Mount Dora, FL - George Sands, owns and runs the Florida Surge Select who are based out of Delray Beach, Fl. Sands is a forward thinker with a great eye for talent.
Travel organization tryouts, camps, showcases, etc. have been around for a long time, but the national coverage of these events hasn't.
If Sands wasn't the first travel coach to have a major scouting and recruiting service (PW) cover his tryouts, then we don't know who was. The bigger tournaments and showcases have basically always had major scouting and recruiting service coverage nationally or at least regionally.
A simple, brilliant idea by a forward thinker, Sands approached PW founder Matt Bomeisl back in 2008 about covering his Florida Surge's tryouts. George was just getting his program started and was looking for something to set his tryouts apart. Bomeisl said, " I remember George had a great eye for talent, Brady Singer was at his first tryout as well as a lot of other talented young players."
Singer, a 2015 RHP and University of Florida commit, now plays for Chet Lemon's Juice and is one of the top MLB draft prospects in the state.
Another player Sands found earlier was 2015 OF/RHP and California commit LJ Hampton out of Miami, Fl. I remember seeing Hampton as a 9th grader and thinking he had a chance to be a special player. Here's my report on the Florida Surge Select and LJ back then.
Bomeisl, like many in the travel baseball industry had never heard of a travel team's tryouts being covered, but thought it was a great idea and a win-win for both the Surge Select and PW.
Prospect Wire would help get the Florida Surge player's names out there for colleges to recruit, give non-biased evals for the players, and provide feedback on certain players Sands wanted a second opinion on.
For PW, it gave Bomeisl a chance to add something new to PW's services and get a head start on seeing players before any other scouting and recruiting service.
Fast foward to the fall of 2014 when PW covered 7 different travel organizations tryouts, camps, and showcases in 3 different states. (Florida, Puerto Rico, California) In total we covered 10 travel organizations events.
Other than the 10 events we covered, there were another half dozen or more we couldn't cover because we were booked on those particular weekends.
We have become the leader in travel organization's tryout coverage with our in depth scouting reports, feedback for travel coaches, helping colleges i.d. new players, and taking the events to a national platform via our site, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
From one program, the Florida Surge Select back in 2008, 2009, 2010 to over a dozen requesting our tryout coverage in 2014, there's one person we can say thanks to and that's George Sands. A charter member, if you will.
The Florida Surge Select had their traditional 2015 summer tryouts this past month at Mount Dora Bible HS. One of the most impressive things about the tryout besides the talent on the field was the fact that almost every player came up to our staff and personally shook our hands thanking us for being there.
Sands has always been great at finding diamonds in the rough, players that nobody had really ever heard of but were and are still great players.
Sands' latest diamond is 2017 grad from Umatilla HS, Bubba Sangster.
Sangster has several major D-1 colleges looking at him currently, they better not wait too long to get a verbal.
Bubba was one of several players at the tryout that were standouts, here's our reports on the top few prospects in no particular order. There will be more prospect reports come next week.
Bubba Sangster - 2017 1B R/R Umatilla HS - We remember first seeing Sangster as an incoming 8th grader at the Surge Select's tryouts back in 2012. His report back then is on the same report with LJ Hampton, who we wrote about earlier.
For his 2017 grad class, Bubba has ++ raw power, and + to borderline ++ batspeed. Sangster's power was on full display at our Elite 100 last summer in Sarasota, Fl. During BP in the Baltimore Orioles spring training stadium Sangster destroyed several balls that never had a chance of staying in the park.
He's one of those hitters that other players, scouts, coaches, and parents can't wait to watch take BP because it typically is an incredible display of power.
Bubba doesn't hit wall scrapers typically, when he squares it up it's usually a line drive driven way out of the yard. Bottom line, Sangster hits the ball hard, like he's angry at the baseball. During the tryouts in Mount Dora he put on another display launching balls out from left to centerfield. They were all no doubters.
The amount of torque and batspeed Sangster creates is incredible considering his 5'10" 210lb frame. He's built more like a middle linebacker. During a tournament this past summer, Bubba actually tore a part of his quad from his hip bone during a swing. Since then, he's rehabbed it and is back to 100%.
An area Bubba needs to get better in is driving the ball to all parts of the field. With all that strength, younger hitters like Sangster will tend to want to pull everything. Once he learns to trust his strength and hands, and stay back better, he'll start driving balls out of the park to right and left centerfield. He has good eye-hand coordination and eventually we think Sangster will turn himself into a good overall hitter and not just a power hitter.
Defensively, Sangster will probably have to stay at 1B and has good enough hands and feet to get the job done. His arm strength this past summer at our Elite 100 was very good, but at the Surge Select tryout he didn't quite have the zip on his throws. With the way Bubba swings the bat, college coaches will find a place for him to play.
Don't be surprised if Bubba ends up at a good D-1, has a great sophomore and junior season and becomes a good MLB draft prospect.
Taylor Pridgen - 2018 OF/1B/LHP L/L Eustis HS - At first look, Pridgen has a lower half built more like an NFL running back (C.J. Anderson). Taylor has a very strong base and core and uses it extremely well in his swing. Only a 2018 grad, he'll continue to get stronger and stronger and learn how to leverage his swing better to create potential power. He already has + batspeed for his grad class.
What a lot of parents don't see in the tryouts we cover is that a lot of times we want to see if players can make adjustments during BP. We may ask them to try and drive the ball the other way, be more aggressive and pull the ball, take the pitch right back to the L screen, shorten their stride a bit, get a wider base, move their hands up or down, get their front foot down earlier, fire their backside through, etc.
We don't like to sit there and scout like robots, we'd never get a true feel for a players abilities and if they can make adjustments from pitch to pitch. 9 out of 10 times a player will make that adjustment, see better results, and we get to see instant progress.
Pridgen showed a fundamentally sound swing and kept his hands inside the baseball extremely well hitting about every pitch backside. He gets great extension through the ball which allows him to consistently drive the ball the other way.
We stopped BP for a second and asked Taylor to really attack the baseball and try and drive it out of the park to right and right centerfield. The goal was to get him to clear his hips all the way through the baseball and know what it felt like to really turn on a ball. With his wide hips, and strong wide base and lower half, we didn't want to see him leave anything in his tank.
It took a few pitches, and them bam, bam, bam. Taylor drove several balls deep into right center and down the right field line. He made adjustments and showed the power we thought he had. Pridgen may end up being a rare hitter that can hit for average and power. It's very likely that sooner than later the light will flicker with Taylor and the power will come to fruition in games.
Defensively, Pridgen's future is more than likely at 1B. He doesn't run well enough for the outfield and his arm strength translates better in the infield. Taylor moved pretty well around the bag and showed solid defensive actions.
Colleges need to get on Pridgen now, another year of him physically maturing and it may be too late for a college program to verbal him. He's not ready yet in our opinion for a major D-1 commitment, but he's no more than a year away more than likely.
Paul McIntosh - 2016 C/OF R/R Dade Christian HS - First, I'd like to send Prospect Wire's condolences to Paul and his family as we learned at the tryout that his father, Toddrick had passed away suddenly not long before the tryouts. I personally had a relationship with Mr. McIntosh and enjoyed talking to him about his son, baseball and football.
Toddrick was a standout defensive end at Florida State and then played for the Cowboys, Bucs, and Saints in the NFL. We consider Paul a part of the PW family, and will continue to say prayers for Paul and his family and do anything we can to help.
Paul passes the eye test immediately. Built like a fullback or linebacker at 5'11" 205lb, he's one of the strongest players in his grad class.
What we noticed immediately with McIntosh during the tryout was how much his arm strength and quickness behind the plate had improved. Paul's arm was a solid 45 arm as he POP'd several times 2.00 sec or better. Last time we scouted him, his POP times were in the 2.35 second range.
Another area Paul had improved in was making more consistent hard contact. During BP, he may have hit several balls harder than anyone at the tryout including one that was driven out to left-centerfield that was one of the hardest baseballs we'd seen hit all year. There's still some stiffness to his swing, and some swings and misses, but overall McIntosh showed significant improvement in his entire game.
If McIntosh continues to improve at a quick rate, by the summer he'll be a player colleges will have some real interest in. We think the more he plays against better competition, the better Paul will get. McIntosh just needs time and reps.
Again, we'll continue with more scouting reports next week. For now, here's the top 10 60 yard dash times, top 5 infield and outfield velocities from the tryout.
Top 10 60 yard dash times:
1. Sam Joyce 2016 INF/OF IMG Academy - 6.83
2. Grant Tabor 2015 OF Tavares HS - 7.06
3. Kalan Ramsey 2016 OF Umatilla HS - 7.07
4. Errol Bannister - 7.1
5. Seth Harper 2017 C/OF Eustis HS - 7.14
6. Aaron Simple - 7.21
7. Myles Mckisic 2016 MIF ELEV8 - 7.25
8. Matt Morgan - 7.34
9. Bubba Sangster - 2017 1B Umatilla HS - 7.37
10. JD Phillips - 2016 RHP/1B/OF IMG Academy - 7.4
10. Jeffrey Mulholland - 2017 MIF Umatilla HS - 7.4
Top 5 OF Velocities:
1. Aaron Simple - 84mph
2. Henry Santiago - 2017 OF/IF University HS - 81mph
3. Paul McIntosh - 2016 C/OF Dade Christian HS - 81mph
4. Kalan Ramsey - 2016 OF Umatilla HS - 78mph
5. Seth Harper - 2017 C/OF Eustis HS - 76mph
Top 5 INF Velocities:
1. Alec Bowman - 2016 IF Boca HS - 75mph
1. Henry Santiago - 2017 OF/IF University HS - 75mph
2. Gavin Bixler - 2016 1B Mount Dora HS - 73mph
2. Myles Mckisic - 2016 MIF ELEV8 - 73mph
3. Taylor Pridgen - 2018 1B/OF Eustis HS - 72mph