Loudest Tools Of The 2020 Perfect Game All-American Classic
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 there on the ground, we still managed to watch the all-star game at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City.
Below are hitters who showcased some of the louder tools of the event—one of the more prominent and heavily scouted events of the high school calendar
Best Hitting Ability
1. Jordan Lawlar, SS, Dallas Jesuit HS
Lawlar was the most impressive all-around position player at the PGAAC, going 2-for-3 with a pair of singles, a walk, three runs scored and an RBI. It wasn’t the production itself, but the quality of Lawlar’s production that was impressive. The Vanderbilt commit showed arguably the best approach in the batter’s box and looked comfortable with high-quality stuff in any section of the zone. His first single came against a 94 mph fastball up and on the outer half of the zone. Lawlar drove the pitch down the right field line, keeping his front shoulder in on the pitch and letting the ball travel, with the bat speed to still turn the ball around with some authority. He showed a similar approach in his second at-bat, driving a single to right-center field on another fastball that he went down and away to drive. Lawlar had no issues with pitches on the outer half and while he did whiff a few times on both fastballs and breaking balls, his bat speed, plate discipline and bat-to-ball skills should be enough to make him one of the top bats in the 2021 prep class.
2. Daylen Lile, OF, Trinity HS, Louisville
A consistent performer over the summer, Lile showed one of the better pure approaches in the PGAAC. He’s a patient and selective hitter at the plate who knows the strike zone well, and has some similarities in approach to 2019 D-Backs first-rounder Corbin Carroll. Lile went 1-for-1 with a double and a walk. In his first at-bat he didn’t get much to hit, but didn’t expand the zone and took his walk, while in his second at-bat he stayed in well on a tough left-on-left slider from Joshua Hartle, who attacks from a difficult angle for lefthanded batters to pick up on and fouled off a difficult pitch. He followed that up by going the other way on a 90-mph fastball and blooping a double into left field. His quality of contact and pure results weren’t the loudest, but his approach, bat-to-ball skill and ability to track the ball deep and stay competitive on all sorts of pitches make him one of the tougher hitters to get out in the class.
3. Braden Montgomery, OF/RHP, Madison (Miss.) Central HS
Where Lile has a patient, selective approach, Montgomery has an extremely aggressive mindset in the box. The two-way Virginia commit swung at the first pitch in each of his three at-bats and hit the ball hard during every trip to the plate. Montgomery went just 1-for-3 with a single, but he timed up a solid curveball in his first at-bat and flew out to the warning track and lined an 89 mph fastball right back up the middle to the pitcher in his third. His hit came against an 87 mph fastball that he drove hard on the ground to the left side of the infield. While Montgomery’s approach is aggressive, he has standout bat-to-ball skills that should make him dangerous and prevent pitchers from getting many free and easy strikes to begin at-bats.
Honorable Mention: Alex Mooney, SS, St. Mary Prep, Orchard Lake, Mich.
1. Harry Ford, C, North Cobb HS, Kennesaw, Ga.
Ford is capable of doing plenty of things on the diamond and in this game, he was responsible for the sole home run of the event. After popping out and grounding into a double play in his first two at-bats, Ford stayed in on a solid, 77 mph curveball from LHP Drew Gray and drove a deep fly ball that went over the fence in left-center. Ford tracks the ball well and has a setup that’s reminiscent of 2020 fifth overall pick Austin Martin and current Angels third baseman Anthony Rendon. He has a low handset at the plate with hands tight on his chest and does a good job keeping those hands back and inside the baseball as he loads with his lower half. That allowed him to stay back on a nice breaking ball from Gray that was diving down into the bottom of the strike zone—far from a hanging curve that deserved to be punished.
2. Joshua Baez, OF, Dexter Southfield HS, Brookline, Mass.
While Ford was responsible for the sole homer of the game, Baez added the game’s only triple. An imposing 6-foot-3, 220-pound slugger, Baez has the potential for 70-grade raw power down the line. While he showed plenty of swing and miss in this game against breaking balls down and fastballs up, Baez can punish mistake pitches and jumped all over an 85 mph slider left over the middle of the plate. He drove the pitch deep into left-center for an easy triple off the bat.
3. Benny Montgomery, OF, Red Land HS, Lewisberry, Pa.
Montgomery is one of the toolsiest players in the class and has shown off impressive running ability and arm strength in workout settings. He did the same with his raw power at this event, winning the home run derby prior to the PGAAC against a strong field of hitters. Montgomery has a still projectable 6-foot-4, 195-pound frame and above-average raw power in the tank, but he’s struggled to get to that juice in games thanks to a hitch and some difficulties making adjustments against live pitching.
Honorable Mention: Braden Montgomery, OF/RHP, Madison (Miss.) Central HS
Ten 2021 MLB Draft Prospects Who Elevated Their Stock At UBC
Here are ten players who elevated their draft stock in one way or another at the UBC, based solely on feedback from evaluators in attendance.
1. Ian Moller, C, Wahlert HS, Dubuque, Iowa
One of the top catchers in the class, Moller impressed scouts this summer with an improved offensive game and plenty of pop, but it’s his defensive work that has been a carrying trait for several years. He showed his defensive ability behind the dish in this game, throwing out a baserunner at second with a pop time in the 1.8-1.9 second range. The throw was particularly impressive because it came on a pitch that was low and to his backhand, but Moller did an exceptional job fielding the ball clean, setting his feet and unleashing a strong and quick throw with a seamless exchange. Outside of his throwing ability, Moller set a solid target for his pitchers and did a nice job getting low and presenting pitches at the bottom of the strike zone.
2. Harry Ford, C, North Cobb HS, Kennesaw, Ga.
Ford showed a quick transfer and solid arm in this game, and stood out as one of the better athletes you will see behind the plate. You can see his athleticism simply in the way he moves behind the dish, with impressive footwork, good lateral mobility and blocking potential and plenty of flexibility in his lower half. Ford could stand to be quieter in his movements and with his glove hand, but all the physical tools are there for him to develop into a strong defensive catcher
3. Kahlil Watson, SS, Wake Forest (N.C.) HS
In a game that didn’t feature too many web-gem-caliber plays, Watson showed solid baseball IQ and a good internal clock on a double play. While at second base on a ground ball to shortstop, Watson moved to the second base bag and received a feed for a would be 6-4-3, but understood his transfer and throw wouldn’t be quick enough to get the runner at first. Instead of giving up on the play, Watson double-clutched on the exchange, re-set his feet and threw to the plate to get a runner who moved around the third base bag and was heading home with two outs. While the play didn’t require any standout athleticism or gaudy arm strength, it was a nice example of Watson’s defensive instincts.
Honorable Mention: Edwin Arroyo, SS, Arecibo Baseball Academy, Bajadero, P.R.
1. Jay Allen, OF, Carroll Catholic, Fort Pierce, Fla.
Allen wasn’t given too much to hit at the PGAAC, getting hit on the first pitch in his first at-bat and walking in the second. Even though he couldn’t show too much with the bat, he proved to be nothing short of electric on the bases. Allen advanced to second and third easily after getting hit by a pitch in his first at-bat, and then stole second after drawing the walk. He looks to advance on every pitch and didn’t just rely on his plus speed, with impressive jumps on most of his stolen bases. He also put pressure on the defense in his third at-bat, when he reached on an infield chopper to third base. Even without making hard contact once, Allen showed how he could be a dangerous offensive player with his legs.
2. Jordan Lawlar, SS, Dallas Jesuit HS
Lawlar’s bat was certainly his most impressive tool, but he did show off blazing wheels after one of his singles. While at first base, Lawlar attempted to steal on a pitcher’s first move, but almost got picked off as the pitcher threw behind him to first. Instead of trying to get in and out of a rundown, Lawlar put his head down and committed to reaching second before the second throw and left the first baseman with no chance to make a play. His acceleration was eye-opening and after seeing how quickly he gets to full speed, it’s no surprise to know he clocked a 6.45 60-yard dash earlier this summer at Perfect Game National.
3. Braylon Bishop, OF, Arkansas HS, Texarkana, Ark.
Like Allen, Bishop proved to be a disruptive runner each time he got on base. He stole second and third on good jumps after reaching for the first time, but also showed good awareness and instincts on a later trip to first, when he advanced on a dirt ball. Bishop did get caught in a rundown between third and the plate to end an inning, which was a questionable decision, but he has the natural speed and instincts to be a dangerous base stealing threat.
Honorable Mention: Alex Mooney, SS, St. Mary Prep, Orchard Lake, Mich.