MPB 17u/18u Top Prospect Series: Day 1 Notes

It was another beautiful day in central Wisconsin with plentiful sunshine and just enough of a western breeze to balance the sun/comfort mix. With the warmer temps there were plenty of players that jumped out early in the day, including the hardest thrown arm at the event.

Considering the Arkansas Razorbacks are enjoying one of the most dominant college baseball seasons in the history of the sport, when an Arkansas recruit takes the mound you tend to take notice. Aaron Arnold, a 6-foot, 185-pound righthander from the high school class of 2022, came out firing 90 mph fastballs and quickly drew onlookers attention. His fastball sat mostly in the 86-89 mph range and he did a good job to mix in a sharp 71-72 curveball that he snapped off well. He has more control than command at this stage of his development (or at least in this look), but it’s clearly a power arsenal that likely will add a few ticks in the velocity department as he continues to fill out his athletic frame.

Catcher Trey Hill has looked good both behind the plate and in the batter’s box with a simple swing and a line drive approach. He shows good bat speed, and in this game hit an RBI single to left field early in the contest. He added another RBI on a hot shot that the third baseman couldn’t handle, proving how adept he is at squaring up the baseball, and he registered a 2.03-second POP time defensively. Hill is committed to Arkansas-Little Rock.

It should be noted that Brew State Baseball was not phased at all by the assignment they drew, beating Perfect Timing Blue 7-2, their first of two wins of the day to move to 3-1 in pool play, serving as the No. 1 seed from Group 2 heading into Sunday’s semifinals.

Their second game was a 6-1 win over Marucci Midwest, and once again their turned to a softer-tossing lefty with a big, tantalizing curveball to get the job done. High energy middle infielder Ryan Blanchard is usually in the middle of the action on both offense and defense. He has a good eye at the plate and a slashing swing design to pepper the ball to all fields. Blanchard also made a highlight defensive play to get a runner at first base and retire the side. He’s committed to Feather River College, a JUCO in California.

Another big arm that stood out in the first time slot of the day was righthander Nick Potter of Inside Edge – Briley. The overall approach and results were on the wild side, but the easy raw arm strength was obvious as Potter fired 83-86 mph fastballs, peaking as high as 87-88 early in the game. He’s a good looking athlete with wiry strong limbs, making it easy to believe he’s just starting to scratch the surface of what he can do moving forward.

Potter was out-dueled by righthander Jack Bryan and the UA St. Louis Prospects Oliff, as the Prospects won this game 8-5. Bryan didn’t throw nearly as hard (mid-70s with a mid-60s spinner), but threw consistent strikes.

The third righthander to bring bigger stuff to the table in the first time slot was Bryce Parlin. Parlin has a 6-foot-2, 180-pound athletic build and was keeping the Hitters White team off balance all game by mixing between a 82-87 mph fastball and a slurvy 76-77 mph breaking ball that flashed promise and big depth when thrown well. It’s more of a “work-in-progress” profile for Parlin but it’s certainly an interesting one to follow. Parlin’s effort on the mound led to a 6-4 win, the first of two wins Perfect Timing Red had on the day.

Their second win was a 7-3 victory against UA St. Louis Prospects – Oliff in the 2:30 p.m. time slot, pushing them to 4-0 in the tournament, suitably, the only team to post a perfect record.

Swinging an extremely hot bat for the Hitters White is Camdin Jansen, a big-bodied (6-2/185) shortstop that has added a lot of strength and really has taken a big step forward as a result. He’s been showing a patient approach the past two days and is really impacting the ball hard when the bat leaves his shoulder. He started his day Saturday with a rope to left field and then laced a ball oppo for a hustle double. Defensively he has made all of the plays, too, making for a well-rounded package for an uncommitted prospect that likely won’t stay that way for very long into the summer months.

While they lost their first game of the day, the Hitters White squad won their second game rather convincingly, a 7-0 win over Inside Edge – Briley in the 12:15 p.m. time slot. 2022 righthander Kendall Lyons was the story in this one, commanding the strike zone very well with an 82-86 mph fastball, a big, slow curveball and what looking like an upper-70s changeup that fell off the table. Lyons looks bigger than his listed 6-foot-1, 185-pound stature, using his size and consistent, repeatable mechanics to maintain his velocity throughout his start. There’s a little bit of a crossfire component to his delivery, adding some deception out of his hand.

Righthander Gavin Wilson didn’t throw especially hard, but he was especially effective mixing between a fastball that hovered right around 80 mph and a high-spin mid-60s curveball that he showed really good feel for. He used that curveball well to set up his heater, allowing it to play up some, and he did a good job spotting his fastball on the corners of the strike zone. He has an athletic delivery and there’s reason to believe he could take his velocity up a level or two with further physical maturation and physical conditioning. His effort led to a 10-4 win for Inside Edge – Silvestri.

Next Level Baseball got off to a 3-0 start at the MPB 17u/18u Top Prospect Series by taking down STiKS 13-5 in their first of two games on Saturday. Righthander Bryce Turner turned in a strong effort on the mound, using a loose and easy arm stroke to produce 81-83 mph fastballs and a sharp 73-74 mph curveball.

Next Level started to open up the game when Chase Bloomer hit an RBI single early in the game and was followed by a two-run double off the bat of Jackson Herbel. Herbel had an especially big day at the plate, later driving an 85 mph fastball to the wall in left-center field  for extra bases. Herbel has a loose and rangy 6-foot, 165-pound frame with plenty of room to add strength and subsequent power. His actions are loose and he runs well underway.

For STiKS, their righthander, Thomas Harper, showed quite a bit of promise early with a strong and well-proportioned build and easy arm strength that produced 85-88 mph fastballs. He also showed good feel for a sharp, mid-70s curveball, but started to get hit around hard when he left his fastball elevated in the zone.

Andrew Niaves is enjoying a good tournament at the plate for STiKS, hitting a ball high and deep to the gap in right-centerfield for an RBI triple against Next Level Baseball and later had a ball drop into left field for a base hit.

In the 2:30 p.m. time slot, in Perfect Timing Red’s 7-3 win over the UA St. Louis Prospects – Oliff (already mentioned above), a 2023 righthander took the mound for the prospects, and while he didn’t fare especially well, he showed some obvious upside. Adam Hastings definitely passes the eye test at 6-foot-3, 178-pounds, just coming off of his sophomore year in high school. His arm produced easy 80-83 mph fastballs with an equally nice and easy delivery with a plenty projectable frame. He ran into trouble early in the game due to control issues, and then started to leave the ball up in the zone as a result, which led to some hard contact. However, even in that kind of look you could see the upside potential.

Perfect Timing Blue’s Kent Carlisle initially caught my attention on Friday by firing an absolute strike from his shortstop position. It was enough to write about in and of itself, but I made sure to keep an eye on him as he has a taller, athletic frame with good actions on the infield. On Saturday he had a hard single that he pulled through the 5-6 hole, hustled to third base on a bad pickoff throw and scored on a ground ball. Similar to Hastings’ mention before, sometimes there are glimpses of future talent you can catch.

Building Champions enjoyed a 4-0 win over UA St. Louis Prospects Perkins in the 2:30 p.m. time slot, riding the right arm of Dylan Graebener in the victory. Graebener threw in the 82-85 mph range with his fastball, but what was most impressive about the pitch was its natural movement and how well he commanded the offering, often working the outside edge against righthanded hitters before busting them on the inside corner for either weak contact or swings and misses. He worked predominantly off his fastball and provided six strong, shutout innings in the win.

Corbin Bassham has obviously strength in his lefthanded swing and well-built 6-foot-1, 190-pound listed stature. In the Building Champions’ win, Bassham hit a booming triple into the left-centerfield gap and has been taking competitive at-bats all weekend long.

Although Inside Edge – Silvestri lost to STiKS in a 14-10 barnburner during the 4:45 p.m. time slot, Jackson Summrall – who was profiled in Friday’s recap – blasted a ball over the fence in right field for a home run. Summrall, a lefthanded hitter, has a physical, sturdy frame and make regular, loud contact.

(The only other home run hit in the event’s first two days, that I’m aware of and/or saw, was by Brew State Baseball’s Ethan Krueger.)

There were two games played during the 4:45 p.m. time slot, and the most important one was between Hitters Baseball Navy and Next Level Baseball. Both were placed within Group 1, the only pool grouping that had six teams (Groups 2 and 3 had four teams each). Because of that, two teams would advance from Group 1 and Next Level Baseball already had one of the spots wrapped up with a 3-0 record. At 1-0-1, Hitters Navy was looking to join them, and possibly leap-frog ahead of them in the pool standings.

The game present an intriguing pitching matchup as Lawrence, Kansas-based Next Level Baseball saved their best starter, big-bodied (6-4/220) righthander Ike Cobb. Cobb is a Kansas commit and looks like the big-bodied hurler the Jayhawks like to recruit. While he didn’t throw especially hard he did come out and establish his fastball/curveball combo well. The fastball was thrown at 82-85 mph and initially did a good job to generate some awkward swings off the pitch. He also showed good command of his curveball, an overhand breaker that he dropped in well for strikes.

Starting opposite Cobb, and cruising to help guide Hitters Navy to a 7-0 win, was fellow righthander Luke Klekamp. Klekamp looks like a pitcher with somewhat of a pear-ish, 6-foot, 175-pound build. He started throwing his fastball in the 83-84 range and built that up to the 86-87 range, maintaining his velocity well into his start. His 70-72 mph curveball has sharp 11-to-5 shape to it and he also threw a 78 mph changeup that he pulled the string on nicely. It was the best three-pitch mix thrown in two days of the event for the uncommitted hurler.

Star shortstop Noah Miller came up big in this game, making nice, easy contact with runners on in two separate trips to the plate to drive in four of Hitter Navy’s seven runs. He also played his usual clean defense at shortstop with fluid actions and extremely quick hands.

Hitters Navy also won their second game of the day, 4-2, over Building Champions to move to 3-0-1 in pool play, good enough for the No. 1 seed in Group 1. Here are semifinal pairings:

9:00 a.m. – Hitters Navy vs. Brew State Baseball, Field 3

9:00 a.m. – Next Level Baseball vs. Perfect Timing Red, Field 4

The winner from each semifinal pairing will play in the championship scheduled for 11:00 a.m. on Field 4.

To view all of the results, standings and Sunday’s consolation matchups please visit this page:

2021 Midwest Premier Baseball 17u/18u Top Prospect Series