Orlando, FL - There’s something different about Championship Sunday’s, the air’s a little crisper, the blood flow’s a litter quicker, and the pressure is more intense. Sunday at the USSSA Super NIT Bound for Glory Tournament had that atmosphere.
Four words every true player loves, “win or go home.” I want to congratulate all the teams that made it to the finals and it was a pleasure scouting all the players.
The first game of the day I scouted was one of the 12U semi-finals. The Tampa Baysox vs. Stealth. Unfortunately for the Baysox, they ran into a buzz-saw with the last name of Rivera.
#4 Rivera RHP showed some of the best command of his pitches as any of the pitcher’s I scouted all weekend, he’s an athletic kid as a position player or a pitcher, the word was that Rivera had about 6 home runs over the weekend, I believe it because I saw one in the championship game he hit way over the right field fence, as a pitcher I really like Rivera, he has a very quick arm and showed a curveball that had maybe the tightest spin as I saw all weekend and he wasn’t afraid to throw it at any time in the count, his fastball was 70-71 mph with good life and tail, his curveball was 55-58mph and sharp, Rivera showed one change-up I saw at 60mph and it was a good one, against the Baysox he threw 5 innings, gave up 3 hits, struck out 5 and walked 1 against one of the better hitting 12U teams in the tournament
#24 McKenzie was one of my favorite players of the tournament, this kid can do it all! he has speed, power, and plays outstanding defense, McKenzie's not the biggest kid right now but he’s extremely athletic and maybe the fastest kid I scouted all weekend, he has a very quick bat and has serious line drive gap to gap power with occasional home run power, as good of a hitter as he is, McKenzie might be a better runner and defender, he has great defensive actions at shortstop making a couple ridiculous plays and showed a strong arm, McKenzie is definitely one to keep an eye on!
#8 Dursanvil definitely looks the part, he has a high waist, strong and athletic body, the first time few times I saw him he either walked or didn’t look great at the plate but typically good athletes make adjustments in a short time and in the championship game, he made the adjustment hitting a homerun and showing the production I thought he had in him, I think Dursanvil just needs more at bats against quality pitching and he’ll get better and better
#17 Volpi RHP really stands out with his size, he started the championship game and his fastball was 72-75mph but the control wasn’t quite there, his arm works well at a low ¾ arm slot but I think with his frame and height he needs to learn how to use his leverage and get on top of the baseball and create better angles, Volpi looks to be 6’2”-6’3” but with his arm slot so low he pitches more like he’s 5’9”-5’10” and the plane of his ball flattens out, as a hitter his bat is quick and he runs ok for a bigger kid runner a 4.28 down the line on a turn
#20 Epstein..behind the plate he’s athletic as a catcher but needs to work on his blocking some, his pop times in between innings were in the 2.32 range, at the plate he showed a quick bat and ran a 4.65 down the line, I think the stronger Epstein gets the better he’ll be as a player
#42 Newland I liked this kid, he definitely knows his baseball history wearing Jackie Robinson’s jersey #, it’s always nice to see when the younger generation shows the proper respect to past greats of the game, Newland is an undersized kid right now but don’t let his size fool you he has a very quick bat with surprising power and he runs very well, on a bunt Newland got down the line in 4.03 seconds one of the quicker times I got this past weekend, he also ran a 4.32 on a turn down the line
The Stealth were definitely one of the more athletic teams I watched play this past weekend.
The starter for the Baysox in the semi-finals was #9 Kelley a LHP, he’s a projectable lefty with clean mechanics and throws a ton of strikes, his fastball was 54-59mph and his curveball was 52mph, he’s one to watch over the next few years
Brinson showed his speed again running a 4.19 down the line.
The second game of the day I watched was the Miromar Canes 13U vs. the Sports 55 Elite 13U. There were several good players on both teams.
-Miromar Canes 13U-
#20 Sanchez LHP started the game, I think he’s the same Sanchez I like as a hitter, on the mound I didn't see him until later in the game and his fastball was 69-73mph with some life and late run, his curveball was 60mph with ok spin, what I liked is that he competes on the mound, as a hitter, he’s one of my favorites, Sanchez has big time bat speed with very quick and strong wrists and showed power to all fields, he’s patient at the plate and waits for his pitch, down the line he ran a 4.97 on a turn but his lack of speed doesn’t concern me, Sanchez's his bat may take him a long ways in baseball
#20 Diaz made it hard for me to decide which player I liked better, Diaz or Sanchez as they both are great hitters with power, Diaz is a strong bodied kid that has a very quick bat, he keeps his hands inside the baseball as well as any hitter at the tournament, Diaz gets great extension through the strike zone and has big power potential and his power seems to be effortless, I had him at a 4.47 and 4.56 down the line on a turn, defensively he showed good actions and a pretty strong arm
#5 Boix is another great hitter for the Canes, he showed good bat speed, he was very short and direct to the baseball, Boix seemed to hit the ball hard every at bat I saw him, he showed good instincts on the bases and runs pretty well
#7 Sixto is a pretty advanced hitter for his age, he stays back on the baseball real well and has a quick bat and squares up a lot of pitches, Sixto just hits!, down the line I had him at a 4.32 and a 4.97 on a turn
#22 Tuero is not the biggest kid but his bat plays at any level, he’s got a sweet left handed swing and seemed to square a lot of pitches up no matter where the pitch was
Richardson came in and threw an inning in the semi-final game and started the championship game against the Swamp Rats 13U..he had the most electric arm I saw this past weekend, he sat 75-78 and showed a very quick arm, he has long limbs and his father is on the taller side which leads me to believe that Richardson has some growing to do, Richardson showed a curveball that was 63-65mph and very sharp with late break to it, he really tied up the Swamp Rat hitters in the championship game, he's is definitely one to keep a close eye on over the next few years as I can see him easily in the low to mid 80’s as a 14-15 year old
-Sports 55 Elite 13U-
#9 James Sapp is a good two-way player, as a pitcher Sapp showed good clean mechanics, his arm worked well and his fastball was 66-69mph and his curveball was 50-53mph, his curveball was a big 12-6 breaker and he had great control of it throwing it at any time in the count, as a hitter Sapp showed good bat speed and a short swing that was direct to the ball, I think when he learns to use his lower half better he’ll hit balls harder and drive balls into the gaps, he was a tough out
#23 Syre Mussenden came in relief of Sapp and was a little wild but showed some good arm strength, his fastball was 73-76mph and he has an athletic frame, his arm action is straight over the top and he had trouble repeating his delivery, I think he’s a thrower and not a pitcher right now, with some work Mussenden can become become a pitcher with some good velocity
#7 Hunter Ruth is a good hitter that showed patience at the plate, he kept his hands back and adjusts to the off-speed well hitting a couple curveballs hard, he shows good pitch recognition and down the line Ruth was a 4.94 on a turn
#29 Jacob Feiger is a catcher that struggled behind the plate some but showed good arm strength and will get better the more he catches, he’s wiry strong and has a very quick bat, he keeps his hands inside the ball real well, I’ve always liked athletic catchers like Feiger because they're so rare
#24 Adam Torres is a strong kid that showed good bat speed but was a little undisciplined at the plate chasing some pitches out of the strike zone, I liked his patient approach though but for it to pay off more consistently he needs to lay off the bad pitches
I ventured over to the 12U championship game to take more notes on the MVP Canes. I saw the Canes earlier in the tournament but didn’t see much of their game. There are more notes on the canes on day 1 of my notes.
-MVP Canes 12U-
#35 Yohandy Morales showed a quick bat and caught up to 73-74mph with ease and hit the ball hard
#18 Jake Holland is aggressive at the plate, he has a very quick bat with a short swing, Holland ran a 4.44 down the line and ran hard
#25 Mike Machin was one of my favorite hitters at the tournament, he has great rhythm and timing at the plate and seemed to make adjustments from pitch to pitch which is a very advanced approach, he has a very short and quick swing and hits the ball backside really well, Machin runs ok but has good instincts on the bases, he was definitely one of the more advance hitters at the tournament
#33 Andrew Tiburcio showed the power I thought he had hitting a ball out but for the most part once he learns how to create better leverage in his swing he’ll hit more line drives and less ground balls
#5 Yordany Carmona as a LHP is very good, I really liked him as a hitter as noted earlier in my notes on day 1 but on the mound he is special as well, his fastball was 70-74mph and his arm is effortless and he has a clean smooth delivery, he gets some run on his fastball and hits his spots with both his fastball and curveball
The last team I watched to report on were the Swamp Rats 13U.
-Swamp Rats 13U-
#18 Giovanni Lorenzo is a left handed hitting catcher which is one of the most valuable types of players on the field, especially when a catcher can hit like Lorenzo, his bat stays in the hitting zone and has a quick bat, behind the plate he was ok showing a decent arm
#16 Matt McDade showed great defensive actions and a quick bat at the plate
#32 Parker Pillsbury showed bat control at the plate and uses all the fields as a hitter, he ran a 4.46 down the line on a turn and runs well, he’s a long strider, as a left-handed pitcher his fastball was 66-69mph and his curveball was 55-57mph, I saw him late in the game so his velocity was probably a bit better earlier in the game
#5 Mike Manbucs has a strong body, he showed good bat speed and was aggressive at the plate with a short and direct to the ball swing
Sean Perry has a great natural swing and the ball jumped off his bat, he has some power potential in his bat and his power comes without much effort, Perry's one to watch!
#8 Carson Smith is a RHP that’s a strong kid that showed a good fastball that was 70-76mph
#2 Shane Marshall showed a good approach at the plate as he kept his hands back on a curveball and hit it hard, Marshall ran a 4.72 down the line
#6 Jalen Soto is not the biggest kid but showed a very quick bat, all he needs is just time to mature more physically and he’ll become a more consistent hitter