Five Tool World Series: 17U Pitcher Scouting Notes

 

TOMBALL – When the Five Tool World Series first began, bats stood out across all competition more often than arms. For 17U teams, that trend changed as some very intriguing and at times dominant pitchers toed the rubber during the weekend, which featured MLB scouts and college coaches from the likes of Texas State, UTSA, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Texas Southern, Houston, Rice and more. 

 

Dallas Tigers Cienega/Beaven 17U claimed the National division championship thanks in large part to Adrian Guzman’s performance on the mound. The right-hander from Aledo was dominant across 4.0 scoreless innings against Houston Athletics 17U Gold. He racked up nine strikeouts and gave up just two hits and two walks because of his fastball and slider combination. 

 

Guzman touched 89 MPH in the first inning and again in his final inning and sat comfortably in the 86-88 MPH range with some natural cut because of his arm action and release. Although there is some length in the back of the arm action and the ball is shown towards home plate, his arm works quickly and the noticeable athleticism allows Guzman to repeat his delivery and fire strikes often. 

Committed to Grayson College, Guzman snapped off intriguing sliders as fast as 81 MPH; the breaking ball showed early, backing righties up on occasion before dropping sharply with tight spin late in the hitting zone. Guzman also showed feel for a firm straight changeup 80-81 MPH. Considering the present stuff and athleticism, Guzman, listed at 5-11, 150 pounds but probably heavier because of the lean muscle present, has a high ceiling and will add velocity in the future, especially since his athleticism suggests he’ll be able to start in college. 

 

The night prior, Guzman’s teammate, righty Tyler Sudderth, tossed 6.0 innings against HP Baseball 2022 Cunningham and gave up just two runs on five hits and five walks. Sudderth, a Tarleton State commitment, was forced to pitch with traffic on the mound often because of his control, but showed some arm strength with a fastball up to 86 MPH and velocity that carried into his final pitches.

Houston Athletics 17U Gold right-handed starter Jhaeden Bowers (Milby), who just recently turned 17-years-old, flashed his immense upside, but couldn’t find rhythm on the mound across 2.0 inconsistent innings. Bowers showed really intriguing athleticism and arm strength, and although he’s raw on the mound, the room for growth as a pitcher is very high. He didn’t show the big velocity he did at Five Tool events last summer, but you don’t have to squint and dream to see at least low 90’s MPH heat in the future. 

 

Bowers’ teammate Fabian Ramirez, an uncommitted righty from Milby, tossed just 1.0 innings during a Sunday semifinal game, but touched 89 MPH and flashed a future plus, 71-72 MPH changeup with a lot of arm-side fade. Earlier during the World Series, he threw 2.0 shutout innings with four strikeouts and just one hit and one walk. With a clean, easy delivery and arm action, Ramirez should firmly be on the radar of major colleges looking for a pitcher even if he is a tad undersized. 

 

The Houston Athletics 17U Gold were able to advance to the title game thanks to a 5-4 win over LBC National – Moench. Nico Ruedas, a 2022 prospect from Dripping Springs and Tarleton State commitment, stood out more with the bat during the World Series. Although his relief appearance didn’t go according to plan results-wise, Ruedas, a right-hander and switch-hitter, showed his athleticism and arm strength on the mound with a fastball up to 89 MPH. LBC National – Moench right-handed starter Ethan Garcia also touched 89 MPH.

 

Ruedas’ select and high school teammate Brandon Arvidson put on a show the night before. The tall lefty, who appeared to be around 6-4 and 190 pounds, tossed 6.0 brilliant innings with 13 strikeouts and just one hit and one walk. The lefty was up to 89 MPH but sat comfortably 84-87 MPH with a fastball that played up thanks in part to some deception created by his delivery, arm action and stuff. 

The Texas State commitment is especially intriguing because his delivery has yet to tap into all his physical gifts, like utilizing his size and length to create extension. And despite an unorthodox arm action, which features his hand completely underneath the baseball and giving it the appearance of a ball of vanilla ice cream in a scoop for a couple seconds deep into his delivery, Arvidson created angle on his lively fastball, which especially helped his 76-79 MPH changeup that racked up swings and misses down in the zone. 

 

Arvidson’s two breaking balls – curve and slider – blended together at times, and he’d probably benefit best from a harder slider. Regardless, the lefty showed he has noteworthy upside as one of the state’s top left-handed starting pitchers and his breaking stuff created some uncomfortable reactions in the batter’s box. 

Up to 92 MPH earlier this June at a Five Tool event, LightsOut 17U lefty Edward Hart (Alamo Heights) sat 83-88 MPH and touched 89 MPH with his heater across 4.0 innings. The big southpaw punched out nine but gave up four runs on three hits and four walks. His soft, inconsistent breaking ball sat 73-76 MPH and some added fluidity and less pause in his arm action could unlock even more velocity and a better breaking ball. Certainly, Hart, listed at 6-5, 220 pounds, has a lot of upside on the mound.

 

Playing for Action 17U Bell, young 16U lefty James Mario (McNeil) threw 4.0 shutout, no-hit innings Saturday evening against Setx Mizuno 17U Moreno. The young, very projectable lefty touched 86 MPH and sat at 83-85 MPH and flashed a backfoot slider at 79 MPH to a righty for a swing and miss. Considering the combination of athleticism, body projection, delivery and arm action, Mario will be one to follow closely. 

 

Earlier that day, Setx Mizuno 17U Moreno’s Cade Romero put on a show. A talented two-way player who caught our eye with his bat and glove at shortstop as well, Romero threw 5.0 innings against LBC National – Flores and gave up just one run on two hits and five walks with nine strikeouts. The walks stick out negatively, but Romero’s control and command were better than that number indicates, and his athleticism and simple delivery with minimal legkick was repeated throughout his appearance. 

Throwing a two-seam fastball that played well down in the zone with angle early, Romero worked comfortably 84-88 MPH and touched 90 MPH in the fourth inning after his pitch count exceeded 80 pitches. He showed some signs of command up-and-down the zone and ability to make adjustments on the mound, like when he wasn’t getting on top and his two-seamer was riding up-and-in to righties. 

 

Romero featured a spike curveball up to 81 MPH with sharp break and spin. Later, the uncommitted righty from Westbrook manipulated his breaking ball for more control and shape at 72-74 MPH and also occasionally used a 74 MPH changeup with some fade. With a short arm action that works towards second base and remains stationary until right before he plants and fires, Romero shows some of his infielder background on the mound. He repeats that arm action well and finishes it out front with minimal effort and a steady head. 

 

On the mound, Romero, listed at 6-0, 156 pounds, also showed his baseball instincts and mind. In a clear bunting situation with runners on first and second and no outs late in the game, Romero wheeled around towards second base to see if the hitter would tip his hand by showing bunt. Then on the next pitch, Romero bounced off the mound to field a bunt, fielded the ball, and fired to third quick enough to start a double play. Considering the package of skills, smarts, athleticism, actions in the infield and stuff, Romero looks like a player who should be on the top of many college call lists this week. 

 

A couple of 2022 lefties showed velocity isn’t everything with strong performances against powerhouse Texas Twelve Maroon 2022. Action 17U Bell’s Nick Nolan (Georgetown) showcased a simple, repeatable delivery with noticeable effort and intent in the finish, which didn’t negatively impact his solid control and command. Nolan competed very well, moved his 82-84 MPH that played up around the zone with some occasional natural cut and showed a 66-68 MPH hook with solid shape even though it was a tad soft. The uncommitted southpaw threw 5.0 innings and gave up just one run on three hits, four walks and punched out seven. 

Earlier in the World Series, Cody Templeton (Johnson) had arguably the top pitching performance of the event when he threw a complete game shutout against Texas Twelve Maroon 2022 and gave up just three hits with 11 strikeouts. Although Templeton’s fastball touched 84 MPH and sat 82-83 MPH, its shape allowed it to play up along with some added deception in the delivery and control of a 68-70 MPH changeup and 68-72 MPH curveball that featured short break and some tilt. The uncommitted pitcher showed command, control, competitiveness and pitchability. 

Dustin McComas – Follow me on Twitter @DustinLMcComas
Senior Editor
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