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The Best Stuff At The 2019 Under Armour All-America Game

Image credit: Jared Jones (Photo by Mike Janes/Four Seam)

The Under Armour All-America Game is one of the rare events during the summer where scouts can see some of the best arms of the 2020 draft class all on one field, showing their best stuff in one game.

While one-inning looks can be deceiving, it still gives pitchers the opportunity to stack themselves up with their classmates, and who doesn’t like admiring pure stuff?

After watching 13 pitchers from the 2020 class throw in the event—and two members of the 2021 class—we thought it would be fun to do a best tools list, naming the top fastballs, breaking balls changeups and command on display.

Feedback from scouts was solicited for these decisions, and it’s important to note that this isn’t a best tools list for the class as a whole, simply a hat tip to the best performers at the Under Armour All-America Game. To check out the hitting standouts from the game, check here.

Best FastballJared Kelley, RHP, Refugio (Texas) HS

The 6-foot-3, 215-pound righthander entered the game as one of the hardest-throwing players in the class, and he was responsible for some of the best pure velocity, throwing a 94-96 mph heater in his first inning before dropping down into the 91-93 mph range in the second inning.

But it wasn’t just the radar gun reading that made Kelley’s fastball effective, but his ability to locate the pitch well. Kelley has an easy delivery with little effort and he did a nice job moving the ball around in the zone, both side to side and up and down. Kelley generated five whiffs with the pitch over two innings, and he finished off three of his five strikeouts with the fastball.

Honorable Mentions:

Jared Jones, RHP, La Mirada (Calif.) HS

Jones threw two innings and sat in the 92-96 mph range in the first before ticking down to 91-94 mph in the second. While there’s some effort to Jones’ delivery, and his fastball command is scattered at best, the pitch has impressive running action that creates plenty of issues for batters of either hand. Jones got four whiffs on his fastball and used the pitch to end two of his four strikeouts.

Carson Montgomery, RHP, Windermere (Fla.) HS

Montgomery struck out the side in his 1-2-3 fourth inning, using a deadly fastball/slider combination to great effect. He generated five whiffs with his 91-93 mph fastball—more than any pitcher in the game outside of Kelley, who got his five whiffs over two innings. He was particularly effective using the pitch up in the zone, and the fastball featured some cutting action to his glove side as well.

Best Breaking Ball Victor Mederos, RHP, Monsignor Pace HS, Miami

There were fewer plus breaking pitches in the 2019 Under Armour All-America game than a typical year, but Mederos wins this category for throwing not one but two effective breaking balls in a slider and a curveball that both looked like solid offerings.

Mederos—who won the game’s MVP award—threw a slider in the 80-82 mph range that featured sweeping action and occasional three-quarter tilt and a 75-78 mph curveball that had more vertical break and ranged from three-quarter to 11-to-5 in shape, with more hump and bigger depth than his more firm slider. He spotted both pitches consistently in his one inning and used the slider as a backdoor offering against two lefthanded hitters—freezing them both for strikeouts.

Honorable Mentions:

Nate Savino, LHP, Potomac Falls HS, Sterling, Va.

Savino threw a sweepy slider in the 75-78 mph range, and while he didn’t get any whiffs with the pitch in this outing, the breaking ball has impressive horizontal movement and is a real weapon against lefthanders given his arm slot. He keeps the pitch down in the zone consistently and it pairs nicely with his fastball, which features movement in the opposite direction, running in on lefthanded hitters.

Cam Brown, RHP, Flower Mound (Texas) HS

Brown’s breaking ball was a bit of a tweener pitch during the Under Armour All-America Game. A 77-79 mph breaker with slurvy shape, Brown got one whiff with the pitch against Austin Hendrick to setup a strikeout with a fastball. It features good depth and spin and has the look of a real swing-and-miss offering.

Carson Montgomery, RHP, Windermere (Fla.) HS

Montgomery only threw a few 80-82 mph sliders, but the ones he did show were hard and tight with darting action down and away from righthanded hitters. On one occasion he buried the pitch below the strike zone and forced Steven Ondina to wave over the pitch in the dirt, showing its potential as an out-pitch.

Best ChangeupBen Hernandez, RHP, De La Salle HS, Chicago

While the breaking balls were notably down in this year’s game, there were a surprising number of changeups thrown for a high school all-star game, and scouts were impressed with the quality of many of them as well. Hernandez is an early candidate for having the best cambio in the class after striking out the side in the ninth inning and finishing each hitter (one lefty and two righties) with a changeup in the 81-83 mph range.

“I knew coming in from having watched Hernandez that he has one of the best changeups in the class,” said Baseball Factory’s Chief Baseball Officer Steve Bernhardt. “It’s a true swing-and-miss change. And his looked good. But some other guys threw (a changeup) a little more than I had seen in the past and threw it really effectively.”

Honorable Mentions:

Will Sanders, RHP, Woodward Academy, College Park, Ga.

Sanders pitched the inning prior to Hernandez and also generated three whiffs with his changeup, which was in the 78-80 mph range. He pulled the string on batters with the pitch several times and used the pitch to get back-to-back whiffs against outfielder Zac Veen (Florida), who was arguably the most impressive hitter in the field.

Jared Kelley, RHP, Refugio (Texas) HS

Kelley’s changeup has plenty of separation from his fastball, clocking in the 80-83 mph range which gives him a 10-12 mph difference from his heater. He threw the pitch with good arm speed and did a nice job keeping the offering down in the zone, where it would dive down and away from lefthanded hitters. He got one whiff with the pitch in two innings, using it to strike out outfielder Dylan Crews (Florida).

Jared Jones, RHP, La Mirada (Calif.) HS

Well-known as an underclassman thanks to his big-time velocity and athleticism, the improvement of Jones’ changeup was the talk of many scouts this weekend prior to the game, and he went to the pitch frequently during the first two innings. It was one of the most firm changeups of the game, coming in at 84-88 mph, but Jones located the pitch with more consistency than his fastball and it has solid fading life, though he did slow his arm speed a few times with it.

Best Command Victor Mederos, RHP, Monsignor Pace HS, Miami

Mederos takes the top spot here, although a number of pitchers showed impressive feel for their offerings. Mederos wins the tiebreaker thanks to the number of pitches that he seemed to command with ease, as the Miami commit spotted his fastball, changeup, curveball and slider nicely in a one-inning look.

Honorable Mentions:

Nate Savino, LHP, Potomac Falls HS, Sterling, Va.

As mentioned previously, Savino did a nice job spotting his big-breaking slider and also commanded his fastball well. He faced just four batters, getting a pair of groundouts and a line out while also surrendering a double to catcher Drew Romo (Texas) that just snuck fair down the right field line.

Carson Montgomery, RHP, Windermere (Fla.) HS

Montgomery, like Savino, showed good feel for a fastball/slider combination and faced the minimum with a pair of groundouts and a strikeout in the third inning.

Joseph Gonzalez, RHP, Leadership Christian Academy, Guaynabo, P.R.

Gonzalez’ stuff wasn’t as loud as many of the pitchers in this game, as he settled in with an 87-89 mph fastball that touched 90 mph, but he located that pitch and a mid-70s curveball well during his inning of work, showing above-average control.

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