Summer 2017 Recap: West Virginia Class of 2018 & 2019 Top Performers (Part One)

By Dan Williams
West Virginia / Western Pennsylvania Director of Scouting

As the PBR West Virginia summer showcase events wrap up with the Eastern Panhandle Showcase on August 26th at Potomac State College, we will recap some of the top WV prospects seen at PBR events this summer. There will be an obvious geographical bias toward the southern part of the state which should change following the upcoming showcase. It is recognized in reviewing this year's high school and summer results that Northern West Virginia and the Eastern Panhandle are home to a significant pool of underclass talent. 

Top Prospects

Hunter FanslerHunter Fansler, 2019, Woodrow Wilson, OF/RHP
6-foot-2 175-pound right-handed hitter initiates swing from neutral set up with relatively high knee to knee leg kick and stride.  Balance is good and an aggressive weight shift and turn are present. There is considerable bat wrap and hands do not work away from body in load creating an uphill swing path. Bat wrap creating length and leg kick also result in little room for error in regards to being on time.  There is obvious athleticism, and bat speed to swing as evidenced by recorded 88 mph bat exit velocity.

Defensively, Fansler is comfortable running and tracking in drop step.  He is decisive in reads and plays through ball on ground well.  Arm strength is of 88 mph on throws from outfield plays.  Foot speed of 7.06 in sixty would allow versatility in playing all three OF positions.

On mound FB sat 84 and touched 85 mph with some arm side run.  CB sat 69-71 with 12-6 shape with good depth and late, sharp break.  CB projects as next level out pitch.  Change up was thrown at FB arm speed and sat 76-77 with subtle arm side fade.  Fansler pitched from a high 3/4 arm slot demonstrating good balance, a loose arm and repeatable delivery.  There was some first base fall correctable through being more aggressive in driving over front side.                                         

Drake MullinsDrake Mullins, 2019, Bluefield, C
6-foot-2, 205-pound right-handed hitter.  Mullins initiates swing from neutral set up with short, controlled stride.  He demonstrates aggressive weight shift and hip turn with quick hands and good separation. There is some lift to swing and he did show ability to generate back spin.  Mullins recorded a bat exit velocity of 88 mph.  Based on mechanics and approach Mullins has potential to be next level power bat.

Defensively, Mullins recorded pop times of 2.05-2.10.  He will have to work hard to improve blocking technique and lateral mobility to stay behind plate

Logan StumpLogan Stump, 2018, Independence, RHP/OF
6-foot-1, 185-pound right-handed hitter initiates swing from neutral set up with short stride, demonstrating adequate separation and good balance. There is back elbow leak with associated bat drag and length.   Stump recorded a bat exit velocity of 88 mph.

Defensively, gets behind baseball and catches at it's height. Gets adequate reads but would benefit from being more aggressive in playing through ball on ground. Flashed 87 mph arm strength on throws from OF.

On mound, FB sat 83-85 with considerable arm side run out of high 3/4 arm slot.  Change up was thrown with FB arm speed at 76-77 mph.  Change up had substantial arm side fade.  CB showed 11-5 shape with limited depth. Stump also featured a splitter at 74 mph that demonstrated late, sharp downward action.  Change up and splitter are both potential next level out pitches.  Mechanically, there was some tendency to spin off with front side creating arm drag and first base fall.  Stump would benefit from staying in line by being more aggressive in driving over front side.                                                                           

Brennan HolmesBrennan Holmes,2018, Cabell Midland, SS/RHP
6-foot, 170-pound right-handed hitter flashed skill set that could easily have had him included in above top prospects. Measurarables included 6.94 sixty, 85 mph across infield arm strength and 83 mph bat exit velocity.  Holmes initiates swing from neutral set up with short knee to knee leg kick and stride.  Head is still with an aggressive hip turn.  Bat is on plane early and late and swing played in BP with Holmes spraying gap to gap line drives.  Hands are quick and direct to baseball. Holmes may benefit from achieving greater separation through a slightly longer stride and weight shift away from hands.

Defensively, flashed good range and agility with a soft, quick glove hand. Consistently, worked bottom up and showed clean transfer.  Arm strength plays well on left side of infield.

Brandon CombsBrandon Combs, 2018, Charleston Catholic, RHP/3B
6-foot, 225-pound left-handed hitter initiates swing from neutral set up with a moderate leg kick and short stride. Demonstrates a rhythmic, controlled load achieving good separation.  Head is still and hips and hands are quick.  92 mph bat exit velocity played in BP with two long home runs to pull side.  Combs projects as next level power bat showing excellent bat speed and ability to create backspin.

Defensively, hands are adequate.  There is tendency to work top down and range is somewhat limited.  Arm strength of 72 mph across diamond may necessitate move to right side of infield.

On mound, the right-hander varies arm slot from low to mid 3/4.  FB sat 77-78 with arm side run and sink.  CB thrown at 63-64 mph had 11-5 shape with intermittent moderate depth.  Combs also threw cutter at 66-67 with relatively little movement.  There is considerable effort to delivery with limited use of lower half.

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