Mattingly World Series: Day Two Scouting Notes

 

MELISSA – The competition at the Melissa Sports Complex continued Wednesday as some of the nation’s top 17U teams positioned themselves to chase a championship during AABC Mattingly World Series bracket play. A few standout names from Tuesday’s action again turned heads, and the morning action began with one of those players putting together an outstanding performance.

 

Victus Scout Team 2022’s Kasen Wells, a Texas A&M commitment, turned his impressive tools into production by going 3-for-4 with three extra-base hits during Victus’ 6-3 win over SWAT Academy Rebels. Wells, a plus runner from the left side, covers the plate inside-and-out and up-and-down thanks to natural feel for the barrel and quick hands. He possesses a swing and approach that should really translate well to the next level. 

 Marucci Elite 2022 – Thames has been one of the most impressive teams the last two events, but it ran into Stix 2022 Scout’s Owen Proksch, who tossed 5.0 shutout innings and gave up just two hits with zero walks and eight strikeouts. The Duke commitment threw his fastball 86-88 MPH early in his outing and his 76-78 MPH slider routinely generated uncomfortable takes and swings and misses.

 While Proksch’s arm action is long in the back, he creates a unique look for hitters, who see his numbers until he plants and presents a downward angle; visually, his delivery is similar to MLB lefty Madison Bumgarner.

 

Another standout lefty took the mound for Texas Twelve Maroon 2022 during a late morning contest versus Next Level Baseball. Shane Sdao found the feel for a swing-and-miss, 76-78 MPH changeup in the final innings of his strong start, which allowed his 84-88 MPH fastball to play up in the strike zone. Although Sdao’s breaking ball remains a work in progress, his changeup showed legitimate promise Wednesday.

Once again, Justin Vossos, committed to Texas A&M like Sdao, made a strong case as the best player thus far during the first two days of the Mattingly World Series. Vossos continued to show promise with his bat, but his defense at second base wowed observers thanks to his instincts, athleticism, and quickness. The Ridge Point product is making a strong case as one of the best players in the state. 

 

Speaking of making a strong case, teammate and Texas A&M commitment Connor Weigman showed why he’s considered a top two-sport prospect by blasting a homer. Mason Ruiz, another Texas A&M commitment, walked 10 times and struck out zero during the Houston College Championships. During Mattingly World Series competition, his bat has been moving more often and he hit a solo homer during Wednesday’s action. 

His numbers didn’t tell the story during Houston College Championships competition and after ripping a homer on Tuesday, Marucci Elite 2022 – Thames’ Lathen Buzard continued to make hard contact at a solid rate. Buzard doesn’t sell out to pull the ball, but when he can get something to hit that way, he doesn’t waste a chance to punish the ball. 

After losing a heartbreaker in walk-off fashion very late Tuesday night, Trosky Texas 2022 – Ina bounced back on Wednesday thanks to solid performances from Rashaad James, Christian Salazar, Jose Vargas and Nic Pepe. Salazar, who just committed to Rice University after a strong showing at Reckling Park last week, showed making the ball jump off his bat wasn’t a fluke and has played with a lot of energy.

 

All Pepe has done in Melissa is hit over and over and over again. The left-handed hitter utilizes a quiet approach and simple swing that has covered the plate and showed an all-fields approach; he’s enjoyed a lot of success hitting singles through the hole at short.

Vargas looks the part of a future college player. Although he can swing-and-miss too often on occasion because he’s unafraid to swing aggressively in the batter’s box, Vargas’ body, swing and bat speed project well, especially against pitches middle and down. Another left-handed hitting outfielder who looks the part is 5 Star Performance 17U National’s Marshall Lipsey. Swinging with a wood bat hasn’t prevented his bat speed and hitting ability from standing out, and although he’s expanded the zone at times, his bat is dangerous in the box when it’s moving. 

 

Next Level Baseball’s Cade O’Hara, a 2022 San Diego commitment, plays the game with a slow heartbeat and is making hard contact repeatedly while making all the plays at shortstop. Although his offensive numbers thus far aren’t as loud as some others, there’s zero doubt he’s an all-around solid player who carries himself confidently and never looks overwhelmed on the diamond. 

It’s hard to watch Prairie Gravel 17U and not notice leadoff hitter and shortstop Easton Richter. He can run, hit, get on base at the top of the lineup and his athleticism is showing at shortstop. During a 9-3 win against UBC Andrews, Richter sat back on a changeup and ripped a solo homer over the Red Monster with ease. The St. Louis commitment is making a strong case as one of the top players of the event. 

 

Another left-handed bat in the Prairie Gravel 17U lineup making an impact is Brady Small. Currently uncommitted, Small is swinging the bat with balance and poise and making hard contact up the middle as well as the pull-side. On the mound for Prairie Gravel 17U in the win against UBC Andrews was Missouri commitment Duke Walker. Attacking hitters with a quick arm with promising action, Walker touched 87 MPH early in his outing. 

 

The strike-throwing was inconsistent, which resulted in five walks and was a tad surprising given the athleticism. But when Walker found his rhythm and release, he kept the ball down in the zone with a lot of success. It was a pretty quiet game for UBC Andrews but right-handed hitter Grant Johnson is one to keep an eye on. He ripped a double off the wall to right-center and there’s noticeable untapped potential in his swing. 

 

Dallas Tigers 17U – L. Hernandez marched to an emphatic 9-1 victory over Impact Baseball Club – Worley thanks in large part to shortstop Charlie Barker’s huge day at the plate. He finished 4-for-4 with two homers and a double. Listed at 5-10, 165 pounds, Barker packs more punch in the batter’s box than his measurables suggest and hammered the ball to all parts of the park with a short, quick swing. Defensively, he looks like he could play all over the diamond and gave up “ballplayer” vibes. 

Aubrey High School product Jacob Holder showed some hand-eye coordination and feel for hitting by getting the barrel on a couple of pitches and looked like he could really get down the line. On the mound for the Dallas Tigers 17U – L. Hernandez was big, 6-4 righty Jake Storey. Up to 87 MPH, the Jesuit Prep product’s long arm action is noticeable. However, it didn’t prevent the right-hander from repeatedly throwing strikes with all his pitches and holding his velocity through 6.0 innings. 

 

One of the few players to put together a really good at-bat against Storey was Fort Scott 2022 commitment Landon Winingham. Listed at 6-5, 240 pounds, Winingham, who also pitched two innings, moved well for his size and showed intriguing potential with the bat. 

Dustin McComas
Senior Editor
Five Tool Baseball

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