Lantana, FL - After today, I now know why Palm Beach County has some of the best high school baseball players in country year after year. The local youth travel programs that the high schools draw from are stacked with talent and most of that talent is on display this weekend at the Lantana Sports Complex participating in the USSSA Palm Beach Holiday Bash.
Coaches and parents I don’t have a lot of the player’s first and last names, just jersey numbers. If you can, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your rosters or players full names. Thanks.
I tried to rotate from game to game for several innings at a time taking notes and getting radar gun readings from PW staffer Kerri Fouchet.
The first game of the day I scouted was a game that featured a team that I’ve seen before, the South Florida Stealth 12U versus a team that I was scouting for the first time, the Sunrise Sharks 12U.
When I scouted the Stealth 12U at the USSSA Super NIT at Disney over the Thanksgiving holiday, they had several players that were prospects. Today, those prospects reconfirmed my previous evaluations.
A couple of players that continue to impress me for the Stealth 12U are #24 T.J. McKenzie and #42 Trey Newland . McKenzie showed once again he has the total package as a player. He can really run, really hit, and plays outstanding defense utilizing his speed. In one at bat McKenzie turned around a 64mph fastball like it was nothing lacing a line drive to left field.
Newland showed a side of his game defensively that I didn’t get a chance to see in Orlando. Don’t let Newland’s size fool you, he hits the ball as hard as any kid I’ve scouted this winter hitting a rocket that was snared by the first basemen. What impressed me the most was a catch and throw Newland made later in the day against the 12U Piranaz. Newland made a diving catch on one play and on a base hit up the middle had Piranaz #22 Richardson who can really run thrown out by 10 feet at home plate trying to score but there was a collision and the catcher lost the ball. None the less, Newland showed a cannon for an arm with accuracy.
For the Sharks 12U, the starting pitcher #11 Campbell flashed serious potential as a pitcher. A tall, lanky kid, Campbell’s fastball stayed around 63-65mph and touched 68mph. Campbell’s mechanics aren’t very clean but the arm strength is there. When he learns to lengthen his arm swing after he breaks his hands from his glove instead of stabbing towards the ground I think Campbell will throw even harder with less effort and have better control.
I don’t know if they’re brothers but the Sharks catcher #12 Campbell is a switch hitter with a strong arm behind the plate. Campbell looks like he has a good idea at the plate from both sides as a hitter. I’d like to see him a few ore at bats to get a better read on him as a hitter.
There were many other players I liked in this game and their reports will be on our site in the next few days.
The next game I scouted was the Colts 11U vs. South Florida Stealth’s 10U. One year older in age at this level definitely makes a difference.
The Colts have a very talented, well coached, athletic team. On the mound was a projectable lefty with an easy arm action, #28 Bruno. Bruno has one of the easier arm actions I’ve scouted at the 11U level and has a lanky, wiry frame. His fastball sat around 60mph from a three quarters arm slot with minimum effort. #9 Ramos is a strong physical kid with an aggressive approach at the plate. Ramos gets great extension and creates natural loft which tells me there’s big power potential in his bat. #33 Steuerer has an athletic body with extremely quick wrists and strong hands. Steuerer has a very quick bat and uses a lot of top hand to generate his bat speed.
For the Stealth 10U, #12 had a very quick bat and ran a hard 4.88 home to first time. This kid is a high-waisted athlete with the quick twitch actions and will only get better as a player.
Word around the complex was that when the 12U Piranaz and 12U Stealth play each other, it’s like the Yankees vs. the Red Sox. It was an intense game and the Piranaz were one of the few teams that can match the Stealth with athletes. #26 Cristian Desrosiers might be the best pure hitter I’ve seen at the 12U age level. The kid doesn’t seem to miss many pitches and his bat stays in the hitting zone forever. Take his advanced skills as a hitter and then add great speed to Desrosiers game and you have legitimate threat to score every time he’s on base, which is most of the time. #22 Gio Richardson might have the most natural athletic talent at the tournament, but an incident during the game sent up a red flag for me as a scout. Richardson has every physical tool to become a great player, he’s athletic, extremely fast (4.09 sec) home to first, has a very quick bat and great defensive actions. There was a play at the plate I referenced earlier in my article where Stealth outfielder Trey Newland made a great throw to home plate when Richardson was trying to score on another player’s single. Richardson would’ve been out by about 5-10 feet but he decided to run the catcher over, made no attempt to slide, knocked the ball out of the catcher’s glove, and missed home plate. At first, I thought it was a hard-nosed play even though I thought the rules were players have to make an attempt to slide. Besides that, after the play was over a fan made a comment that Richardson missed home plate. Richardson reacted to the fan’s comment and proceeded to slide on home plate basically standing still on top of the plate. After that, he turned to the and made a disrespectful remark. I’m definitely not trying single Richardson out, but as a scout my job is to evaluate not only the talent of a player, but their character as well. In baseball scouting terms it’s known as a players “make-up”. Richardson has a chance to become a great player but there are high school coaches, college coaches, and professional scouts that would’ve crossed him off their recruiting/scouting list after that incident. #33 Kaden Cohen showed some light tower power, but has a tendency to swing and miss at times. Maybe the most electric arm I’ve seen at the 12U level was from #00 Jake Simon. The kid has a wiry, long limbed type frame and the baseball explodes out of his hand. His control is a little erratic right now but the velocity on his fastball was up to 68mph and he pitched mainly at 65-66mph. He pitches downhill and flashed a sharp curve ball at times. Maybe the quickest arm as a pitcher I’ve seen at the 12U level.
After several innings at the Piranaz and Stealth game, I headed over for my first look at a couple of 9U teams. The Okeeheelee Braves vs. the Sharks.
The starter for the Sharks was a lefty #25 that flashed a 50mph fastball and an intense competitive side as a pitcher. At the plate, he had a pretty quick bat and hit the ball hard. They also had another #25, a right-handed pitcher that touched 53mph with his fastball. I have to say the highlight of the game from my standpoint came from a girl with no # that had a great at bat for the Sharks. She fouled pitch after pitch off, one that she nearly hit out of the park but it was just foul. She finally hit a rocket one-hopper to the right fielder. She hit it so hard that she was thrown out at first base because the ball got to the right fielder in a second. For the Braves, #13 has potentially big time power in his bat. #19 Rodriguez ran hard and had a quick bat, he touched 47mph with his fastball as a pitcher as well. #11 Mercadante hit the ball hard a couple of times and plays the game hard.
Another couple of teams I scouted were the 11U Pembroke Lakes Wildcats and the Piranaz 11U. The Wildcats had several players that could really swing the bat. #34, the catcher not only showed a strong arm behind the plate and good receiving skills but he also showed a big time bat from the left side with great extension taking a fastball the other way into the trees over the left center field fence. #27 showed some of the best bat speed of the tournament making hard contact. For the Piranaz, #13 can really hit and hit with power hitting a home run way over the left field fense. Defensively, the kid has a strong arm and good range at third base. #8 is definitely in the running for the quickest bat of the tournament, with lightning quick bat speed and some athleticism.
The last game of the night I scouted was Team Wellington 16U vs. The Hounds 16U at Phipps Park. I only got to see an inning or two but liked #66 for Team Wellington, he showed an advanced approach at the plate, with some athleticism and decent actions as an infielder.
Overall, I took notes on about 71 different players on Saturday. I’ll get that information on our site over the next several days! Stay tuned!