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Best Stuff Of The 2020 Perfect Game All-American Classic

Eric Hammond Billmitchell
Eric Hammond (Photo by Bill Mitchell)

The 18th annual Perfect Game All-American Classic took place on Sept. 4, and while the venue wasn’t the usual Petco Park in San Diego, the prospect talent was—as usual—loaded.

While the coronavirus pandemic prevented Baseball America from being on the ground as we typically are for the PGAAC, we still managed to watch the all-star game at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City.

Related: Loudest Tools Of The 2020 Perfect Game All-American Classic

Watch: Check out the archived stream of the Perfect Game All-American Classic here

Below are pitchers who showcased some of the best stuff, in admittedly small samples, at one of the biggest high school events of the year.

Best Fastball

1. Chase Petty, RHP, Mainland Regional HS, Linwood, N.J.

Petty’s fastball is reminiscent of Mets 2020 second-rounder JT Ginn, thanks to a lethal combination of velocity and life. One of the harder throwers in the 2021 prep class, Petty’s fastball sat in the 95-99 mph range in his inning of work, with tremendous arm-side running life. The pitch bores in and down on the hands of righthanded hitters, making it especially tough on same-side batters. Petty generated four whiffs with the fastball and the pitch could get even better in the future if he can tighten up his command. He spotted the pitch well early, but as his inning progressed he left it up in the zone or missed to his arm side. In terms of velocity and life, however, it’s tough to beat.

2. Carter Holton, LHP, Benedictine HS, Savannah, Ga.

Holton has showed off impressive fastball velocity in the past, but he might have had his loudest heater ever at the PGAAC, sitting in the 94-96 mph range. That velocity is impressive for any prep arm at this stage, but it’s particularly impressive coming from the left side of a 5-foot-11, 190-pound frame. Holton’s fastball was among the more effective pitches on the day, generating five whiffs, including one against the game’s most impressive hitter (Texas shortstop Jordan Lawlar) and helping him strikeout a pair. Holton lived up in the zone with the pitch, but spotted it pretty well and it might play up a tick better than the velocity in the lower ranges, thanks to a slow delivery that has some deception with a plunge in the back of his arm stroke before he fires through to the plate with plenty of arm speed and a higher, three-quarter arm slot.

3. Andrew Painter, RHP, Calvary Christian HS, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Painter—who won the Baseball America Pitcher of the Year award given out at the PGAAC—started the game for the East squad. He didn’t look his best in this outing, but still showed a 94-97 mph fastball that comes out of his hand with tremendous ease. While the pitch didn’t have much life in either direction, Painter’s extra-tall, 6-foot-6 frame creates a difficult plane on the pitch. A mid-to-upper-90s heater with that sort of downhill action is exceptionally difficult for hitters at this level to not only catch up with, but elevate with authority. While he didn’t generate many whiffs in his one inning in this outing, it’s a clear 60-grade potential offering.

Honorable Mention: Chase Burns, RHP, Station Camp HS, Gallatin, Tenn.

Best Breaking Ball

1. Jackson Jobe, RHP, Heritage Hall HS, Oklahoma City, Okla.

Jobe has some of the best natural ability to spin the ball in the 2021 class and has record spin rates over 3,000 rpm with his slider. In this outing Jobe’s 81-84 mph two-plane breaking ball showed plenty of potential with terrific horizontal movement and depth when he ripped off a good one. The pitch was inconsistent in this outing, ranging from average to plus. At its worst Jobe let the pitch back up on him to his arm side or left it up where it didn’t quite have the the sharp biting action that generates whiffs. But he did finish two swinging strikeouts against righthanded hitters—including one against top-ranked 2021 prospect Brady House—with filthy breaking balls that he snapped off well and ran away from batters down and to his glove side. When the slider is on for Jobe, it’s a true out pitch.

2. Eric Hammond, RHP, Keller (Texas) HS

Hammond’s breaking ball of choice in this outing was a 76-79 mph curveball that stood out as much for his feel for the pitch as it did for its shape and depth. Hammond located this breaking ball better than arguably any other pitcher who toed the rubber in this game. He showed an ability to backdoor the pitch to lefthanded hitters for looking strikes and also to bury the pitch out of the zone for swings and misses. It varied in shape from a deep, 11-to-5 bender to a true, top-to-bottom, 12-to-6 hammer with plenty of depth, good spin and moderate power. Hammond generated a pair of whiffs with the pitch but his feel for spotting it and locating it consistently in his brief outing was exceptional. He struck out the side on the pitch, getting a lefthanded hitter looking and two swinging strikeouts to righties.

3. Irving Carter, RHP, Calvary Christian HS, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Carter showed the most powerful slider at the PGAAC, a two-plane breaking pitch in the 84-87 mph range that showed impressive biting action when he kept it down and the chance for an above-average or better offering in the future. The pitch featured good movement and he also located the breaking ball fairly consistently, and it could play up thanks to an active, up-tempo delivery that features a few leg pumps to get started and a high, three-quarter arm slot. Carter generated one whiff with the slider.

Honorable Mention: Chase Burns

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Best Changeup

1. Eric Hammond, RHP, Keller (Texas) HS

Hammond paired his standout curveball with a promising changeup, which gave him a pair of excellent secondaries that made an otherwise fine 92-93 mph fastball look ordinary by comparison. Hammond’s changeup came over the plate in the 84-86 mph range—about seven ticks slower than his fastball—and featured solid facing action. While he didn’t generate any whiffs on the pitch, he showed good ability to spot the ball down and to his arm side, and he threw the ball with solid arm speed out of a quick, three-quarter slot with long arms and a wide wingspan.

2. Andrew Painter, RHP, Calvary Christian HS, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Perhaps on another day one of Painter’s breaking balls would have made this list, but it was his changeup that looked like his top secondary offering in this look. He only threw one changeup—which came out of his hand at 81 mph—but he threw the pitch with excellent arm speed and got a whiff against a righthanded hitter. The velocity gap (about 15 mph) alone would be enough to keep hitters off-balance, but the arm speed and his length on the mound add to the deception and while it’s difficult to gauge his feel on just one pitch, he landed the one he did throw.

3. Chase Burns, RHP, Station Camp HS, Gallatin, Tenn.

Burns is all over this list as an honorable mention because he showed perhaps the most well-rounded four-pitch arsenal of the event while striking out one batter in a no-hit frame. His changeup was one of two swing-and-miss offerings (along with his curve) he showed in this look, an 81-82 mph tumbler that he used to get one whiff against a lefthanded hitter. The pitch has about a 12 mph difference from his fastball and gives him a real weapon to use against opposite-side batters if either of his two breaking balls aren’t enough.

Honorable Mention: Jackson Jobe, RHP, Heritage Hall HS, Oklahoma City, Okla.

Best Control

1. Joshua Hartle, LHP, Reagan HS, Pfafftown, N.C.

Hartle entered during the middle of an inning and only pitched 0.2 of a frame in this outing, but looked utterly in control on the mound. While his strike percentage (56%) wasn’t great, that wasn’t because Hartle couldn’t hit his spots, but because the lefthander would get ahead in counts and then consistently land pitches right on the edges of the strike zone—giving nothing away for free. Hartle works out of an exceptionally simple delivery that he repeats consistently, and creates difficult angle on batters thanks to an extended, three-quarter arm slot and a tall, 6-foot-3 frame with long levers. He worked with an 89-90 mph fastball and a sweeping low-80s slider and showed impressive command with both pitches.

2. Eric Hammond, RHP, Keller (Texas) HS

Hammond stood out for his ability to mix and match three distinct and impressive pitches in this outing. He landed all three pitches for strikes and showed a good idea of how to sequence each of his offerings and keep hitters off-balance. Hammond works out of a slow, deliberate windup with a deep and low arm action in the back, but explodes to the plate quickly after reaching his balance point. He threw 11 of his 16 pitches for strikes (68%) in this outing and was one of the more impressive performers because of that.

3. Cale Lansville, RHP, ThunderRidge HS, Highlands Ranch, Colo.

If you blinked for a bit too long, you might have missed Lansville’s inning entirely. The Colorado righthander threw just eight pitches in his inning of work—the fewest of any pitcher at the PGAAC—and landed six of them for strikes, good for a 75% mark. Lansville worked a 1-2-3 inning with one strikeout, and had a standard delivery with a higher, three-quarter arm slot, but a short, spiraling arm action in the back that doesn’t have many extra movements that might be difficult to repeat. The arm stroke is similar to a number of pitchers who have shortened their arm actions in the back to improve their control—i.e. Lucas Giolito—and could bode well for his future command.

Honorable Mention: Chase Burns, RHP, Station Camp HS, Gallatin, Tenn.

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