Prospects On Display At Under Armour All-America Tournament
It’s apparent that Puerto Rican high school shortstop Steven Ondina enjoys participating in Baseball Factory events, as he was recently part of the annual Under Armour All-America Pre-Season tournament, held in Mesa, Arizona, for the third straight year. Currently the No. 90 overall prospect for the 2020 draft, Ondina has benefited significantly from his association with the organization.
“I am grateful for Baseball Factory that it gives me the hope and the support to be where I’m at now,” Ondina said. “They feel like a family for me. I’ve been with Baseball Factory for five years … I’m very grateful for everything.”
The feeling is mutual, according to Steve Bernhardt, Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations for Baseball Factory.
“We’ve loved having Steven involved in our program,” Bernhardt said. “A lot of us as instructors have really appreciated the opportunity to work with him … Some of the things that he has done through his hard work are really incredible. He’s turned himself into perhaps the number one target of scouts this spring in Puerto Rico … He’s established himself as one of those few prospects in the draft this year that looks to be able to stay at shortstop at nearly any level.”
Bernhardt refers to the numbers in identifying how much improvement he’s seen since Ondina first participated in a Baseball Factory event. His run times in the 60-yard dash have gone from 7.44 seconds to 6.58 in their events, putting him pretty close to a plus-plus grade for speed, and he’s boosted his arm strength from 85 mph to 95 mph.
Ondina, who attends the International Baseball Academy in Ceiba, Puerto Rico, acknowledges that his defense at shortstop is what best personifies him as a player, and he’s working to strengthen his swing to get more power as he develops his 5-foot-8, 156-pound frame. He’s got a good role model to follow in Chicago Cubs star Javier Baez, with whom Ondina works out with twice a week during the off-season.
“It’s hard work,” Ondina said about what he learns from his time with Baez. “Javy helps me with everything. He prepares me to that side (professional baseball) because he knows it very well, and he’s preparing me for it.”
While he’s a solid pro prospect, Ondina also has a commitment to Florida International, located in Miami. He was attracted to the school because of the strength and prestige of the program under head coach Mervyl Melendez.
Participating in as many showcases as Ondina has over the years takes a strong commitment, not just from the player but also from his family. Fortunately, Ondina has that unwavering support.
“My family is everything,” Ondina said. “Without my family, I wouldn’t be here. My dad always tries to do the best for me and tells me what is right or wrong. It’s up to me. When someone can tell that to a son, you’ve got to be grateful for it. It’s very important to me.”
While Ondina has been a part of the Mesa, Arizona event year after year after year, Texas 2022 high school product Jett Williams, 16, was attending his first Under Armour All-America Pre-Season tournament this year. A two-way player from Heath, Texas, Williams was quick to see the value of the Baseball Factory event that uses professional and college coaches and scouts to provide ongoing instruction throughout the event.
“You can get a lot of development out of it,” Williams said. “Just seeing all of these coaches watching you, making sure you’re always hustling and playing hard.”
Here Are 13 MLB Draft Prospects Who Impressed Scouts This Summer
A number of players stood out at showcases throughout the summer. Here are the best of them.
Williams is regarded as a potential prospect as both a shortstop and a pitcher, and at this point in his scholastic career he’s not ready to choose which position he prefers. Still a high school sophomore, that decision is years away for Williams. Right now, he’s excelling at both, already getting his fastball into the low 90s with a quick arm and good extension, showing solid actions and a strong arm at shortstop, and displaying good bat speed and above-average run times at the plate. At 5-foot-8, 168 pounds packed into an already solid frame, Williams will get bigger and stronger with maturity.
He says that his biggest areas for improvement are throwing his secondary pitches more consistently for strikes and improving his hitting.
Williams has already committed to the program at Texas A&M, primarily because he really wants to play baseball in the dominant Southeastern Conference. The fact that the College Station campus is not too far away from his home in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex is also a bonus.
Other standouts at the Pre-Season tournament:
Tommy Dilandri (2021 outfielder from Las Vegas, Nevada) is a physical product with plenty of loud tools. The righthanded hitter, a Texas Christian commit, recorded an exit velocity off the bat of 105 mph, ran a 6.58 time in the 60-yard dash, and threw 98 mph from the outfield. He is the No. 64 high school player in the 2021 high school class.
Tommy White (2021 third baseman from St. Petersburg Beach, Florida) showed the ability to consistently find the barrel with the ball jumping off his bat to all fields with pull-side power. The North Carolina State commit already has a thick, strong frame at 6-foot-1, 220 pounds. He currently ranks as the No. 72 player in the 2021 high school class.
Hunter Teplansky (2021 shortstop from Double Oak, Texas) has a tall, lean frame with room to fill out. He has smooth actions in the field with excellent hands and a strong arm that recorded 97 mph throws during workouts. A switch-hitter, Teplansky is committed to TCU. Teplansky ranks No. 78 in the 2021 high school class.
Chase Allsup (2021 first baseman / right-handed pitcher from Dothan, Alabama) touched 92 mph with a fastball/slider/changeup mix and did not allow a hit during his time on the mound at the event. A switch-hitter, Allsup has a solid stroke from both sides and is an athletic defender at first base. He’s committed to Auburn.
Aidan Hunter (2021 right-handed pitcher from Hanahan, South Carolina) delivered an electric two-seam fastball, topping out at 91 mph, that moves in hard on righthanded batters. His breaking ball is sharp with excellent depth and he has advanced feel for a changeup.
Two athletes were named to the 2020 Under Armour All-America Game, to be held this summer at a date and location to be announced, during the Friday Night Opening Ceremonies at Sloan Park in Mesa, the spring home of the Chicago Cubs. Andrew Painter (2021 righthanded pitcher from Pompano Beach, Florida) and Christian Little (2021 righthanded pitcher from St. Louis, Missouri) were both in the 2019 showcase.
Little and Painter have already established themselves as two of the top arms in the 2021 prep class, and rank as the No. 2 and No. 7 overall prospects in the class. They both played in the 2019 Under Armour All-America Game—the only two members of the 2021 class in attendance—and will play in their second game this year.