Jupiter Recap: Day One

Kiley shares notes from Day 1 of PG's WWBA World Championship in Jupiter, including notes on a number of arms from his top 100, despite games not getting started until 3 pm.

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We only got a half-day of games on day one, as things got started with 11 games at 3 or 3:30 pm after a handful of scrimmage games in the morning, with sets of 4 games each playing at 5:20 and at 7:40. I'll save notes on hitters, unless they blew me away in one game, for later in the week when I've seen multiple at-bats of more hitters.

In the 3 pm games, I stayed focused on the top talent, which was in the main quad, but did sneak away after the first inning to catcher Florida Burn, who was starting the top 2016 draft eligible pitcher (HS sophomore), RHP Austin Bergner from West Orange HS (same school as 2014 RHP Andrew Karp, a Florida State commit and #83 on my latest top 100). Bergner sat 88-91 and hit a 92 in his first two innings and is a very long and projectable pitchers with an athletic delivery. He's a little quirky in his arm action and three-quarters release but showed three pitches that all showed average or better potential and predictably the audience at the game was almost entirely college recruiters and advisors. Bergner is ranked #1 by Perfect Game in the 2016 class and I've only ranked one class ahead, to 2015, but I have a feeling Bergner would be my top player in this class right now as well, even with a preference to rank position players over pitchers at this age.

Of the age appropriate talent in the early games, there was plenty of talent. Evoshield Canes RHP Grant Holmes (Florida commit, #5 on the top 100) was the main event and was just okay early, pitching 91-93 mph with his signature above average hard curveball at 81-83. His coach made him intentionally walk Gareth Morgan and Holmes (who has been seen a lot all summer) was throwing more curves than fastballs, so the nationals scouts, including myself, started wandering around after the first inning with nothing new to see and a college-style grind-it-out approach with diminished velocity. Holmes threw a little harder later in the game, hitting 95 mph.

On an adjacent field, Alex Verdugo (#16 on top 100, Arizona State commit) threw for the Texas Scout Team Yankees. He and the rest of the Yankees staff gave Dirtbags 1B Braxton Davidson (#3 on the top 100, North Carolina commit) a lot of trouble, going o-fer with a walk and a few K's. Verdugo worked 89-91 and hit some 92's with a sharper breaking ball that is now a 55 for me, though I had heard his velo spiked earlier in the fall, reportedly hitting 95 mph. I still prefer him at the plate but he's definitely a top few rounds prospect as a pitcher as well.

One of the few in the top 100 I haven't seen yet came in relief of Verdugo, Garrett Fulenchek (#60 on top 100, Dallas Baptist commit). He didn't have his command today, so he sat 90-91, hit a 93, was a little wild around the zone and his 80-83 mph slider was inconsistent, but it looked like there wsa a 55 pitch in there juding by the length and bite he showed on a couple verisons of it.

The 5:20 games were headlined by Spencer Adams (#35 on top 100, Georgia commit), who looked similar to what he did earlier in the summer. Adams sat 89-91 in the first and 88-90 later in the game, but his fastball was a little flatter than normal and his 76-77 mph curveball was also a little softer than usual, fringy to average. The good news was he came up with a new pitch, a hard cutter at 85-87 mph that had more bite than any breaking ball I'd see from him before. If it was a slider velocity-wise, I would've put a 55 on it, so you can call it a plus cutter (which are always tough to grade given their in-between-ness as a pitch). If Adams can fill out some of his lanky frame and gain a few ticks of velo, his fastball-cutter combo could be a weapon.

2014 LHP Cody Reed (Vanderbilt commit) and unknown 2015 RHP Shane Tucker (Atlanta-area school, uncommitted) were both interesting on other fields in the 5:20 games. Reed worked 87-89 mph and hit a few 90's with four pitches, a low 70's curve (fringy), high 70's slider (solid-average) and low 80's changeup (solid-average). I caught a few pitchers of Tucker and he sat 90-92 mph with some effort and an above average hard slider at 80 mph, so he's definitely a good follow for next year's draft.

Touki Toussaint was the main event for me in the late games and looked similar to how he has all summer. He came out of the gates at 92-95 mph and broke off the signature curveball he first unveiled at Jupiter last year, a 74-76 hammer that flashes 70 potential on the 20-80 scale (look around 46 seconds in the video). Later in the outing his velocity slipped, to 89-93 when he left the game after a lot of strikeout and a lot of walks with lots of pitching from the stretch, stalling and pickoff moves that made the game tough to watch. His command of the curveball is better than that of his fastball and the effort in his delivery is still a problem. If he can put it all together (especially given his new 85-87 splitter that's a 55 at times), there's still top 10 pick potential but he's been all over the place this summer.

A bunch of other arms threw in a loaded docket for the later games, including many top 100 players (click on the player name to see video) RHP Sean Reid-Foley (Florida State commit, 92-94 with 55-60 slider), RHP Jake Godfrey (Notre Dame commit, velo spike to 90-92 hitting 94 once with better curveball), RHP Mitch Hart (USC commit, 88-90 with above average curveball, solid average changeup), LHP David Peterson (Oregon commit, up to 90 with sharper curveball than before), LHP Carson Sands (Florida State commit, into the low 90's with above average changeup), RHP Brad Bass (Notre Dame commit, up to 92 mph), RHP Kevin Steen (Tennessee commit, 89-91 in relief of Toussaint), LHP Brian Gonzalez (Miami commit, 87-89, hitting 90 mph with average or better offspeed), Cre Finfrock (UCF commit, 92-94 early with one gun having him hit 96), RHP Weston Davis (Florida commit, up to 92 with above average changeup and some funk), LHP Juan Hillman (UCF commit, 2015 and teammate of Nick Gordon up to 90 with three pitches), and RHP Cole Sands (Florida State commit, 2015 and brother of Carson is loose and up to 92)

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