During the course of the five-day 17u Perfect Game World Series (July 21-25) Todd Gold and David Rawnsley will be providing daily recaps of notable prospects and their respective performances.
Contributing: David Rawnsley
17u Perfect Game World Series: Event page| Scout blogs
The ironic specter of a big morning rain storm in normally sunny Phoenix forced the postponement until Monday of one set of games scheduled for Sunday evening at the start of the Perfect Game 17u World Series. After all the rain this summer in Georgia and Florida that has impacted events, the last thing anyone expected was the same thing in Arizona.
Team Northwest 2015 RHP Brendan Illies(Edgewood, WA) sat comfortably in the 85-88 mph range with a very sharp downhill plane for a pitcher with a 6-foot-1 frame. He backed his fastball with a 12-to-6 curveball with good depth at 76 mph and an 82 mph slider with good shape and late break. He commanded all three pitches well, especially his fastball. Not only did he pound the zone in a strong complete game effort against a talented SGV Arsenal lineup, he also laid down a very good bunt in the seventh inning to put Team Northwest in position to push ahead the go-ahead run in the seventh inning.
SGV Arsenal 2014 OF and 2014 PG All-American Scott Hurst(Glendora, CA) led off the bottom of the sixthinning (with the game locked in a scoreless tie) with a triple. He’s an all-around impact type of talent who should be a catalyst for SGV throughout the tournament.
Hurst's teammate, 2014 C David Banuelos(Ontario, CA), was impressive behind the plate, as usual, not only doing a good job of preventing potential wild pitches get to the backstop in crucial late game situations, but also gunning down an attempted basestealer in the sixth inning with a 1.89 pop time. Given his defensive ability, it’s not imperative for Banuelos to bring much to the table offensively, though he does have strength at contact and a sound hitting approach.
The Tri-State Arsenal were the only team to win a game in an opening night that featured three ties, and they did it thanks in large part to a battery of talented 2013 grads who will be matching up in the ACC next spring. 2013 RHP Zach Gallen(Gibbsboro, NJ) threw a complete game for the Arsenal, he showed good command of his fastball in the mid- to upper-80s and was able to reach back for upper-80s and touched 90 mph with his fastball. Gallen backed his fastball with a 73-75 mph curveball with bite and 11-to-5 shape, and a quality 81 mph changeup.
2013 C Matt Thaiss(Jackson, NJ)went 3-for-3 with a walk and scored three times hitting out of the three hole for the Arsenal. Thaiss was drafted in the 32nd round of the 2013 MLB Draft but chose not to sign and will play for the Virginia Cavaliers, where he will see his battery-mate Gallen, who will suit up for the North Carolina Tar Heels.
Arizona Baseball Club Dodgers 2014 SS Greg Saenz(Phoenix, AZ) had a good showing in a losing effort. He was very solid defensively, working through the baseball well with solid actions, and he also drove in a run lining an 88 mph fastball up in the zone into right field.
His teammate, 2014 RHP Blaze Bohall(Glendale, AZ), got the start for the Dodgers and topped out at 87 mph but it is easy to picture him adding more velocity as he gets stronger. 2014 RHP/3B Nick Ortega(Glendale, AZ) showed solid two-way ability and topped out at 89 mph in relief.
The most impressive player on Indians fields 3 and 4 last night was Florida Burn 2016 right handed pitcher Austin Bergner(West Orange HS, Windemere, FL). The 6-foot-3, 160-pound Bergner looks like a young athlete just coming out of his freshman year, but throws nothing like someone who just celebrated his 16th birthday. Bergner silenced the powerful Houston Banditos lineup for 5 2/3 innings, allowing only one hit and striking out eight hitters. He pitched in the upper-80s with his fastball, touching 91-92 early and threw some two-seamers in the mid-80s with good sinking life. For as good as his fastball was, his mid-70s curveball and upper-70s to low-80s changeup were perhaps even better pitches, especially the curveball. Bergner has a simple delivery and compact arm action that hides the ball very well and doesn’t have much effort in his release. He’ll be a young man who you will be hearing plenty about over the next three years and beyond.
This was the first time this summer I’ve seen RHP Braden Webb(2014, Owasso HS, OK) throw. He looked very good last night pitching for the EvoShield Canes against NorCal Baseball, throwing 4 1/3 innings and pitching in the 87-91 mph range with his usual hard mid-70s downer curveball. I expect him to get even better over the next month and I’m sure I’ll have a chance to see him a couple of more times.
Webb’s EvoShield teammate 3B Charles Cody(2014, Great Bridge HS, VA) had his best game of the summer yesterday of the 5-6 I’ve seen. The 6-foot-1, 180-pound right handed hitter drove a deep double to right centerfield and added a single while looking very good on defense as well. Cody tends to get pull happy at times and seeing him drive the ball hard to the opposite gap against a pitcher throwing in the upper-80s was a good sign. Cody almost had a third hit and game winning RBI in the bottom of the seventh inning of the Canes 3-3 tie with NorCal, but NorCal shortstop Andrew Snow(2014, Jesuit HS, CA) made a nice jumping grab of a Cody ground ball and made a quick, accurate throw home for the force out.
NorCal Baseball RHP Joe Ryan(2014, Sir Francis Drake HS, CA) was making his first appearance at a Perfect Game event and will be joining the top prospect list soon. Ryan is a loose armed 6-foot-2, 185-pound right-hander who pitched in the upper-80s and was up to 91 mph. His curveball was a solid second offering and he showed lots of polish in his approach to pitching. We don’t have a college commitment listed for Ryan in the PG database at present.
Houston Banditos RHP Brigham Hill(2014, Nacogdoches HS, TX) was extremely impressive in his two innings of work at the PG National Showcase last month, pitching at 91-93 with a hard curveball. He threw 4 2/3 innings in a starting role against the Florida Burn last night, throwing steady and under control in the upper-80s and topping out at 90 mph.