2018 Tournament Of Stars: Day 2 Standouts
CARY, N.C. — We broke down day one of USA Baseball’s Tournament of Stars (TOS) yesterday. If you missed that post you can catch up on the players who impressed Tuesday here.
For the uninitiated, TOS is an 80-player field that helps determine the final roster for USA Baseball’s 18U National team and also serves as a signature event kicking off the 2019 draft class for the scouting community.
Below you can find reports of five players who stood apart from the rest of the field during Wednesday’s action.
Dilan Rosario-Otero | MIF | Leadership Christian Academy, Guaynabo, P.R.
The Puerto Rican infielder didn’t start Wednesday’s early game with Team United, but he still tied for the team lead with a pair of hits after pinch-hitting in the eighth inning. The 5-foot-11, 178-pound righthanded hitter stepped into the box and laced a 90 mph fastball to the opposite field on a line before stealing second base soon after.
In his second trip to the plate, the uncommitted infielder hit another hard ball, this time to the pull side on the ground between shortstop and second base—showing little issue turning around and barreling 92 mph heat.
In batting practice, Rosario-Otero showed solid bat speed out of a high hand setup and the ability to hit low line drives with hard contact to the opposite field. He has a simple swing with a two-handed finish and got under the ball at times, but showed in batting practice and in game Wednesday that he has some feel for the barrel.
Defensively, Rosario-Otero showed impressive defensive actions with a smoothness to his game that makes it seem like the game comes easily to him. He has a quick exchange and enough arm to stick at shortstop, though he’s played a variety of positions (as all players at TOS do) and hasn’t been tremendously challenged in games just yet.
Mack Anglin | RHP | Highland HS, Medina, Ohio
Anglin showed one of the more impressive off-speed pitches on the day—a 77-81 mph breaking ball that looks like a slider behind the plate, but which the Clemson commit refers to as a slurve. The 6-foot-3, 190-pound righty showed a tremendous amount of confidence in the offering and located it well throughout his four-inning outing, whether ahead or behind in counts.
The pitch has very good movement with sharp and late-biting action. The pitch has impressive tilt (with both horizontal and vertical break) and Anglin was successful generating swings and misses in the zone, getting righthanders to chase low and away and also back-dooring the breaking ball effectively to lefthanded hitters. He pitched off of his slider more than his fastball at times, though the heater is a solid offering in its own right in the 90-92 mph range and touching 93 at its best. The pitch has slight running action that comes naturally with a low, three-quarter arm slot.
Anglin is tall with more room left to add weight to his projectable frame, and his advanced ability to locate a potential plus pitch in his breaking ball is exciting. He also fielded his position well and showed solid strike-throwing ability with his fastball.
Final line: 4 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 K
C.J. Abrams | SS | Blessed Trinity Catholic, Roswell, Ga.
One of a burgeoning crop of talented 2019 middle infielders, Abrams showed game-changing tools on both sides of the ball Wednesday, after refraining from batting practice Monday and games Tuesday with a minor rib injury.
He looked fully healthy Wednesday, going 2-for-5 at the plate with a double and also displaying his defensive potential at shortstop. At least a 70-grade runner with potential top-of-the-scale speed, Abrams clocked a 4.10 home-to-first time (a 65-grade run time for a lefthanded hitter) on a groundout to second base in his second at-bat after lining a 90 mph fastball straight to the third baseman in his first trip to the plate.
Abrams’ first hit came during his third at-bat, when the Alabama commit sat back on an 83 mph changeup on the outside corner, going with the pitch and hitting a low line drive into left field, rounding first base in 4.35 seconds on Baseball America’s stopwatch.
He doubled up on his backside ability with a double to left-center after barreling an 88 mph fastball in his fourth trip to the plate and struck out in his final at-bat. His knack for finding sweet spot of the bat was obvious and his ability to go to the opposite field also stood out.
Defensively, Abrams had three opportunities at shortstop, showing an extremely quick exchange and the ability to throw from a low arm slot, but he also misplayed one slow-roller in on the grass—a difficult play, certainly, but one that he seemed capable of making had he fielded the ball cleanly.
The impact that Abrams is able to make offensively remains to be seen, but his speed allows him to go for extra bases on balls in the gap with ease, he’s a threat to steal at anytime and he seems to have all the tools necessary to stick at shortstop.
Add him to the list of middle infielders to keep an eye on for the 2019 draft — and maybe slide him up near the top of that list.
The 5 Most Intriguing 2019 MLB Draft Backgrounds
As we continue to learn more about the most recent MLB Draft class, here's a look at some prospects with intriguing stories.
Jerrion Ealy | OF | Jackson (Miss.) Prep
In addition to being a toolsy outfielder on the baseball field, Ealy is a talented football player. A four-star running back committed to Mississippi, Ealy’s physique matches the stereotype of a high school running back, at 5-foot-9, 179-pounds but with a lot of strength in the frame.
That strength bore itself out in the batter’s box Wednesday afternoon, as Ealy hit the first home run of TOS this year. In his final at-bat of the day, Ealy jumped on an 88 mph fastball from MIF/RHP Nasim Nunez (Collins Hill HS, Suwanee, Ga.) that caught too much of the plate, turning on the ball and depositing it over the left-field fence.
During Monday's batting practice, Ealy showed some of that pull power, which he generates with quick hands, an efficient weight transfer and with more strength than you might think after a quick look at his stature. Coaches were impressed with Ealy’s ability to make adjustments at the plate, as he was caught overstriding onto his front foot earlier in the day but corrected and homered to prove it.
Ealy showed defensive tools as well, with above-average range in the outfield and plus arm strength.
Jacob Meador | RHP | Centennial HS, Burleson, Texas
Committed: Texas Christian
Meador took the ball and tossed five, no-hit innings for Team Pride Wednesday afternoon, going longer than thanks to his impressive efficiency. The 5-foot-10, 163-pound righthander is much less imposing on the rubber than many of the other arms in Cary this week, but his performance is arguably the best of the tournament to this point.
Meador pitched off of a fastball that sat in the upper 80s throughout each of his five innings, without a ton of natural movement and topping out at just 90 mph, per TrackMan. He complimented the currently below-average fastball with an impressive 12-to-6 curveball that sat in the 76-78 mph range with tremendous depth and spin. The breaking ball was the best pitch of his repertoire, and he showed the ability to locate the pitch well, although he did cast the offering out of his hand at times.
His third offering was a changeup in the low 80s, which he didn’t go with too frequently and spiked in the dirt on the few occasions when he did go to it. His feel for locating the curveball might allow scouts to project improved control of the changeup as he throws it more down the line, but for now it is a distant third pitch.
Meador has a few interesting elements in his delivery, throwing from a three-quarter slot from the first-base side of the rubber, with a wrist-wrapping action in the back of his motion and some drop-and-drive action as he comes through and delivers to the plate.
Final line: 5 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 K