Sanford, FL - I’d like to thank Jim Boghos and his entire CFBL Elite staff for their hospitality this past weekend during CFBL Elite’s tryouts at Sanford Memorial Stadium. The atmosphere was great, the crowd was great, and the talent was great.
My first report on the tryouts will be on the top position player's. Tomorrow’s report will be on the top pitching prospects from the tryouts and other notable players. My scouting reports are based on a combination of the player’s performance during batting practice and in the games.
Keep in mind I could only evaluate what I saw, workouts and 1-2 at bats as well as 1-2 innings pitched. Sometimes in the games the players only got 1 at bat and walked. I may have missed out on some players but they will be noted in my next reports.
The order of my top 5 I’m very comfortable with, after that you can definitely debate which players should be ranked where.
Top players overall:
9. Tyler Hartman- UPDATE- 2014 grad from West Orange HS. Hartman was definitely one of the better players at the tryouts. He showed a 40 arm with accuracy and from the left side showed a quick bat making consistent hard contact. Hartman showed the ability to hit to all fields. I think if he can get some better rhythm and timing in his swing he’ll hit the ball harder with more consistency. Hartman's older brother Chad was a good prospect several years ago.
10. Pablo Cedeno- 2016 grad from Lyman HS. I only got to see Cedeno in bp, but what I saw I liked for a younger kid. Cedeno has a very quick bat and hit some balls as hard as anyone. The bat speed is there and Cedeno has a short quick powerful swing. UPDATE- I went back and looked at our notes and I remembered Cedeno showed consistent hard contact in our PW/WSL Fall National Championships in Vero Beach. Cedeno hit an absolute bomb to left center field. I remember one of our scouts Damon Krestalude mentioning a 14 year old kid hit a bomb but I didn't realize it was Cedeno.
11. Jay Hayes is a 2014 grad from Lyman HS. This ranking may surprise a lot of people but Hayes is a real sleeper for me. Hayes is a bigger bodied kid that actually runs fairly well recording a 7.19 60 time and a 4.97 on a slow turn in a game. He showed a very patient and solid approach at the plate. Hayes has a strong lower half and quick wrists which I think in time will produce some big time power especially with his strong lower half. Defensively Hayes can play third base with plenty of arm strength. He also is light on his feet but ultimately he may end up at first base where he'll be more than adequate.
12. Connor Shobe is a 2015 grad from the IMG Academy. Shobe doesn’t run (7.43 60) and doesn’t have much of an arm showing a 20 grade, but he did show good defensive actions at 1B. What Shobe can do is hit! I don’t know what position he can play, maybe 1B or LF but I think his bat will play anywhere. Shobe hit maybe the hardest ball of the weekend right back at the pitcher nearly taking his glove off. If the ball would’ve been a foot to the left, I think the pitcher would’ve been seriously injured. Shobe showed good extension through the zone that can produce gap to gap power. He also showed the ability to hit the ball to all fields during bp.
13. Zach Ballas is a 2014 grad from Daytona Seabreeze HS. Ballas is a solid two way player showing a 30-35 arm from the outfield with good carry and accuracy. During the game Ballas drove a ball to the right center field gap for a double and ran a 5.00 sec with a turn. Ballas doesn’t have the most fundamentally sound swing but his wrist strength helps whip his bat through the zone generating gap power. On the mound, Ballas has a good pitchers frame with long limbs. In his bullpen, he topped out at 86mph with his fastball and showed a hard curveball at 77mph. With more strength, Ballas should be upper 80’s by the summer.
14. Ben Rowdon is a 2016 grad from Deland HS. Rowdon is already showing a 30 arm in the infield and has an athletic projectable body. Rowdon has a quick bat but tries to hit everything out front, once he learns to let the ball travel and get deeper I think he’ll make more consistent hard contact. Rowdon just needs to get stronger with maturity.
15. Nikolas Kovach is a 2015 grad from Lake Mary HS. Kovach is a RHP and MIF. On the mound Kovach flashed an 83mph fastball with good life to go with a 69mph curveball and 70mph change up. Kovach gets good extension on his pitches which helps create the life on his fastball. He has a quick arm which means there’s more velocity to come and he throws his curveball for strikes. In the infield, Kovach is athletic and projects more as a third basemen than shortstop showing a 35 arm. During bp, Kovach stayed behind the ball well and had a pretty quick bat making consistent hard contact.
16. Zachary McCabe is a 2014 grad from Hagerty HS. McCabe showed a solid 35-40 arm in the infield workouts with solid defensive actions. The ball came out of his hand pretty easy which means he may get to a 45-50 arm as he matures. McCabe has an athletic body with some strength. During bp McCabe showed good rhythm and timing with quick hands and showed some bat control. In the games I think McCabe had a tendency to outthink himself at the plate looking for pitches instead of just attacking the baseball and being aggressive.
17. Zachary Gary is a 2013 grad from Auburndale HS. Gary is a solid two way player. As a position player, Gary has a 40 arm from the infield and ran the 4th fastest 60 yard dash with a 6.91 sec time. Gary has good hands and feet in the infield but the bat is a little bit behind. If Gary can make more consistent contact and put the ball in play on the ground he’ll be able to utilize his speed tool more often and become a more coveted player to colleges.
18. Gabriel Matias is a 2013 grad from the Dominican Republic. Matias showed a quick arm in the infield and during bp he had one of the more balanced swings from the left side at the tryouts. Matias had great extension through the ball and made hard consistent contact. During the games, Matias had a very confident approach at the plate and showed good bat control using all fields. Matias also showed good instincts on the bases. Matias could easily be in my top 10.
19. Gunnar Bradshaw is a 2014 grad from West Orange HS. Gunnar flashed a 2.04 pop time as a catcher which is slightly slower than the major league average of 2.00. Bradshaw ran a 7.41 which isn’t bad for a catcher. He’s a physically strong player with quick hands at the plate which showed when he hit a ball hard up the middle with a wood bat during a game. Bradshaw also ran a 4.87 on a slow turn on that single up the middle.
20. Austin Mauer is a 2014 grad from the Masters Academy. He also flashed a 2.04 pop time and ran a 7.53 sec 60 yard dash. Mauer showed good bat speed and took his hands directly to the ball during bp. Mauer’s bp translated to the games as Mauer had a great approach at the plate, very patient, and a good 2 strike approach. Mauer hit a screaming line drive to centerfield and had a couple of hits during the games. He showed good instincts on the bases as well. I had him at a 5.25 on a slow turn and a 4.88 on a regular turn.
21. Anthony George is a 2015 grad from Hagerty HS. George is a physical kid that showed plenty of arm strength from the catcher’s position although his pop times didn’t translate (2.22 sec). With some work mechanically behind the plate, there’s no reason George shouldn’t be closer to that 2.0 sec pop time. At the plate during bp, Anthony had some of the better bat speed and had a direct path to the ball. George definitely has catcher’s speed running a 7.9 sec 60.
22. James Fraser is a 2013 grad from East River HS. Fraser showed a solid 30 arm in the infield with good defensive actions but I think he’d make a better second basemen. Fraser doesn’t really run recording a 7.50 sec 60 but I think his bat plays. Fraser dives into the ball which causes his head to move laterally quite a bit but because of his bat quickness and eye hand coordination he makes consistent solid contact. During the games he showed great rhythm and timing despite all the movement at the plate. If Fraser can make solid contact consistently with his lateral movement, I would imagine he’d be an even better hitter with a more balanced swing.
23. Carlos Vargas is a 2014 grad from Timber Creek HS. Vargas showed he was one of the more athletic catchers with a quicker release recording a 2.10 pop time. The arm strength was lacking a bit but Vargas makes up for it with his quick release. Vargas runs ok for a catcher recording a 7.35 60 time. During bp Vargas showed one of the better swings not wasting any movement as he consistently stayed behind the ball making solid contact. Vargas just needs to get stronger.
24. Cormack Holbrook is a 2015 grad from Dr. Phillips HS. Holbrook showed a 30 arm from the infield with quick feet and solid defensive actions. During bp Holbrook showed some bat speed but didn’t make consistent contact due to timing issues. Holbrook has a leg kick he uses to time pitches and that can be dangerous if the timing isn't perfect every time especially against better velocity. During the game, Holbrook toned down his leg kick and it was more of a toe tap timing trigger but the leg kick was still too slow in my opinion. Holbrook ran a 5.56 down the line and ran hard.