Auburndale, FL - Upsets were definitely the theme of Saturday’s action in the 18U Tournament as three favored and notably stacked programs suffered defeats. The Orlando Scorpions (17U Purple), Tampa Bay Warriors, and Dawg Pound all fell to pesky opponents but their prospects drew scouts and college coaches to their games.
In a 7:30 PM matchup at the Lake Myrtle Sports Complex, Team X 18U defeated the powerhouse Orlando Scorpions 17U Purple 5-2 in a great pitching matchup of 2012 grads. Righty Jimmy Herget threw four strong innings in the mid-80s giving up just 1R/1ER and 2 hits to beat the hard-throwing Carson Fulmer. Fulmer has thus far shown the best fastball at the event, dealing in the 90-94 MPH range in the first inning and settling in at 88-91 MPH as his game went on.
Fulmer suffered from shoddy defense, giving up four runs, three of which were unearned in his 3.2 IP. Fulmer also walked eight batters, contributing to his own demise. Still, he’s an athletic 6’1”, 190 lb righty with pro upside. Fulmer showed a strong delivery, good arm-action, and a sharp slider. He’s on the early list for scouts going into the 2012 Draft and is also a prospect as an infielder.
Rising junior lefty Vinnie Rosace came in to relieve Fulmer and though he also struggled with control (3 BB in 1.1 IP), Rosace showed a lot of what scouts look for. The loose-armed southpaw threw in the 86-88 MPH range with a small but projectable 5’11” frame and delivery.
The Tampa Bay Warriors 18U squad came into this tournament as a favorite and also suffered a defeat in their first game, a 2:00 matchup. The Warriors lost to the Miami Suns 18U Gold team 6-4 after some early errors gave the Suns the lead.
The Warriors are blessed at the top of the order with Oklahoma-bound speedy second baseman Ty Washington (Plano East HS, TX). Washington fell to the 43rd round pick of the Cincinnati Reds, due surely to signability. Look for Washington to be a star in the Big-12 and perhaps a high draft pick the next time around. But the Warriors also have serious players for the 2012 Draft, most notably RHP Lance McCullers Jr. and SS Avery Romero.
McCullers didn’t pitch on Saturday, but he has an electric arm and early 1st-round possibilities next June. A premium athlete from Tampa Jesuit HS, McCullers could also be a prospect as an infielder. We look forward to watching him on the mound later in the tournament.
Avery Romero hit the ball hard in every at-bat, going 2-4. He made a costly error in the 3rd inning, but otherwise played quite well defensively including a diving stop in the hole where he got up and threw a strike to first. Romero is committed to Florida but and definitely get draft interest for 2012.
In the 4:45 PM timeslot, the Dawg Pound fell 8-7 against Team Volusia Black. The Dawg Pound consists mostly of players from the loaded Brooks-Debartolo HS program in Tampa. Two rising seniors in particular showed to be legitimate prospects for the 2012 Draft and potentially high picks.
Tampa King HS slugger Keon Barnum hit a laser-shot home run off the light tower in right field. The 6’3”, 230 lb lefthanded hitter generates big league bat-speed and plus raw power already. Barnum has huge upside with the bat and scouts will watch him closely his senior year to see if he can make the adjustments necessary to move through the minors.
Shortstop Jabari Gayle came from Atlanta’s Miller Grove HS to play for the Dawg Pound and showed an all-around game. Also a rising senior, the 5’11”, 180 lb Gayle has a strong build and can generate good bat-speed from the right side. He hit the ball hard and went 3-4 on Saturday in the Dawg Pound’s losing effort. Gayle can run and made some plays at shortstop, so keep an eye on him for the 2012 Draft.