Tallahassee, FL - Prospect Wire on location in Tallahassee covering Next Level Baseball's instructional camp.
For the players in this camp, the level of instruction doesn't get any better.
Roger Smith, a National Crosschecker for over 20 years with the St. Louis Cardinals. Scott Hennessey, a veteran area scout for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Jeff Garber, Washington Nationals Infield Coordinator. Doug Reynolds, a veteran area scout with the Milwaukee Brewers. Charlie Greene Jr., an eight year veteran scout with the Milwaukee Brewers. Arthur McConnehead, a three year scout with the Baltimore Orioles. Gavin Dickey, a second year scout with the Houston Astros and Ross Smith, a first year scout with the Houston Astros.
The scouts were extremely hands on working with every single player at the camp. Just by being around that depth of baseball knowledge can you make you better as a player, right? I think so.
I got to see a lot of batting practice in the cages and on the field, but the workout basically started with the camp staff teaching the players the proper infield and outfield techniques on cuts, double plays, pitchers covering first, throwing actions, etc.
I evaluated players arm strength and defensive actions during the drills and here's the players I thought stood out. I'm working on getting the names of some of the players and will definitely have them by today and update this article later tonight.
Tramayne Holmes has a quick first step in center field, he's quick to the ball which can make base runners think twice about taking an extra base. Holmes showed a 35-40 arm.
#9 orange-has some speed in the outfield and took good routes to the ball, showed a 30 arm
#5 red-covered as much ground in center field from gap to gap as any outfielder but the arm strength isn't quite there
#4 navy-good carry and accuracy from center field, carried the mound a couple of times which is important for a center fielder, once the ball hits the mound it can take any kind of crazy hop
#8 navy-showed slightly below average actions but had a very quick release, was accurate with every throw and was the only shortstop that mad accurate throws from all angles, showed a 30-35 arm
#4 red-showed a strong arm, a solid 35, with nearly average actions and a quick transfer and release, might be a better fit at 2B
Batting Practice Standouts
It wasn't the best weather for batting practice with the temperature in the 40's but the bats definitely didn't need any warming up, several players had impressive bp's.
It was tough to decide who was more impressive between Matt Railey, Gage West, and Willie Carter.
Railey was the best I've seen him. It was really the first time I've had a chance to bear down on Railey. Physically, the package is there already. Railey's a running back in an outfielders body, strong lower half and strong broad shoulders. He showed a quicker bat than what I'd seen before and a better ability to drive the baseball. Railey had problems making consistent hard contact which I believe is just a sign of how raw his bat is right now. When Railey gets too big with his swing, his rhythm and timing isn't there. When he stays within himself, his swing is more balanced and produces more consistent hard contact. I think when Railey lets his natural ability take over at the plate instead of trying to force the issue, the hard contact will become more consistent. I noticed Railey wears glasses. I don't know if that affects his pitch recognition or inconsistency at the plate, but it's worth noting. What I do know is with more at bats and a better approach, Railey could become an impact player at the next level and potentially in professional baseball.
Gage West showed the same lightning quick bat from the left side that I saw at the Next Level Elite 100 Showcase. West has a tendency to over swing at times but his bat gets through the zone as quick as anyone I've seen this year. I have yet to see West behind the plate.
Willie Carter makes hard consistent contact on about 9 out of every 10 pitches it seems. Carter has great rhythm and timing. He uses his strong lower half to generate tremendous bat speed and creates good leverage on the baseball. Carter's head moves forward slightly but it's not bad enough to concern me.
One of the more interesting players I watched take bp was Tremayne Holmes. I liked Holmes at Next Levels Elite 100 showcase and I liked him even better yesterday. Holmes is very raw at the plate but has some of the quicker hands I've seen this winter. I'd like to see Holmes use his athletic ability more at the plate. What I mean by that is that Holmes is athletic but doesn't have a lot of rhythm and timing or "athleticism" in his swing. With more polish, Holmes could become an impact two-way player at the next level.
Today, I'll be evaluating the player's in the games. I'll get some times down the line, pitchers velocities, and see if what I saw in batting practice translates to the game.