their velo up and touching 86 in their second outing.

+ College coaches are working to find options on their roster, stretching their 35 to create a strong lineup both offensively and defensively.  With the workout day followed by three straight game days at the PBR Future Games, Team Carolina was able to adjust the defensive positioning to showcase several players’ ability to play multiple spots.  Alejandro Rodriguez (MIF/C, Southeast Guilford HS) played well at 2B and flashed advanced carry from his arm behind the dish.  Rodriguez also got some time in the outfield. James Hobbs (SS, Myers Park HS) ran a 6.75 sixty and flashed good skills on the infield with a positional velocity of 84 mph across the diamond.  On game day 2, several schools asked if he has ever played the OF so Hobbs got reps over the next two days in centerfield, showing an excellent first step and easy athleticism in the outfield.

+ Three catchers did an excellent job for Team Caroilna.  We mentioned the versatile Rodriguez and he was joined behind the dish by Drew Bryan (C, Southern Lee HS) and Chet Sikes (C, Wesleyan Christian Academy).  All three have better than average carry and each showed a good feel for accuracy to the bag.  The workout numbers transferred to the game, with each throwing a game pop inside of their workout stats.  Sikes and Bryan receive with some ease and instilled some confidence in the arms they were receiving, allowing the pitchers to relax and pound the glove.

+ The final tally of college coaches through the door at Grand Parks topped 250.  A unique environment at the facility sees every coach and every player on one, 4-field pod.  As Team Carolina worked its way through the week, PBR staff from North Carolina and South Carolina made contact with the following schools and others in attendance:

Dallas Baptist           Cincinnati                     Houston
Tulane                      Davidson                      George Mason
Saint Louis               Boston College             Clemson
Duke                        Georgia Tech                 Louisville
Miami                       North Carolina State     North Carolina
Notre Dame             Virginia                          Virginia Tech
Wake Forest             Kansas State                TCU
Texas Tech               West Virginia                St. John’s
Campbell                  Liberty                          Winthrop
Maryland                  Michigan                       Purdue
Elon                         James Madison             Towson
UNC Wilmington      Charlotte                       Florida Atlantic
Marshall                   Middle Tennessee         Southern Miss
UAB                         Eastern Michigan          North Carolina A&T
Air Force                  Morehead St                 Arizona
Oregon St                Stanford                        Alabama
Auburn                     Kentucky                       LSU
Missouri                   South Carolina              Tennessee
Vanderbilt                Coastal Carolina            Pepperdine


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