The WWBA is one of the last times to see the high school ranks in this large of a showcase before the spring. It is a large collection of travel teams from across the nation that compete for the chance to win the WWBA Championship. The field is largely seniors that will graduate in 2012, but sprinkles in some of the very best of the classes of 2013 and 2014. There is a large array of top 300 players on the board and some games showcases a few top 50 players in a match up. It is a great way to show yourself against the very best.
Courtney Hawkins (Corpus Christi TX; Carroll HS) – Simply a hitting machine. He is another highly explosive athlete in this draft class that shows the power and speed that teams covet, running a clean 6.6 with almost little effort. His stroke has improved and is showing plus power in game; solid chance for dual type threat bat with a good deal of pop in the stick. He has really taken that next step, showing a cleaner approach to the plate. He continues to push his name to the top of the 2012 HS class and is the one player that no scout wanted to miss this weekend.
Ty Buttery (Matthews NC; Providence HS) – A tall and projectable right handed power pitcher. Shows an above average curveball with solid depth and tight bite that with time could become plus. Sits 91-94 mph late into an outing with solid movement, and will show a cut fastball that rides late into the left handed hitter. Flashes a change up that was late sinking, but was not consistent. Still very projectable four pitch arsenal. Little effort from the delivery with solid drive/push off the hill. Desirable stride and arm action should allow for a very repeatable delivery.
Ralph Garza (New Braunfels TX) – He is changing my mind about wanting to have him as a pitcher. Always had above average stuff in the 87-88 mph range, but over his start here it was sitting 90 mph and touching 92 mph into the late innings. He is still a bit stiff mechanically. When he showed sound mechanics, it is the point when he hit his highest readings. He has some solid sink and keeps the ball down in the zone.
Ryan McNeil (Nipomo CA) – Solid frame and athletic build that should greatly improve lower half strength as he matures. He has an approach on the hill with solid pitchability. Nice solid repeatable delivery that will need to iron out the wrinkles to improve the plane. His foot tends to land slanted and being more inline would allow his hips to rotate into a better slot; it would improve command and increase effectiveness of his arsenal. Shows a nice heavy fastball with solid sink that is mainly 90-92 mph, but touched 93 mph. His power curve/slider in the 80-82 mph range is better over any other offering because of his arm slot, and the tight style will play better in the future. Foundation for the changeup is present, but will need to continue to improve this pitch in the winter/spring.
Nathan Kirby (Midlothian VA; James River HS) – A lot of projection left in the thin framed LHP, with a good deal of room to gain some strength in both the lower and upper body. Kirby is a smooth left hander with some effort, but is long and loose. He has an extended 3/4 release and collapses heavily towards the glove side, which could be a reason why he shows trouble commanding his arsenal at times. The fastball has life and sits 88-90 mph, touching 91 mph. His curve has some decent bite; flashes a potential slider and change up. Good feel for pitching, but simply needs to tighten up on a consistent basis. Good deal of potential on the mound.
Carlos Correa (Santa Isabel PR) – From a tools standpoint, he is a top ten talent. He still continues to have the heavy pull load and ends in a position rather elongated through the zone. He displays the bat speed to allow for these late action approaches, but will have to compact to stay effective. He is sound defensively and will make all the plays, but he looks bottom heavy in the future and might have to move to third base. He shows the traits for an impressive stick and professional instruction could make for a kid with dual type threat bat. He made himself a jumper on my big board with his clutch hitting display this weekend.
Mitchell Traver (Sugar Land TX; Houston Christian HS) – A big frame and solid build that with added strength should raise his game a notch. Very limited compact delivery with some minor wrinkles that will need to be ironed out as he matures, but sound foundation at the present moment. A real heavy fastball that sits 89-92 mph. The slider has some serious potential and at its best has tight lateral drop that could be tough to adjust for hitters. He has a decent change up that he will need to throw more often to increase its effectiveness, but shows a solid three pitch arsenal.
David Dahl (Birmingham AL; Oak Mountain) – A kid that has missed a good portion of the summer circuit is making it in these four days with a solid showcase solidifying himself as one of the better prep players. Easily showed the defensive skill set that makes him one of the better defensive outfielders. Outstanding arm and range should allow him to stick in centerfield down the road. His speed plays well in the game and on the paths. What has really set him a part is his patience at the plate. A selective hitter with a compact swing and impressive bat speed. His path is more of a line drive, but should still have high contact rate with the chance for above average power down the road.
Taylore Cherry (Dayton OH; Vandalia Butler HS) – A 6’9” giant that has the frame, but is only scratching the surface. Improved body composition may vault him to a near un-touchable type arm. He shows a very heavy fastball mainly 90-91 mph with a 92 mph on occasion (seen him touch 94 mph this summer). The impressive part is these fastballs all have late life to them and the movement is difficult for hitters to square up. His change up might already grade as a 6 (60) on the 20-80 scale with some impressive sink for his size and age.
Justin Garza (Ontario CA; Bonita HS) – Small little fire cracker arm. I hate throwing out comparisons, but really see a good deal of Zach Davies in him. He is 5’10” and roughly 150 pounds but sits 89-91 mph and will touch 92 mph. He is a fastball and change up pitcher at this stage with limited effort out of the delivery. He showed a curve with some decent depth, but needs to gain some consistency down the line with the pitch. Live arm that will make some noise out of the smaller frame.
Steven Dressler (Burlington ON) – Mechanically, he is loose, inline, and sound without issues that trigger command or injury concerns. He rode it up to 90 mph, but mainly sat 87-88 mph. I think with some solid instruction he could flash three pitch potential. His curve needs to tighten up, but flashed some depth. I see a foundation for the change up, but he will have to work out the kinks as he matures. He looks the part of a mid to back rotation starter.
Tim Holmes (Jacksonville FL) – A guy that was on the radar, but this weeks performance put him square on the map. He throws in the 88-90 mph range and will touch 91 mph on occasion late into the outing. He throws from a high arm slot and it allows his curve ball to show shape and depth, which given his mechanics could become an above average pitch down the road. He flashed a change up that shows some nice life to it and could be a foundation pitch for at least a three pitch arsenal.
Matt Smoral (Solon OH) – Left handed pitcher that will run it to 94 mph and easily stay in the low 90s late into innings. The slider shows solid bite and when on it has a crisp spin and could be difficult for lefties to hit when he learns to pound it inside to them. His change up is a little better than “show me” stage, but needs some refinements. Displays some late life sinking action on two seam fastball. Loose and low effort for a 6’8” frame pitcher that is less mechanical driven and maintains decent balance. Nice boring plane, even if the slot is closer to ¾ delivery. He still places his foot to third – mid rubber – and someone his size should try to work off the first base side to ride the arm angle and plane.
Tanner Rahier (Indian Wells CA; Palm Desert HS) – Good frame and solid build. Borderline violent pull swing with solid bat speed, but still remains in control that he can square up at a high rate. Generates a lot of torque and can drive the ball with power, even with a line drive to ever so slight uplifting swing. He shows the arm to play at third base with nice footwork setting up for a balanced release. He will not wow defensively, but should be above average at the hot corner.
Duane Underwood (Marietta GA; Pope HS) – An absolute flame thrower that can maintain the speed that ran up to 93-95 mph (touched 98 mph at East Coast Showcase). Does display a bit of effort on the hill leading to thoughts of power relief pitcher. He throws a curveball that sometimes flashes potential, but is not very consistent offering. Other than the effort in the throw, there is not much worry about pressure mechanically. It will depend on his ability to throw three consistent pitches. One of the better fastballs out of the high school rank.
Kyle Twomey (Placentia CA El Dorado HS) – Solid inline downhill left handed pitcher with some slight quick arm action from a ¾ delivery. Lean and tall that should fill out leading to an improved fastball that was sitting mainly 87-90 mph. Decent curveball, but the slot and wide break give it a slurve type of feel. The straight three finger change shows nice late sink and should be a pitch in his arsenal down the road at an advanced stage. If he shows up 180 pounds in the spring, he will be a name to remember early in the draft.
Hayden Hurst (Jacksonville FL; Bolles HS) – Power right handed pitcher with solid foundation that should improve lower half strength and a tick or two on the fastball. Strong drive to the plate with borderline arm action and some quick action of the elbow. He sets in nicely and it might be more of a concern for command than any pressure on the arm down the road. It tends to look jerky, but I think the amount of effort is minimum and does a solid job allowing his core/legs do most of the work in the delivery. He throws in the low 90s and will touch 93 right now. Throws a heavy fastball diet at this stage, but works it around and will pound down in the strike zone.