Prep Baseball Report

NPI: 15 for 15U (Uncommitted 2022s)

Shooter Hunt
National Crosschecker

The inaugural PBR National Program Invitational took place June 20-23 on the pristine grounds of the Lakepoint facility just outside of Atlanta. Over the course of four days, the top travel programs in the country competed against each other in four different age groups. Having only one site to roam, and elite talent performing on each field, the tournament made for an ideal setting for the multitude of college recruiters and professional scouts that were in attendance, as well as the PBR scouting department. In coming weeks, National Crosschecker, Shooter Hunt, along with some help from PBR’s “boots on the ground” will take a look at some of the players that stood out throughout the tournament. In this edition, Shooter’s “15 for 15U” takes a look at a collection of uncommitted 2022 players that caught his eye and made an impression.

Everett Cooper SS / 2B / McDonogh, MD / 2022

Cooper’s upside as a switch-hitting shortstop is impressive, and given the fact that he is just starting to grow into his frame, he could quickly reach it in coming years. Long and lean at 6-foot, 165-pounds, he moves around gracefully on the infield with a strong arm and confident hands that should allow him to stick at shortstop moving forward. He possesses quick hands from both sides of the plate with a fluent load of the hands, down and back, that works in rhythm with a knee-knock leg kick. There is some left to the swing that may aid in his ability to get the ball in the air with more authority as he fills out. Cooper plays the game hard at all times, and his long-strided speed puts pressure on the defense at all times. Overall, Cooper was thoroughly impressive at the NPI, and will likely have a plethora of college coaches following him around the rest of the summer and beyond. 

/var/www/html/login/modules/Playerss/shortcodes.json not found

Riley Stanford OF / RHP / Buford, GA / 2022

Stanford’s intensity and single-minded focus to win is matched only by his impressive arm strength on the mound. The talented right-hander was up to 92 mph in a couple of big outings for the Georgia Bombers, playing up in the 16U bracket, and helped carry them to the championship including the game-winning hit in the final. Already exhibiting some physicality at 6-foot-3, 180-pounds, Stanford still shows signs of adding considerable strength in the future. He pounded the zone with a slightly longer in the back arm stroke at 88-92, and was able to sink the ball to the arm side with most Trackman readings registering 1800-1900 RPM. His slider was tightly spun in the upper 70s for strikes with more lateral break, and shows signs of blossoming into a weapon in the near future. He attacks hitters with no fear, and plays off the energy of big games. At the plate, the right-handed hitter does not get cheated, looking to do damage with each swing. Any rawness in the approach is made up for by his athleticism, and the ball jumps off the barrel when he makes contact. Though it is easy to peg him as a pitcher-only because of the big arm strength that he showcases now, it seems unlikely that this hard-nosed kid would want to give up being a position player any time soon, and being that he is still so young and growing into his frame, it would be wise to allow him to continue doing both.

Chase Davis LHP / OF / Montgomery , TX / 2022

Davis played himself up the order for Twelve Baseball, ending the week in the middle after producing hits in what felt like every at-bat. He stands an impressive 6-foot-3, 185-pounds with some natural strength throughout, especially in the lower-half, and his fast hands provide for some bat speed through the zone as he covers the entire plate with the ability to drive the ball from gap to gap. The left-handed hitter was never rushed, slowing the game down with impressive pitch-tracking capabilities. He showcased his two-way capabilities with a low 80s fastball on the mound along with feel for a multi-tier breaking ball that he dropped in for strikes. There is more velocity likely on the way, and given the feel for the breaking ball, he should have a strong chance of continuing as a two-way player down the line. However, his knack for finding the barrel, and more importantly, getting hits, stands out right now, and with a highly-projectable frame, college coaches will be following him closely moving forward.

Termarr Johnson SS / 2B / Mays, GA / 2022

Johnson’s early stake as the most exciting player in the 2022 class was only elevated at the NPI, even as he battled being a bit banged up in the lower-half. His elite bat speed is unparallelled, and he whips it through the zone with surprising strength given his smaller, 5-foot-8, 140-pound frame. A bigger leg kick works in sync with a deeper hitch of the hands and barrel tilt in the approach, and while the moving parts could potentially leave him vulnerable to higher velocity, his ability to be on time and keep his hands back is special. Even against top-tier arms, he consistently finds the barrel to all fields and is on time. Johnson’s speed is a real weapon on the base paths, and also allows him to cover a lot of ground on the infield where he may have a chance to stick at shortstop in the future. Overall, Johnson continues to impress at a young age, and appears to get better each time he plays.

JD Thompson LHP / 1B / Rusk, TX / 2022

Thompson effortlessly worked 85-88 under the lights on the first day of action for Performance Baseball out of Texas, showcasing a quick arm with impressive velocity. The 5-foot-11, 165-pound southpaw features a more polished delivery that allows him to find a consistent, high ¾ slot, producing strikes with the fastball to both sides including some arm side life. His breaking ball was a bit inconsistent in this look, working 68-71, but given the quickness of the arm, he may find a firmer slider in the future. The young left-hander, playing up in the 16U division, performed very well against a highly-touted Royals Scout Team lineup, and his ability to get swings and misses and poor contact on fastballs stands out at a young age. There is still more velocity likely on the way for Thompson, and as his breaking ball continues to get better, he has a strong chance of sticking as a starter at the next level. 

Grayson Murry RHP / 1B / The brook Hill School, TX / 2022

Towering on the diamond at 6-foot-4, 185-pound Murry’s long frame and broad shoulders still have room to put on a considerable amount of muscle. The big right-hander experienced some command issues in his outing, but given the fact that he is still growing into the large frame, it will likely come together quickly as he becomes more comfortable with new movement patterns. The arm works loosely to a ¾ slot, and he delivered fastballs up to 86 mph while sitting mostly 82-85 with arm side run. Producing some swings and misses, Murry will likely be able to pitch predominantly off the fastball in the future, as even more movement seems likely. His 12/6 curveball action flashed late bite as a potential swing and miss offering, and while he is still discovering feel for the pitch, his varying of its speed at 63-69 should help him quickly discover more consistency. What stood out about his outing was the intent to go in on right-handed hitters, crowding them with running-fastballs before working away with the breaking ball. Murry’s frame and arm strength will definitely have college coaches following him moving forward, and as he finds more comfort in the frame, he could make a big jump in the near future.

Derek Hernandez 2B / SS / Corpus Christi Moody, TX / 2022

Hernandez’s wiry, 5-foot-10, 140-pound frame is deceiving as he plays much bigger than his size would let on. A left-handed hitter, he does not get cheated working slightly uphill through the zone showcasing quick hands that coil in the load. Getting the most out of his developing frame, he was able to show off some surprising gap-to-gap power while taking confident at-bats for a talented Twelve 2022 squad. Hernandez locked down the shortstop position all weekend showcasing clean hands and a knack for being in the right place at the right time. His arm is a bit longer in the back right now, but he exhibited adequate strength across the diamond that should continue to develop as he fills out. Overall, the athleticism, energy, and tenacity that he plays with will have coaches tracking his progress closely.

Kaden Martin OF / LHP / Knoxville Catholic, TN / 2022

Martin’s physicality immediately stood out with defined strength throughout an athletic, 6-foot-1, 200-pound frame. The muscular left-handed hitter took powerful swings all week, and though he was “just missing” balls, the potential to drive the ball out of the park is clearly there. He gets deeper into the legs from a crouched position, loading with a leg kick that separates the hands down and back before a strong bottom hand whips the barrel through the zone on a slightly uphill plane. Also a highly-touted quarterback, the athleticism is obvious, and he moves around the bases well, running downhill. Given his power potential from the left side, and dual-sport capabilities, expect Martin to continue as an impact player in the class.

Conner Weigman SS / OF / Bridgeland, TX / 2022

Weigman’s intent to win and compete stood out from the first inning of the week, and combined with his physical frame and athleticism, he is definitely a player to know moving forward. At 6-foot-2, 185-pounds, Weigman is one of the more physically-gifted players in the class. Also a gifted quarterback, he showed well as a defender, spending the majority of his time at third base throughout the weekend, showcasing carry on throws across the diamond. The right-handed hitter has a simple setup and direct approach to the ball with fast hands. He has some current gap-to-gap power that could continue to develop as he gets more at-bats in the future. His speed makes him a threat on the base paths, and his ability to swipe a bag stood out.

Stan Zagrodnik OF / Buford, GA / 2022

A top of the order bat, Zagrodnik was impressive all week at the plate. The 5-foot-11, 170-pounder is still maturing into his athletic frame, but currently sports broad shoulders and a lean waist with a muscular lower-half. Hitting out of the three-hole for Team Elite National, his quick hand speed allows for him to get the barrel out and generate an impressive amount of power. Zagrodnik remains balanced throughout, driving the ball with ease to all fields. Just scratching the surface of his power potential, Zagrodnik’s advanced hit tool stands to get an even bigger boost as he continues filling out, and he is definitely a player to know and follow.

McClain Ray RHP / OF / Tupelo High School, MS / 2022

Ray wow’d onlookers at the NPI with his athletic, 6-foot-4, 180-pound frame and easy 85-88 velocity on the fastball. Long and lean, the right-hander remains compact throughout the delivery, utilizing a shorter arm stroke on the back side before quickly releasing out of a ¾ slot. He was able to move his fastball to all quadrants of the strike zone, and showed an ability to run it in on right-handers. The curveball has the makings of a swing and miss pitch at the next level, and Ray used it well, against his fastball, as it took 11/5 shape with late break in the low 70s. Currently an advanced arm for the 2022 class, Ray is on an upward trend and will only get better with more experience.

Brant Baughcum SS / 2B / Brookwood, GA / 2022

Buaghcum’s steady play and advanced baseball IQ stood out for eventual champion Team Elite Scout in the 15U division. At 6-foot, 180-pounds, he possesses some natural strength throughout a stronger, athletic frame, and moves well on the infield with crisp footwork that will help him continue as a left side defender moving forward. He plays like a coach on the field, taking quality at-bats from the right side with commitment to the process and attention to small details. His fast hands and strong wrists provide for gap to gap power, and his feel for the barrel is advanced for the age. An early hit-and-run in the tournament, in which he pulled his hands inside the ball, and pushed a single through a vacated right side stood out for his feel and intangibles for the game

Isaiah Lowe 3B / C / Christ School, NC / 2022

Lowe’s physicality immediately stood out at third base for the 5-Star Carolina team in the 16U division where he would have been one of the stronger 2021’s in attendance, but as a 2022 playing up, his frame and skills were that much more impressive. He looks a bit taller than his listed 6-foot, 205-pounds, and possesses some noticeable strength throughout both the upper and lower-half. Lowe played third base for most of the tournament, and showcased quick hands with potential power from the right side. However, it was his two quick stints on the mound that really stood out. He went one inning each on the final two days, and after hitting 87 mph in the first appearance, he finished the tournament by touching 90 mph multiple times (after playing third base all game). He delivers out of a high ¾ slot with some whip to the arm and obvious quickness out front. His breaking ball lacked some, right now, but the arm strength is already advanced, and his velocity seems destined to quickly rise. Overall, Lowe’s performance on the mound was highly-intriguing, and given his physical and athletic frame, he might make a big jump in the near future.

Sam Cole RHP / 3B / Alonso High School, FL / 2022

The quick, business-like manner that Cole approaches the game with on the mound is rare given his young age. At 6-foot-4, 190-pounds, Cole has a wide, athletic frame, and one that has only just begun to fill out physically. With all his size, he does a good job at keeping his arm short on the back-side and getting to a ¾ slot. The delivery is clean and efficient, allowing it to be repeated with ease. A high volume of strikes with fastball and curveball combination, Cole challenges hitters in the zone, and shows no fear. The fastball touched 83, playing mostly at 80-82 with armside run. Only now tapping into strength that the frame can hold, a jump in velocity is likely in the near future. Confident in his 12/6 curveball, he uses the pitch in any count, which allows it to play up, enticing weak contact. What makes Cole even more intriguing on the mound is the fact that he shifts to shortstop when he is not pitching. That athleticism will only help provide the foundation to make quick adjustments and advancements, and will have college coaches following him closely.

Connor Benge RHP / 3B / Montgomery, TX / 2022

Benge’s wiry, 5-foot-10, 150-pound frame is unassuming, but produces some impressive stuff on the mound. Lean and athletic, he works confidently through a repeatable delivery with a longer arm stroke that works continuously to a higher slot. His fastball worked at 84-87 in the semi-final matchup against Team Elite Scout, and he attacked hitters to both sides of the plate, peppering the zone with strikes. The curveball was spun tightly at 72-75, and looks the part of a future out-pitch as he flashed some signs of being able to manipulate its shape. Though the Twelve would end up losing the game, Benge’s competitive drive on the mound, and look of determination stood out throughout his quality start, and as he continues to mature physically, it will only aid in his development as a high-level starter. 



Premium Content Area

This article is only available to PBRPlus Subscribers. If you wish to continue reading this article:

Login to the Subscriptions Website.
To purchase a NEW SUBSCRIPTION, please click here to go to our subscription products page.