Prep Baseball Report

Texas Limited Series: Day Two Scout Notes

Toby Bicknell
Texas Scouting Director

HOUSTON, Texas- Talk to enough college coaches and you will hear them say similar things about players they like.

“He loves to play”, “He gets after it”, “Plays hard”, and “He’s a leader” will be threaded into conversations about players. As evaluators, they are always looking for guys that stand out - beyond the tools. Don’t get me wrong, the tools are important, but there is a lot to be said for bringing together a group of players that “fit” into the woven fiber of how a college program coaches, and plays.

Several players from Friday made that sort of impression, including 2020 SS Cade Merka from the Texas Stix Black. Fresh off a UIL State Championship, and undefeated season for Argyle HS, Merka is still getting after it with his summer team. The tools are there to play on the left side of the infield at the collegiate level, but it’s the way he takes the field - every inning - including the ones where his team was down, that stood out. He is an active player at shortstop, you can see him going through his prep steps every pitch, moving on foul balls, and grinding out at-bats. He made a nice run through play in the first, and a backhand in the six hole later in the game. The right-handed hitter was 1-for-3 at the plate, he squared up a curveball in the first, hitting into a double play, lined out off the cap to centerfield, and barreled up a single over the shortstops head. In a game that was out of hand early, Merka never stopped playing.

Another player that I would highlight as a “leader” from Friday is 2021 C/3B Dylan Leach (Carthage HS). Texas Twelve Maroon 2021 has a talented group of rising sophomores, a REALLY talented group, but plays the game with a certain level of gusto in every pitch that is already attracting the attention of college coaches. He bounces around the field between innings, makes mound visits on his own (at appropriate times), and has that presence about him that says he is here to play - every day. The switch-hitter walked in his first AB, stole a bag, laced a line drive to right field, and was hit by a pitch, then got caught stealing at second base. Leach’s all around tools are solid, but the his presence and poise are what stands out he plays that adds to his interest from college coaches.

Aggression is another term that comes to mind when discussing college athletics, and speaking from personal experience, college recruiters are looking for aggressive players, no matter the sport. In a time where a lot of quality information is out there about hitting, pitching, defense, and overall analytics regarding all of the above, it is easy to get lost in numerous parts of the game, even though a lot of coaches are looking for something simpler than that….aggression. Everyone knows what aggression is, or what it means to them, but aggression can manifest itself differently to recruiters, scouts, and evaluators.

+ 2020 OF Tyler Douglas has swung at every first pitch, of almost every at bat through two games. Until his last AB when he was walked on five pitches. There is something about this left-handed hitter that you just enjoy watching. He gets in the box and “wants” to hit. He isn’t looking for the perfect pitch, or even his pitch necessarily, he is looking to impact the baseball with an aggressive hack. Our scouting staff has seen him several times over the past year, and Douglas is always playing aggressively, whether at the plate, on the bases, or in the outfield. The leadoff hitter flew out to centerfield, lined out on the button to shortstop, and walked.

Douglas plays on a Hunter Pence - Calhoun team that brings that same aggression throughout the batting order. 2020 OF Rhett McCaffety has been swinging a hot bat all weekend, including stroking a double off the right field wall in his first at-bat, and singling in two runs in his second at-bat. 2020 C/3B Cole Ketzner made loud contact on a fly ball in his first at-bat, singled sharply to right, and lined out to centerfield in his third at bat. 2020 IF/RHP Ethan Campos also had a double, and 2020 2B/OF Clayton Dean was on the barrel again yesterday with a missile to left field.

+ 2020 3B Gage Goddard (Harmony HS) from Performance Baseball stands 6-feet, 160-pounds with an athletic frame. The right-handed hitter uses a leg kick to get started, and stays balanced as he strides forward, working into his legs, walking away from his hands. Loose hands and a quick bat have allowed him to take some really good swings this weekend, including a grand slam home run he hit to left field.

+ 2020 OF Adam Garcia (Round Rock HS) and 2020 OF Jack Peterson (Round Rock HS) have both had solid at-bats in two games for Action-Pettit. Garcia is a quick twitch right-handed hitter with a lean-muscular build. He starts from a crouched stance, and has shown a knack for hitting the ball on the barrel. He was 2-for-2 yesterday with a single he rolled over in the six hole for an RBI, and he scorched a triple to deep left-centerfield. Peterson is a left-handed hitter with a projectable frame, fluid path, and sneaky strength in his hands. He doubled over the left-fielders head and roped a single to centerfield.

More to come on hitters in the next couple of days, now let’s highlight a couple of arms from Friday.

+ Performance Baseball’s 2020 RHP Wyatt Tucker, who threw his first two pitches at 89 and 90 mph. Working from a high-¾ slot, Tucker’s fastball was mostly 85-87 mph the first three innings. He spun a sharp 10/4 curveball early and often in the count at 71-74 mph. Velocity dipped down into the 82-85 mph range in the fourth inning, but there is a lot to like about the 6-foot-3, 185-pounder as he continues to develop.

+ 2021 RHP Jack Hamilton (A&M Consolidated) from Texas Twelve 2021 Maroon was another right-hander with a sharp breaking ball on Friday. Working from a high slot with a clean arm stroke and a fastball that was 85-87 mph in the first inning. His curveball has good, downer shape and 11/5 rotation at 70-74.

+ 2020 RHP Jonathan Ramsey (Performance Baseball/Elysian Fields HS) stands 6-foot-2, 165-pounds, with broad shoulders and a long-limbed frame. Working predominantly off a fastball that topped out at 88 once, sitting mostly 85-87. He spun an 11/5 breaker at 69 mph

+ 2020 RHP Jackson Blue (Hunter Pence/The Woodlands HS) has a long-limbed frame at 6-foot-4, 170-pounds, and works from ¾ slot. His fastball was mostly 84-86, topping out at 87 a couple of times with arm side run. His most effective off speed pitch was his changeup that has arm side fade at 74-78 mph. Also throws a slurvey breaking ball at 70-73 with 10/4 shape. Look for Blue to continue to climb as he grows into his frame and starts to sync up and repeat his delivery.

+ 2020 RHP Bradley Missel (Dallas Tigers/Arlington Lamar HS) stands 5-foot-11, 180-pounds and works from a high-¾ slot. His fastball was 84-86 in the first two innings, and he mixed in a solid changeup that he throws with fastball arm speed at 73-75. Only threw a couple of curveballs at 67, and 69.


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