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2018 Wilson Premier Classic: Day 1 Notebook

Image credit: Brett Baty (Photo by Bill Mitchell)

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.—The third annual Wilson Premier Classic kicked off Friday at the FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches complex, which serves as the spring training home for both the Astros and Nationals.

The wood bat tournament pits some of the country’s best travel ball teams and players against one another for four days, with three different graduating classes in attendance (2019, 2020 and 2021) serving as an excellent scouting opportunity for both major league clubs and college coaches.

Below are several players who stood out on Day 1 of the event, though given the size of the event certainly aren’t the only players who impressed in Friday’s action.

Ben Wiegman | RHP | Carmel HS, Mundelein, Ill.
Committed: Louisville

A member of the 2020 high school class, Wiegman was one of the most impressive arms that Baseball America saw Friday, despite a number of talented 2019 arms on the mound as well.

The Louisville commit threw five shutout innings for his Hitters 2019 club, allowing just one hit while striking out six batters and walking just two. After walking a pair of batters in the first inning, Wiegman sat down the next 12 batters in order with 1-2-3 innings in his next four frames.

A 6-foot-3, 205-pound righthander, Wiegman has a strong frame already and should continue to put on more strength as he develops, which could allow a fastball that was in the 87-90 mph range over five innings to tick up. Wiegman located his fastball well, especially after the first frame, and threw 44 of his 64 (68.8 percent) pitches for strikes.

In addition to his fastball, Wiegman threw an upper-70s curveball and a mid-70s changeup. He generated several whiffs with his breaking ball, as the pitch dove down and out of the strike zone. He also spiked his changeup on a few occasions—though without the same success in getting batters to swing over the top of it.

A.J. Vukovich | 1B/3B | East Troy (Wis.) HS
Committed: Louisville

Another member of the 2020 class and the Hitters 2019 club, Vukovich displayed impressive power in the three-hole of the Hitters’ lineup Friday morning, with a grand slam and a double.

Listed at 6-foot-5, 205-pounds, Vukovich has obvious natural strength out of the righthanded batter’s box, so much so that he hit a ball over the right-center fence with apparent ease in the bottom of the third inning against Ohio Elite righthander Jack Sokol.

Vukovich showed a strong propensity to go backside with authority, as the Cardinals commit doubled to right field later in the game as well. There is some swing and miss in Vukovich’s game, evidenced by a strikeout in his first at-bat when he expanded the zone on a ball in the dirt, but the raw power that he’s able to translate into the game is apparent.

Braley Hollins | SS | Plano (Texas) HS
Committed: Oklahoma State

Hollins was at least partially responsible for both of the runs that Exposure 2019 tallied in a 2-0 win over Slammers 2019 Friday morning, scoring a run and driving in another in a 1-for-2 day that included a double and a walk.

Hollins showed off game-changing speed after drawing a leadoff walk in the bottom of the first inning. After a wild pickoff throw from Slammers righthander Jake Campbell, Hollins flew around the bases and managed to score all the way from first. During Hollins’ second at-bat in the third inning, after fouling off a pitch in a 2-2 count, Hollings drove a pitch down the left-field line for a standup double that drove in a runner from second base.

Defensively, Hollins converted each of the four chances he had at shortstop and showed a quick exchange and solid arm strength on a routine ground ball.

Dylan Delucia | RHP | New Smyrna Beach (Fla.) HS
Committed: College of Charleston

Delucia took the ball for the defending champs—Canes National—in Friday afternoon’s game against KBC Prime 2019, and helped lead the team to a 10-2 win.

No stranger to success with the Canes program as a member of the 2017 WWBA Championship-winning underclass team, Delucia threw the entire game—a shortened 5-inning affair in which he allowed two earned runs on six hits. The College of Charleston commit struck out seven batters, walked one and threw 50 of his 79 (63.3 percent) pitches for strikes.

Listed at 6-foot, 200-pounds, Delucia throws with a short arm action out of a low, three-quarter slot, pushing off the rubber with a strong, filled out lower half and a low finish as he releases the ball to the plate. The righthander worked with a fastball that ranged from 87-90 mph over his five innings, with significant arm-side run at times that froze hitters on a number of occasions. Five of his six strikeouts were of the looking variety.

In addition to the fastball, Delucia also threw a breaking ball in the 78-84 mph range that blended between a three-quarter curveball at the lower end of that range and a tighter, more horizontal slider shape in the low 80s. Delucia also infrequently broke out a changeup in the 82-84 mph range, but he threw the pitch with conviction and solid arm speed.

None of Delucia’s pitches showed above-average or plus Friday afternoon, but he showed a solid feel for his entire repertoire. He was able to be effective when he located to the edges of the strike zone and avoided his fastball running back over the plate or leaving his breaking ball up in the zone.


Inside the Box:

  • Gregory Ziegler went 2-for-3 with a triple and an RBI for the RakeCity 2019 club. Ziegler is a 6-foot-1, 185-pound OF/RHP who attends Joliet (Ill.) Catholic Academy and is committed to Missouri State.
  • Another student at Joliet (Ill.) Catholic Academy and member of the RakeCity 2019 team, umcommitted RHP Zak Gould struck out eight batters and walked one in four innings on the mound against Knights Platinum 2019. The 6-foot-4, 205-pound righthander allowed just one hit—an infield single—and threw 71 percent of his 69 pitches for strikes, starting 13 of his 16 batters with first-pitch strikes.
  • 3B/OF Brett Baty became one of the most intriguing power hitters of the 2019 class this summer and continued to solidify that reputation with a 2-for-2 day at the plate Friday for North East Baseball. Baty pulled a home run over the right-field fence in the bottom of the first inning against Florida Hurricanes RHP Chad Lemke and singled in the bottom of the fourth. Baty is a strong, 6-foot-3, 210-pound lefthanded hitter committed to Texas.
  • OF Ryan Cervone also homered for North East Baseball, pulling a no-doubt line drive over the right-field fence in the bottom of the fourth against 6-foot-5 RHP Landon Henley. Cervone is a 5-foot-10, 195-pound lefthanded hitter who attends Milton (Mass.) Academy. He is currently uncommitted.

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