15u MPB: Day 1 Notes

15u MPB: Day 2 Notes

The third day of the 2021 15u Midwest Premier Baseball Top Prospect Series marked the beginning of bracket play. Eighteen teams advanced as the teams were grouped in six three-team pools. The winner of each pool, six teams in total, would advance to Sunday’s quarterfinal, semifinal and championship rounds.

With a run differential of 16 in their two bracket play games on Saturday, Hitters Baseball emerges as the No. 1 seed heading into Sunday. Rawlings Arkansas Prospects Scout is No. 2 with a run differential of 11 and their opponents will be determined during Sunday’s 9:00 a.m. games.

The winner of Building Champions UA 15 Kisner/MASH will take on Rawlings Arkansas Prospects Scout at 11:15 a.m. The winner of the GRB Rays/Ohio Elite 15u Brumfield contest will take on Hitters Baseball at 1:30 p.m. The winner of those two semifinal games will meet in the championship, scheduled for 3:45 p.m. at Elkhorn North High School.

The Silver, or consolation, Championship will also take place at 3:45 p.m. at Saint Albert. Nebraska Prospects Scout and the winner of Rhino Baseball/Ft. Worth Cats 15u Black will battle for that title.

Most of my focus on Saturday was on bracket play, starting my day back at Densmore Park where the Rawlings Arkansas Prospects Scout enjoyed a 2-0 early start to their day.

Kyler Hoover, Rawlings Arkansas Prospects Scout

Hoover was an eye opener early in this game, leading off the contest by hammering a hanging curveball over the head of the center fielder for a triple. In their second game of the day Hoover ripped a two-run single to left field and hustled to second base on the throw. He scored on both hits thanks to hard hit balls by Adan Velasquez, the first a double blasted to left-center and the second a single smoked up the middle. While Hoover has a smaller physical profile, he really makes the most of his athleticism and definitely implements speed into his game. He displayed quick, strong hands and enough bat speed to catch up with higher velocity offerings. He’s definitely a name to monitor moving forward.

The Arkansas Prospects had no shortage of big, physical players in their lineup. Joe Castillo passes the eye test better than any of them with a well-proportioned, slender and athletic, broad-shouldered frame. He hit a sharp RBI single up the middle during his second at-bat of his team’s first game (which made it 10-0 at the time) and a loud sacrifice fly to center field in game two. Christian Carnal has some serious strength to his hulking stature and ripped an RBI single down the first base line in game two. Carson Wiggins, who also stood out on the mound, drilled a ball to the opposite field in right for a double. Brock Streun had the biggest hit, a bases-clearing double that made game one an 8-0 contest before their opponents (Blizzard Elite) even had a chance to hit. They won their games by scores of 15-0 and 8-5 and really can light up a scoreboard in a hurry.

Carson Wiggins, Rawlings Arkansas Prospects Scout

Carson is the younger brother of Jaxon Wiggins, a hard-throwing righthander currently at the University of Arkansas. Carson has a similar upside with a lean and loose frame that makes it easy to dream on. He threw 80-85 mph in this mostly, throwing mostly fastballs, and included one 86 courtesy of a neighboring Pocket Radar. Most of the profile needs fine-tuning, which should come over time, but the foundation for a talented, athletic, hard-throwing righthander is definitely there.

Dalton Ward got the start in the Arkansas Prospects’ first game of the day and enjoyed a strong performance. A tightly-wound, strong-bodied righthander, Ward uses a lower slot to deliver 78-79 mph fastballs while dropping in high-spinning 64-67 mph curveballs.

Although Blizzard Elite didn’t fare well in this game, tall, lean and lanky righthander Tyler Guerin (6-3/155) showed intriguing future promise. There’s a lot of arms and legs in his delivery, delivering 76-79 mph fastballs and an upper-60s curveball that he already shows good feel for and snaps off consistently well. Lefthander Bradyn Bezanson showed well in the Blizzard’s second game of the day against Perfect Timing. His athleticism was evident in his delivery, producing 77-80 mph fastballs with a fair amount of arm-side run while sequencing well between his heater and several well-placed 63 mph curveballs. Third baseman Trent Cornell had a sharp two-run single that he hit to his pull side and got through the left side of the infield. There’s some obvious strength in Cornell’s still-growing 5-foot-9, 175-pound frame.

Perfect Timing, another Arkansas-based club, put up a good fight despite falling behind early in their first game of the day. Righthander Jack Blevins got the start against the Arkansas Prospects, and while he didn’t pitch poorly he had troubles cleanly getting through the first few innings. From a strong and sturdy build Blevins produced 77-79 mph heat with a sharp 65-68 mph curveball. The player that stood out the most to me on this day for Perfect Timing was two-way talent Carter Nye. A good looking athlete, Nye proved he wasn’t phased by Carson Wiggins’ velocity and had a very good first at-bat against him that resulted in a sharp single back up the middle. He later took the mound and really spotted his 77-79 mph fastball well, grabbing corners while mixing in a sharp 65-69 mph curveball. In one inning he had back-to-back punchouts, both swinging, one on a curveball the batter swung over the top of and another on high heat.

GBA played a pair of competitive games on Saturday, the first of which was a 6-5 win over 15u UA St. Louis Prospects. For a while it looked as though their starting pitcher, Owen Larrigan, would try to win the game all by himself. He wasn’t overpowering, but he commanded his 73-75 mph fastball well, at least at times, and also, at times, threw a promising big 61-64 slow breaking ball. He used that pitch to collect a pair of Ks in the top of the second. At the plate Larrigan hit a double over the right fielder’s head in the bottom of the second, which led to another run, and also had a hard single in the bottom of the fifth that put runners on first and second.

GBA catcher Chase Lasater stood out on the field for his big, physical frame and he had some good at-bats as a lefthanded hitter during both Friday’s and Saturday’s action at Densmore Park. He made some especially loud contact on Saturday, in both games, but no hit was bigger than his two-run single that gave GBA a two-run lead against the St. Louis Prospects. He also displayed soft hands behind the plate defensively.

GBA was also in a position to win their second game against the GRB Rays thanks to a big inning at the plate that allowed them to take what looked at the time to be a commanding three-run lead. Kyle Edgar, Chase Lasater, Alec Marchetto and Evan Moore all had hard-hit balls off of GRB starter Logan Dunn. One more impressive plate appearance on the day for GBA occurred in game one when the lefthanded hitting Tyler Laskowski hit a double to the opposite field gap in left-center to break a 2-2 tie. GBA’s other catcher, Logan Winkleman, hit several balls hard on both Friday and Saturday, but none of them landed fair. He’s a stocky and strong 5-foot-10, 191-pound catcher who has a very good approach at the plate and a knack for squaring the ball up.

John Paul Sauer, GBA

With a big, strong and sturdy frame, Sauer had no problem producing 80-84 mph fastballs, touching 85 a few times, although early in the game it didn’t appear as though the GRB Rays had any problems handling his velocity. Sauer settled in nicely and gave his team a chance to battle back and eventually take the lead in the game. His 68-74 mph curveball was inconsistent, but when thrown well it showed promise and was a difficult pitch to square up. He was somewhat effectively wild with his fastball, as improved command and overall consistency will certainly help him be more effective as he continues to hone his craft.

Alec Marchetto came on in relief of Sauer in game two, and while he gave up the eventual game-winning run to GRB he showed good stuff, delivering 79-81 mph fastballs and a 65 mph curveball. Marcheto has a larger, physical and mature-looking build with a high-energy delivery. Dalton Hosack started GBA’s first game against the St. Louis Prospects, a good-sized lefthander that worked in the upper70s with an easy, repeatable and athletic delivery.

Logan Dunn, GRB Rays

Profiled in Friday’s recap for the impact he made at the plate as a lefthanded hitting outfielder, Dunn took the mound in GRB’s first game of the day against GBA. While he did get knocked around in the middle of the game before getting removed, he was sharp early, throwing easy 79-81 mph fastballs with a sharp low- to mid-60s curve. Everything about his delivery, and all of his actions, defines loose athleticism.

And oh yeah, Dunn also got the job done at the plate. He opened up the game’s scoring by lacing a two-run single to left field (shown in the video below) and finished the game’s scoring by tallying the winning, walkoff run. That run came after he led off the bottom of the seventh with a triple he drilled over the head of the right fielder before he turned on the jets.

Noah Wech, GRB Rays

Another player profiled on Friday for his impact as a position player, Wech initially continued that strong impression by collecting a pair of hard-hit singles while showing a willingness and the ability to drive the ball to the opposite field. When Logan Dunn’s pitching performance came to a close Wech entered the game and allowed his GRB squad to battle back, tie the game 6-6 and eventually win it. On the mound, Wech has a high-energy delivery and likes to work quickly. His fastball was thrown at 80-84 mph, not surprising given how well, and easy, the ball comes out of his hand defensively at shortstop.

Here’s how the GRB/GBA game finished as Anderson Hayes hit a grounder towards second base that scored Dunn from third.

Grant Stratton, Ohio Elite 15u Brumfield

This was a fun pitching performance to watch, in a game that ended in a 1-1 tie with Minsky’s Orioles. Stratton, who is from West Virginia, has a lot of moving parts to his extremely lean and lanky 6-foot-2, 145-pound frame. There’s some good movement to his 77-80 mph fastball, a pitch that plays up due to how well he can command it, and he does a lot of little things well, like quick-pitching, that adds to his guile and overall effectiveness. His 63-67 mph curveball is also a good pitch when thrown as well as he can throw it and he got quite a few swings and misses on the pitch. He appeared to be in complete command from beginning to end, falling just one inning short of going the distance. I don’t have access to his stats, but he recorded quite a few punchouts and I believe he only walked one batter.

Overall Ohio Elite 15u Brumfield has numerous physical and athletic players in their starting lineup, but since the Minsky’s Orioles also pitched well in this game it was hard to get a good look at their potential. I hope to get another look at them on Sunday.

The Minsky’s Orioles are similar in that their success doesn’t appear to come from any one player, or a collection of players for that matter, but rather the entire team. I saw them play in pool play as well and from what I could tell they are a very well-coached, fundamentally strong team that executes in all phases in the game, particularly when it comes to pitch sequencing and on defense. Scotty Fegen and Quinton McAtee split the pitching duties almost evenly in this game with McAtee showing the better stuff, which included a 76-80 mph fastball and a big ‘ole mid-60s curveball that looked like an eephus pitch at times.

Aren Robinson, 1B, Hitters Baseball

Robinson provided the biggest “wow” moment of the tournament so far, at least from what I have seen, as he put a charge into a ball and send it sailing over the wall in left field at Sherman Park in Lincoln in a hurry. Robinson offers a huge presence at the plate; he’s listed at 6-foot-3, 175-pounds on the Hitters online roster but he already looks much bigger than that, which really allows him to stand out on the field. His power as such is massive and the impact and extension he created on that shot was memorable, especially considering the age level.

JD Dix, Hitters Baseball

Dix may not have hit a monster blast in this one, but he did hit a liner hard to the opposite field that he was able to stretch into a double. His plate coverage and ability to drive the ball to the opposite field stood out. He’s a switch hitter with an already strong and sturdy frame that will only continue to added strength with continued maturity. Dix appears as though he will be the next great position prospect in a long lineage of stud Hitters that includes Gavin Lux, Alex Binelas and Jarred Kelenic.

Cade Palkowski is another one of the Hitters’ top prospects from the high school class of 2024. Built more compact and strong at a listed 5-foot-10, 165-pounds, Palkowski put a charge into a ball as I arrived at the park, driving a ball to the gap in right-center field for a double. Nolan Buss started this game and was throwing 82-85 mph fastballs with a 70-72 mph curveball. I arrived to see him pitch in the fourth when he already appeared to run out of gas. The low- to mid-80s velocity for this age division was still notable, especially given how easily it was produced.

Rawlings Tigers St. Louis righthander Henry Cordes showed some good velocity as well, working in the 79-82 mph range while mixing in a 68-72 mph curveball. At 6-foot-1, 160-pounds, it’s easy to see with how athletic his delivery is and how easy his arm works that he’ll be throwing harder in the not-so-distant future. Carson Mullen blasted a shot deep to left-center for a very loud RBI double and Logan Zwirn followed him with a sharp single to center field. Zwirn also pitched in this game. While it wasn’t a “wow” moment, I really liked the swing adjustment Connor Mendell made to lace a hard single to right field as a righthanded hitter. He also showed a strong, accurate arm from behind the plate, registering a 2.19-second POP time in between innings.