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2019 Perfect Game WWBA: Day 4 Notebook

JUPITER, Fla. — The fourth day of Jupiter is in the books, and heading into Championship Monday, just four teams are left standing: Scorpions Founders Club, Dirtbags, Padres Scout Team/ECB and the 2018 WWBA champions, Florida Burn 2020 Platinum. 

Those four teams will battle it out Monday morning for one of the most prestigious travel ball trophies in the country, while most of the field is heading home. 

On the draft side, after having conversations with major league scouts throughout the tournament two things appear clear: First, the 2020 draft class is very deep. It’s easy to say that with the contrast of a noticeably thin 2019 crop directly in the rearview mirror, but almost every scout posed the question agreed that this year’s prep class has exciting depth. 

Second, this year’s Perfect Game WWBA World Championship has less of the elite, top-of-the-class talent than most years. Of the top 10 players in the high school class, just one (No. 8 Blaze Jordan) was in attendance during this weekend’s tournament, which is unusual. It’s typical to see some of the top-of-the-class arms shut things down in October, but scouts did note that more of the high-end bats of the class decided to opt out as well. 

Perhaps that’s the function of a new summer schedule that includes an extended three and a half week PDP League in June that could have worn down many of the top players. That’s been a consistent theory posited around the fields at the Roger Dean Stadium complex this week. Perhaps it’s simply an outlier year.

Regardless of the cause, that simply means more under-the-radar prospects and players deeper down the rankings are getting more looks from evaluators. With that, here is our Day 4 Jupiter Notebook. Check below for our previous notebooks from the event.

Day 1 Jupiter Notebook | Day 2 Jupiter Notebook | Day 3 Jupiter Notebook 

Dylan Lesko | RHP | Buford HS, Buford, Ga.
Committed: Uncommitted (Class of 2022)
Travel Ball team: Padres Scout Team/ECB

The No. 1 prospect in the 2022 high school class dominated in his 5.2 innings for the Padres Scout Team/ECB. The righthander struck out 11 batters while allowing four hits and two walks. He has swing-and-miss stuff and attacked hitters with all of his pitches as he proved why he is one of the premier prep righthanders in the 2022 draft class.

Lesko is a 6-foot-3, 180-pound pitcher who has plenty of projection left with his body. He has excellent arm speed and makes the most of his long levers. His operation is easy and repeatable with a lively fastball that comes out of his hand well. He throws from a three-quarter arm slot with solid extension off the mound. Lesko stays over the mound relatively well in his delivery and doesn’t rush out front. He generates torque and syncs up his lower and upper half, allowing his arm to get up and through on time in order to hit his arm slot and consistent release point.

The righthander worked with a fastball that topped out at 92 mph. The pitch generated whiffs thanks to some life on it. He was able to spot it for strikes to both sides of the plate. While he did miss up and to his arm side a few times, he was able to relocate the plate and get ahead of hitters all game long.

Lesko has feel to throw a changeup that generates plenty of swing-and-miss. He was able to keep the low-80s offering in and around the plate while working it under the hitting zone. It has late sinking action with some arm-side run, getting hitters out in front thanks to his consistent arm speed.

With a lethal fastball-changeup combo, Lesko also shows tremendous feel to spin the ball. His curveball has two-plane depth with late, sharp tilt on it. It has a high spin rate with over-the-top, late vertical drop which is tough for batters to pick up out of his hand. He was able to land the pitch for strikes and bury it as needed. The vertical depth and late movement on the pitch make it difficult for any batter to barrel up with any authority.

While his raw stuff is impressive, his feel for how to pitch is beyond his years. He gets ahead of hitters with his fastball and knows how to work around difficult situations. With runners on, he has no problems pitching backwards, landing breaking pitches for strikes or working his changeup to generate soft contact on the ground. Lesko’s stuff, pitchability and projectable body give him checks in all of the big boxes. And to reiterate: he’s currently a sophomore in high school.

Tyler Fullman | RHP | Marian Catholic HS, Chicago Heights, Ill.
Committed: Michigan (Class of 2021)
Travel Ball Team: MLB Breakthrough Series 2020

A 6-foot, 200-pound righthander in the 2021 class, Fullman threw three innings of relief for MLB Breakthrough Series in a Round of 32 matchup with the Texas-based Banditos. Fullman showed impressive present stuff out of a strong frame, with three perfect innings and five strikeouts.

Fullman throws out of a three-quarter arm slot with some hooking action in the back of his stroke and a balanced finish with his weight moving directly to the plate. It’s a pretty fluid delivery and he sat 87-91 mph in the first inning and touched 93 mph before settling into the 86-90 mph range the rest of the way.

Fullman has some slight arm-side running action on his fastball and did a nice job throwing strikes (69 percent of his pitches were strikes). At one point, Fullman started missing with his fastball up in the zone, but he made a nice correction and didn’t have the issue the rest of the way. 

He pitched heavily off of his fastball and didn’t show much at all in the form of secondaries, though he tossed one 77 mph changeup that floated across the plate with significantly slower arm speed that will make the pitch a giveaway. 

Improved secondary offerings will increase Fullman’s ceiling, but between an impressive frame with a strong lower half and good fastball control, the Michigan commit is one watch.

Gage Bradley | RHP | Rossview HS, Clarksville, Tenn.
Committed: Vanderbilt
Travel Ball Team: Canes American

Bradley threw two innings of relief for Canes American against Padres Scout Team/ECB in a Round of 16 matchup, allowing just one hit while striking out three.

A 6-foot-2, 182-pound righthander, Bradley has a lean frame with more room to add weight in the future, and he threw an 88-92 mph fastball that touched 93 mph in his first inning. He primarily worked off of the fastball, but he mixed in a 77-79 mph breaking ball that has 11-to-5 shape and showed some snap and good spin when he was on top of the pitch. He also broke out a 78 mph changeup in his second inning that showed good fade and some decent depth down and away from lefthanded hitters.

A Vanderbilt commit with the makings of a solid three-pitch arsenal and a body you can project a bit on, Bradley is another of many intriguing arms in the 2020 prep class.

Marc Pallares | RHP | Bishop Mora Salesian HS, Los Angeles
Committed: UCLA
Travel Ball Team: CBA Marucci 2020

Marc Kenji Pallares started for CBA Marucci against Braves Scout Team/Team Elite in a consolation game Sunday afternoon, tossing two shutout innings while striking out three and allowing one hit and one walk.

Pallares has a bit of an unorthodox delivery, with significant tilt in his windup that could create some deception and showed good secondaries to pair with an 85-89 mph fastball. Pallares seemed to have three separate offspeed offerings—a slider in the 82-84 mph range, a curveball in the upper 70s and a changeup in the 77-80 mph range. 

Those all blended together at times, as his changeup had some cutting life in addition to significant drop, and both of his breaking balls featured more vertical movement than horizontal.  His curveball had 11-to-5 shape, while his slider had shorter cutting action but was more firm than either his curveball and changeup. 

He showed solid feel for all of these offerings and kept them down in the zone consistently, while throwing 71 percent of his 28 pitches for strikes.

Kristian Campbell | SS | Milton HS, Marietta, Ga.
Commitment: Georgia Tech (Class of 2021)
Travel Ball Team: Padres Scout Team/ECB

Campbell was the catalyst atop the lineup for Padres Scout Team/ECB in their 8-0 victory over On Deck O’s 2020. The infielder collected a single and a double while also coming around to score twice. He made a big offensive impact and showed excellent skills in the field as well.

Campbell shows twitchy actions at the plate, working from a slight crouch in which some weight is pre-loaded onto his back side. He rocks back using a toe tap, then works with a leg lift as he begins to generate torque and drop his hands through the hitting zone. Campbell has his hands set up by his back shoulder and has some hand separation to load and add power into his swing. As he generates torque from his mid-section, Campbell is able to clear his hips and bring his hands through the hitting zone. The bat path was mostly direct to the ball, and he showed the ability to hit pitches out in front of the plate for authority or wait back and deliver pitches to right field, which showed as one of his strengths with the bat. He shows the ability to make loud contact and should develop some pop as he matures as well.

In the field, Campbell has athletic actions and can throw from multiple angles with an above-average arm from shortstop. He has sound footwork and closes well on softly hit grounders. He has easy actions on the diamond and is attentive in the field. Campbell isn’t a plus runner, but has good foot speed and reacts well to balls in play.

Campbell is currently the No. 59 player on our 2021 high school rankings.

Levi Wells | RHP | La Porte HS, La Porte, Texas
Commitment: Texas Tech 
Travel Ball Team: Canes American

Levi Wells tossed 4.1 innings for Canes American on Sunday morning, needing 79 pitches before making his exit. He allowed one earned run on one hit and three walks. Wells struck out nine batters during his outing and showed off excellent raw stuff.

The 6-foot-2 righthander has a projectable frame with room to add more weight in the future. He works from a three-quarter arm slot and has a particularly strong lower half. He gets on top of his pitches and finished out in front well, which helps him to spin a quality breaking ball and generate angle on his heater. Wells has a strong core and makes the most of it, but his delivery does have effort to it. He has a head whack during his delivery but gets his arm in the same slot and shows the ability to fill up the strike zone.

His heater topped out at 94 mph, but it sat in the low 90s and had good arm-side run. He was able to command it well down in the zone, and it generated plenty of swings and misses up above the hitting zone.

Wells’ main secondary offering is an upper-70s curveball that has good 11-to-6 shape and depth it. While its depth is impressive, he is able to throw the pitch for strikes and get hitters to chase it as well. At times, the shape blended with that of a slider with a high spin rate and late action. The pitch has all the ingredients to project as above-average to plus with more consistency.

His third pitch is a changeup in the low 80s, which he threw sparingly. His feel to fill up the strike zone and wrist flexibility should help him to develop the offering as he matures.

Juan Gonzalez | C | Champagnat Catholic School of Miami, Doral, Fla.
Commitment: Miami-Dade JC
Travel Ball Team: Canes American

Gonzalez anchored the offense in the Canes’ 4-1 victory over the Houston Astros Scout Team. The catcher collected two hits in three at-bats, driving in two runs and coming around to score twice as well. He had a single and smashed a solo homer to left field on a 1-0 fastball in the sixth inning. His presence was definitely felt both at the plate and in the field.

The catcher has a sturdy, 5-foot-11, 190-pound build but moves well behind the plate and is athletic. He is a high energy type of player. Gonzalez has strong hands and presents strikes well for his age. He has the ability to move laterally to block pitches in the dirt with good body angle and recovers to an athletic position after blocking a ball in the dirt. Gonzalez’s energy and focus help him guide his pitchers through the game, and his arm is accurate as well as plenty strong enough to stick behind home plate.

Gonzalez has a short, compact stroke at the plate. He has a crouch in his stance and uses a small leg kick to get his swing started. He showed barrel awareness when he cut down on his swing to lace a high fastball up the middle for a base knock. Gonzalez has above-average bat speed and has some loft in his swing as well. His compact swing was easy to repeat and should help him to be a consistent offensive force as he heads into collegiate ball.

Drew Dowd | LHP | Junipero Serra HS, Belmont, Ca.
Commitment: Stanford
Travel Ball Team: Canes National

Dowd spun three scoreless frames for Canes National in their 3-1 victory over the East Coast Sox Select. He did not allow a hit and walked two batters while striking out five along the way.

The lefthander has good arm speed and works from a high, three-quarter slot. He has a high glove hand out front, but his arm tracks well and he manages to finish out in front consistently. Dowd has a slight head whack in his delivery, but it does not impede his arm action or ease of the operation.

He shows feel to command his fastball, which topped out at 91 mph. The pitch was often straight and occasionally featured arm-side run. Dowd put the pitch at the knees and was able to make sure he stayed ahead of batters consistently with the pitch.

Dowd also features two different breaking pitches. He throws a harder slider, which doesn’t have a lot of vertical movement but works horizontally in toward righthanded hitters. His better breaking ball is a mid-70s curveball that has 12-to-6 movement, which he is able to land for strikes and bury out of the zone late in counts.

The lefthander also showed feel to throw a changeup as well. The pitch had some sink on it and worked well off his heater, throwing it mostly in the low 80s. He has feel for when to throw it and how to best use the pitch to give hitters a different look. Dowd has a knack for mixing his pitches well, and he filled up the strike zone with relative ease on Sunday.

Mock Draft

2023 MLB Mock Draft Version 1.0

We’re four weeks into the college season so it’s time for the first edition of our 2023 Mock Draft.

Other Players To Note

Ryan Lasko | OF | Jackson Memorial HS, Jackson Township, N.J.
Committed: Rutgers
Travel Ball Team: Baseball U

A 5-foot-11, 175-pound outfielder committed to Rutgers, Lasko showed off some impressive defensive ability in center field on Sunday morning, tracking down well-hit, deep fly balls into both outfield gaps. Lasko looks like an above-average runner and got impressive jumps on both fly balls hit his direction and did a nice job tracking balls over his head and taking away extra-base hits. He’s also shown some solid barrel control at the plate and has gone 8-for-16 with a double, triple and six singles in five games.

Josh Moylan | 1B | Archbishop Spalding HS, Severn, Md.
Committed: East Carolina
Travel Ball Team: Dirtbags

An imposing, physical first baseman, Moylan is listed at 6-foot-4, 225 pounds and has very obvious present strength that allows him to consistently impact the ball with authority. In a morning game, Moylan smoked a hard-hit single into right field after taking advantage of a hanging curveball. In an evening game with the Dirtbags, Moylan again hit a hard ball to the pull side, this one a fly out to the right fielder that he just got under, but the ball still carried and likely would have been a home run if he’d squared it up. Moylan is more strength than bat speed at the plate, so he’ll need a polished approach and good pitch recognition to succeed against better pitching, but the raw tools and physicality that he has is exciting.

Caden Kendle | OF | Marina HS, Huntington Beach, Calif.
Committed: UC Irvine
Travel Ball Team: CBA Marucci 2020

Kendle had a highlight-reel play in center field for CBA Marucci 2020 in a game against Braves Scout Team/Team Elite on Sunday afternoon. He got an outstanding jump on a hard-hit line drive to left-center field that looked like a no-doubt double off the bat. With a quick first-step and a route that looked close to perfect, Kendle closed on the ball and made an athletic diving catch that was one of the better defensive plays of the day. Kendle hasn’t done much with the bat this tournament, and was 0-for-4 in this game with some swing-and-miss tendencies, but he has obvious defensive skills at a premium position.

Darryl Buggs | OF | Heritage HS, Conyers, Ga.
Committed: Alabama-Birmingham
Travel Ball Team: Braves Scout Team/Team Elite

A skinny, 6-foot-1, 165-pound outfielder, Buggs showed some impressive pop to the opposite field in an afternoon game against CBA Marucci 2020, going with a pitch on the outer half and tripling to the right-center field gap. While it was just an 84 mph fastball, Buggs caught all of it, with a 93 mph exit velocity per TrackMan, and looked like an above-average runner while he rounded the bases.

Kellum Clark | 1B | Brandon (Miss.) HS
Committed: Mississippi State
Travel Ball Team: Braves Scout Team/Team Elite

Mississippi State has a pair of well-known, power-oriented recruits in the 2020 class in Austin Hendrick and Blaze Jordan, but Kellum Clark showed it goes beyond just those two players. A 6-foot-4, 221-pound infielder, Clark was one of several Braves Scout Team/Team Elite hitters to show some power on Sunday afternoon, hitting a towering home run to his pull side. Kellum’s home run was a steep fly ball that looked like it might be a deep fly out to right, but the ball kept carrying and left the field. It came off his bat at 98 mph per TrackMan, with a 44 degree launch angle. 

Rocco Peppi | OF | Marina HS, Huntington Beach, Calif.
Committed: Long Beach State
Travel Ball Team: CBA Marucci 2020

In addition to having an argument as the best name at Jupiter, Peppi showed excellent feel for the barrel in Sunday afternoon’s matchup against Braves Scout Team/Team Elite. The Long Beach State commit and high school teammate of the previously mentioned Caden Kendle, Peppi went 2-for-4 with a pair of singles and a strikeout as the team’s leadoff hitter. His final at-bat was a fly out to left field, but it was hard hit nonetheless, rocking off his bat at 98 mph, and likely would have been a triple if not for an impressive defensive catch by Sam Ruta (Pennsylvania).

Garrett Staton | 1B | North Forsyth HS, Cumming, Ga.
Committed: Samford
Travel Ball Team: Braves Scout Team/Team Elite

Staton hit the second home run for Braves Scout Team/Team Elite during Sunday’s game against CBA Marucci 2020, and his might have been the most obvious. After taking a 76 mph curveball for ball one, Staton—a 6-foot-1, 184-pound infielder committed to Samford—smoked an 87 mph fastball for a no-doubt shot to left field. Staton went 2-for-3 in the game with a single in addition to his home run.

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