Marietta, GA - Micah Posey was wowed by Nick Williams’ four home run performance on Tuesday and I was able to see him again in a day two matchup that pitted the Houston Banditos Black against the South Bergen Mets. Williams wasn’t quite as domineering, “only” going 2-2 in a mercy-rule shortened game with a double and an infield hit. Nevertheless, the tools and potential for the 2012-graduate are outstanding and he was definitely worth mentioning two reports in a row.
Hailing from Galveston Ball High School (down the coast from Houston), the 6’2”, 185 lb Williams has a quick lefthanded stroke that is both short to the ball and with natural lift. I only saw him against 65-70 MPH pitching so there wasn’t much of a look at his discipline or ability make adjustments, but the raw stroke is big league. Williams also showed he was already a solid-average to plus runner, rounding first base at 4.42 seconds even though he got out of the box slow. Nobody hit a ball to him in right field, unfortunately.
But in this abbreviated, two-inning look, it was obvious what kind of ability Williams has and it will be interesting to follow him in the future. He looks like a premium athlete with a big bat. If Williams puts in the work and stays hungry, we could have an early pick for 2012. Williams has yet to commit to a school. I was told by a Banditos coach that he’s played both football and basketball exceedingly well in high school, but is thinking of quitting both to focus on baseball next year.
The Banditos are absolutely loaded, as Micah discussed yesterday. They have three players who are verbally committed to the University of Texas and many more who are getting similar overtures. Two very impressive pitchers took the hill on Wednesday and though they didn’t face a strong lineup, it was obvious they had pro draft potential for 2012.
Rex Hill is by good margin the best lefthanded pitching prospect I’ve seen personally in my two days watching the 16U event. He’s a very loose-armed lefty with a tailing 85-87 MPH fastball and the kind of arm-action that should develop good off-speed stuff. The Tomball HS product is about 6’1”, 175 lbs with all kinds of projection. He could easily be sitting in the low-90s consistently over a big league schedule when he’s physically mature and have the pitchability and command to go with it.
Righty Jovan Hernandez from Rockwall Heath HS is more a utility player, but he has a very strong delivery and easy arm-action, throwing 87-88 MPH with the makings of a curve and impressive command for a rising high school junior. Hernandez stands only 5’9” right now and he has a mature body, especially his powerful lower half. But by the time Hernandez is a senior, his arm might be good enough to make some scouts look past his lack of height. I didn’t see him hit or play the field, but he’s received considerable big college interest for those skills as well.
Earlier in the day, I saw another Texas-bred pitcher who showed pro draft potential for 2012. Righty Teddy Stankiewicz attends Keller High School and plays for the DBat/Mustangs-Bothun club. At 6’1”, 175 lbs, Stakiewicz has a strong lower half and a shallow chest that will eventually fill out and allow him to throw harder than the 86-88 MPH he showed Wednesday. Stankiewicz’s arm-action is very good and he does well to maintain balance and finish his delivery. The curveball is in the developmental stages and he may end up a slider guy.
The Marucci Elite 16s are a team made up mostly of Mississippi players with others from the deep South filling out the roster. They have a very good squad and threw out a whole staff of pro prospect pitchers on Wednesday. I was unable to see 2013 righty Kevin Davis (TR Miller HS, AL) in this outing, but he was high-80s with good spin on his curve by report, just as I’d seen him in the past. Davis is real lanky and a little under 6-0”, but as a rising sophomore he’s sure to grow. Myles Gentry from Gulfport HS in Mississippi is another impressive sophomore righty, who has already been to national events and shown similar stuff.
I came in late to their Wednesday game and caught righty Russell Reynolds from Parkview Baptist HS in Louisiana. Reynolds has a good pitcher’s frame at a wiry and sturdy 6’3”, 180 lbs, with a long, loose arm-action. He threw around 86 MPH consistently for an inning with a downward plane on his fastball. Most impressive to me was the spin Reynolds put on his curve, it has a chance to be a solid-average or better major league pitch one day. The velocity will come as he gets older, Reynolds won’t be a senior until 2012.