Five Tool/NTX Club Champs: 16U and 17U Scout Notes

 

As the summer tournament season nears its end, Five Tool/NTX held the Tournaments Club Championships across high schools in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. As usual, 16U and 17U talent stood out during some of the final travel baseball games of the 2021 cycle. 

 

Perhaps the loudest performance of the event so far is courtesy Dallas Patriots 16U Barras shortstop Uriah Walters. An uncommitted prospect from Rock Hill High School, the right-handed hitter has been almost impossible to get out. Literally. He’s hitting .714/.800/1.429 across three games. Not bad. 

Walters starts with his hands high and lowers them in sync with an aggressive yet athletic leg-kick towards the pitcher, which ignites his impressive bat speed and rotation in the batter’s box. Because of how quick and strong his hands are, Urias is able to pull inside pitches and keep them fair while also being able to cover the plate, although his approach aims to pull with authority. 

 

Defensively, the 2023 prospect appears he has a real chance to stay at shortstop at the next level with athleticism showing up on the dirt to go along with quickness and quick, controlled actions. The uncommitted prospect is making a strong case this weekend as a definite name to follow in the 2023 class. 

High school and select 2023 teammate Aidan Lamar punched out nine across 5.0 innings and gave up just one run on two hits and six walks. The lefty, listed at 5-11, 195 pounds with some present physicality, utilizes a simple delivery that includes noticeable effort and intent as he finishes pitches. When the fastball, which works in the mid 80’s and can touch the upper 80’s, is in the zone, it can miss bats, and Lamar is unafraid to challenge hitters.

 

Lamar and Dallas Patriots 16U Barras pitchers are aided by the work of Braden Smith (Frisco Memorial) behind the dish. Smith used a 1.90 pop time and strong, accurate arm to catch a runner stealing. Offensively, he made his mark too, repeatedly making hard contact, which led to a .500/.556/.625 slash line through three games. 

In 17U competition, another lefty named Aidan stood out on the mound – Dallas Patriots 17U Stout’s Aidan Sharp. The result of the outing – 3.0 innings and three runs on three hits, three walks with six strikeouts – was more inconsistent than Sharp would prefer. That said, he touched 88 MPH, has some deception in the delivery out of his 6-7 frame, and when his breaking ball is right, it has big shape and depth with spin. As he matures and gets more comfortable in his big frame, Sharp should add velocity and perhaps more control.

He only tossed an inning, but consider us extremely intrigued in NTXBC Dirtbags – 2022 Woods’ right-hander Nolan Bushko. A high-waisted athlete who also plays in the infield, and has shown plus-plus speed out of the box with a .571/.700/.571 slash line so far this week, Bushko touched 89 MPH with a noticeably quick arm and his infield background showed in his athleticism on the mound. 

In the past, Bushko, who attends VR Eaton and is uncommitted, flashed a 12-6 hook with good shape and snapped it off with impressive spin. With physical projection remaining and a live arm, Bushko could prove to be a diamond in the rough. Texas Tech commitment and 2022 teammate Will Bush showed his pull-side pop with a couple extra-base hits to right field and will carry a 1.944 OPS into Sunday’s action. If he can cut down some of the topspin off the bat, he could tap into his raw power more. 

 

Another impressive 16U arm was Dallas Mustangs 16U – Sharp right-hander Blake Julius. In a 6.0-inning start, Julius, who attends Mansfield Legacy, used a fastball up to 88 MPH to strike out seven and gave up just one unearned run on two hits, one walk and two hit batters. Julius worked his fastball up and down the zone for swings and misses and finished his curveball, 68-70 MPH, well out front to create depth. 

The run of 16U standouts on the mound continues with Elite Baseball 16U’s Brian Luna, an uncommitted lefty from Alameda (Colorado). Across 4.0 hitless frames, Luna racked up eight strikeouts and allowed one run on three walks. The walks are deceiving because Luna showed good pitchability and fastball command and execution to both sides of the plate with a feel for spin. Although undersized, Luna showed athleticism with a quick delivery on the mound and profiles well in the future with a fastball up to 87 MPH.

Pitchers weren’t the only 16U prospects making things happen. Some guys really swung the bat well, including Southlake Carroll and UBC 16U Tompkins’ Ben Tryon. Tryon, who really stood out during the 15U/16U Championships earlier this month, sprayed the ball around the field and showed his power too. 

He carries himself like a natural hitter in the batter’s box with notable hand-eye coordination and a slow heartbeat. So far, he’s hitting .778/.818/.889. Teammates Mac Rose and Lathan Van Ausdall are both hitting .500 and their hitting talent is showing. 

 

Dustin McComas
Senior Editor
Five Tool Baseball

Five Tool’s Drew Bishop contributed to this report.

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