Prep Baseball Report

College Crosscheck Week 11: Clemson, Louisville, Evansville and Missouri State

By David Seifert
Director of College Scouting

Moving along with more top prospects from the ACC, I headed back to Louisville for a look at a talented Clemson club. It was then onto a MVC matchup with Missouri State at Evansville for Week Eleven of the scouting trail.


Austin Gordon, RHP- After emerging as a rotation workhorse (16 starts, 84 innings) last season for the Tigers, Gordon has found a home this spring at the back of Clemson’s pen. At 6-foot-5, 200-pounds he has some present physicality and is also projectable to add some weight/strength which generally progresses into even more velocity to a fastball that currently sits in the mid-90s. During the Tigers’ marathon game on Tuesday against Georgia, Gordon sat 93-96 mph in his two innings of relief. Three nights later in Louisville his fastball peaked at 95 during his one inning save. His delivery is sound as he creates leverage and gets down the mound, and he does produce some ride with his fastball (up to 20” vertical), but his 6-foot release point is very common and comes without much deception. The right-hander also adds in a 78-80 curve and 85-87 cutter/slider. Both graded as fringe-average on the pro scale during my look. His curve shows the most potential with a 35.7% chase rate (99th percentile) this season, but none of his three pitches are dominant, out-type pitches at this point in his development. Gordon has posted seven saves with 32 strikeouts in 26 innings for the Tigers and there is still plenty of upside remaining in his future.

Tristan Smith, LHP- The top ‘24 draft-eligible prospect for the Tigers, Smith topped at 94 mph and sat 91-92 with his fastball (2400- 2600 rpm) with some deception from his segmented delivery. With up to 21” of vertical break his fastball can be an overpowering, swing/miss weapon up in the zone with high spin and good carry to the plate. He does land across his body and has a hard time syncing up his landing with ball release. It leads to control that comes and goes as 17 walks in 30 innings this spring illustrates. His track record so far in one-plus years of college baseball mirrors his days as a prep with too many free passes. Some of what I saw against Louisville could be due to Smith still gaining back his feel after recently missing several weeks due to a lower body injury, but it was similar to my look last summer. His breaking ball began the game as a hard curveball offering with solid depth at 81-83. It graded as a present average, potential future plus pitch. As the game progressed his breaker morphed into a low-80s slurve and was overall improved from the below average offering he showed me in the Cape last summer. His third pitch was an 80-84 mph changeup that played below average with its scattered location. However, it has the potential to become average in the future with good hand speed and a similar release point to his fastball.

Smith appeared to injure his hamstring in the bottom 4th inning after showing a velocity decrease to 89-91 which prompted a visit by the trainer. However, Smith regrouped, stayed in the game, and pumped 92 to another batter before exiting after 72 total pitches (38 for strikes). For the evening Smith walked four, hit three and threw one wild pitch. Obviously, not his best outing, but he did show many flashes as to why he is so highly valued for this year’s draft. A 2024 draft-eligible sophomore, Smith is similar to most young arms who need refinement with command and further development of his secondary offerings.

Blake Wright, 3B- Showing at least one grade better bat speed this season than last spring, Wright impressed at the plate and in the field. He showed sure hands and an average arm with good accuracy across the diamond. It’s just enough to play on the left side of the infield, but might be best suited for second base at the pro level. Home-to-first he ran a 4.45 on a groundout to third base, which is below average (4.3 = average). At the plate he sets up with high hands that he drops into a power slot during his load. There is excess head movement accompanying his swing, but he is long through the zone with very good extension through contact. After a subpar junior/draft season (.249/.325/.399), Wright has rebounded nicely with a .323/.353/.640 production line with 16 home runs and he has positioned himself for likely selection in the top ten rounds as a senior prospect.

Additional Tigers’ Prospects: Fifth-year senior shortstop Jacob Hinderleider is putting together a season that may get him an opportunity at the next level. Possessing soft hands and an above average to plus arm, he also showed average range to go along with strong production at the plate this season (.327/.413/.591). Strong-armed right fielder Alden Mathes is also having a fine season. He’s a power arm/power bat, right field profile type of prospect. At the plate there is noticeable stiffness to his swing and it’s bat strength well over bat speed, but there’s no denying the results to date with 1.017 OPS. Fifth-year senior catcher Jimmy Obertop is yet another veteran Tiger producing a strong season with 15 home runs and a .296 batting average. Strong with good bat speed, he quick-stroked a 105 mph EV double to left center field and added a single during his five plate appearances on Friday. Behind the plate he showed average arm strength with good accuracy and POP times of 1.95 and 1.97 for a pair of caught steals. He was just a fair receiver on this look as he chased and followed too many borderline pitches out of the zone, instead of beating to a spot and feathering into the strike zone. With that stated, he was catching a pitcher who consistently missed spots with scattered command. Athletic and well-tooled Will Taylor has been on the shelf with a wrist injury since mid-April. When healthy, the speedy outfielder has been considered a top round prospect. Last season as a sophomore Taylor batted .361 with 16 doubles and 11 stolen bases. He then left the Clemson football program last summer to solely focus on baseball


Once again making the Friday night start for the Cardinals against Clemson was Sebastian Gongora. Previously scouted in Week Nine against Virginia, this version of Seabass was much improved. Two weeks ago the lefthander was coming off a lost fight to the flu bug, but this week with renewed vigor he struck out seven in four innings with a 91-93 mph fastball and two solid secondaries in a 82-85 slider and 84-85 changeup. I also caught a glimpse of the future with a pair of big-armed underclass right handed pitchers. Patrick Forbes throws an easy 93-96 from a three-quarter release point and downhill angle. It’s a live four-seamer with 20” IVB, but at this point is more control than command. Closer Tucker Biven has elite sinker characteristics to his fastball which sat 92-94 to go along with a better than average 84-87 mph slider that showed good depth at times.


The Purple Aces do not have a top round prospect for this year’s draft. However, they do have several very good veteran college baseball players who have led them to a strong 2024 season to date. Offensively, the Aces are led by graduate student Mark Shallenberger a 6-foot-2, 220-pound left fielder who has a polished left handed swing and the performance (.382/.531/.701, 11 HR, 7% K rate) to deserve a chance in professional baseball, despite his age (24).

The top underclass prospect is freshman Friday night starter Kenton Deverman, a 6-foot-2 left-hander who rides his fastball into the upper-80s. He stifled the Bears’ bats for a complete game 4-1 Evansville W on Friday night. Deverman allowed just four hits and two walks with six strikeouts.

Missouri State

The Bears top prospect for 2024 is draft-eligible sophomore Zack Stewart. A 6-foot-2, 215-pound left handed hitting corner outfielder, Stewart is highly regarded for his power and high exit velocities. His maximum this spring is 117 mph which grades as plus-plus (70) on the pro scale. After showing off that pop with plus bat speed in batting practice, Stewart spun to hit at the plate and was in/out of the zone quickly resulting in an infield popup, an easy rollover to the right side and another groundout to third base. His fourth at-bat ended differently with perfect timing and a home run to center field. Stewart has made remarkable strides this season, cutting his strikeout rate from 27.7% in 2023 to 18.4% this spring. Much of that improvement is due to his progress competing against changeups and slugging 1.030 against sliders this spring. Overall, Stewart has seen 632 pitches spanning 174 plate appearances with 319 (50.5%) of those pitches being off speed. He is currently batting .331 with 18 home runs and a .379 ISO. Defensively, Stewart showed an average to slightly better arm with near average range. He profiles to either corner outfield spot at the next level and will likely be considered starting towards the end of the second round.

An Additional Bear Slugger: True freshman outfielder Caden Bogenpohl is Missouri State’s top underclass prospect. The 6-foot-6, 230-pound center fielder reminds me physically and tools-wise of Oklahoma State’s Nolan Schubart. Bogenpohl, too, has huge raw power that plays in the game as he’s homered 14 times this season. However, with long levers, there is length to the left handed hitter’s swing that can be exposed and he will need to tighten it up moving forward. But, unlike Schubart, Bogenpohl is a better defender with plus arm strength from center field.