Marietta, GA - When you have over 100 teams and nearly 30 sites, it’s pretty much impossible to track down all the prospects. There’s an incredible amount of talent at the Perfect Game WWBA 17U tournament this week and I realize whatever I and Micah Posey do see, there will be a bunch more we don’t!
I stuck around the East Cobb three-plex facility for all of Friday and wanted to remark on a handful of intriguing 2011 prospects I was able to watch after joining Micah for day three of the WWBA 17U National Championship.
Shortstop Tyler Greene is a local kid from Roswell HS who’s playing for the East Cobb Braves and has a load of tools to work with. He ranked #6 in our Top-10 Prospect Rankings at the PG National Showcase last month in St. Petersburg. He’s a lanky 6’1”-6’2”, 170 lb kid who has shown present average raw power in batting practice and run very good 60 yard-dashes. Greene made a couple of nice plays up the middle on Friday, too, showing the athleticism that gives him a chance to play big league-caliber defense all over the field. Greene didn’t smoke any balls (RHH) while I watched, but you could see the leverage in his swing and he did hit one solidly the other way. It’s real interesting what Greene could turn into when he fills out physically, he’ll be at or near the top of the list for Georgia area scouts.
Micah remarked already on another shortstop, Matt Dean, who hails from The Colony HS in Texas and is playing for the loaded Dallas Yankees squad. Dean is a bit more physically developed at 6’2”, 190 lbs and will be upwards of 220 lbs in his prime. I see him as a third baseman at the upper levels of pro ball, but he’s shown the ability to make quick transfers and has both the hands and arm to play the hot corner well. Dean also hit by far the longest (and only) home run I saw today on a fastball right in his swing-path, low and over the plate. Dean isn’t a polished hitter, he was carved up against a good curveball his first three at-bats, but there’s a lot there to work with and he has early-round potential.
The pitcher who carved him up is a Georgia kid named Jaesung Hwang (South Forsyth HS) who showed by far the best curveball in the event and maybe the best of the 2011 class. Though he’s only a slender 6’0”, 168 lbs, and his fastball was mostly in the mid-80s, I think he’s a sleeper not only for the curveball but because Hwang has a lot of deception and one of the heaviest, most downward plane fastballs I’ve ever seen. Poor defense by Team Elite Black did him in, his pitches had too much movement for his catcher to handle or for the umpire to call them strikes. But I loved his mound presence and the way he came after hitters inside. Hwang wore #47, the same number of former Detroit Tigers’ ace Jack Morris, and he had the same almost angry competitiveness on the mound. With a little cleanup of his stiff landing leg, I think Hwang will throw harder and last longer.
From Galveston, Texas, is Ball High School righty Aaron Garza who came into close for Houston Kyle Chapman on Friday. Garza didn’t quite have Hwang’s bender, but it was pretty good, the second best I saw all day. Garza’s arm-action is very smooth and over-the-top, conducive for a plus curveball one day, and he hides the ball well, throwing his heater with good movement in the high-80s. I see a lot of upside for the 6’3”, 160 pounder as he fills out physically because he’s so loose and has a good delivery. He’s a candidate to become an early-round pick next June.
Check back the next few days as we’ll be in Marietta through the end of the 17U tournament which extends until Monday.