Feature Photo: Mitchell Stone, LHP
Deer Creek (Edmond, OK)
The Area Code Games in Long Beach is one of the better showcases of the year, and a great opportunity to get looks at some of the nation’s top high school talent. Our Dave DeFreitas and Ryan Ozella ventured down to Long Beach, CA for the festivities, and they came back with some video and profiles of 13 prospects who stood out at this year’s event, some of whom could go high in the 2017 MLB First-Year Player Draft.
ACG Prospect Profiles
Arm Slot: High 3/4
Fastball: 92-to-93 mph (T93) – Late life in the zone, gets some hop. Extends with smooth effort and gets it to both sides.
Slider: 80-to-82 mph – 3/4 depth with late bite. Showed average, chance to get to plus; arm works well, has some feel. Can throw for strikes and misses tend to be down.
Fischer is a very good athlete with long limbs and a very slender/skinny frame. He has lots of room to fill out and should add significant strength as the body matures. He doesn’t look overly strong, but his ability to repeat and control his big, lanky frame shows that he is stronger than the body lets on. He has a medium arm circle, with a hook in back and a high leg lift, and he does a good job driving downhill and utilizing his frame to create angle. With how well the mechanics work now, it is safe to assume he should see a bump in the quality of his stuff as more strength comes. He has some effort in the delivery, but he shows athleticism in his movements, and the delivery should continue to smooth out. He showed some feel with the slider and has a chance to make it, along with his fastball, a plus offering. He showed one changeup at 80 mph, but he didn’t look comfortable using it—slowed his arm down, and getting some push. He is a Texas A&M commit, but based on this short look I’d say his projectable frame and two plus pitches should garner him some consideration in the early rounds next June. – Dave DeFreitas
Arm Slot: High 3/4
Fastball: 86-to-91 mph (T92) – Straight with occasional arm-side tail; average life in the zone and will get some ride up. Good angle and loose arm action. More velo to come. Good job working to both sides. Works down in zone.
Curveball: 72-to-76 mph – 3/4 break, will get slurvy at times. Very good arm action; loose rotation, but shows some finish. Shows present average, chance to be above-average future offering. Feel for strikes, will back-door; showed some hard finish down/in to RHH for put-away.
Changeup: 81-to-83 mph – Circle action with occasional dive. Below-average feel and used sparingly; arm works o.k. with it; chance to get to average.
Stone is a good athlete with a massive frame. He has some present physical strength and still has a lot of room to get stronger. He already has very good coordination and his ability to repeat and control such a big body speaks a bit to how strong he already is. He has a smooth, compact arm action that is not max effort. He stays tall and drives downhill with some crossfire in the delivery. He lands soft and stays under control. He did not show a slide step, but has a very athletic move to first base. He looks like he has a pretty good idea on the mound and should see an up-tick in the stuff as he adds strength. He projects as a starter in pro ball at this point with some polish for his age. He is an Oklahoma State commit, but look for him to be in the early round discussion come spring. – Dave DeFreitas
Arm Slot: 3/4
Fastball: 90-to-94 mph (T94) – Works in/out well. Tail, sink to arm side. Life in the zone, will show late hop. Easy arm action with some whip.
Slider: 77-to-78 mph – Loose, ¾-to-slurve break, big shape. Will show some finish. Arm action helps play it up.
Curveball: 70-to-73 mph – Good arm action, shows average; can throw for strikes. Can see more consistent finish and snap coming as he gets stronger.
Here is some recent video of Rogers from the 2016 PG All-American Classic:
Rogers is a big, lanky kid with some present arm strength and projectability. He is a good athlete with some body control now. Still has lots of room to fill out, and I see more velo coming as he adds to the lower half. The breaking stuff is below average now, but has some feel with both the curveball and slider and can see him developing some snap/bite as he matures. Overall, Rogers is a very good athlete with body control. He is not max effort and he shows some ability to throttle up and back. He already looks like he has some feel for pitching, so look for him to display more polish this spring. He is a Texas Tech commit, but I would not be surprised to see him shoot up draft boards once the added strength is there. – Dave DeFreitas
Arm Slot: High 3/4
Fastball: 89-to-94 mph (T94) – Angle, life in the zone. Gets late tail/run to both sides with occasional sink to arm side. Will dial up some hard bore in on RHH. Moves in and out well, executes plan, pounds down in zone.
Curveball: 74-to-77 mph – 12-to-6 breaker; loose rotation with below-average finish right now, but has generally good arm action with it. Not for strikes in this outing and looked to be a work in progress, but see it developing.
Changeup: 76-to-80 mph – Shallow, with circle fade. Will choke it a bit and get some push on occasion. However the arm works o.k. with it, should develop feel with continued use.
Athletic kid with a slender frame, long legs and broad shoulders; strength potential. He has clean, compact arm action with some athletic effort; present arm strength with room for more. He can open the front side at times and has some arm drag. Presently has below-average command with average to slightly above-average life. The secondary stuff is still a work in progress, but I can see more coming give how the arm works and the flashes of quality secondaries? he showed this time out. He works down in the zone and looks like he has an idea on the mound, just some inconsistency in execution. McMahon is a Miami commit, but wouldn’t be surprised to see him go in the early rounds next June if the secondary stuff shows improvement. – Dave DeFreitas
Arm Slot: 3/4
Fastball: 87-to-89 mph (T89) – Gets life to the armside, late tail when he gets extended. Works in and out well and will show occasional cut to glove side.
Slider: 76-to-80 mph – Loose, slurvy break. Has some feel with it and arm works well, but has below average bite. Chance for improvement here as he gets stronger
Long, slender-bodied righty with long, loose arm action. He has long legs and gets a high leg lift before driving to the plate. He stays tall and still manages to get some angle despite the ¾’s arm slot. Shows some effort, but has smooth actions. He showed a slide step and is quick to the plate (1.11 seconds). He has some room to fill out, so you can project a little more velo and life coming as he gets stronger. – Dave DeFreitas
Arm Slot: High 3/4
Fastball: 89-to-93 (T95) – Straight with occasional two-seam tail to arm side. Life in the zone, plays better down in the zone. Will flatten up, gets hittable up. Struggles to locate to glove side.
Slider: 79-to-82 – 3/4 break, short with loose rotation. Did not throw for strikes. Gets cutter-ish. Limited feel for spin right now.
Perez is a thick-bodied, athletic kid with some raw physical strength. He has slightly rolled shoulders and there is some room for him to fill out and get stronger. The arm action is compact, but borders on being restricted. He has present arm speed & strength, but he is also a max-effort guy with a big head whack, and he really struggles to get extended. He likes to turn over the rubber and he does create some cross-body deception in the delivery, but he cuts himself off – leading to the extension issues. When he does extend he shows above-average life down in the zone with the fastball. The arm strength is above average and with the athleticism I think he has a chance to make some adjustments and find a little more fastball command, as well as some gains with the breaking ball.
The physical strength shows up at the plate for him as well, as he has some raw power to the pull side. The swing has some length and a bit of an uphill plane and I did not really get to see enough to adequately project a permanent home on the mound or at a corner spot. However, it does speak to the overall athleticism, which will certainly aid his development. – Dave DeFreitas
Hickman has a workhorse-looking body with a big, strong lower half that he controls well and utilizes to be able to repeat his delivery. The delivery is a simple side-step motion, while he keeps his hands close to his waist prior to lifting his leg and driving down the hill. He utilizes his large frame well to get plus extension and shows athleticism by finding a consistent landing spot, which helps allow him to pound the zone with all of his pitches. He regularly finds a ¾’s release point, but his arm action occasionally gets a little over-exaggerated behind his back. He worked mainly with three pitches and showed plus command, while showing advanced pitchability and throwing his off-speed any time in the count. Hickman’s fastball gets plus downward angle and sat between 88-to-90 mph while having late life at the plate. He also showed an ability to get arm-side bore with the pitch and would get under the hands of RHH’s.
His CB (74-to-79 mph) has downer 3/4-action with tight spin while regularly getting 11-to-5 shape on the pitch. He was able to dial up the spin to get the pitch into the dirt and also dial it back to throw for strikes. The pitch was tight with late action and got plenty of swings and misses, though it could get rounded while not having the same sharpness. Hickman’s slider sat 80-to-82 mph, and showed hard break with tight downward glove-side action. This pitch was regularly down in the zone and if missed, it missed down, where it couldn’t be hit.
He worked quickly the entire day and struck out his first five batters faced. Hickman’s body will be able to support him as he gets into the five-day rotation, and I think there may be some more life on the fastball based upon the spin and late jump at the plate created by his plus extension. His advanced feel for pitching, along with the projectable body should get Hickman drafted in the first round this coming June. – Ryan Ozella
Estrada has a slender and athletic body that projects well as he continues to gain strength and flexibility. He has a quick, easy arm action that goes full circle before coming out from a ¾ release point, and he does an exceptional job of repeating his delivery and finding a consistent release point. His delivery starts with his hands at the chin before dropping them down to his waist and back up as he starts his leg lift, before getting a strong finish out over a stiff front leg and finding consistent extension down the hill. He regularly finished in an athletic position and this, matched with his ability to control the zone with his fastball, are positive indicators to his future success.
In my view, he worked the fastball 91-to-93 mph (T94) to all four quadrants and showcased the ability to get arm-side run under the hands. When working up, the pitch had ride out of the zone to generate some chase. Estrada also showed a plus circle-changeup (80-to-84 mph) that he could really turn over going to the arm side. The pitch is quite deceptive as he maintained similar arm speed to the fastball, and it was coupled with his ability to locate down and in to RHH. His curveball sat 78-to-79 mph with small, late break and snap, and with consistent 11-to-5 shape. The pitch was thrown in different counts and has the makings of another plus pitch with his ability to keep the pitch tight and throw it for strikes.
Overall, Estrada showcased an advanced feel for his three pitches and was able to regularly command all parts of the zone. After this performance, he looks like a guy that could compete at the professional level right now. Estrada should be a high draft pick, with the ability to move quickly through a farm system. – Ryan Ozella
Lancellotti shows present strength in his mature build especially in the strong lower half he has. He works with his hands around his chin in his delivery while repeating a simple step and turn motion before lifting his leg and going max effort towards the plate. He does a good job of driving off the rubber towards the plate and his arm stays hidden behind his back as it comes full circle. Lancellotti is at his best when gathering over the rubber before coming home, but he’ll occasionally rush himself home, causing his arm to play catch up as it comes through and causing pitches to stay up in the zone. Lancellotti’s fastball (92-to-94, T96) was filthy when having late glove side cut that occurred at the plate. When he needed a K, he would dial up plus life, going up in the zone and getting hitters swinging through the pitch. As he progressed through his start, his max-effort delivery was difficult to repeat and it led to some control issues – something that will be a point of development for him.
Lancellotti’s curveball (77-to-79 mph) has some 10-to-4 shaped action and was mainly utilized when ahead in the count. The pitch was tight and was able to be spun harder and get more 12-to-6 shape, but also could get a bit round when he rushes. He has some feel with it, which could help the pitch continue to develop with more use. The changeup (80-to-82 MPH) was straight and hard and currently looks like more of a show pitch. For Lancellotti to develop, the changeup will need to be a heavy focus, along with repeating his delivery. If he can get the change to average he will be able to keep hitters off balance and give them an uncomfortable at-bat. – Ryan Ozella
Corry has a wiry, lean build with some strength and a simple, repeatable delivery where he keeps his arms extended in a comfortable position away from his body as he executes a step-turn motion. He gathers himself over the rubber and shows strong balance with his high kick before coming home. He can find some extension, but also will fall off the mound glove side and will have trouble finding a consistent release point. The arm is free and loose, with easy effort going through a long circle and coming out from a ¾ release point. In my viewing he worked with mainly the fastball and curveball, but did flash a changeup as well. The fastball sat 90-to-92 mph (T94) and showed some natural tail to the arm side, and it was used extensively to that side of the plate as well. It looked like he was most comfortable staying away from RHH’s and looking for ground ball contact. Corry’s curveball sat 75-to-77 mph, and was at its best when it had 1-to-7 shape that started letter high and broke towards the back foot of the RHH’s with late action and it also flashed some hard break. In the outing, it was inconsistent, but had he had a penchant for overthrowing the curve and having it break before the plate and into the dirt. The changeup (82-to-84 mph) was straight, but Corry did a good job of keeping his arm speed on the pitch and chose good spots for it.
Overall, Corry’s command was shaky, and he was regularly working from behind in the count. For a guy with the stuff he has, he will need to harness it into the zone and look to throw both the changeup and the curveball for strikes early in the count to keep hitters off balance. He’s still got some physical projection, and pitched well against a tough Brewers lineup in his outing. A team may see enough through the spring season to take him in a higher round, with the hope that the control improves as he matures. – Ryan Ozella
Baz is a high-waisted pitcher with present strength in his lower half and a quick arm that comes out of a short circle right around his ear. He has a broad chest and the space to continue to add strength without affecting his overall build. His delivery doesn’t have a lot of moving parts and he keeps his hands close to his chest as he turns and lifts his front leg. The arm is very quick but it’s also max effort, causing some control issues. There were times where he rushed himself, opening up the front shoulder to try and get the arm through and causing him to miss his location.
Baz has a four-pitch arsenal mixing in a changeup, curveball and slider with his fastball. The fastball (90-to-92 mph, T94) is generally straight, but does flash some sink when he keeps his motion in control and can find angle on the pitch. Early in the outing he was at the top of his velocity, but his pitch count caused the velo to drop in the 3rd inning to the 88-to-90 mph range. The fastball was not controlled very well, and when Baz did find the zone it was hit hard. Baz’s best off-speed pitch was his slider (85-to-88 mph), which had small downward break and came out looking similar to a hard cutter. He was able to throw it for strikes more than any of the other off-speed pitches and generate some weak contact with it. Here is some recent video of Baz throwing at the recent PG All-American Classic:
I liked the curveball (77-to-82 mph) more, as it flashed 3/4- depth with an ability to buckle hitters when thrown with more velocity. He was able to throw the pitch for a few first-pitch strikes, but also had the pitch back up on him and flatten out in the zone. The changeup (84-to-86 mph) was hard and straight and it looked like more of a flash pitch for him currently. The pitch did come out of a similar path to his fastball, so there may be room for the pitch to continue to develop if he can learn to control it and maybe get it to be a couple mph slower.
Overall Baz was inconsistent and unable to make it through his 3rd inning. He had trouble finding the zone and this allowed good hitters to search for and hit the fastball when it was over the plate. I like the build and the pitches flashed better than the outcome, which makes me think I caught a bad outing. That said, I do still expect Baz to go in the first three rounds due to the stuff he has. – Ryan Ozella
Hall is a slender yet athletic and strong middle infielder that has the tools to stay at shortstop at the next level. In the field he has plus range with the ability to show off a plus arm to match. He makes plays look easy when ranging to both sides, and he’s able to show soft hands while being smooth and fluid when fielding the ball. When throwing across the diamond there are times where the ball will tail a bit, but his throws were regularly on target and there with plenty of time to get even some of the fastest runners.
Offensively, Hall has a quiet setup where he loads by transferring his weight back into his hip, while keeping his hands still and up around his shoulder. He showed an ability to tuck the front elbow tight to the body as he kept the bat level through the zone. He utilizes his quick hands well while reacting to different pitches and driving balls back through the middle and into the gaps. Hall also showed an ability to turn on pitches that got in, hitting a home run that got out of Blair Field quickly. Here is some video of Hall from the recent PG All-American Classic:
I see him more as an on-base and doubles-type hitter, but the pop he showed could continue to be there when pitchers make mistakes. On the bases, Hall utilizes his quick reactions well and is aggressive taking bases and going 1st-to-3rd. He’s got plenty of speed and showed the ability to turn on a second gear when he scored from 1st on a double into the gap.
Some teams may overlook him due to his size, but this would be a mistake. Hall showed the skills to stick up the middle and the demeanor to captain the infield. During games he would talk with pitchers who were struggling and get them to refocus on getting hitters out. The size may push him down a bit, but Hall looks like a top-ranked high school middle infielder. – Ryan Ozella
Mitchell showcased a strong build that has present strength in his broad shoulders and upper body. With his build, I was a little concerned that Mitchell may not run very well and end up as a corner OF/1B type, but I was proven wrong on multiple occasions. Mitchell is a quick-twitch athlete, showing long legs to go along with a plus arm in right field (94 mph during PG showcases). He reacts well to balls hit at him and can also utilize his quickness on balls into the center-field gap. Mitchell has plus speed (4.2 on turn at 1st for double, 6.3 in the 60 yd.) and plus aggression on the base paths, causing havoc for opposing pitchers and defenses. There were multiple times where Mitchell stole bases uncontested, or on the first sign that the ball was in the dirt. He also showed the ability to turn his speed into overdrive and utilize a second gear to get an extra bag.
Mitchell’s best tool is his bat. His set up is quiet with a small load as he keeps his hands up around the shoulders, while showcasing an above-average ability to keep the bat level and in the zone for a long time. He has explosive hips that match with his quick hands allowing him to drive balls into the outfield and there’s room for more home runs to come as he develops. He’s currently a pull-gap hitter showcasing an ability to drive doubles into the right-center field gap and over the first baseman’s head. There will be times where he gets under pitches or will be a little pull happy, but I like the projection the swing has going forward. Here is some video from Mitchell participating in the recent Perfect Game All-American Classic:
Mitchell is the type of player that will showcase all five tools, and a player that will have teams drooling over his future projection. He plays in a tough high school baseball division that will be able to have scouts see him against high-quality competition. If Rutherford and Moniak were both first-round picks out of Southern California high schools in last year’s draft, it won’t be a surprise if Mitchell follows suit in the 2017 MLB Draft.– Ryan Ozella