Port St. Lucie, FL - With spring training officially getting started, we thought it was the right time to write about a young MLB All-Star and superstar in-the-making, that’s making some waves in travel baseball.
Cleveland Indians CF Michael Brantley, from Ft. Pierce Central HS in south Florida has teamed up with his father, Mickey Brantley, a former MLB hitting coach, and Dave Parra with the All-American Prospects to help area players develop better as players and play the game the right way.
Michael and his father, along with Parra stopped by our Fall National Championships last October to check out our tournament and talk baseball. Michael spent time talking with players, answering questions, and offering great advice to the young kids.
Even though Brantley has a natural ability to play the game at the highest level, he talked about how hard he had to work to get to where he is now. Brantley said, “it’s been a dream come true to be an all-star,” and “I thought when the manager wanted to see me in his office, it was for bad news, but he smiled and told me I was named an all-star.” We asked Michael who he made his first call to, “my Dad, and I told him I wanted him to be there for me.” Mickey had taught Michael the right way to play the game his entire life, and now it’s paying off.
Brantley also talked to the kids about developing a routine for everything practice and pre-game, and game related daily. Enjoying the game and having fun whether you win or lose, being superstitious, and the toughest pitcher he’s faced in his career.
For those interested to know who the toughest pitcher Michael’s faced, it’s Chris Sale with the Chicago White Sox, another Florida high school and college product. Sale is one of the best young LHP’s in the game. Brantley said, “as a left-handed hitter, his slider literally starts behind you!”
Brantley also added that with travel baseball, he’d like to see more of the “best vs the best.” “It creates the best competition and best exposure for the players.”
The Brantley’s and Parra have worked hard together to open their new 17,500 square foot hitting and instructional facility located in Port St. Lucie. The Brantley Baseball Company and All-American Prospects are based out of the facility and during the MLB off-season, Michael works out at the facility on a daily basis. The facility also accommodates basketball and softball for all ages.
Michael has spent a lot of his own personal time working with his father and Parra. They all want the All-American Prospects name to remain first class and that the Prospects continue to produce talented players every year and more importantly, they play the game the right way.
With Parra’s reputation and experience as an elite travel organization owner/coach, and the Brantley’s baseball background and knowledge, the Prospects can offer players a better way to develop and achieve their maximum potential as a player. There aren’t very many travel organization’s in the country that have an MVP candidate working in the cages and on the field with their players every day during the off-season.
The Prospects held a tryout back in January that we scouted and it was evident that they are getting great young talent again. In no particular order, the reports below are from players that attended the Prospects tryout and will be names to pay attention to this summer.
With the Brantley’s offering the best instruction and guidance for young players and Parra running the program, it won’t take long before the All-American Prospects are a household name again in travel baseball.
David Luethje - RHP/OF - 2018 - Vero Beach HS - David is a standout two-way player. He showed a plus arm from the outfield to go along with a solid approach at the plate with above average bat speed for his grad class. He made hard consistent contact to all fields. We believe Luethje’s has the most upside as a pitcher with a clean delivery, and a loose, easy arm action. Standing at 6-4, with a very projectable frame, David was able to create a ton of leverage with his delivery.
Luethje is advanced beyond his years on the mound, already locating three pitches. His fastball that frequents the mid 80’s with sink and run, and his changeup is about 10 mph slower, but hasthe same action as his fastball. That FB/CH combo is sure to be tough on hitters. David also mixed in a curve with good depth and bite.
Baron Stuart - RHP/1B - 2017 - Okeechobee HS- Baron is a two-way player with a ton of upside. At the plate he displayed average bat speed for a 2017 grad, and the ability to stay inside the ball and hit it to the opposite field. Like Luethje Baron’s upside is as a pitcher. He has the ability to repeat his delivery on a consistent basis allowing him to command the ball down in the zone. He showed a fastball that sat in the mid 80’s with good sink and run, and a change that sits in the 72-74 mph range with good depth. He throws a curveball with tight spin and good depth that sits in the low 70’s. As Stuart continues to mature there is no reason why his fastball can’t be sitting in the low 90’s by his senior season. With Luethje and Stuart anchoring the top of the Prospects pitching staff, the future is bright.
Ryan Goodson - INF/C - 2017- Vero Beach HS- Ryan is a solid all around player. He is listed as an INF/C but is someone who could certainly play all over the diamond. On the defensive side of the ball, Ryan is a plus defender and show’s an above average arm in the field for his grad class. At the plate he has great rhythm with an advanced approach while being able to stay inside the ball and spray it to all fields. With a lean projectable frame there is plenty of room to fill in. As time plays out Ryan should begin to take his place as one of the better players in the 2017 class.
Connor Apugliese - 3B - 2017 - Lincoln Park Academy- Connor has a strong build which produces raw power at the plate. He has above average bat speed for a 2017, and a short direct stroke to the ball that allows him to make consistent hard contact while driving the ball to the gaps with regularity. On defense he is still a little raw and needs to continue to get reps. We see Apugliese as a player to keep an eye on this summer.
Reid Bass - OF - 2017 - Vero Beach HS - In the field Bass showed a plus arm with accuracy. At the plate he displayed a short direct stroke that produces power to the gaps. He showed above average bat speed for a 2017. Reid is a great kid who just loves to play the game, he should be fun to watch this summer. Young talent coming out of Vero Beach high is starting to become a trend. The future looks promising for Vero.
Koby Chapman - 3B/1B - 2018 - Okeechobee HS - Koby’s short stroke and brute strength allow him to drive the ball with authority to the gaps. Chapman is still raw as a freshman, but as he continues to see more innings he should continue to improve his overall game. Look for Chapman to become a fixture in the middle of the Prospects line up in the future.
Ches Goodman - LHP/1B/OF - 2018 - Port St. Lucie HS - Ches has average bat speed for a 2018 grad, while making consistent contact with a short direct path to ball. In the field he possesses a plus arm for a freshman. On the mound Goodman has plenty of promise from the left side. He showed a clean and easy delivery with a high ¾ arm slot. Ches was able to show a fastball with some run and late life. Goodman showed some minor mechanical issues that are not uncommon for a freshman, if he can iron them out the sky's the limit.
Tyler Randolph - INF - 2017 - Vero Beach HS - Randolph has a projectable build with plenty of room to fill in. At the plate he showed a relaxed approach with plus bat speed for his grad class. He tends to get a bit pull happy which is something that can be corrected as he matures. Defensively he is a plus defender with above average arm strength for a 2017. Randolph is a well rounded player who should fit in well with this core group of young talent the Prospects are running out on the field.
Zachary Young - SS/2B - 2018 - Sebastian River HS - Like Randolph, Zachary is a young projectable infielder with a live body. Young is a plus defender with a plus arm for a freshman. Offensively he showed an advanced approach to the plate with above average bat speed for his grad class. While being able to stay inside the baseball with a short direct stroke it allows him to use the entire field. We see Young as a player to keep an eye on this summer.
Matt Mosel - 1B - 2016 - Vero Beach HS- Mosel creates a ton of leverage from the left side of the plate with his strong build. Matt showed a clean stroke with above average bat speed and raw power to the pull side. Mosel should be able to add some pop and veteran presence to a program stocked with young talent.
Zachary Gottfried - UTL - 2016 - Jensen Beach HS- Zachary is a bit of a renaissance man on the diamond. You can literally put him anywhere there is a need. Gottfried showed an above average glove to go along with a strong arm for his class. His stocky build and strong arm could project him more as a catcher down the road. Zachary POP’d a (2.00 second) time down to 2B when he worked in with the catcher workouts. At the plate Zach displayed above average bat speed for his grad class, with a short compact stroke as a 2016. Gottfried should be able to add some versatility into the Prospects roster.
Others to keep an eye on this summer:
. Dillon Arnold 3B/RHP 2016
. Jacob Harrison 2B/SS 2016
. Emilio Lopez C/3B 2016
. Ed Pfluger 3B/OF 2016
. Jet Walsh LHP/1B 2017
. Brendan Vasquez INF 2018
. Angel Pardo SS/3B 2016
. Griffin Roe 3B/OF/RHP 2016
. Sean Menendez RHP/OF 2016
. Angelo Arvelo SS/2B 2017
. Michael Polk SS/OF/P 2016
With the Prospects coming back into travel baseball after a brief absence, south Florida and the rest of the country are officially on notice. They’ll be one of the more elite teams in travel baseball, just as they were before.