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PG National: Anu Day

The second day of the Perfect Game National Showcase began promptly at 8 a.m., with the sweltering South Florida heat and humidity already cranked to full blast. There were two games played, and then four teams worked out, running the 60-yard dash before taking an infield/outfield session and batting practice.

Anu Day

Oraj Anu is a name to remember. He is by no means a perfect prospect, but Anu showed some promising raw tools in the Day Two workout. He ran the 60-yard dash in 6.53 seconds, and then took an explosive batting practice session.

The switch-hitting Anu began from the left side, and he drove the ball deep over the fence, smacking lofty home runs out right center field, at an estimated distance of well more than 400 feet. He then took a few steps over the righthanded batter’s box, and continued launching balls deep. He showed easy plus raw power from both sides of the plate. Anu’s swings from both sides of the plate were simple, with minimal pre-pitch movement. Anu paused to admire a few of his moonshots, and the scouts in the crowd were clearly mesmerized. Anu has yet to face game competition this week, so it remains to be seen exactly how potent his bat is, but his pure power and bat speed are positive indicators.

Anu’s biggest weakness is his arm strength. During the outfield workout, Anu’s throws were high-arcing, taking a parabolic route from his hand to his target and often bouncing several times before reaching their destination. Anu’s arm strength is well below-average at present, near the bottom of the 20-80 scouting scale. He’ll have to make a conscious effort to improve his arm strength.

Anu is home-schooled. He is committed to Alabama State.

Anu’s batting practice was fascinating, but others also showed well.

Alejandro Toral (Archbishop McCarthy, Southwest Ranches, Fla.) smoked line drives consistently, showing off a powerful lefthanded swing. Toral was an Under Armour All-American as an underclassman last summer.

Christian Robinson (Viera High, Rockledge, Fla.) showed intriguing raw power, pulling the ball over the fence out to right center field for a home run. He has quick hands and strong hips. Robinson also showed present arm strength and a live arm action, and he ran the 60-yard dash in 6.62 seconds. Robinson reclassified as a junior this spring. He won’t turn 17 until November, making him one of the youngest players in the 2017 class.

Nick Storz (Poly Prep Country Day School, Brooklyn, N.Y.) is better known for his prowess on the mound, but Storz showed delirious raw power in batting practice. He hit home runs over 420 feet to dead center field and to left center field. He has easily plus raw power. Storz’s bat will be intriguing to follow in game action over the coming days.

The Arms

In Day Two’s game action, several projectable young pitchers showed upside.

Righthander Blake Beers (Loyola High, Los Angeles) showed plenty of promise on the mound. He has a short, compact arm action that allows him to find his slightly higher three-quarters arm slot consistently. Beers had feel for his fastball down and to his arm-side, and elevated at times when trying to locate to his glove side. He has a loose, projectable arm.

Beers’ fastball worked at 89-91 and touched 92 mph on Baseball America’s radar gun. He mixed in an upper 70s curveball that broke with deep vertical shape and functioned as a solid chase pitch for him. Unfortunately, the supply of Beers was limited, as lightning in the area caused a long delay during his outing. He struck out three of the five batters he faced, inducing one ground ball and allowing a double to Paxton Wallace (Greenbrier (Ark.) High), who has made consistent, hard contact thus far and is now 3-for-4 with two doubles in the showcase.

Chad Bryant (Thomasville (Ala.) High) was the day’s hardest thrower. Gifted with a quick right arm, Bryant’s fastball worked routinely at 90-92, touching 93 a few times and 94 once on Baseball America’s radar gun. Bryant showed plus arm speed. His arm action began with a wrap in the back and his back elbow coming up high, a trait that many evaluators see as a red flag in a delivery.

While Bryant’s delivery isn’t ideal, his fastball is explosive, and he has the potential to develop even more velocity down the line. Bryant mixed in a mid- to upper-70s curveball. With his fastball, Bryant finishes with his arm fully extended, generating maximum torque. When he released his curveball, Bryant’s arm was bent at a slight angle, giving him a higher arm slot and allowing him to stay on top of the pitch.

Several southpaws also showed promise.

Jacob Heatherly (Cullman (Ala.) High) showed off an easy delivery and a fastball that sat at 88-91 for two innings. He threw a soft curveball at 68-71 and a slider in the upper 70s that showed sharp spin.

Russell Smith (Midlothian (Texas) High) pitched used his 6-foot-9 frame to pitch downhill, inducing numerous swings and misses with a fastball that sat at 84-88. Smith located his pitches down in the zone effectively.

Hunter Milligan (Greenbrier (Ark.) High) pitched at 87-89 with sink and/or arm-side run. He showed a sharp 12-to-6 curveball, as well as a balanced, well-coordinated delivery and loose and quick arm action.

John Kodros (Coppell (Texas) High) didn’t show exceptional velocity, pitching at 83-84, but he was deceptive and competed in the strike zone. Kodros pitched primarily off his low 70s curveball, a hard-sweeping pitch that he was able to command down in the strike zone. Kodros throws from a lower arm slot. He has a wiry 6-foot-5, 165-pound frame.

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