2018 Tournament Of Stars: Day 3 Standouts
CARY, N.C. — The final day of games wrapped up Thursday afternoon at USA Baseball’s Tournament of Stars. If you missed recaps of the standout players from games on Tuesday and Wednesday you can find those below:
Below you can find reports and video of some of the most impressive prospects from Thursday’s action.
Nasim Nunez | MIF | Collins Hill HS, Suwanee, Ga.
No surprises here, after middle infielders impressed on days one and two of games, we’re starting with another exciting middle infielder after day three in Nasim Nunez. The 5-foot-8, 150-pound infielder showed terrific defensive actions and quick hands during Monday’s workout, showing the ability to make throws off-balance from multiple angles, with quick hands around the bag and exceptional footwork.
A switch-hitter with a small frame, Nunez doesn’t have much in the way of raw power, but he showed solid feel for the barrel Thursday morning, going 3-for-4 with three singles. His first was a soft line drive back up the middle against an 88 mph fastball, his second a single through the four-hole on an 81 mph slider and his third an infield single in which he clocked a 4.17 second run time out of the lefthanded batter’s box—an above average home-to-first time.
Nunez hopped on the mound earlier in the tournament, though he’s more of a pro prospect as a shortstop with plus defensive potential in the middle of the diamond.
Jared Jones | RHP/OF | La Mirada (Calif.) HS
Committed: Southern California
The sole member of the 2020 class to make Baseball America’s High School All-America teams, Jones already showed his strong arm on the mound Tuesday when he worked in the mid-90s with a solid curveball. On Thursday, he showcase his potential with the bat.
Though the Southern California commit went just 1-for-5 in the batter’s box, his hit in his first plate appearance was one of the most impressive of the game. Jones turned on an 87 mph fastball from lefthander Josh Hahn (Huntington Beach (Calif.) HS) and hit the ball to deep center field, burning the defender and trotting into third for a standup triple.
Jones has a quick bat and sets up with a slightly narrow stance with a small toe tap for timing, but the quickness of his hands leads to more thump than might be expected out of a 5-foot-11, 181-pound frame. He’s shaping up as one of the more exciting prospects of the 2020 draft class, in what’s expected to be a strong crop of Southern California prospects in two years.
For La Mirada this spring, Jones hit .431 with 13 doubles, a triple and three home runs while posting a 0.80 ERA with 99 strikeouts and 25 walks in 70 innings on the mound. He’s currently legitimate pro prospect both ways.
Riley Cornelio | RHP | Pine Creek HS, Colorado Springs, Col.
Committed: Texas Christian
The final line won't show it, but Cornelio showed some impressive stuff Thursday afternoon before unraveling a bit in his final inning of work.
A 6-foot-2,184-pound righthander committed to TCU, Cornelio has long limbs with a frame that can continue to add weight, as well as a quick arm that generated low-90s fastballs up to 94 at their best. Cornelio throws with some effort and has a significant head whack through his delivery, as well as some plunge/stabbing action in the back.
However, the pure stuff is interesting, with a fastball that shows occasional—but not consistent—arm-side run and a solid, three-quarters breaking ball in the 76-80 mph range with above-average spin. Cornelio relied on just those pitches during his first two innings before breaking out an 82-85 mph changeup in the third inning with solid arm speed and fading action. The pitch generated several swings and misses and he showed good feel to locate the offering down in the zone.
Cornelio struck out outfielder Riley Greene (Hagerty HS, Oviedo, Fla.) with 79 mph curveball and got him to swing and miss on an 84 mph changeup during their second matchup, before walking him on a borderline pitch that could have easily been strike three on one of the class’ best hitters.
The TCU commit saw his control fade drastically in the fourth inning, however, with his fastball straightening out and his breaking ball backing up when he threw it to his arm side. There are some tweaks that might need to be made in his delivery (he falls off to the first base side, for example), but there is real talent in the arm and Cornelio showed three impressive pitches at his best.
Final line: 3.2 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 2 BB, 4 K
Lucas Knowles Is Catching Attention At Central Arizona JC
The former Washington starter has yet to allow a run, and between 20 and 30 area scouts showed up at his last start.
Austin Hendrick | OF | West Allegheny HS, Imperial, Pa.
Committed: Mississippi State
The Pennsylvania product showed off his skills at the plate and defensively Thursday morning, using somewhat of an unorthodox approach at the plate. Hendrick sets up with a very narrow stance with his front toe dug into the ground and his heel raised. He’s got significant bat waggle prior to his load and while driving to the ball, which led to some inconsistent contact during Monday's batting practice, but he has exceptionally quick hands that allow him to overcome the moving parts. He has some real pull power in the tank.
After flying out and striking out in his first two at-bats, respectively, Hendrick laced a double to right-center field in his third at-bat, barreling a 90 mph fastball with a medium-trajectory line drive to the gap.
He showed some instincts defensively in left field as well, getting an impressive jump on a deep fly ball off the bat of outfielder Maurice Hampton Jr. (Memphis University HS, Tennessee) that looked like a no-doubt extra-base hit on contact. Hendrick tracked the ball well and made a difficult running catch over his right shoulder just before running into the wall.
Hunter Barco | LHP | Bolles HS, Jacksonville
Barco didn’t have the most impressive outing of the day, but he enters the summer as one of the top pitchers in the 2019 class and for that reason he is interesting in his own right. Previously a Virginia commit, Barco is now committed to Florida, where he will continue a well-established legacy of talented Gators pitchers if he doesn’t sign in the draft next June.
On Thursday, Barco didn’t have the electric stuff that he showed when he became a household name as an underclassman at Perfect Game’s Jupiter showcase last fall. He pitched with a fastball in the 90-93 mph range through his first two innings before ticking down into the 89-92 mph range during his third and fourth frames with outstanding natural sink and run on his pitch thanks to a very low side-arm slot.
His best secondary offering on the day was an 82-85 mph changeup that has significant tumbling action—once again helped out by his lower arm slot. Where the arm slot helps Barco’s fastball and changeup with impressive movement, it hurts his ability to get on top of a low-80s slider, which backed up on him frequently during his outing, and he almost scrapped it entirely after his first two innings. The pitch showed well below-average spin for the most part, though there was one offering which had some more sharpness, but dove down and into the dirt.
Barco will be a name to watch throughout the 2019 draft process and has also taken batting practice and hit in games, though his ceiling is higher on the mound.
Final line: 4 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K