JUPITER, Fla.—The second day of the World Wood Bat Association (WWBA) Perfect Game World Championship was delayed until 4:30 thanks to rain throughout the day, and limited play to the four fields on the Marlins complex—the only fields with lights.
Once the rain subsided though, there were a number of interesting prospects who stood out, including a handful of promising underclassmen who won’t be the focus of pro teams this year, but who are building histories and increasing their stock all the same.
Here are a few of the standout performances from Friday’s action.
Jacob Meador | LHP | Centennial HS, Burleson, Texas
Those who waited around until the day’s final time slot were treated to the best pitching performance of the day, delivered by 2019 righthander Jacob Meador, who is committed to TCU.
Matched up against Royals Scout Team, Meador walked the first batter that he faced in the top of the first inning—speedy 2018 outfielder/righthander P.J. Hilson (Nettleton HS, Jonesboro, Ark.). That, apparently, was all he needed to focus up.
Meador proceeded to strike out the next three batters he saw, the first on a 90 mph fastball looking, the second on a 90 mph fastball swinging and the third swinging over a 77 mph diving curveball that he buried into the dirt. He wasn’t done there. Meador struck out the next three batters in the top of the second inning—all swinging on 90+ fastballs. During the third inning he saw three more batters. He struck all of them out.
Lapsing a bit in the fourth, Meador walked 2018 catcher/righthander Dominic Keegan on four pitches. Still, the other three batters he faced all went down on strikes. Through four innings, Meador had done 100 percent of the work for his team, racking up 12 strikeouts.
He went out on the mound for one final frame in the fifth, where he forced two batters into groundouts before striking out the final batter that he faced on four pitches. His last pitch was 90 mph, just one tick below the 91 mph fastball he started the game with.
Meador pitched in the upper 80s and low 90s throughout his start, which lasted 74 total pitches, of which 62 percent went for strikes. The 2019 righthander throws out of a quick and clean three-quarter arms slot. He threw across his body slightly, but that clearly didn’t hamper him, and he also showed a high spin rate curveball with incredible depth and 10-4 or 11-5 shape depending on the side of the plate. The 2,584 rpms he averaged on the pitch is the 7th-highest mark after two days of play.
If his dominance wasn’t described well with his stuff, strikeouts and the fact that he didn’t allow a hit, consider that after five innings Meador jumped to the top of Trackman’s swing-and-miss percentage board by generating whiffs 43.8 percent of the time.
Dylan Delucia | RHP/1B | New Smyrna Beach (Fla.) HS
Continuing with our class of 2019 righthander trend, the Canes Prospects turned to uncommitted righty Dylan Delucia in their evening game against Premier Baseball Futures-Evans.
Delucia responded by throwing four, one-run innings, while striking out nine batters and allowing three hits. Delucia’s first inning was a bit rough—he hit the first batter he faced on his first pitch, and then walked his second batter on nine pitches. He managed to find his control as the game went on, though, and ended up throwing 62 percent of his pitches for strikes.
He threw in the mid 80s throughout the game, touching 88 but also showed a 74-77 mph slider with 10-to-4 shape that was particularly effective when spotted low and away to righthanded hitters. He doubled up on the pitch in the video below, and generated whiffs on both offerings:
Back-to-back swing and miss sliders from 2019 Fla. RHP Dylan Delucia. 74-77 mph on the pitch. pic.twitter.com/EQZHQGTNVL
— Carlos Collazo (@CarlosACollazo) October 20, 2017
Drew Rom | LHP | Highlands HS, Fort Thomas, Ky.
Standing 6-foot-2, 177 pounds, Drew Rom is an athletic lefthander out of Kentucky who continued to rack up strikeouts and showed impressive command during his brief start for the SF Giants Scout Team on Friday night. Working with a smooth delivery and a fastball that featured natural arm-side run, Rom struck out seven batters in just 2.2 innings, including a perfect second inning in which he struck out the side on just 13 pitches.
Rom, who is committed to Michigan, consistently sat between 87 and 89 mph with his fastball, while also showing a sharp-breaking slider in the high-70s. He also flashed a curveball that registered in the low-70s, but that pitch was clearly behind his slider, which had a nice vertical break.
Removed from the game after only 44 pitches, Rom, who also plays in the outfield, could see more time on the mound as the WWBA World Championship continues.With another outing similar to his one on Friday night, Rom could see his stock soar as a projectable lefty who has already shown strikeout-worthy stuff.
— Kegan Lowe (@KeganLowe) October 20, 2017
Colten Panaranto | RHP | Roncalli HS, Martinsville, Ind.
While Rom was strong in his start for the SF Giants Scout Team, his teammate Colten Panaranto was just as impressive while closing the door in the Giants 1-0 win over the East Cobb Yankees.
A 6-foot-1 righthander from Indiana, Panaranto needed just 15 pitches to strike out the side in a perfect seventh inning. The fastball velocity was most noticeable for Panaranto, who sat 90-94 and was one of only two pitchers to average at least 92 mph with his fastball through the first two days of the WWBA World Championship.
Panaranto, who is committed to Michigan State, didn't need much more than an electric fastball to retire the side, although he did show one 78-mph slider that just missed the zone with late break.
— Kegan Lowe (@KeganLowe) October 21, 2017
Ryan Bliss | SS | Troup County HS, Lagrange, Ga.
Georgia shortstop Ryan Bliss was one of the more impressive defenders on Day 2 of the WWBA World Championship, showing off extended range and a plus arm while playing for the East Cobb Yankees.
An Auburn commit, Bliss made several routine plays look simple, including one sequence where the 5-foot-9 speedster was chasing a baserunner back toward first base during a rundown, pivoted hard toward home plate on a full sprint and made a strong throw across his body to nail down a potential run-scorer.
Offensively, Bliss ended the night hitless in three at-bats, but it wasn't for a lack of solid swings. Showing off impressive bat speed from a slightly-open stance, Bliss hit a line drive to left field in his final plate appearance that registered an exit velocity of 99.4 mph — one of the hardest hit balls on Day 2.
Other players to note:
• 2018 Nebraska commit and Nixa (Mo.) High product Brett Hammit showed some juice during a game against the Diamond Devils. Hitting in the four-spot as San Diego Show’s extra hitter, Hammit drove a ball in the third inning that one-hopped the fence in center field and traveled 400 feet according to Trackman.
• Amity Regional High (Woodbridge, Conn.) catcher Patrick Winkel hit a monster home run during a 4:30 matchup that pit his Baseball U team against the Banditos Scout Team, immediately getting the afternoon action started following rain. Winkel’s homer left his bat at 99 mph, according to Trackman.
• 2018 righthander Owen Meaney started for Premier Baseball Futures-Evans against Delucia and Canes Prospects, and showed an interesting arm although the Texas commit didn’t have the best control, walking six batters. The stuff was intriguing though, as Meaney threw a 90-92 mph fastball in the first inning as well as a low-to-mid 80s changeup that was effective. There are a few wrinkles in his mechanics, including some tilt and head whack, but if the 6-foot-5, 225-pound righty can get to his release point more consistently he will be dangerous for opposing hitters. Meaney attends St. Thomas Catholic High (Houston).
Day 1-2 Trackman Leaderboards (Day 2 rankings bolded)
Max fastball velocity:
- Seth Halvorsen, RHP, Heritage Christian Academy, Plymouth, Minn. — 95.4
- Victor Vodnik, RHP, Rialto (Calif.) HS — 94.7
- Aidan Maldonado, RHP, Rosemount (Minn.) HS — 94.0
- Cole Winn, RHP, Orange (Calif.) Lutheran HS — 93.9
- Yeankarlos Lleras, RHP, Carolina, P.R. — 93.7
Average fastball velocity:
- Cole Winn — 92.1
- Colten Panaranto, RHP, Roncalli HS, Indianapolis — 92.0
- Andrew Moore, RHP, Jackson HS, Flovilla, Ga. — 91
- Owen White, RHP, Carson HS, China Grove, N.C. — 90.9
- Aidan Maldonado — 90.9
Average breaking ball spin rate:
- Camden Sewell, RHP, Cleveland (Tenn.) HS — 2,697
- Daulton Montagna, LHP, Pennsville (N.J.) Memorial HS — 2,688
- Hueston Morrill, RHP, Suwanee HS, Live Oak, Fla. — 2,629
- Sam Bachman, RHP, Hamilton Southeastern HS, Fishers, Ind. — 2,608
- Tanner Kohlhepp, RHP, Eau Claire (Wis.) Memorial HS — 2,606
Max exit velocity:
- Ryder Green, SS, Knoxville (Tenn.) Christian HS — 107.0
- Trevor Cadd, OF, Martin Luther King HS, Riverside, Calif. — 105.2
- Christian Franklin, OF, Rockhurst HS, Overland Park, Kan. — 104.3
- Matheu Nelson, C, Calvary Christian HS, Largo, Fla. — 102.9
- Jonathan French, Parkview HS, Lilburn, Ga. — 101.1
Average exit velocity:
- Jack Zyska, OF, Seton Hall Prep, West Orange, N.J. — 90.5
- Brayden Frazier, SS, Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Jefferson HS — 90.0
- Cade Hungate, 3B, Abingdon (Va.) HS — 88.4
- Hueston Morrill — 88.0
- C.J. Kayfus, 1B, Palm Beach Central HS, Wellington, Fla. — 87.3
- Gavin Dugas, SS, Houma (La.) Christian HS — 405.5
- Brett Hammit, SS/2B, Nixa (Mo.) HS — 400.3
- Michael Brooks, SS, Palm Beach Central HS, Wellington, Fla. — 387.2
- Reece Ewing, OF, Faith Academy, Mobile, Ala. — 378.9
- Blaze Jordan, DeSoto Central HS, Southaven, Miss. — 374.2