Intriguing Prospects From 2015 PG Junior National
FORT MYERS, Fla.--In 2013, Canadian slugger Josh Naylor was the star of the Perfect Game Junior National Showcase, showing intriguing athleticism and outstanding raw power, pulling home runs into the upper deck at the Metrodome in Minneapolis. Less than two years later, Naylor had developed into a first-round pick, going 12th overall to the Marlins last week.
PG National has been a must-scout event for clubs for quite a while, but now more pro teams are paying attention to the Junior National Showcase, as it allows evaluators an early look at some of the most projectable players in the country. Junior National is well-attended by power-conference, Division I recruiting coordinators and some of the country's savviest advisers.
Junior National is a three-day showcase with eight teams. It began this past Sunday and wrapped up on Tuesday afternoon. Here's a quick look at a handful of solid prospects from the event. A more thorough recap of the event will be available after the Perfect Game National Showcase concludes next Monday.
Kyle Hurt, rhp/1b, Torrey Pines High, San Diego: Hurt was one of the more polished arms at the event, but he also has a very high ceiling that he is just now tapping into. Hurt's fastball worked at 86-89 and touched 90 mph, showing some late sinking action at times. His changeup was easily the best of the event, thrown at 78-80 with an arm action nearly identical to that of his fastball. Hurt also showed a curveball with 11-to-5 shape that flashed tight spin and late depth, though Hurt's arm slot may be more conducive to a slider, as the pitch sometimes broke more horizontally as it slipped out of his hand. Hurt is an excellent athlete, and he throws with balance and repetition. Both of his parents were athletes at Ole Miss; his father played football and his mother was a cheerleader and gymnast.
Reese Albert, of, Jupiter (Fla.) High: Albert has an intriguing lefthanded bat, with a good idea of how to use his lower half and solid bat speed. He has a tendency to expand to chase the high fastball, but Albert has solid vision and timing, and showed the ability to stay inside the baseball throughout the event. He has a slightly below average arm now, and isn't a burner, but he projects to gain strength and speed as he grows into his body. Albert is committed to Florida State.
Mason Doolittle, c, Jupiter (Fla.) High: Doolittle was one of the most mature hitters at the event. His swing is driven by a leg kick that gets his hips going, and he showed the ability to stay short to the ball and extend the barrel through the zone. In batting practice, Doolittle was able to generate backspin to the whole field. In games, he drove the ball hard up the middle and into the gaps, showing excellent contact skills. Behind the plate, Doolittle is athletic but raw, with a good deal of movement as pitches are released. He can at times get flat-footed too, but the raw materials are there for him to develop as a receiver. Doolittle also shows the potential for an above-average arm, with a quick transfer and the ability to throw strikes to second base. Doolittle is a well below-average runner. He is a high ceiling player, and is not yet committed to college.
David LaManna, c, Bergen Catholic High, Oradell, N.J.: In batting practice, LaManna showed off intriguing bat speed. He has a shallow load and uses his hips well, and he's able to generate some loft in his righthanded swing, though he has a tendency to extend early and can get pull happy. He performed well in games, showing the ability to generate sharp backspin on the ball with line drives to both gaps, and also showing that he could drive upper 80s fastballs thrown to either side of the plate. LaManna also showed solid tools behind the plate, and has the potential to develop an above-average arm.
Patrick DeMarco, of, Poly Prep Country Day, New York: DeMarco showed a little bit of everything, though he has no plus tools. He has a raw swing with a smooth, softly downhill bat path and potential for above-average bat speed, though his lower half can sometimes get disconnected. DeMarco posted a below average 60 time, but made it to first in 4.35 seconds on a ground ball. He also showed fringy arm strength in the outfield. With added strength in the coming years, DeMarco could develop into a solid all-around talent.
Bryson Hutchinson, rhp/1b, Spruce Creek High, Port Orange, Fla.: Hutchinson showed outstanding strength in batting practice, using his lower half well and pulling balls over the miniature green monster in left field. He has plus raw power, and a smooth swing that shouldn't prevent him from making consistent contact. However, Hutchinson also showed promise on the mound, pounding the zone with a heavy fastball at 85-89. He's 6-foot-6, 230 pounds, and has a projectable arm action. Hutchinson also showed a solid breaking ball.
Nicholas Storz, rhp, Poly Prep Country Day, New York: Storz might have the highest ceiling of any player who played at the event. He's 6-foot-6, 245 pounds and has very wide, coat-hanger shoulders. He throws from a full arm circle with a slight wrap in the back and a slightly high back elbow, but Storz has exceptional arm speed and finishes with deep extension out front. He knows how to use his lower half and has power in his trunk. His fastball worked mostly at 85-88, and bumped 90. Storz also showed a very promising breaking ball with tight spin and 11-to-5 sweep. At its best, the pitch broke late and showed the ability to generate swings and misses, even when thrown in the strike zone. Storz said after the game that he has yet to narrow his list of schools, and wasn't yet ready to name the top candidates.
Mitchell Stone, lhp, Shawnee (Okla.) High: Stone was one of the most fascinating pitchers at the event. He's a menacing 6-foot-9, 235 pounds and has plenty of room to grow. Stone was well-balanced and calm on the mound, repeating his delivery very well, especially for a pitcher of his size. Stone has a loose, short-to-long arm action and finishes with very deep extension out front. His fastball worked in the mid-80s, topping out at 87 mph, and he showed a late-diving curveball in the low 70s that featured above-average depth. He had some feel for a changeup at 77-78, but the pitch has a long way to go.
Jordon Adell, of/rhp, Ballard High, Louisville, Ky.: Adell showed loud tools in just about every aspect of the game. He posted the best 60 time of the event (6.47 seconds) and showed the potential for a plus arm in the outfield, showing a mature understanding of how to throw with excellent use of his lower half and a full, long arm action. Adell also showed some of the best bat speed at the event. He has a wide base and some length to his swing but he has plus bat speed and power from gap to gap. The ball makes a different sound off of Adell's bat. In game action, he was limited to only a couple plate appearances. Swinging over a breaking ball, Adell struck out in his first plate appearance. In his second, he punched a line drive right to the right fielder.
Adell also pitched, and showed promise on the mound as well. His fastball worked mostly at 84-88, and touched 89 mph. He leans back and throws from a high three-quarters arm slot, almost over-the-top. Adell has above-average arm speed and the athleticism to repeat his delivery, though he will need more reps. He also showed a late-breaking curveball in the low 70s and a changeup in the same velocity range. Both pitches flash intriguing movement, but are far from their ceilings at present. After the game that, Adell said that, as of now, he feels a little more comfortable as a pitcher. As a position player, however, his tools are more advanced and are a little bit louder.
D.L. Hall, lhp, Houston County High, Warner Robins, Ga.: Hall showed outstanding velocity and arm speed from the left side. He throws with an abbreviated arm circle with a slight wrap in the back, and he extends well, finishing with a long arm deep out front. He has a soft, controlled landing that he should be able to repeat longterm, though he struggled to do so at times in his two-inning stint in Fort Myers. Hall pitched with exceptional arm speed and projects to some day throw in the mid-90s. He worked mostly at 88-91 and touched 92 mph on Monday, and showed some potential with a mid-70s curveball, though he was not able to consistently stay on top of the ball. Hall has correctable issues, and an extremely high ceiling. He is committed to Florida State.