Tallahassee, FL - Next Level Baseball’s 2014 National Showcase this past August 24-25 was a great event as always. There were over twenty colleges and professional scouts in attendance as well as parents and fans at Lincoln High School.
Overall there were nearly 150 players that attended the showcase. There were no games played, it was a pro-style workout for the players. Each player ran a 60 yard dash, took batting practice, infield and outfield and pitchers threw bullpen sessions. Everything the players did was in front of the college coaches and scouts.
I liked how Next Level worked the seniors out on Saturday and underclassmen on Sunday. It made it easier to evaluate.
Because there were no games, I couldn’t get a good feel for most of the players abilities but I could get a quick look at their tools and athleticism. This article is mainly about players with Next Level Baseball I haven't seen a lot of yet. I've seen several Next Level Baseball players plenty of times including most recently at our Crossover Symmetry Underclass All-American Games at USF in Tampa. I will have brief notes on the players I've scouted before that are 2015 and 2016 grads in my next article.
Here are my notes from from day one, Saturday August 24th for the 2014 grads.
Jared Barnes - C 6’ 185 North Florida Christian HS
Barnes popped a (2.09 sec) and ran a 6.87 60 which is pretty quick for a catcher. Barnes needs to work on his transfer and release and his pop times should be closer to 2.00 sec. I need to see more with the bat from Barnes as well.
Tyler Beal - CF/2B 5’8” 170 Lawton Chiles HS
Beal ran a 6.91 60 and showed a better arm from the outfield (25 arm) than from the infield (20 arm). His actions were a little stiff at shortstop which leads me to believe that 2B is his true position. I’m not sure on Beal’s bat just yet but if he can make consistent contact, he’ll have a chance to play at the next level.
Javon Byrd - C 5’9” 215 Rickards HS
Byrd is an interesting player. Byrd has some athleticism for a catcher and swings the bat ok. Byrd ran a 7.5 60, which doesn’t concern me since he’s a catcher. Javon’s pop times were improved from last year, (2.00 sec) but I think they can get a little better with some agility/quickness drills. Byrd doesn’t have a lot of projectability but should be a serviceable college catcher somewhere.
Dakota Caldwell - RHP/OF 6’1” 180 Wesley Chapel HS
Caldwell definitely showed better talent on the mound than in the outfield. Dakota showed a (20 arm) that wasn’t accurate from the outfield but showed some arm strength on the mound topping out at 85mph. Caldwell has decent speed as well, running a 7.09 60.
Esquivel Quirino - SS/3B 5’11” 180 Clay HS
Quirino can run and has some arm strength. Esquivel ran a 7.18 60 and showed a (30 arm) from shortstop with good actions. He needs to get rid of the ball quicker but the arm strength and actions are there. At the plate, I need to see more of Quirino to fairly evaluate him overall.
Jay Estes - SS 5’9” 170 Wakulla HS
Estes, just like last year showed a strong arm (35 arm) and very good footwork from shortstop. For me, Estes is an ideal 2B at the college level and his (35 arm) from SS should translate to a (40-45 arm) at 2B. Jay has gotten stronger and in Tampa for the Crossover Symmetry Underclass All-American Games he hit the ball as hard and as consistent in bp as anyone. His bp in Tallahassee didn’t rival his Tampa bp but Estes still showed better batspeed and consistent line drive ability. I think Estes will continue to get stronger and become a very good college hitter and a pro prospect maybe sooner than later. Jay ran a 6.55 60 as well.
Andrew Faulkner - RHP/OF/INF 6’ 185 Rickards HS
I can’t remember seeing Faulkner in the past but he showed some tools that college coaches need to pay attention to. Andrew ran a 6.69 60 with a (35-40 arm) with some decent defensive actions at SS. From the outfield, Faulkner showed a solid (40-45 arm) that lit up the radar gun at 89mph. On the mound, Faulkner topped out at 83mph. Keep an eye on this kid. Like many of the players that weekend, I need to see more at bats for a complete report.
Connor Fitzpatrick - C/OF 5’11” 175 Bartraim Trail HS
Fitzpatrick ran a 6.82 60 and popped a (2.00). Connor showed a (30-35) arm with a quick transfer and release and good carry. If Fitzpatrick can work on his footwork his pop times should get better.
Bradley Flink - 2B 5’10” 170 Johns Creek HS
Flink showed very good hands at shortstop and got rid of the ball in a hurry. With a (20-25 arm), Flink’s quick release comes in handy. Bradley can run a bit as well clocking a 7.05 60.
Robbie Hanlon - OF/1B 5’11” 175 Pasco HS
Hanlon for me is definitely a better fit at 1B than the OF. At first base he showed a better arm (25 arm) and decent actions around the bag. In bp, Hanlon showed some pull power and a little bit of batspeed but needs to learn to make more consistent contact and drive the baseball. Robbie doesn’t look like he can run but he ran a 7.16 60.
Tramayne Holmes - SS/RHP/OF 6’ 175 Rickards HS
Will a college please sign Tramayne Holmes! I’ve talked about Holmes a lot in the past but he’s gotten better and better every time I see him and will have a lot of colleges shaking their heads if they don’t get him. Holme’s is beginning to turn himself into a pro-prospect as well. Tramayne ran a (6.71 60), showed a (50 arm) from the outfield with accuracy that registered at 90mph on the radar gun. He continues to develop with the bat as well and in my opinion can be a legitimate two-way player in college.
Dexter Martin - OF/1B 6’3” 220 Rickards HS
Martin showed some of the best raw power I’ve seen since I’ve been scouting players. What was most impressive was that Martin’s power was from centerfield to right center as a righty. Dexter is very raw as a baseball player and position wise I don’t know where he fits right now, maybe first base. He ran a 6.90 60 but only showed a (20 arm) defensively and below average actions. The sound of Martin’s bat was different than any other players that took bp, it reminded me of the sound a bat makes when a strong major leaguer takes bp. One thing that impressed me was as raw as Martin is, he still made adjustments in bp from day one to day two. I think the eye-hand coordination is there but I am not sure yet until I see him hit in games. If Martin can learn how to hit and at least be adequate at first base defensively, he could have a high ceiling and draw professional scouts attention.
Pearson McMahan - P/OF 6’4” 185 Middleburg HS
McMahan is a player I hadn’t seen in the past but definitely need to see more of. He has a projectable body and from the outfield showed a solid (40 arm) with accuracy. Pearson ran a very respectable 7.03 60. On the mound is where he stood out, topping out at 91mph with his fastball. McMahan stayed in the 88-89mph range with his fastball and showed some feel for a change-up at 78mph. His curveball showed potential at 73mph. With some work, McMahan can become more of an elite level pitcher. Again, I need to see more of McMahan.
Austin Murphy - 1B 6’2” 200 Episcopal HS
Murphy had by far the best bp at the event. Murphy showed great extension and a lightning quick bat and squared every ball up and most were driven out of the park with natural loft and backspin. Austin’s bat stays through the hitting zone for days it seems. Murphy ran a 6.50 60 as well and has an athletic physical body. I haven’t seen Murphy in games but if his bp, speed and mechanics are any indication of what type of player he is, colleges and pro scouts will be heavily following him this spring.
Bryan Nichols - 2B 5’10” 155 Wakulla HS
Nichols showed a couple of useable tools running a 6.87 60 and showing a (40 arm) from SS that was very accurate. Nichols (40 arm) from SS should translate to at least a (45 arm) from his natural position at 2B. Bryan showed decent footwork at SS as well. I need to see more at bats from Nichols.
Jordan Stacy - C/SS 5’11” 190 Episcopal HS
It’s rare to see a C/SS combination but Stacy has the defensive tools for both. Behind the plate Jordan showed a quick release and excellent footwork. He also showed soft hands as a receiver. His quick release and footwork translated to a (1.97 POP). At SS, Stacy showed a solid (40 arm). What surprised me somewhat was that Stacy ran a 6.84 60 which is very quick for a catcher. If he can make consistent contact at the plate, he’ll be able to catch for a college somewhere.
Andy Toelken - RHP/3B 6’1” 170 Clay HS
Another solid player from Clay HS and a definite player to watch, Toelken showed plenty of projectability and upside on the mound. Toelken has an athletic wiry body. At SS, Andy showed great actions with an easy (35-40 arm) coupled with a quick release. As a pitcher, he has the physical tools to be great. He has a quick, easy arm action that registered 89mph with his fastball on the radar gun. Toelken’s curveball was in the 78-79mph range. If Toelken can get better extension instead of cutting himself off on the mound with his delivery I think he’ll be 90mph plus very soon. Keep a close close eye on Toelken as a pitcher.
Wesley Weeks - OF 6’1” 180 Clay HS
Weeks is a very interesting athletic player. Weeks has speed and arm strength and I think the bat may come along. Wesley ran a 6.44 60 and showed a legitimate (45 arm) from the OF but it wasn’t very accurate. I need to see more of Weeks as a hitter but I think the tools are there for him to be a very good player.
Harlan Harris - C 6’3” 190 Chiles HS
Harris may have some of the best upside of the 2014 grads I scouted. As a left-handed hitting catcher that potentially may have some power, college coaches and even professional scouts will be watching Harris closely his senior year. Harris for me has been the classic late bloomer. Last year I liked Harris but he lacked quickness in certain areas of his game, this year he started showing more quickness and continues to get better. One thing Harris can do is hit. As I mentioned earlier at 6’3” 190 with a very projectable frame I think his power will come. Right now Harris has some length in his swing but that can be corrected. He still squares the ball up and does an adequate job behind the plate. Harlan’s 60 time continues to improve as he ran a 7.23 60 and the stronger and quicker he becomes the better his POP times will be. He had a (2.00 POP) but with some coaching and strength, his times should be sub 2.00 sec.
Dalton Mauldin - MIF 6’1” 165 Columbia HS
Mauldin showed very easy actions and a (40 arm) from SS. His footwork was very good as well. Mauldin doesn’t run well clocking a 7.53 60 which means his bat and defense will need to carry him to the next level. I need to see more at bats to getter a better feel of what kind of hitter Mauldin is.
Jay Robinson - 2B 5’9” 160 Florida HS
Robinson definitely showed a plus plus tool running a Prospect Wire record 6.22 60. Robinson is a high waisted, athletic player with game changing speed. Jay can do more than run as he showed a (30 arm) from SS with very good actions and good footwork. I think eventually he moves to either CF or 2B permanently. I need to see Robinson more as a hitter to better evaluate him overall. I do know that if a player runs a 6.22 60, plays solid defense and can make consistent contact he’ll make a college very happy and get a lot of professional looks as well. You can’t teach that kind of speed.
Harrison Hyatt - RHP 6'3" 180 Chiles HS
Hyatt has a projectable pitchers body and ran his fastball up to 89mph. His arm action isn't the best but at 89mph he'll get some looks from college programs. I need to see more of Harrison to determine his secondary pitches and his pitchability.