Prep Baseball Report

Team Texas Future Games Notes: Game Three

Toby Bicknell
Texas Scouting Director

WESTFIELD, Ind.- The members of Team Texas had a phenomenal four days in the heart of the Midwest, and certainly showed the rest of the nation how country boys roll.

Following a pair of losses in its first two ball games, Team Texas played put together a fundamentally-sound, all-around effort in a 5-0 win over Team Arizona. Per usual, let’s start with pitching. Taking the mound for the second time in three days were the same arms that each threw an inning on Thursday, but today was - if anything - a tick better. 

+ 2020 RHP Jacek Karczewski (Nacogdoches HS) worked a quick first inning, getting two punchouts on sharp curveballs for swings and misses at 73 mph. His fastball was 83-85 mph, but with his 6-foot-3, 170-pound frame, Karczewski has a ton of upside with a clean arm swing.

+ 2020 RHP Storm Hierholzer (Lake Travis HS) was even sharper in his second outing of the event. Working from a ¾ slot, the right-hander showed high-end stuff with real sink and run on a heavy fastball at 87-91 mph. He also proved again that he can spin the ball, mixing in a 78 mph slider with 10/4 shape and depth, to go with a 72-74 mph curveball. He struck out the side, getting two punch-outs on breaking balls,and  another on a fastball. At 6-foot-1, 180-pounds, there is still more left in the tank.

+ 2020 RHP Braxton Pearson (Georgetown HS) is listed at 6-foot, 165-pounds, but there is still room for him to grow, as he has a young, lean-strong frame. Pearson carved in his lone inning of work, creating two strikeouts of his own. The right-hander doesn’t throw anything straight, with his fastball sitting 84-85 mph with arm-side run, while his slider has short, lateral, late break at 74 mph. The last batter he faced, he sequenced a curveball for strike one, a curveball for strike two, a fastball above the zone for a ball, setting up a curveball for a strikeout.

+ We knew that 2020 LHP Joshua Cordova (Klein Collins HS) could spin a curveball whenever he wanted to, and he showed that on Saturday. Cordova may have only been 80-81 mph, but his fastball has arm side run, and he can drop a breaking ball over the plate at will. The pitch has 2/8 shape with deep break at 69-71 mph. Like the three guys before him, Cordova also recorded two punchouts.

+ 2020 RHP Konnor Baird (Salado HS) worked the quickest of all innings on Saturday (totalling maybe 3 minutes) and attacked the zone with real intent. After a quick first out, the right-hander got two punchouts, both on curveballs with 10/4 shape at 73 mph. You could call it more of a “slurve” but the pitch has depth and bite, and Team Arizona was not picking it up out of his hand. Baird has a deceptive delivery with a short compact arm stroke that slings from a high-¾ slot. His fastball jumps on hitters at 84-86 (85-88 in his first outing on Thursday). Fun fact, at 6-foot-3, 190-pounds, Baird also plays safety for the Salado High football team in the fall.

+ 2021 RHP/3B Evan Johnson (Frenship HS) is going to be fun to watch as he continues to develop as a two-way player. At 6-foot-3, 185-pounds, Johnson already has a strong, projectable frame. On Thursday, his fastball got up to 87 mph, sitting mostly 84-86 mph. He was still 83-85 mph on Saturday, and shows feel for a sharp curveball at 68-69 mph.

+ 2020 RHP Tyson Carlton (Allen HS) is listed at 6-foot-5, with a strong, durable, pitcher’s frame. The right-hander works from a high-¾ slot with a medium arm stroke. Although he had scattered command of his fastball at 84-85, hitters were not picking the ball up when it was in the zone, as he got weak contact on two of his outs.

Team Texas’ roster was loaded with talent from around the state, including the catchers, with all three displaying why they will be great additions to recruiting classes in the near future. They can all receive at a high level and have the athleticism and mobility in their lower half that will translate moving forward.

2020 C Christopher Wattinger (Bridgeland HS) has come a long way in the past year offensively and his stock continued to rise in his third Future Games appearance. The right-handed hitter has a simple, balanced setup with quick-strong hands and a repeatable hack. He was on the barrel during BP and flashed some pull side pop. Wattinger led off the game with a triple to deep left-centerfield, and he hammered a ground rule double to left field in his third at bat. What has been impressive is his pitch recognition and sense of timing in the box. Already known as a quality defender, Wattinger’s added offensive prowess. Combining a maturing bat with his high level receiving skills, he’ll surely be moving up recruiting boards.

2020 C Luke Banister (Hutto HS) helped his pitcher get out of a bases-loaded jam in the 6th inning. After three straight walks, Banister zipped a back-pick over to first base to record the second out of the inning. At 5-foot-10, 190-pounds, he has a strong lower half, and knows his way around the weight room. The right-handed hitter has quick hands, and a short compact swing that projects well to the next level. With his swings against velocity and the amount of quality hacks, combined with his soft hands and athleticism behind the plate, Banister will be a great find for a D1 program.

2020 C Nathaniel Price (Mansfield Legacy HS) continued his hit streak on Saturday, getting a huge two-RBI single through the middle. Price has shown the barrel awareness with big hits, and uber-fast pop times that has college coaches buzzing.

2020 OF/RHP Kauner Porter (Samuel Clemens HS) had a pair of quality at-bats on Saturday. The first, an RBI ground ball with a runner on third and less than two outs. Porter, who pitched on Friday, has a strong, athletic, projectable frame at 6-foot-3, 192-pounds. He ran down a would-be RBI double early in the game to help Team Texas get out of an inning. Porter drop-stepped, opened his hips and tracked down a ball on a full sprint stride going into the deep right-centerfield gap for the last out of the inning. In his third at-bat, he singled to left field on the barrel, then stole second base, moved up to third on a dirtball, then scored on a passed ball. The right-handed hitter has juice in the bat with athleticism and arm strength, both on the mound, and in the outfield.

2020 SS Orlando Salinas (CC King HS) single to left field in his first at-bat, and absolutely demolished what would have been a sure double in the right-centerfield gap, but the centerfielder for Team Arizona tracked it down on a great play.

More from Texas Texas’ at the 2018 Future Games:

PBR Future Games - Statistical Analysis

Team Texas Future Games Notes: Game One

Team Texas Future Games Notes: Game Two