JUPITER, Fla.—Several marquee pitchers drew large masses of scouts to their games today, as the World Wood Bat Association World Championship kicked off with an abbreviated schedule.
One standout pitcher, however, was relatively new to the scene: lefthander Anthony Seise from West Orange High in Winter Garden, Fla.
Seise, who is currently uncommitted, is a bit of a pop-up since he didn't pitch at many other big events this summer. He also missed all of last summer with shoulder soreness, but said everything feels fine now.
With an athletic, 6-foot-3, 185-pound build, Seise sat in the 89-91 mph range with his fastball and mixed in a 12-6 curveball that showed sharp break at times. He also threw a couple changeups, though he admitted after the game that it's his third-best pitch.
Seise showed a nice line to the plate, threw his fastball for strikes to both sides and was aggressive with pitching inside.
"I felt good, I felt really good, I felt like I controlled everything," Seise said. "The first couple innings my curveball wasn't working, but then I calmed myself and my curveball was working good."
Despite his athletic build, Seise has always been focused only on baseball—a sport he's loved since he was 5 years old.
"If I'm not playing baseball, I like to help little kids develop and become a little better," Seise said. "My high school has some camps during the week, so I just help with them. It feels good."
• The day got off to a quick start with righthander Jamie Callahan taking the hill for Canes Baseball during the first time slot. Callahan, a 2012 prospect from Dillon (S.C.) High sat 90-91 mph with spotty command. His curveball was inconsistent, but was better when he threw it about 77-78. His fastball was at its best when he was able to get it downhill, but when he didn't, it flattened out and was 88-90.
• The Puerto Rico Baseball Academy team is loaded at this event with shortstop Carlos Correa, second baseman Jesmuel Valentin Diaz (who also plays shortstop) and catcher Wilfredo Rodriguez. Correa and Valentin Diaz have gotten attention at other events this summer, but Rodriguez is intriguing as well. He's solidly built at 5-foot-10 and 200 pounds, showed a strong arm behind the plate and a fast bat as a righthanded hitter.
• Clinton Hollon, a 2013 righthander from Woodford County High in Lexington, Ky., touched the highest velocity today, albeit just one time. In his first inning of work against a loaded Red Sox Scout Team, Hollon sat 93-94 mph and touched 96. He also had a sharp, low-80s slider and struck out the side. He turns his back to the hitter slightly and has some crossfire in his delivery, but his raw stuff is very good. In his second inning he was 89-93.
• One player that stood out against Hollon was outfielder Lewis Brinson from Coral Springs (Fla.) High. Brinson turned around a 92 mph fastball for a double, smoking it down the left field line. He also showed off his impressive speed by covering a lot of ground in center field.
• The final game of the day was played in Roger Dean Stadium with East Cobb Baseball facing Palm Beach PAL. Righthander Duane Underwood of Pope High in Marietta, Ga., cruised through four innings before being removed during the fifth. He sat 92-94 with his fastball and mixed in a good, if inconsistent, curveball at 73-75. He also showed a low-80s changeup. He worked with a quick tempo and simply overmatched hitters. He has a fast arm and a fairly easy delivery.
• Jonathan Denney of Yukon (Okla.) High made an impression for the Sandlot/Midwest Scout Team today. The 2013 righthanded-hitting catcher is a solid 6-foot-2, 195 pounds with evident strength and flexibility. He flashes bat speed and pull-side pop—belting a shot over the left field fence. Better than his bat are his catch and throw skills. Denney made a couple of impressive throws tonight, with every pop time 1.95 or better. His best was 1.82. Along with plus arm strength, his transfer is quick and his feet work well.
• Shortstop Oscar Mercado of Gaither High in Tampa stood out for a stacked Marrucci Elite squad. He displayed good balance at the plate with a simple load and a short, compact swing making hard contact look easy. He has present loft in his swing and there looks to be untapped power potential in his future as he fills out and gains strength to his immature frame. Despite not being challenged in the field today, Mercado shows smooth infield actions combined with an arm that is more than strong enough for the left side of the diamond.
CONTRIBUTING: Ty Boyles, Tim Ednoff, Nathan Rode
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