McCOOK, Ill.--More than 110 scouts gathered last Sunday at the Max-McCook Athletic & Exposition Center for the Super 60 Pro Showcase.
More than 60 high school players from 34 states and provinces, all draft eligible in 2017 except for 2018 lefthanded pitcher/outfielder Jarred Kelenic (Waukesha (Wisc.) West High), showcased their skills a little more than four months before the 2017 draft.
Despite the cold air outside, the pitchers brought the heat inside the facility on Sunday, with 13 pitchers reaching 92 mph or better with their fastball during their roughly 20-pitch bullpen sessions. Righthanders Marius Balandis (St. Laurence High, Burbank, Ill.), Jackson Rutledge (Rockwood Summit High, Fenton, Mo.) and Nick Jodway (Draughn High, Valdese, N.C) all hit 94 mph to lead the pack of arms. Brendan Heiss holds the event record--he hit 96 in 2016 at the Super 60 Showcase, before being drafted in the 31st round by the Cubs. Heiss ultimately honored his commitment to Arkansas.
As for the position players, Jack Schneider (Daviess County High, Owensboro, Ky.) broke two event records with a 6.30 time in the 60-yard dash and with a 98 mph throw during outfield drills. Shortstop Adisyn Coffey (Delta High, Muncie, Ind.) hit 93 mph during infield drills, the top mark.
Michigan State commit Adam Proctor (St. Johns (Mich.) High) showcased an impressive, and strong, lefthanded swing and a strong arm behind the plate during catcher throwdowns from his physical 6-foot-1, 230-pound frame. Proctor tied for second with Coltyn Kessler (Rockwood Summit High, Fenton, Mo.) for top catcher velocity at 80 mph, two ticks behind the leader Joel Thompson (Lewis Central High, Council Bluffs, Iowa). The top pop time for catchers went to Justin Mitchell (Platte County High, Platte City, Mo.) who posted a 1.86.
Three hitters posted an exit velocity of better than 100 mph in batting practice during each players two rounds. Kelenic posted a 102 mph exit velocity and catcher Jake Taylor (Shawnee (Okla.) High) hit 104, while outfielder Brad Czerniejewski (Lake Forest (Ill.) High) set the bar at 106 mph. All statistical results from Sunday can be found here.
Canadian infielder Dondrae Bremmer (Bill Crothers Secondary, Markham, Ont.) showcased a surplus of athleticism and quick-twitch ability at the plate with his smooth left-handed swing during batting practice and in the field at shortstop during infield drills.
Last year's Super 60 featured two first-round picks in lefthander Joey Wentz (Braves) and shortstop Gavin Lux (Dodgers) in addition to a second-rounder, catcher Ben Rortvedt (Twins). Brewers No. 4 prospect Corey Ray, Milwaukee's first-round pick last June, was a Super 60 participant in 2013 before attending Louisville.
Cortijo Excelling After Move To Maryland
Riverdale Baptist (Md.) High's Harold Cortijo is rather new to the contiguous United States, but the Puerto Rican righthander showed at the Super 60 that he is no stranger to the mound.
"It's a blessing by God and an awesome experience to be here with so many prospects of this caliber and to be considered one of those top prospects," Cortijo said. "It's a very big deal to me and a dream come true."
Cortijo showed his athleticism with a smooth motion and loose arm from a low three-quarters slot, throwing a fastball that was 88-92 mph and topped out at 93 in addition to a curveball at 74-76 mph and a slow changeup at 68-71 mph. He believes his fastball and his changeup are his best pitches.
"To see other prospects of this caliber is a big motivation for me to come out here and show that I am one of the best pitchers in the nation," he added.
Cortijo moved from Puerto Rico at 16, just before his junior year of high school. He saw an opportunity to take his game to the next level.
"The level of consistency of the competition here is plentiful," Cortijo said regarding the transition from playing in Puerto Rico to the states. "Having my conditioning and training all under one roof at Riverdale is a big deal for me and I attribute a lot of the work I've done to get to this point to the work of coach (Ryan) Terrill and the program over at Riverdale."
In his junior season, the 6-foot, 175-pound righty posted a 1.79 ERA in 12 games, going 8-1 and adding a save while striking out 70. He allowed 30 walks and 51 hitsin 70.1 innings pitched. He also batted .531 with a .775 slugging percentage, three home runs, 40 RBI and 22 stolen bases, a testament to his impressive athleticism.
"It is a joy to watch him," Riverdale pitching coach Mitch Cooksey said. "To see him switch from a happy, nice kid. There's a change in the demeanor when the competitive juices start flowing and we get to see him have that almost 'eye of the tiger' type mentality."
As Cortijo, a Seminole State JC (Fla.) commit, heads in to his final high school season he's aware the work has just begun.
"I want to make sure I consistently stay healthy and continue to get stronger throughout the season," the 18-year old said.
"I think the ceiling is very high for him," added Cooksey. "Honestly, I don't really have a set goal for him because I just think it would be unfair to set one. I just think it will be unbelievable to see where he ends up."
Schneider Shows Tools
Jack Schneider showed explosive tools at the Super 60. The 6-foot-2, 190-pound Murray State commit was grateful for the opportunity to display his exciting skills in front of over 110 scouts in attendance.
"It means a lot, it's very humbling to come to an event like this. I am very happy and pleased that they invited me so I can show that I have the talent. I'm thankful."
In addition to showing off his speed and arm strength Saturday, Schneider also showed a quick, yet raw, bat in his two rounds of batting practice.
"I get compared to Hunter Pence a lot, my favorite player," Schneider said. "I'm a hard-nosed player. I'll get things done out there and help the team out. If I have to bunt the ball I'll bunt the ball. I'm not going up there looking for home runs all the time."
Heading in to his final high school season, Schneider knows there is plenty of work to be done before the June draft.
"Stay more fluid, slow the game down and get a better game IQ, be a leader," he said of his goals for this spring.
Schneider will be 19 and four months at the time of the draft this upcoming June, older for the prototypical high school senior. Still, with his relative inexperience and lack of exposure to high-level coaching, Schneider is a projectable talent.