The World Wood Bat Championship in Jupiter, Fla. is over, but there is still plenty to talk about. We posted a few blogs while there—on Jose Fernandez, Jake Cave and Josh Bell—but have tons of notes on many players. Here are some final thoughts as high school prospects shut it down until the spring.
• Aside from Fernandez's two dominating performances, the talk of the tournament was righthander Nick Burdi from South High in Downers Grove, Ill. Burdi's fastball was electric at 93-95 mph and even got as high as 97. Throwing from his low three-quarter arm angle, he also generated substantial late run on the pitch. A blood blister on his right index finger prevented him from snapping off any breaking balls, but the fastball alone was enough to take care of business.
• Chet Lemon's Juice were co-champions of the event and have several quality prospects for the 2011 class. Lefthander Corey Stump from Lakeland (Fla.) Christian High was 86-89, touching 90 with a 74 mph curveball and room for projection on his thin, 6-foot-5, 195-pound frame. Righthander Luke Weaver from Deland, Fla., High was 86-89 with good run on his fastball and a 75-76 mph curveball. Outfielder Josh Delph has a sweet lefthanded swing and consistently hit the ball hard, including roping a triple in the championship game.
• The Kentucky Baseball Club sent a couple interesting arms to the mound in their game against the Texas Scout Team Yankees, with more than 50 scouts behind home plate to see Yankees righthander Dylan Davis. Righthander Tyler Arthur from Lexington Catholic High started the game and was 88-89 with his fastball. He mixed in a 75-77 mph curveball and a 78-80 mph changeup with good movement. The 6-foot-3, 190 pounder showed a good delivery and threw a lot of strikes. His teammate, righthander Matt Spalding from St. Xavier High in Louisville isn't as tall at 6-feet, 190 pounds, but opened some eyes with his fastball that was 91-94 mph and a curveball anywhere from 73-77 mph.
• Righthander John Taylor from Franklin County High in Carnesville, Ga. pitched for the Mid-Atlantic Rookies and used his 89-91 mph fastball and nice 75-77 mph curveball to keep the FTB Mizuno/Cardinals Scout Team in check. Taylor showed a good delivery, good life on his fastball and his curveball had tight 12-6 break. He also flashed a changeup at 79 mph.
• Joey Gallo from Las Vegas powerhouse Bishop Gorman High has mostly been a hitter thus far in his prep career, but the 6-foot-4, 210-pound righthander has recently taken to the mound and has showed some impressive velocity. In a bullpen session this weekend, Gallo's fastball sat 91-92, but he's been as high as 95 in the past and he'll be one of the the most interesting two-way players for the 2012 draft class.
• Puerto Rico isn't typically known for producing pitchers, but the island has a good one this year in Jorge Lopez from Academia la Milagrosa in Cayey, P.R. The rail-thin, 6-foot-5, 165-pound righthander impressed scouts with his 88-91 mph fastball that he spotted to both side of the plate. For such a tall, lanky teenager, Lopez showed good body control, but his arm can get a little sweepy in the back. He used his height to get downhill and mixed in a 73-75 mph curveball and a nasty 80-81 mph changeup.
• FTB Mizuno/Cardinals Scout Team third baseman Javier Baez from Arlington Country Day School in Jacksonville has a lot of tools. He's an above-average runner with power potential, but also showed a lack of maturity by getting ejected from one of the games after getting into a verbal altercation with the opposing team's third baseman after stealing the base. His teammate, righthander Deshorn Lake from Menchville High in Newport News, Va., was 88-91 with his fastball. At last year's WWBA, he was 92-94.
• The Cardinals also had first baseman Dan Vogelbach of Bishop Verot High in Fort Myers, Fla. He stood out with the bat this summer and continued to rake at this event, frequently squaring balls up and hitting hard line drives all over the field. His body was a negative at the beginning of the circuit, but since the Tournament of Stars he has lost 35 pounds and looks a lot better physically. He's still limited to first base, but his commitment to get in better shape had a lot of people buzzing.
• Royals Scout Team lefthander Stephen Tarpley from Gilbert (Ariz.) High was 88-91 with his fastball and mixed in a 74-76 mph curveball that needs more consistency. He has an athletic frame at 6 feet and 170 pounds and also flashed a changeup around 81 mph.
• Two pitchers that haven't played at a lot of events this summer are Midland righthander Dillon Howard from Searcy (Ark.) High and Texas Scout Team Yankees lefthander Andrew Suarez from Columbus High in Miami. Howard came out firing 93-95, but settled into the 90-92 range. He has a big, physical frame at 6-foot-3 and 200 pounds and throws from a lower three-quarter arm angle. Howard mixed in an 81-83 mph changeup and a 76-78 mph curveball. Suarez has an athletic, 6-foot-2, 200-pound frame with a strong lower half. He has long arms and got downhill with his 88-91 mph fastball, pounding the lower half of the strike zone. Suarez showed an easy, repeatable delivery and hid the ball well, so that even as his fastball lost a couple ticks in the last inning of his outing, the ball still jumped on hitters.
• Team British Columbia righthander Thomas Robson was 88-92 during his WWBA outing with a 78-81 mph slider. The 6-foot-4, 200-pounder has been up to 94 earlier this summer.
• The strength of North and South Carolina's 2011 and 2012 classes was evident with Canes Baseball and the Dirtbags making the final four. Canes righthander Jordan Ramsey goes to North Davidson High in Lexington, N.C.—the same high school as 2012 shortstop Landon Lassiter. Ramsey is committed to UNC-Wilmington and has a projectable 6-foot-4, 180-pound frame. He was sitting 87-88 with his fastball and touched 90. He flashed a sharp, 68-70 curveball and mixed in a 75 changeup. Catcher Brett Austin is from Providence High in Charlotte and will attract scouts in the spring with his strong frame and switch-hitting abilities. D.C. Arendas is a 2012 infielder for the Dirtbags and has filled out some since the spring. Now 6-foot-1, 180 pounds with a broad upper body, Arendas has a short swing and showed an ability to use the whole field. He didn't play shortstop at this event, but showed good defensive skills at second and third.
• Walker Weickel, a 2012 righthander from Olympia High in Orlando, impressed at USA Baseball's National Team Identification Series in Cary, N.C. in September. Pitching for the Orlando Scorpions this weekend, Weickel didn't have his best stuff, but still showed a good, 89-91 mph fastball that had a good downward angle on it. He slowed his arm on his secondary stuff, which was inconsistent. Scorpions teammate Ryan Meyer, a righthander, pitched late in the tournament. He has a very projectable body at 6-foot-5, 190 pounds. He sat 90-91 with his fastball early and showed a good slider at 81 mph. He lost a tick of velocity as the game went on and sat mostly in the high 80s.
• Righthander Aaron Nola was among a trio of intriguing righthanders for Marucci Elite. Nola—from Catholic High in Baton Rouge—sat 87-88, touching 89 with a lot of armside run thanks to his low three-quarter arm slot. His curveball was solid at 72 mph, but he showed a very good changeup that was 80-81. He was followed by Austin Robichaux of Notre Dame High in Crowley, La. Robichaux was 87-89, touching 90 with a little bit of effort. He would drop down his arm angle on his fastball at times to get more movement. He was 84-86 when he did that and lost command. He also had a curveball that was 75 with a slurvey action to it. Taylor Nunez of Salmen High in Slidell, La. is projectable at 6-foot-4, 175 pounds. He has popped up lately, showing improved velocity. He sat 87-89, touching 90 in his one-inning stint in which he struck out the side and earned a save. He also flashed a very good curveball.
CONTRIBUTING: Nathan Rode
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