PHOENIX—The Arizona Senior Fall Classic at the Peoria Sports Complex concluded Sunday with a big performance by an in-state talent.
Angles Scout Team lefthander/outfielder Alex Verdugo (Sahuaro HS, Tucson.) continues to make his case as one of the top two-high prep players in the 2014 class. At a time of year when many of the other top pitchers in the class have been shut down after a long summer, Verdugo struck out nine in three innings.
Although he was around the zone early, his command was not at its best from the start. But he has easy arm action and a smooth, athletic delivery. Verdugo sat 88-91 mph with his fastball that jumps out of his hand and has downhill plane. Verdugo’s wipeout breaking ball was slightly inconsistent and missed up in the zone early before settling in. He used his wipeout 74-77 mph curveball with 1-7 tilt and slider with three-quarters tilt with a tick more velocity as put away pitches. All but two of his strikeouts came on breaking pitches. Verdugo mixed in an occasional changeup to righthanded hitters with some arm-side fade.
Verdugo allowed one walk and got one groundout after his first strikeout of the second inning got away from the catcher, allowing the hitter to reach first. Not only did Verdugo strike out nine, he was generating lots of swinging strikes, with 12 in the first two innings alone. Verdugo will attend the WWBA World Championship in Jupiter, Fla., from October 24-28.
At the plate, Verdugo laced a triple into the right-center field gap a day after hitting an opposite-field double into the left-center field gap. Verdugo, who is very young for the class, has above-average bat speed from the left side and has good feel for the barrel. On Saturday, he made a strong, accurate throw from center field to nail a runner at home.
• The event provided scouts a look at an interesting prospect from the 49th state, Alaska Baseball Academy outfielder Roderick Bynum, a righthanded thrower and lefthanded hitter who stroked a triple on Sunday. One of the best basketball players in the state, Bynum is a good athlete with speed and quickness to his 6-foot, 180-pound build. He has a below average arm and attends Monroe Catholic, Fairbanks, Ala. The highest drafted high school player ever from Alaska was a fourth-round pick in 2000, righthander Brian Montalbo.
• An intriguing two-way talent was White Sox Team righthander/outfielder Andre Jackson, who has a lean, athletic and wiry build at 6-foot-2, 180-pounds. Although his results were lackluster, Jackson, who started pitching within the last few years, showed an easy delivery, loose arm and significant projection. The uncommitted Jackson touched 90 mph and sat 86-88, pitching on back-to-back days. There is some length to his arm action and he struggled to get on top of his pitches, but his athleticism portends well. While his high-60s breaking ball was inconsistent, Jackson showed feel for a low-70s changeup with good tumble.
Jackson, who attends Cienega High in Vail, Ariz., is a switch-hitting outfielder with speed and some feel for the barrel. He has gotten some time at shortstop as well.
• Yankees Scout Team infielder Shane Martinez, a sophomore committed to Arizona from JW North High in Riverside, Calif., was one of the top underclassmen at the event. The long, rangy 6-foot, 150-pound Martinez has good defensive actions, a strong arm and natural fluidity. He made a very impressive diving play up the middle while playing shortstop, and has a body and frame that make evaluators take notice.
• Players at the event had the option of being electronically timed in the 60-yard dash. Not every player participated. Coaches commented that it was a slow track, with these being the 15 fastest times:
Time—Name, Class, Position, Event Team, High School
6.64—Tyler Williams, 2015, of, Arizona Prowlers, Kellis High, Glendale, Ariz.,
6.72—Marcus Still, 2014, if/of, Diamondbacks Elite Scout Team, Queen Creek (Ariz.) High,
6.73—Ryan Nolcheff, 2014, of, Angels Red Scout Team, Hamilton High, Chandler, Ariz.,
6.76—Kaimana Ancog, 2014, of/rhp, Team Hawaii Gold, Lahainaluna (Hawaii) High
6.77—Jordan Hand, 2014, c, Las Vegas Cardinals Scout Team, Shadow Ridge, Surprise, Ariz.
6.77—Keaton Smith, 2014, inf, Las Vegas Cardinals Scout Team, Green Valley, Henderson, Nev.
6.82—Cole Anderson, 2015, of, WYCO Braves, Rocky Mountain High, Cowley, Wyo.
6.83—Alejo Lopez, 2015, ss, Arizona Athletics, Greenway High, Phoenix
6.83—Cam Huber, 2014, of, Big Sky Baseball, Natrona County, Casper, Wyo.
6.85—Cadyn Grenier, 2015, if, Las Vegas Cardinals Scout Team, Bishop Gorman, Henderson, Nev.
6.85—Evan Maecker, of/rhp, WYCO Braves, Pine Creek High
6.87—Ronnie Adair, 2014, of, Diamondbacks Elite Scout Team, Mountain View, Phoenix
6.87—Kyle Brown, 2014, 2b, All Star Baseball Academy, Cactus Shadows High, Cave Creek, Ariz.
6.88—Devlin Granberg, 2014, of, Rockies Scout Team, Holy Granberg
6.89—Chris Roppolo, EDH Vipers, 2015, of, Oak Ridge, El Dorado Hills, Calif.