Prep Baseball Report

PBR 17u National Championship - First Half Performers

Justin Goetz, Sean Smith, Chaz Crawford, Paul Gies
PBR Georgia Staff

The 17u PBR National Championship has been off to a great start this week highlighted by several uncommitted 2023s that have really impressed our staff. Take a look here at what we saw!

David Rodriguez, RHP, Father Judge (PA), 2024, Bucks County Generals
St. Johns commit. Physical and strong frame at 6-foot-2, 220-pounds. Deceptive short arm action with a L3Q slot, creating ride and run on his FB. Pitch sat 87-90 and touched both 91 and 92 against a potent lineup. Can ramp it up and blow it by guys but worked efficiently and was content settling for weak contact, limiting barrels. Strong feel for SL at 76-78 with a lot of deception after hitters have already seen the FB from the same slot. Good pitch mix and will only get better as he ages.

Johan Franco, RHP, Stony Brook School (NY), 2023, Team Elite
Uncommitted. 6 foot 2, 190 pounds. An easy paced delivery with plus balance, ramps up intent in down & out phase. As a young pitcher the key is - not messing up your delivery before you get to this phase. It’s very important to have a gradual buildup of pace/intent in the delivery. It creates healthy effortlessness, less stress on the arm, and prevents something from getting in the way of landing in a good position to throw. Johan does this exceptionally well, and it shows he has the feel to pitch of a starter. He also throws in some hesitation as he squares up and mixes lift leg pace to throw off hitters timing. His shoulders tilt north in stride, creating a deceptive front side+steep plane from a 6’8 release height. Clean 1 piece AA(OH). FB 87-88 T90 A/AVG run, CB 72 sharp, near 12-6, SL 75 tight+late. The most impressive thing about Franco is how he’ll throw the CB off his FB up, and the SL off his FB down. He also has no problem throwing either breaking ball early in counts. He has the potential to be a Friday starter earlier in his career rather than late.

Devin Parks, CF, Legion Collegiate Academy (SC), 2023, South Charlotte Panthers
Uncommitted. 6 foot 1, 175 pounds. This is an electric factory of a baller who looks to attack 0-0. We love his natural downward plane of knob led path created by balanced bottom hand. Levels out late w/ good lag, hands close 2 body start to finish. Parks also shows advanced hitting mechanics, proving he can front arm shrink vs good velo on his hands and finish thru contact with his core to turn barrel violently! This enables his top hand to stay palm up to prevent rollover and keep the barrel in place thru the swing, He’s a plus runner who has consistently turned in 4.15 - 4.20 times home to 1st this tourney!! Very instinctive on the basepaths & in CF where he shows rare burst in takeoff mode. This is the No. 4 player in SC and rightfully so as twitchy as he is. I do believe he’ll have some solid draft attention next Spring.

Danny Flatt, RHP, P27 Academy (SC), 2023, Bodyshop Baseball
Uncommitted. High-waisted frame at 6-foot-4, 180-pounds with room for more. Full arm circle action with a H3Q slot. Attacked the outer half of the plate to RHH, allows for his sinking, heavy FB to run back over the edge for Ks. Generated weak contact and several ground balls with pitch, tough to square up. Pitch sat 87-89 and touched 90 in the first inning and settled 86-88 at 1600-1800 RPM. Good feel for big breaking, 11/5 CB, located best on outer half as well and hitters would often be caught out over front leg and have to give up on the pitch as it crosses the plate. Has potential to be a real weapon as he hones in his command. Live arm talent with a high ceiling.

Jack Brafa, RHP, South Gibson Co. (TN), 2023, Knights Baseball TN

Uncommitted. Solid frame at 6-foot-2, 205-pounds. Full arm circle with a H3Q slot. FB had late life and generated a lot of weak contact. Pitch sat 88-90 in the first inning and settled at 85-87. Found most success running pitch inside to RHH as it allows pitch to use that natural life and jam hitters. 11/5 shape on CB at 70-73, showing good feel for pitch and getting some s/m when starting out in middle of zone and diving away from hitters. Also flashed a CH at 78, tunnels well with FB.

Tristan Salinas, IF, Watauga (NC), 2023, USA Prime Coastal Stars 
South Carolina commit. Salinas has impressed a lot of people this weekend with his smooth swing that has produced some really loud contact. Creates immense amounts of rhythm in hands before load with a slightly open setup. Hips start everything as they touch and go off as he shifts weight to the lower half. Riding the backside through stride, he quickly readjusts the knob of his barrel to the catches mask with level shoulder plane, creating a swing that is primed for line drive contact. Lightning quick hand speed with power to all fields. Aggressively hunting the FB and laying off spin early is a good indication that someone has an advanced approach and Salinas does just that! 96EV on his double yesterday that scored 2!

Grant Loggins, RHP, AC Flora (SC), 2023, Team Elite Scout
South Carolina commit. 6-foot-1, 185-pound frame. Long arm action with a ¾ slot. Impressive feel for 3-pitch mix, running FB (84-86 T87) is a real s/m pitch when located on outer half to RHH. Snapped off a big breaker at 70-72 and can throw pitch in any count for strikes. Also threw a strong fading CH at 75-77. Advanced command, will be an interesting arm to watch as velo ticks up.

Gaven Smith, LHP, Lee County (GA), 2024, Game on Baseball
Uncommitted. 6 foot 4, 160 pounds. One of best deliveries in the class (tempo, compactness, connection, efficiency) spun his 68-70 T71 CB was the best we’ve seen as of yet, w/ tighter shape & flashed 2 plane depth. The pitch would’ve been nearly the same velo as NPI but since the FB velo was down at 82-84 T85, it brought down the breaking ball velo although it had more of a CB shape and sharper action. The FB however, maintained explosive sink & tail as he peppered arm side edge. Crazy upside! He creates a gradual buildup in the delivery with a smooth, connected mid circle AA arm spd, shoulders match slot perfectly. At NPI, he was FB 84-86 T87 heavy. The SLV was 72-74 sweep but lacked shape & depth. We wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up with one of the best FB’s in the state for his class, so it was very encouraging to see the breaking ball tighten up. An enormous jump is coming before he leaves high school. You can catch him on Team Georgia during Future Games!

Jack Paulus, RHP, Walsh Jesuit (OH), 2023, Ohio Elite
Uncommitted. At 6 foot 7, 205 pounds stands a strike thrower with plus ease of operation. Works through his delivery with smooth pace & patience over the rubber, leading to zero stress, and allows him to produce controlled violence after landing. His lower half works well for his size as he holds back knee bend for the most part from start to finish, and lands with the upper half more toward his backside. As he gains strength, he will be able to keep the back knee more vertical, and get knee to knee clearance as his arm is working to release point. This should cause the velo to jump. Balanced, repeats w/ deceptive short cir AA(OH). FB 85-86 T88 Elite sinker (17-1900) -7.5 to -8.4 VAA! 6’8 release hgt. Hit 87 on 75th pitch! CH 78-80 identical VAA & sink as FB, late fade. CB 73-75 gyro. Due to his FB+CH combo on IDENTICAL plane (from the mountaintops) with very similar life, he can be an impactful D1 starter early in his college career with routinely low pitch counts.

McCarty English, RHP/SS, Ocean Springs (MS), 2023, SBG Sox
Southern Miss Commit. 6 foot 2, 175 pounds. Good athlete who plays SS just as well as he pitches. Many of the best MLB pitchers were former SS, as they typically are the most explosive, effortless movers on the mound. This is the 1st thing I noticed with English -  the non manufactured delivery, arm action+arm speed,  English has fast tempo from start to finish, and repeats a compact delivery. Consistent life on all pitches when patient uncoiling upper hlf. Quick short circle AA (L3/4) EZ arm speed. Strong on lower hlf. FB 87-88 T89 A/AVG sink+run, SLV 74-76 sharp 2 plane sweeper. Good athlete

Bromley Thornton, RHP, New Hanover (NC), 2023, South Charlotte Panthers
UNC Wilmington commit. 6 foot 2, 180 pounds. An absolute steal for the Seahawks! Solid lower half direction, big separation at landing. Funky full circle AA creates tons of side spin. FB 85-88 (23-2500) cut ride glove side, late run AS. SL 80-81 gyro. CB 76-78 downward tilt, power sweep! Thornton is a very unique arm who has a natural ability to spin the baseball and create different action with ease. What separates him is the ability to run his FB arm side, giving a completely different direction than his other 3 pitches. He seems to naturally pronate to that side without impacting his vast glove side profiles. If he can add a CH to throw with similar life to his running FB, he will be completely unpredictable. Bromley should have immediate success with his current duo of FB’s, and current duo of breaking balls.

Collin Ewaldsen, RHP, Appling County (GA), 2023, Game On Baseball
Uncommitted. 5’10, 150 pounds. Going to throw very hard in the future. Elite mover, arm stays well connected w/ largest muscle groups on backside during stride, & they all fire together with serious intent. Imagine when he adds strength, gets knee thru knee clearance & upper half extension! It's an efficient arm action and he gets in a good position to throw, but his delivery is otherwise raw. This is a GOOD thing! It shows how special and natural the arm speed is. When you combine that with the fact that he’s nowhere near his eventual “man strength”, I would honestly be surprised if he doesn’t end up a mid 90’s arm in the future. He’ll need to tighten up his delivery after landing, but some of that will come together with more strength (which will also help him hold velo). The CB is a work in progress, but shows impressive flashes. FB 85-87 T88 bore, CB 71-72 downward tilt.

Juan Vargas RHP, North Cobb Christian (GA), 2023, Team Elite
Uncommitted. 6 foot 2, 175 pounds. High potential arm with good makeup and tons of arm speed! Vargas attacked hitters early in counts with a live 86-88 T89 FB (bore), and we’ve seen up to 91 on multiple occasions this spring. It’s an explosive delivery that maintains a direct line to the plate. He holds backside bend from start 2 finish, creating good posture and steep downhill plane. It’s a deep, fully connected (3/4) AA, shoulder rotation matches slot perfectly. CB 74-75 big shape, sweep. This is a prime candidate to be consistently low 90’s next spring, and would not be surprised if he ticks up higher as it warms up next year.


Jack Cropper, RHP, Norwood (MA), 2023, GBG Sox
Northeastern commit. Late night gem, Cropper came out sitting 90-94 T95 and was constantly challenging hitters, basically daring them to hit it. Elite lower half mechanics as he stores up energy in back hip when driving down the mound. Aggressive snap of the pelvis into rotation throwing his upper half over front foot with great extension. He mixed in a few SL that showed late two plane sweep hovering around 80mph that has real swing and miss potential. Command of the zone was a little inconsistent, but it was an elite FB that looked like a blur to hitters at the plate. Fun one to follow!


Samuel Schmidt, RHP, Hoover (AL), 2023, Excel Blue Wave
Troy commit. Schmidt possesses an exciting arsenal that includes 3 pitches he can throw for strikes. Attacked early with the FB which sat in the 85-88 range and touched 89 multiple times early on (sneaky ride+run). The SL, which possessed more of a gyro like profile hovering around 80mph, showed to be a tough pitch for hitters to pick up on because of the late HZB on the pitch. Flashed a CH at 81mph from a lower slot to LHH that received weak contact. Athletic mover down the mound, but the front side direction can see him throw across his body at times which could be holding back more velo. Fun arm with a projectable body/frame and exciting 3 pitch mix! 

Will Curcio, IF, Etowah (GA), 2023, TG Diamondbacks Scout,
Uncommitted. One of our best performers at Top Prospect Games earlier this summer (99EV there)! Rides the backside through stride creating “stretch” during load for crazy separation. Easy, fluid hand path with impressive bat to ball skills. One of the better approaches in the state as we see him take+recognize spin early in the count. Aggressive FB hitter who does not seem to miss his pitch and has posted multiple 95+EV’s already this tournament. An athlete who possesses raw power at the dish with an already advanced approach, and developing run tool that plays a lot better in game.


Patrick Spencer, RHP, Washington (MS), 2023, SBG Sox Prime
Ole Miss commit. Spencer came out firing, sitting 89-92 with the FB throughout the entire game. Consistently attacking with his FB/CB combo which saw him pound the upper part of the zone with the heater and tunnel the CB off of it at the bottom of the zone. The CB sat in the 78-82 range and showed late 2 plane sweep with spin rates eclipsing 2600. He showed the ability the start the CB 0-0 and double or even triple up on it at times. Works with downhill plane because of overtop AA. Kept hitters off balance the entire with an efficient low pitch count!


Jake Young, RHP, Charlotte Catholic HS (NC), 2023, On Deck Orioles 
Jake was impressive in his start for the On Deck Orioles. He has a lean athletic frame. He has a long circular arm swing. He created a unique angle by throwing across his body combined with a ¾ arm slot. He filled up the zone and was attacking hitters with a FB 85-88 T89 with sink. He was not afraid to throw the fastball inside. He also showed a nasty sharp CB 73-75 at 2300+ spin rate. Mixed in an effective late fading CH 79-81. Good three pitch mix and would throw the CH to both righty’s and lefty’s effectively. Has more in his arm as he adds size. 

Brendan Hoeft, OF, Indian Rivers HS (VA), 2023, Max Bat 
Athletic stance with good rhythm at the plate. Has a fluid toe-tap into leg kick combo that he timed well. Hands stay quiet until they fly through the zone. The back knee drives hard to the baseball. He showed the ability to get the barrel on plane early on his no doubt home run to deep right field. The ball jumps off of the bat. A big uncommitted bat to keep an eye on.

Makana Peters, SS/RHP, Lambert HS (GA), 2023, Smartense 

Makana Peters was a barrel finding machine in the middle of the Smartense lineup. He keeps it simple at the plate with a short stride and quiet hands. Has quick twitch muscles that allow him to hammer the baseball no matter where it’s thrown. His hands work inside the baseball and he showed he can hit to all fields. Went down and got a fastball for a homer to left field. Followed that up with a single up the middle. Looked athletic at short and showed the ability to cover a lot of ground.

Rejesus Rosario, 1B, Hamilton Southeastern (IN), 2023, 5-Star 
Rejesus looked like the ideal 4 hole hitter in his game for 5-Star. Relaxed at the plate. Hands work back aggressively and he lands with big separation. His back hip drives his hands through the zone. Gets great barrel tilt and gets into a good launch position. Broke open a 0-0 ball game by blasting a 90+ exit velocity double down the line to drive and later scoring himself. Impressive bat speed and big power potential from the uncommitted 1B. 

Jarrett Morris, 3B/RHP, Lewisburg (MS), 2023, Easley Baseball Club
Loud contact is what Jarrett is about. Gets into a great launch position and creates a lot of barrel lag. He sinks into and rides his backside. Has strong wrists that help him explode through the zone. Extends through the ball well. Blasted a 2 RBI double down the left field line and later scored himself. He was also up to 86 on the bump. The Itwamba CC commit has a bright future ahead of him.