See also: Tournament of Stars archive
SYRACUSE, N.Y.--After a rain-shortened opening day of the East Coast Professional Showcase, the Cubs team comprised of the Midwest and Tennessee faced a doubleheader, allowing the team to line up its top arms in back-to-back games. Although this region is not known for producing a surfeit of arms, the team’s top four righthanded pitchers--Donny Everett, Ashe Russell, Chandler Day and Riley Thompson--have shown as much potential as any other team’s top quartet so far.
Everett started the first game for the Cubs and showed much better than previous outings at summer showcases, namely the Tournament of Stars. The Clarksville (Tenn.) High product didn't have his best stuff in Cary even though he touched 95 mph, making two appearances for a total of three innings. Everett walked six hitters in half as many innings (three) while striking out two. While rolling over an inning is customary at many showcases, it is not at TOS. Everett, who gave up eight earned runs in three innings, had an inning during his second outing rolled over.
“TOS was a big eye opener for me,” Everett said. “I thought I was going good at that time. Then in going out there and facing the best competition in America, I got hit hard. I went ‘whoa,’ there are some things I have to work on. That is what I have been doing lately. I have been working out every day and trying to get better.”
Everett came out Thursday brandishing better velocity, sitting 93-95 while touching 96 in his first inning. He settled in to 90-93, touching 94 in his second and third innings before sitting 90-92 with a few 89s mixed in for the three hitters he faced in the fourth inning.
He allowed only one walk to the 15 hitters he faced while striking out three on five swinging strikes. His delivery had greater direction to the plate and his headwhack was less pronounced than in Cary.
“I lost my delivery at TOS but I felt more like myself today and was more free and easy,” Everett said. “I feel like I had good feel (for the breaking ball) and pretty much everything. It was just coming to me. When I was warming up and long tossing I played with my pitches there. And I felt like I had everything I wanted to have today.”
The Vanderbilt commit largely pitched off his fastball, throwing his heater on 80 percent of pitches. He showed an improved ability to drive the ball downhill and work in the lower half of the zone. Working from the first base side of the rubber, Everett has a quick arm from a three-quarter arm slot and his fastball was heavy and dense through the zone with sink at the bottom of the zone and run to his arm side. The first five balls the opposition put in play were on the ground against Everett, who mostly throws four-seam fastballs.
His defense did him no favors in the third inning as the second baseman didn't convert a makeable play on a groundball in front of him. The next hitter drove a ball into deep center field that likely showed have been caught but was played into extra bases.
Everett integrated his changeup into game action more than at TOS, and showed feel for the low-80s offering. Four of his five changeups he threw went for strikes, garnering one swinging strike.
“I didn't throw the changeup much at TOS and I just didn't have much confidence in it,” Everett said. “I went home and worked on it and gained confidence in it. I wanted to test it out in game action today.”
Everett showed a breaking ball that flashed at least average potential, according to evaluators who said it had “swing and miss potential.” The 75-78 mph offering showed 11-5 tilt and depth, though inconsistent as his delivery slowed for his breaking ball.
The 6-foot-1, 236-pound Everett has an extra-large frame and strong, thick and physical build with a durable lower half. His build could be suited for time on the high school gridiron, though Everett gave up football after his sophomore year to focus on baseball, which is the only sport he plays.
Everett can be seen on television during the next national event he will attend, the Perfect Game All-American Classic, which will be broadcast from San Diego on Aug. 10. He will likely be the first player drafted from his high school since 1967.
• The second game involving the Cubs ended in rousing fashion in a win for the Braves on a walkoff grand slam by corner bat Brandt Stallings. The Georgia-based Braves entered the final frame down 4-2. After swinging through two fastballs earlier in the count, the righthanded-hitting Stallings drove the grand slam on an elevated fastball in the middle of the plate well beyond the left field wall. Stallings, who offers bat speed, strength and power potential, will also be in the PG All-American Classic.
• Here are the top 60-yard dash times from ECP. There were 20 players who ran at or below 6.75 seconds.
|6.25||Alonzo Jones||mif||Columbus (Ga.) HS|
|6.32||Eric Jenkins||of||West Columbus HS, Cerro Gordo, N.C.|
|6.37||Isaiah White||of||Greenfield HS, Wilson, N.C.|
|6.45||Danny Blair||of||IMG Academy, Bradenton, Fla.|
|6.47||Ryan Karstetter||inf||IMG Academy, Bradenton, Fla.|
|6.49||Lucius Fox Jr.||mif||American Heritage HS, Delray Beach|
|6.5||D.J. Wilson||of||Canton (Ohio) South HS|
|6.5||Demi Orimoloye||of||St. Matthew HS Orleans, Ontario, Canada|
|6.53||Xavier LeGrant||inf||Berry Academy of Tech Charlotte, N.C.|
|6.56||Desmond Lindsay||of/1b||Out-of-Door Academy, Sarasota, Fla.|
|6.63||Calvin Newsome||of||Columbia (Miss.) HS|
|6.64||Reggie Pruitt||of||Kennesaw (Ga.) Mountain HS|
|6.65||Garrett Whitley||of||Niskayuna (N.Y.) HS|
|6.67||Daz Cameron||of||Eagle's Landing Christian Academy McDonough, Ga.|
|6.70, 6.78||Dayton Dugas||of||Sam Houston HS, Moss Bluff, La.|
|6.75||Domenic DeRenzo||c||Central Catholic HS, Pittsburgh|
|6.75||Steve Mangrum||3b/of||Western Albemarle HS, Crozet, Va.|
|6.75||Cameron Simmons||of||Spring-Ford HS, Royerson, Pa.|
|6.75||Chris Chatfield||of||Spoto HS, Tampa|
|6.75||Jahmai Jones||of||Wesleyan HS, Norcross, Ga.|