The schedule for the penultimate day of Tournament of Stars was altered due to expected inclement weather, pushing all games to within the same time slot. Here are the highlights from the first game of the day, which pitted Pride versus Stripes.
• Catcher Lucas Herbert of San Clemente (Calif.) High stood out at the plate and behind it. In his first plate appearance, the righthanded-hitting Herbert got a hanging 1-0 breaking ball at 69 mph and hit a home run to straightaway left field at the main stadium of the USA Baseball complex that went at least another 10 feet beyond the stadium wall. He squared up a high-80s fastball for a line drive single to left field in his next plate appearance. Herbert hit a fly ball for an out to center field his next time up before attempting to bunt in the count during his fourth trip to the plate of a close game. After getting into a hitter’s count, Herbert drove an 89-mph fastball to the opposite field gap for a double. Herbert has a loose, quick stroke with natural power to his pull side.
Herbert threw out three runners on the bases Saturday, although he allowed a passed ball. He posted in-game pop times of 1.93 and 1.96 on two throws to second base a day after throwing in the mid-1.80s (at his best) during the evaluation day with a quick transfer. Herbert throws from a lower slot for a catcher but his throws have mostly been accurate.
The 6-foot-1, 195-pound Herbert has an athletic build with room to add strength to his frame. He is a well below-average runner who ran the 60-yard dash in 7.41 and 7.32 seconds and his speed has not played better out of the box.
• Although infielder Ryan Mountcastle (Hagerty High, Oviedo, Fla.) only had one hit in four at-bats, he consistently squared up the baseball and hit to all fields without swinging and missing on the day. His bat hasn’t shown as well in batting practice as it has in games over the past week and he had one of the top exit velocities (100.9 mph) in game action at Perfect Game National. The righthanded-hitting Mountcastle hit a soft line drive directly at the first third baseman on a first pitch changeup at 77 mph in his first plate appearance. He again squared up the first pitch in his next trip, sending a line drive directly back at the pitcher. Then Mountcastle worked inside the baseball and drove a 90 mph fastball to the opposite field gap for a triple, before flying out to right field in his fourth time up. Mountcastle has shown defensive versatility over the past few days, seeing time on the left side of the infield as well as first base. His arm is a bit short for shortstop and he posted 60-yard dash times of 6.86 and 6.95. The Central Florida commit has an athletic, rangy body at 6-foot-3, 185 pounds that has a lot of room to get stronger.
• Hitting behind Stripes leadoff hitter Trenton Clark, who seems to rarely make outs, middle infielder Charlie Donovan helped Clark provide a spark at the top of the lineup. The 5-foot-10, 165-pound Donovan has been a plus runner in games and ran the 60 in 6.72 and 6.78 seconds. The lefthanded hitter has a line-drive oriented stroke and sneaky power to the gaps given his smaller, athletic frame. He walked in four pitches in his first plate appearance before being thrown out by Herbert on a steal attempt of second. He hit a hard line drive single back up the box on a 90-mph fastball in his next trip. The Westmont High (Clarendon Hills, Ill.) product drove a triple over the center fielder’s head on a mid-80s fastball before striking out in his last plate appearance.
The Michigan commit showed his defensive ability and athleticism when he made a diving play deep in the hole at shortstop and showed quickness and body control in getting to his feet to make the throw to first that was not in time to get the runner. He has athletic defensive actions and quick feet, showing well on the body control play in front of him with an average arm. Donovan was on the finishing end of a double play.
• The previously mentioned Clark (Richland HS, North Richland Hills, Texas) continues to control the strike zone and put the ball in play, running well and rarely swinging and missing. He has natural feel for the game and as one scout said, “Clark has some magic to him. He plays the game like he knows something that nobody else does.” His ability to get on base consistently, swipe bases and range well to the gaps in center field, as well as show a strong arm, could make him an attractive candidate for the trials roster. The lefthanded hitter ran 4.12 on a groundout to second and was around four seconds flat in his last trip to the plate.