Perfect Game National Notebook

The arms continued to stand out on the final two days of Perfect Game National.

• Before righthander Ashe Russell (Cathedral High, Indianapolis) threw a pitch in game action his long, loose and athletic body, frame and the curly locks hanging out of the back of his hat drew physical comparisons to Clay Buchholz, with a listed height-weight (6-foot-4, 195 pounds) that is one inch taller and five pounds heavier than Buchholz. He sat 92-94 mph in the first while touching 95 on multiple occasions. His velocity remained in that range during his second inning until his final hitter when he worked out of the stretch and scraped 91 a few times. Russell has a loose, quick arm and the ball explodes out of his hand. He has considerable length in the back of his arm action and throws from a slot a tick below three-quarters. Russell has groundball potential and gets good extension out front on his fastball, producing sink and run when coming to his arm side. The only balls put in play were on the ground. The Notre Dame commit struck out four during his two innings while getting 12 swinging strikes. He was what one scout called “effectively wild.” His 81-85 mph breaking ball showed at least average potential and he was primarily a two-pitch pitcher on the day.

• Righthander Triston McKenzie has a body that looks poised to contend for C.J. Edwards‘ nickname of “string bean slinger.” The Royal Palm Beach (Fla.) High product has a very long, lean, athletic and projectable build at 6-foot-5, 160 pounds that scouts can dream on. If Jay Bilas were to describe McKenzie, “wingspan” would likely be among his first words. His wingspan is reminiscent of Tayshaun Prince (who has a similar build) and Kawhi Leonard. The 16-year-old McKenzie was one of the youngest players at the event and won’t turn 18 until two months after the draft.

McKenzie largely sat 88-91, touching 92 with downhill plane and angle from a high three-quarters arm slot from a loose, quick arm. After airmailing his first pitch (90 mph fastball) to the backstop, he showed good feel for repeating his delivery and mostly filled up the strike zone. McKenzie showed the ability to consistently locate his fastball low and to his glove side. He demonstrated feel for three pitches with an 82-85 mph changeup and mid-70s curveball that both flashed at least average potential. The intelligent McKenzie is currently uncommitted.

• Catcher Wyatt Cross (Legacy HS, Broomfield, Colo.) showcased his plus arm during catcher infield drills, electing rave reviews from scouts. His catch-and-throw skills are his meal ticket at the next level. With a quick transfer and plus pure arm strength, Cross routinely posted pop times below 1.90 seconds, registering 1.78 at his best. His arm was never tested in game action on a steal attempt but he showed the ability to limit secondary leads by throwing accurately on backpicks multiple times, even to second. Cross’ bat didn’t show as well as arm, struggling to make contact and getting beat in the zone on some mid-80s fastballs. The North Carolina commit has some pull side pop as a lefthanded hitter. He is a below-average runner out of the box and in the 60 (7.15). Cross is a part of a strong crop of high school players from Colorado. While the prep talent from Colorado has historically leaned toward pitching, this year’s crop includes a trio of top position players in Cross, shortstop Nick Shumpert and outfielder/first baseman Greg Pickett, who has above-average power potential.

• All 60-yard dash times below 6.60 seconds are posted below. The event uses motion sensors for all official 60 times much like the NFL Combine does for its 40-yard dash. All players ran the 60 on grass this year after having the event on the Metrodome turf in previous years.

Time Player Pos School, Hometown
6.17 Alonzo Jones* inf/of Columbus (Ga.) HS
6.39 Garrett Zech of Naples (Fla.) HS
6.41 Lucius Fox Jr. ss American Heritage HS Delray Beach
6.51 Deacon Liput ss Oviedo (Fla.) HS
6.52 Nicholas Shumpert ss Highlands Ranch (Colo.) HS
6.54 Tyler Williams of Kellis HS Glendale
6.55 Daino Deas 2b Parkview HS Lilburn
6.55 Jimmy Herron of La Salle HS Wyndmoor
6.55 Cameron Simmons of/rhp Spring-Ford HS Royersford
6.55 Kennie Taylor of Tampa (Fla.) Jesuit HS
6.56 Carter Hall ss/2b Wesleyan HS Peachtree Corners
6.56 Chad Smith of/lhp South Gwinnett HS Snellville
6.57 Doak Dozier of Arlington Heights Fort Worh
6.57 Eric Jenkins of West Columbus HS Cerro Gordo
6.58 Kevin Collard of Rancho Buena Vista (Calif.) HS
6.58 Desmond Lindsay 1b/3b Out-of-Door Academy Sarasota
6.58 Reggie Pruitt of Kennesaw (Ga.) Mountain HS
6.59 Marquise Doherty of Winnetonka HS Kansas City
6.59 Erik Rodriguez of International Baseball Academy Naguabo
6.59 Darryl Wilson of Canton (Ohio) South HS

*Numerous scouts who used their stopwatches to clock Jones 60-yard dash were surprised at his electronic time of 6.17 after clocking him slower than that.