Anytime you attend an all-star event like the Baseball Factory All-America Game you could write up each and every player. While I did end up sharing something on every participant on Twitter, I have limited my written thoughts to 20 players, roughly half the field.
Make sure to view my Twitter timeline (@PatrickEbert44) for more quick-hit observations and videos. Full batting practice sessions from the first day of workouts, as well as full pitching performances from everyone that took the mound, are available on The Grind Baseball YouTube page (click here).
Commitment in parenthesis
Elijah Green, OF, Windermere, Fla. (Miami)
The son of former NFL tight end Eric Green, Elijah Green is a 6-foot-3, 225-pound athletic freak that has the potential to be a future star. His showcase numbers for his speed and outfield throws are off the charts, and when you mix in his prodigious power potential you have one special player. The strength is what stands out the most, and when he squares up the baseball it screams off his bat. Green showed this in game with a pair of base hits, the first a rocket up the middle and the second a shot just to the right-center side of center field that he legged out for a triple. He looked strong in BP as well, proving his power is truly to all fields. Green should hear his name called among the first 5-10 overall picks next summer and is one of the early names to discuss for the No. 1 overall pick.
Cole Young, SS, Wexford, Pa. (Duke)
It’s fun watching Young hit. His BP session really stood out, looking to barrel line drive after line drive up the middle of the field, really peppering the alleys. He too hit a triple in the game, a booming shot to right-center over the head of the center fielder that cleared the bases. That shot came off a 92 mph fastball, proving he more than has the bat speed to catch up with premium stuff. Like Green, Young can also run and throw with the best of them and more than looks the part at shortstop defensively. You hate to throw out too lofty a comparison, but watching Young hit reminded me of Chase Utley given the strength at impact from the lefthanded batter’s box.
Druw Jones, OF, Suwanee, Ga. (Vanderbilt)
Jones is a fascinating prospect. The son of Atlanta Braves great Andruw Jones, Druw looks as though he can do pretty much anything on the field. A primary outfielder, he participated in the defensive drills at practice as a middle infielder, and if you didn’t know any better, you would have thought that was his primary position. He threw darts from center field and carried that arm strength over to the infield as well, showing one of the better arms at the event. In BP he was hitting mostly to his pull side and really hit some rockets to left field as a righthanded hitter. In game action, however, he stayed on top of a pitch and served it to right-center, a ball that kept carrying which allowed him to burn around the bases for a two-run triple. Jones has an extremely high upside and will make the top of the 2022 draft interesting to follow.
Mikey Romero, SS/2B, Menifee, Calif. (LSU)
Throw Romero into the mix when talking about strength at impact, as he took one of the more impressive rounds of BP and started off the bottom of the first in game action by drilling a base hit back up the middle. He added another single later in the game, shooting a base hit through the left side of the infield. The barrel control is very impressive as he regularly squares up the baseball with a line drive approach. He has good but not great speed and a good but not great throwing arm. His actions were fluid as part of the defensive drills and might be an offensive-minded second baseman long-term with more than enough athleticism to play anywhere on the field. More power should come as he continues to fill out his athletic frame.
Cam Collier, 3B, Austell, Ga. (Louisville)
The event’s practice started with defensive drills and Collier was the first defender to show off his talents. He played at third base and showed exceptional body control for a larger-built infielder. He scooped every ball effortlessly and easily and fired strike after strike to first base – no throw was wild or even slightly off target. In the batter’s box he really did a good job using the opposite field gap in left-center which is exactly where his in-game double was hit, a ball that kept carrying off the bat thanks to his strength at contact. Collier re-classified, moving up from the high school class of 2023 to 2022 and is the son of former big leaguer Lou Collier.
Tucker Toman, SS/2B, Columbia, S.C. (LSU)
Toman is a strong-bodied infielder who really showed good actions in the middle of the infield with a strong arm. He may profile best at second or third base down the road, but for now he more than fits at shortstop. A switch-hitter, Toman also shows good strength in his swing from both sides of the plate, consistently hitting the ball hard to his pull side. On the first day of BP Toman’s swing looked to be about the same from both sides of the plate, but pre-game he really let it rip from the left side, consistently driving the ball hard from center field to the corner in right. Somehow LSU (who has numerous high-profile recruits from this event) went into Columbia, South Carolina and plucked Toman away from the Gamecocks.
Ryan Clifford, OF, Raleigh, N.C. (Vanderbilt)
Long identified as a top prospect from the 2022 class, Clifford checks a lot of boxes. He’s 6-foot-3, 215-pounds and really looks the part of a future big leaguer with an already strong and still projectable, well-proportioned frame. He runs well, he throws the ball well from the outfield and he can really hit. His line drive batting practice swing was replicated in game action and resulted in a rocket double hit slightly to the right side of the middle of the field and a single he went with and served into left field. The strength in his hands is evident, as his is advanced pitch recognition and overall awareness. Clifford isn’t flashy but he’s about as well-rounded as they come.
Henry Bolte, OF, Palo Alto, Calif. (Texas)
Bolte, along with Jackson Holliday, were two players I noted I wanted to see more of. Bolte did have a strong game performance, hitting an infield single, shooting a ball oppo to the gap in right-center and reaching on a hit by pitch, stealing a base along the way while showing off his athleticism. It doesn’t look as orthodox as some of the other players in attendance, but he really makes it work with a loose, whippy swing and a knack for squaring the ball up on a line. He really was hitting the ball hard to his pull side but showed enough strength to drive pitches up the middle and the other way. Bolte’s throws from the outfield were strong and online. At 6-foot-3, 200-pounds he has very good size and a lot of room for added strength.
Jackson Holliday, SS, Stillwater, Okla. (Oklahoma State)
Holliday sprayed the ball all over the field in BP, really showing a professional approach in the lefthanded batter’s box. He also could let it rip, and not surprisingly his father is former big league slugger Matt Holliday. Jackson still has a ton of room to add strength, and while he projects to get bigger than his current listed size of 6-foot, 180-pounds, he’s a different athlete and overall hitter than his father was. He also plays shortstop, showing a bounce in his step with smooth actions up the middle. He didn’t have his first plate appearance until the sixth inning in game action, and drew a walk, but the upside is immense.
Termarr Johnson, 2B, Atlanta, Ga. (Uncommitted)
Middle infielder Termarr Johnson is considered by many to be one of, if not the top prospect in the class of 2022, with some calling him one of the best pure hitters to emerge from the prep ranks in recent memory. He didn’t have a memorable game performance but he did show well in BP, using a crisp, direct lefthanded stroke to pepper line drives all over the field. Plus, he was the smoothest defensive player in attendance, doing a lot of the little things so well that often separate players, like throwing the ball to the correct side of the bag and making consistent, clean and quick glove-to-hand transfers. Johnson – who reminds me a lot of Kolten Wong – likely profiles best at second base. He’s also uncommitted.
Sal Stewart, Jr., 3B, Miami, Fla. (Vanderbilt)
Stewart is an extremely physical and well-built player, a physical bute and the type of player you’d like on your side when push comes to shove (literally). He uses that strength to crush baseballs, hitting almost everything to his pull side and hitting the ball hard, with several balls leaving the Kansas City Urban Youth Academy complex. At 6-foot-3, 215-pounds he has a corner infield profile but really showed good body control at third base and made consistently strong and accurate throws across the diamond. In game action he muscled a single through the left side of the infield that brought home a pair of runs.
Jayson Jones, SS/3B, Aubrey, Texas (Arkansas)
At 6-foot-2, 200-pounds, Jones was also one of the more physical players in attendance, a muscular and well-defined athlete that doesn’t look like a senior in high school, much less one playing baseball. He’s made up of tightly wound fiber which makes him an explosive athlete in all phases of the game. Like Holliday, he didn’t make his game debut until the sixth and drew a walk, but really made an impact in BP and advanced to the finals of the home run derby; he really unloads on balls to his pull side. Given his size it doesn’t seem likely that he sticks at shortstop, but like Stewart, he has impressive body control and arm strength and should live somewhere on the left side of the infield as he advances.
Yoel Tejada, 1B/RHP, Coral Springs, Fla. (Florida)
Although he doesn’t have the same kind of athleticism, Yoel Tejada was one of the first hitters to stand out during batting practice as the ball jumped off his bat and carried deep to all parts of the ballpark, as both a left and righthanded hitter; he hit an opposite field double to the right field corner as a righthanded hitter in the game despite showing better from the left side during batting practice. He’s super-sized at 6-foot-7, 205-pounds, and also threw 90-91 mph fastballs with a mid-70s curveball and a low-80s changeup off the mound. A true two-way talent, he’s somewhat reminiscent of AJ Puk, although Tejada doesn’t throw in the mid-90s like Puk did at the same age, at least not yet, and currently profiles better as a hitter. Like Puk, Tejada is a Florida recruit who undoubtedly will get two-way looks in college.
Nick Peoples, OF, Duarte, Calif. (New Mexico State)
Another switch-hitter, Nick Peoples, also showed promising power potential during BP with a strong and athletic 6-foot-5, 205-pound frame that really allows him to stand out physically. Peoples put the National squad on the board first with a solo home run in the bottom of the second inning, a no-doubt solo shot he hit high and deep over the wall in right while swinging lefthanded. During defensive drills Peoples displayed a really strong arm with carry on his throws to both third base and home plate.
Karson Milbrandt, RHP, Kansas City, Mo. (Vanderbilt)
Prior to Saturday’s game I was unfamiliar with Milbrandt, but anytime you see a player committed to Vanderbilt you know they have the chance to be special. I was familiarized quickly as the local product started the game for the National squad and came out firing 92-94 mph strikes. The fastball is a high-spin pitch, with some 2,800 RPM readings, and he did a good job commanding the pitch and moving it around the strike zone. He struck out two of the event’s top prospects, Elijah Green and Cole Young, back-to-back on 93 mph fastballs. He didn’t go to his secondary offerings much but did show a promising 78 mph curveball and pulled the string nicely on one 83 mph changeup. At 6-foot-1, 185-pounds he has good size, a high waist and is well-proportioned to take on added weight and strength, meaning subsequent velocity gains are likely.
Owen Murphy, RHP/SS, Riverside, Ill. (Notre Dame)
I was happy Murphy was named to this event having seen him pitched/played before, a two-way talent with a live arm that can also make an impact swinging the bat. His upside is higher, at least for now, on the mound, really getting after hitters with a 90-92 mph fastball and a sharp breaking ball that ranged from 73-77 mph. When he snaps off his 11-to-5 shaped breaking ball as well as he can he gets a lot of batters swinging over the top of it, and he threw one 85 mph changeup to prove it was in his back pocket. After giving up a leadoff single to Mikey Romero, however, he went to his fastball, striking out Termarr Johnson on high 91 mph heat and got Sal Stewart swinging through another 91 mph heater. Owens is fearless, competitive and athletic.
David Lally, RHP, Grand Blanc, Mich. (Notre Dame)
Lally isn’t afraid to show/share his emotions on the mound and is extremely competitive. He has very good size at 6-foot-4, 205-pounds with a powerful three-pitch mix that includes a 90-92 mph fastball, a sharp 79-82 mph curveball and an 84-85 mph changeup that he pulls the string on extremely well. He mixes all three pitches well, really the best at sequencing a three-pitch mix at this event, saving his change for lefthanded hitters, and really goes after them. He froze Druw Jones on a sharp 82 mph curveball, his best of the day, and grabbed a corner with a 92 mph fastball for another strikeout looking to end his inning of work.
Cole Phillips, RHP, Boerne, Texas (Arkansas)
Phillips came in the bottom of the fourth inning to get the American team out of a jam and he did a good job doing so. He also pitched his regularly scheduled inning, the bottom of the fifth, and ended his outing with three strikeouts in two full innings of work. The size is notable, a 6-foot-3, 198-pound athletic righthander with long, lean limbs and a lot of remaining projection. His athleticism and repeatable delivery means his current 91-93 mph fastball could be sitting mid-90s in the not-so-distant future. He also mixed in a promising 76-78 mph curveball that should gain more power and sharpness as he continues to find more consistent feel for the pitch; overall he really sequenced well between the two pitches and kept hitters off balance.
Walter Ford, RHP/IF, Bessemer, Ala. (Alabama)
Since the game was played, Ford re-classified to 2022, but participated in this event as a member of the high school class of 2023. He’s a two-way player committed to play for in-state Alabama, and while he shows a loose, easy swing with plenty of room for added strength and subsequent power, his future lies on the mound. His command wasn’t the sharpest in this game, and his stuff wasn’t as good as it had been at other times this summer, but that didn’t take away from his obvious upside. He’s 6-foot-2, 195-pounds and extremely projectable with a tall, lean and long-limbed build. He threw 91-94 mph in this game and unleashed a wicked 80-81 mph slider with two-plane break and 2,600 RPM readings. Ford also threw one 87 mph changeup to keep a hitter from trying to time up his fastball.
Jurrangelo Cijntje, BHP, Pembroke Pines, Fla. (Stetson)
When you have a pitcher that is so unique, throwing effectively yet so incredibly different with both hands, you have to take the time to write about him. Cijntje tossed two innings in this game, the first of which he faced all lefthanded hitters, which means he pitched exclusively lefthanded in the third inning. And he can carve lefties up by changing speeds between an 87-88 mph fastball and a sharp low-70s curveball. When he turns around and pitches righthanded it’s a pure power approach, bringing 92-93 mph heat to blow batters away. He recorded back-to-back punchouts in the fourth, one on a 92 mph fastball to a righthanded hitter and the next on a mid-80s fastball to a lefthanded hitter.
Brayden Risedorph, RHP, (Parkland JC)
I saw Brayden Risedorph throw for the second time in about a month at the Baseball Factory All-America Game, and while he didn’t throw as hard this time (90-93 as compared to a peak velocity of 95 mph) he threw all fastballs in one of the cleanest innings of any of the 15 pitchers that made an appearance. A big-bodied righthander at 6-foot-3, 235-pounds, it’s easy to envision Risedorph throwing harder in the not-so-distant future. Developing a secondary pitch or two will be key to his development (he did throw a promising changeup the first time I saw him). He is committed to Parkland JC.