East Coast Pro Day 2: Power And Speed
HOOVER, Ala.—After pitching ruled on day one to start East Coast Pro, day two featured some big offensive tools, with power and speed showing up in the form of the first home runs of the showcase and several impressive 60-yard dash times.
If you missed the standout players from day one, you can catch up on the prospects who stood out here.
In addition to three, nine-inning games Thursday, players each ran official 60-yard dashes. Below you can see the 10 quickest runners in the event, as measured by an electronic stopwatch:
1. James Beard, OF, Lloyd Star HS, Brookhaven, Miss. — 6.41
2. Connor Walsh, SS, Niceville (Fla.) Senior HS — 6.42
3. Jerrion Ealy, OF, Jackson (Miss.) Prep — 6.49
4. Maurice Hampton Jr., OF, Memphis University HS — 6.53
5. Jamari Baylor, SS, Glen Allen (Va.) HS — 6.55
6. John Rhys Plumlee, OF, Hattiesburg (Miss.) HS — 6.56
6. Jase Bowen, OF, Toledo (Ohio) Central Catholic HS — 6.56
8. Matthew Lugo, SS, Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy, Florida, P.R. — 6.57
8. Collier Cranford, SS, Zachary (La.) HS — 6.57
10. Bobby Zmarzlak, OF, Westhill HS, Stamford, Conn. — 6.58
Below you can find reports on six standout players from day two.
Matt Allan, RHP, Seminole (Fla.) HS
Allan had perhaps the most impressive performance of the day among pitchers, in regards to both results and stuff. The 6-foot-3, 225-pound righthander worked three innings and struck out seven batters, allowing just one hit—a bloop single into right field by Canadian infielder Cesar Valero—while sitting in the 92-94 mph range with his fastball through each frame.
With a clean arm action and three-quarter slot, Allan used a predominantly two-pitch mix to keep hitters off-balance and generate eight swings and misses: five against his fastball and three more via a 77-79 mph curveball that had 11-to-5 shape, sharp late-breaking action and impressive depth. Allan was able to use the pitch effectively to both righthanded and lefthanded hitters, using it as a chase pitch against righties and also backdooring the offering to lefthanded hitters for looking strike threes on multiple occasions.
Allan yanked his fastball at times and will need to improve the consistency of his release point moving forward, but his control of the pitch and his entire repertoire was vastly improved Thursday compared to a few weeks prior at the Under Armour All-America Game, where he walked two batters in one inning.
Allan also threw a pitch in the 88-89 mph range that could have been a firm, straight changeup or a two-seam fastball without significant running life, though he threw the offering just twice in this outing.
Final Line: 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 7 K, 0 BB on 43 pitches (76.7 percent strikes)
Will Childers, RHP, Lakeside HS, Atlanta
Childers was immensely efficient during his start against the Royals in the first game of the day Thursday morning. The Bulldog commit worked three consecutive 1-2-3 innings and needed just 25 pitches to complete his outing.
The 6-foot-5, 200-pound righthander showed impressive control of a three-pitch mix that featured a fastball in the 88-91 mph range—touching 92 mph—as well as a tight, 78-80 mph curveball and a low-80s changeup. Four of Childers' outs came via strikeout, four came on groundouts and his ninth out came on a flyout to left field.
Childers worked with a quick tempo and throws from the first base side of the rubber with a three-quarter arm slot, and he showed the ability to work his heater to both sides of the plate. His breaking ball didn’t feature significant horizontal or vertical movement, but had tight spin with 10-to-4 shape and generated a pair of whiffs—one of which ended an at-bat in a strikeout.
The changeup was the third pitch in Childers’ repertoire Thursday, as he didn’t break out the offering after the first inning and his arm appeared to slow a bit compared to his fastball arm speed.
Final Line: 3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 4 K, 0 BB on 25 pitches (76 percent strikes)
Skylar Brooks, INF/RHP, Wilkes Central HS, Wilkesboro, N.C.
Committed: East Carolina
One of two players with three-hit games Thursday, Brooks made consistent loud contact when he stepped into the righthanded batter’s box with a pair of singles and a double. Brooks’ first hit came against a 71 mph curveball from RHP Twon Harris (La.), which the 6-foot-3, 195-pound infielder sat back on well before driving it up the middle.
Brooks doubled in the bottom of the fifth inning against RHP Trace Bright (Ala.), sending an 85 mph fastball backside down the right field line. Brooks likely would have had a triple in the scorebook if it weren’t for a tremendous relay from 2B Cade Doughty (La.), who fired a strike from shallow right field to third to get Brooks trying to stretch his extra-base hit another bag.
After walking and getting a re-set count in his third at-bat against RHP Dylan Ray (Ala.), Brooks grabbed his third and final hit after lacing a 91 mph fastball the other way into right field.
The book on Brooks’ defense is still out, but it’s clear he is capable of making regular, loud contact. The fact that he used the opposite field with authority was impressive as well, and should get the coaching staff at East Carolina excited—or perhaps a bit nervous considering the number of major league scouts scribbling away after Brooks found himself safely on base after each plate appearance.
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Maurice Hampton Jr., OF, Memphis University HS
Committed: Louisiana State
On day one, two-way athlete Jerrion Ealy was one of the standout position players thanks to his tools and loud contact, but Hampton is giving the Mississippi commit some competition when it comes to four-star football prospects who also excel on the diamond.
A cornerback committed to Louisiana State for both football and baseball, Hampton showed off power, speed and a strong arm from the outfield Thursday. He hit the second home run of the day (Fla. OF Jud Fabian hit the first homer of the event one game earlier) in his final at-bat against the Diamondbacks, sitting back and driving a hanging, 81 mph breaking ball over the left-field fence.
Hampton had two singles in the book already at that point, but both of his first two hits were blooped flairs into the shallow outfield—his home run left no doubt that he could square up the ball and hit it with authority, making him a continuously intriguing player when combined with his running ability (as evidenced by his 60-yard dash time) and raw arm strength.
Hampton has looked stiff when throwing from the outfield in the past, but on Thursday prior to the Marlins’ game, he showed off a solid-average arm from right field, with quick arm speed and solid carry to his ball.
There’s a lot to dream on with Hampton, and he’s putting all of his tools on full display.
Cesar Valero, SS/3B, Foothills Composite HS, Okotoks, Alb.
Committed: Oregon State
One of the few Canadian players at the East Coast Pro, Valero represented “Team C” well Thursday with his play on both sides of the ball.
During in and outs, the rangy, 6-foot-1, 185-pound infielder displayed active footwork and soft hands when receiving the ball to both his backhand and forehand. While his arm strength graded out as fringe-average to average, his throws played up thanks to a quick exchange and the ability to throw accurately off-balance and on the run.
Those skills transferred to game action, where Valero started a tough 5-4-3 double play while manning the hot corner, fielding an in-between hop to his forehand while moving to the left and delivering a quick and accurate feed to the keystone.
Offensively, Valero went 3-for-3 and was the benefactor of a few Texas Leaguers like Hampton, but made solid contact on a single up the middle in his third at-bat against an 85 mph fastball. During batting practice Wednesday, Valero made solid contact and also showed some raw power to the pull side.
Justin Miknis, C, DuBois (Pa.) Central Catholic HS
Committed: Kent State
There have a been a few impressive catching performances so far at ECP, with Ryan Dyal (Ga.) impressing on day one, and Miknis showing off the gun behind the dish Thursday.
After posting several impressive pop times during the defensive workout pre-game—including 1.94- and 1.86-second throws to second on BA’s stopwatch—Miknis threw out three would-be base stealers on the Brewers. That included catching one of the fastest players in the 2019 prep class in SS CJ Abrams (Ga.).
Miknis’ throws were consistently accurate on the bag, with quick transitions from a receiving position into a throwing stance and solid carry on his ball. The 6-foot, 190-pound backstop went to the plate just once Thursday, and walked before getting a reset count and grounding into a 6-4 fielder’s choice.