FULLERTON, Calif.—The A-list wasn’t as long as Gerrit Cole’s outing, but Jupiter (Fla.) righthander Jack Armstrong, attracted close to 40 scouts, crosscheckers and directors in his start against Bishop Amat (La Puente, Calif.) on Wednesday morning. They weren’t around long as Armstrong’s velocity was down and he struggled with his control. Jupiter’s offense provided some support, however, and the Warriors won 11-4.
Baseball America scout Dave Perkin had this to say about him: "Armstrong has a prototypical tall and projectable pitcher’s frame, but his stuff (on this day was) not that of an upper-level draftee. He has a mid- to high-80s fastball and a low-70s curve." Armstrong is a Vanderbilt signee, which also clouds his signability.
James River (Midlothian, Va.) picked up its first victory of the tournament Wednesday with a 12-7 win over West Lynn (Ore.). Austin Stadler (Wake Forest) started and was sitting comfortably in the 83-84 mph range.
Calvert Hall (Baltimore) is about to take a major hit in the rankings. The Cardinals have yet to win in three games here after dropping a 7-2 decision to Cottonwood (Salt Lake City). They face West Lynn on Thursday, the only other winless team in the tournament.
Lutheran (Orange, Calif.) punched its ticket to the championship game with a 16-11 win over Seminole Ridge (Loxahatchee, Fla.).
The championship game will be played at Cal State Fullerton Thursday night with Lutheran facing off against Crespi (Calif.) after the Celts handed St. John’s HS (Washington, D.C.) their first loss of the season.
Dave Perkin also offered some more insight on some Wednesday players:
Bobby Crocker, of, Aptos (Calif.) HS: Crocker is one of the most naturally gifted prep players in the nation. He has a perfect athletic frame and outstanding basic tools. His speed is well-above-average with a 6.7 60-yard dash, and he profiles as a plus defensive outfielder with a solid average arm.
His bat is a concern. Crocker hits out of an open stance with his front heel off the ground, and he uses an exaggerated crouch with his weight starting on his back leg. While Crocker possesses fine hand-eye coordination and bat speed, he could be a better hitter if he abandoned all the pre-swing gimmicks and simplified his approach. Wednesday he was lifting out of the crouch and getting his hands "blocked" out front slightly.
With his raw tools and frame, Crocker is a third- to sixth-round candidate. He’ll need to either show more at the plate or adjust his hitting style to move up draft boards. He is committed to Cal Poly.
Tyler Thompson, of, Jupiter HS: Another player with a perfect build and decent non-hitting tools. At bat, he is far too spread out in his stance and flies his front side open too quickly. Concerns about his hitting will in all likelihood take him out of the first two rounds and place him in the three-to-five range. He is committed to Florida.
Ryan Thomas, 3b/1b Cottonwood HS: Thomas is an intriguing hitting prospect with a tall and projectable build, quick hands, and bat speed. He hit a screaming line drive home run in his second at-bat of Wednesday’s game against Calvert Hall. Thomas has several mechanical issues that need to be resolved as a hitter, but his basic ability with the bat is outstanding.
Kyle Beverly (3b, Cottonwood) and Patrick Blair (ss, Calvert Hall) are both strong athletes with mature, under 6-foot tall builds who profile best as college middle infielders. Beverly has quality tools and swings a provocative bat. Beverly is committed to play at Oregon State, while Blair is only a junior.