Perfect Game All-American Pitchers Scouting Notebook

Perfect Game All-American Pitchers Scouting Notebook

Written By: Wrenzie
Follow him on Twitter: @GiantProspectiv
Follow Prospects Worldwide on Twitter: @ProspectsWorldW

The biggest annual event in the high school ranks, the Perfect Game All-American Classic, is just a couple of days away. Prospects Worldwide will provide you great coverage of the event, with previews on both hitters and pitchers, in-game reactions, and post-game reviews!

My buddy Jake Tillinghast (@JTillinghast27) wrote a great general preview of the event, where he covered all of the 54 participants, and much more. I am doing a slightly different version of Jake’s work, where I will cover all of the pitchers in the event, with spin rate data (if available) and a quick scouting report on them.

Also included are four hitters that I am preparing my blood pressure levels because I am so hyped for them. All of this will culminate with the Prospects Worldwide 2021 MLB Draft Board complete with full scouting reports written by the draft crew, grades, metrics, and much more! The Draft Board will be live sometime in September. Be on the lookout out for it! If you are a MLB Draft lover, this is the place for you

This is a deep prep pitching class, with several prospects flashing at least mid-rotation potential. However, there is currently not a true number 1 prep pitching prospect at the moment and it will likely be in next spring that we will know who separated himself from the rest of the pack.

Without further ado, let’s dig in!

West All-American Team

Christian Little has everything that you want for a prep starting pitcher. He’s young (will still be 17 in June next year), athletic with a great pitcher’s frame, and has an advanced feel for his repertoire.

His mechanics is interesting. The tempo’s as smooth as a hot knife through butter but he has a bit of a crossfire to throw hitters off their timing. With that said, Little repeats his mechanics well but if he can make the adjustments necessary, he will take off. His four-pitch repertoire (fastball, curveball, slider, changeup) flash above-average with good spin rates and life.

I expect Little to perform well in the Classic because he exudes the maturity that is typically seen on pitchers that are a couple of years older than him.

Spin rates!
Fastball: 2280 – 2475 RPM
Curveball: 2450 – 2600 RPM
Changeup: 1634 RPM

Jackson Jobe is hella nasty. Relatively new into pitching full-time, Jobe’s already shown the ability to spin a baseball as well as translating his athleticism when he played shortstop. There’s still projection in his frame to think that he will sit in the mid-90s in the future.

Jobe’s mechanics is smooth and crisp, with tremendous hip-shoulder separation resulting to plus arm speed. With his athleticism, he could very well have solid or better command in the future. While the low-90s fastball and his changeup looks pretty decent in terms of life, it’s his devastating slider that takes the cake. Thanks to his extremely high spin rates and present ability to manipulate its velo and trajectory, it could be a potential 70 pitch at its very best.

Spin rates!
Fastball: 2300 – 2500 RPM
Slider: 3050 – 3250 RPM
Curveball: 2450 – 2600 RPM
Changeup: 1634 RPM

If you want to see some high octane pitching, Chase Burns is definitely your guy. There is not a lot of projection in his frame left but his physique is already mature looking and is athletic.

Burns can reach up to 99 with his fastball in short bursts but is currently sitting at low to mid-90s. Burns has a pretty long arm action because he reaches back but he rides his back leg very well and his explosive trunk rotation results to plus arm speed. The fastball has the potential to be a 70 grade pitch due to the vertical-inducing arm action and arm speed while his curveball flashes above-average with solid feel for spin.

Spin rates!
Fastball: 2400 – 2650 RPM
Slider: 2400 – 2600 RPM
Curveball: ~2500 RPM
Changeup: ~1800 RPM

James Peyton Smith does not have the best arm action but he has that arm action that will have his fastball play up in the zone. Also, he does a very good job of loading his back leg on his leg kick.

Speaking of his fastball, it is a mid-90s offering with good arm-side run and it flashes plus especially at the top on the zone. Combine it with his slider and changeup that both flash above-average (I like his slider more because of it comes out the same tunnel with his fastball) and you got a very intriguing pitcher.

Cale Lansville is kind of similar with Chase Burns in terms of their high release point producing downhill plane on their pitches but the similarity ends there. What I like the most about Lansville is the explosiveness of his low to mid-90s fastball.

Unlike Burns, Lansville has a short arm action and hides the ball in his body but there is a time after his glove separation at the start of his leg drive where he shows the ball. Overall, it is a pretty clean operation and his fastball will flash above-average while his slider flashes plus.

Spin rates!
Fastball: 2300 – 2490 RPM
Slider: 2600 RPM
Curveball: 2600-2700 RPM
Changeup: 1615 RPM

If you are looking for explosive arm speed, Eric Hammond is definitely your guy. The wiry right-hander produces his plus-plus or even 80-grade arm speed by the ramp up mechanic his delivery. Driving conservatively then uncoiling like a whip. That results to his low-90s fastball looking faster and livelier. His true 3/4 arm slot makes his vertical shaped slider a fantastic pairing with his fastball while his curveball looks decent. I could see him pumping mid-90s in the future he can still tuck in the muscle to his frame.

Spin rates!
Curveball: 2400 RPM

If sinkerballers are what you are looking for, Max Debiec is your guy. His below-average spin rate produces that heavy feel on his low to mid-90s fastball. His slider flashes above-average with its late, two-plane break. The problem that I see with the tall right-hander is that he does not have the finest control for a prep pitcher, and that’s understandable given that he is still young and is 6’7″ with tons of projection left in his body.

Spin rates!
Fastball: 1900 – 2056 RPM
Slider: 2150 – 2314 RPM
Curveball: 2000 – 2245 RPM

Gray Thomas is another one of those sinkerballers, but he can easily be a polarizing prospect. There will be two camps on him: the one that will love his very low release height, above-average spin rates, and its potential to have his fastball generate that flat approach angle that will play his fastball up in the zone, or the one who will be extremely scared with how his arm action works.

It is basically a split camp between data-driven and old-fashioned evaluators. As I try to incorporate both ideologies in my evaluation, I think that he has potential to be a very good pitcher. Yes, his first phase of his arm action, or the phase at the start of his leg drive until front foot plant, has issues but that can be sorted out if he tries to apply the same tweaks that Chris Sale did with his arm action when he joined the Red Sox. The second phase, from arm cocking to follow through, however is much better and he generates plus arm speed.

Nonetheless, he generates tremendous sink to his 89-93 MPH lead ball and while his slider breaks early, it sweeps hard. Thomas is an uncomfortable at-bat, especially against righties, but he has to make the necessary adjustments to have a smoother arm action that can potentially preserve his arm in the long run.

Spin rates!
Fastball: 2500 – 2700 RPM
Slider: 2700 RPM
Changeup: 1641 RPM

In the side of the southpaws, Drew Gray is one of the best in the prep class based on the eye test. His smooth operation on the mound reminds me of a young Matt Moore and his fastball shows good life. He’s shown the ability to spin two distinct breaking balls as well, with his slider a better pitch than his curveball. While he is a player in the outfield, I feel his home will be on the mound.

Spin rates!
Fastball: 2536 RPM
Slider: 2760 – 2850 RPM

Brock Selvidge is interesting because his leg kick reminds me of Aroldis Chapman. He does not generate Chapman’s extension but he has good feel for his fluid delivery and with his fastball. Aside form his fastball, his slider also flashes potential.

Spin rates!
Fastball: 2300 – 2600 RPM
Slider: 2200 – 2400 RPM

Ryan Ginther has deception in his delivery with a pretty short arm action and gets to arm cocking phase earlier than usual, generating plus arm speed. He works his lower half well and has a quick, aggressive tempo. He gets good swing and miss rates with his fastball high in the zone because of the amount of life it has and his slider flashes above-average.

Spin rates!
Fastball: 1900 – 2230 RPM

East All-American Team

You can’t spell Andrew Painter without PAINT. The thing that makes Painter so good is that he pitches like he is a couple of inches smaller than his listed height of 6’7″. His frame is still wiry to think that he will gain more velocity once he gets stronger.

His four pitches will flash plus, with a low to mid-90s fastball, sweeping breaking balls, and a nasty changeup with hard fade. His mechanics also looks clean and uptempo. I can compare Painter to Mick Abel and Kyle Wright in his college days in terms of having four good pitches in his disposal and the ability to throw them for strikes.

Spin rates!
Fastball: 2300 – 2500 RPM
Slider: 2550 – 2600 RPM
Curveball: 2425 – 2540 RPM
Changeup: 1625 – 1800 RPM

The East team is absolutely LOADED with top-shelf prep arms and Chase Petty is one of my big crushes in this draft class. My mouth is frothing with how good looking his pitches look. He releases the ball from a low release height and as a result of his slinging arm action, it gives his fastball very good life even though his spin rates are only solid average. He mechanics needs a bit of clean-up but he works with his lower half well and has less effort that what you would imagine.

Speaking of his fastball earlier, his fastball is blazing fast. I would not be surprised if he hits 100 at the game because he’s shown the ability to hit the century mark and sit in the 95-98 MPH range. His slider also looks ridiculously good when paired with his fastball with hard, two-plane break that draws plenty of whiffs. His changeup also looks very good with its hard, sinking fade.

Describing him and you would be reminded of Max Meyer if Meyer is a prep pitcher. That is why I am excited about him. Three potential plus, with two grading plus-plus, paired with average or better future command.

Spin rates!
Fastball: 2200 – 2400 RPM
Slider: 2300 – 2500 RPM
Changeup: 1700 RPM

Another one of my big draft crushes is Irving Carter. I just love how he operates on the mound. Coming from a downhill plane, his low-90s sinker is like a bowling ball and it dives away from lefties. His slider is tight and shows the ability to backfoot it while his changeup looks legit as well.

I only talked about his stuff for a short bit because it is his way of delivering those three pitches from point A to point B is what gets me excited about him. He shows his plus athleticism on the mound, with great body control and feel for pitching. His normal delivery is already tough to time because his drive phase is very off-rhythm. If you think his normal delivery throws you off timing-wise already, once he adds the little nuances and shenanigans on the mound that you typically see from Johnny Cueto while locating his pitches for quality strikes, it gives hitters the impression that he is throwing 12 different pitches.

Even though there will be coaches that will tell him to drop it and stick to the fundamentals, I say cut the crap and let the man pitch the way he wants. He already has good feel for what he is doing on the mound and it really works. Add the fact that there will be potential velocity gains once he matures physically and you got a prospect that is very easy to like.

Shane Panzini is an interesting pitcher. He will be 19 1/2 years old on draft day so he is definitely old for the class. However, his stuff looks so damn good that it might not matter in the end.

With a short arm action and clean operation on the mound, Panzini works the hitters well with his repertoire. He can work the north to south plane with his vertical-breaking fastball and his fading changeup. He can work the east to west plane with his fastball and his sweeping slider and curveball, the former flashing above-average to plus. His breaking pitches reminds of Corey Kluber to be honest. If you don’t mind the age factor, Panzini is a really interesting pitcher.

Spin rates!
Fastball: 2200 – 2400 RPM

Two-way Nebraska native Drew Christo shows his athleticism on the mound with projection and flashes the ability to spin a slider. Currently sitting in the low-90s, Christo flashes solid life with the pitch and his mechanics has good tempo.

Spin rates!
Fastball: 2390 RPM

Unlike the West squad, the East squad has several talented southpaws on the roster. Seemingly year after year, there is a lefty pitcher that flashes potential to become top of the rotation potential that shoots up the draft boards. Josh Hartle is the next in line.

Hartle flashes the same type of tools that prospects like Brady Aiken, Jay Groome, and Matthew Liberatore in their prep days: the tall, projectable frame, the effortless mechanics, and the feel for their high-quality repertoire. Hartle sits in the 88-92 MPH range but it is easy to dream on him gaining more velocity as he physically matures. His curveball is a true breaker with big shape and his hard, fading changeup both flashes plus. Hartle has the chance to really take off if he gains more velocity in the coming months.

Spin rates!
Fastball: 2300 – 2400 RPM
Curveball: 2200 – 2400 RPM
Changeup: 1600 – 1900 RPM

If you have Maddux on your name, you’ve got to be a pitcher, right? Maddux Bruns definitely is one (and a really good one) and unlike his Hall of Famer compatriot, Bruns can definitely bring it on the mound.

Armed with a fastball that can reach 97 MPH from the left side, Bruns projects to generate plenty of rise with his fastball because of its high spin rate and a vertical release point. His slider flashes plus with sharp, Greinke-esque vertical break. His curveball flashes above-average with while his changeup is pretty good.

With an arm action that is unique, I can compare him to like a prepster Dylan Bundy based on how he operates on the mound. He is definitely on the players to watch in the game.

Spin rates!
Fastball: 2300 – 2500 RPM
Curveball: 2600 – 2800 RPM
Slider: 2600 RPM

Mason Albright is intriguing because I absolutely love his changeup from the left side and he has shown the ability to spin a curveball as well. I am a bit worried about his arm action that reminds me of Casey Mize but I like the fact that like Irving Carter, he is incorporating windup shenanigans to throw hitters off balanced.

Carter Holton reminds me of a Japanese pitcher because of the interesting front leg movement while he driving towards the plate. Nonetheless, he drives off his back leg well and has tilt to generate the downhill plane. There is a bit of effort in his mechanics and his arm lags late at times but he flashes command on his pitches. In my opinion, his best pitch is his slider that flashes above-average.

Spin rates!
Fastblall: 2100 – 2400 RPM
Curveball: 2000 – 2200 RPM
Slider: 2100 – 2300 RPM
Changeup: 1700 RPM

There are a couple of pitchers who are tall but lefty Pierce Coppola takes the cake with him listed at 6 feet 9 inches. There is a lot of projection in terms of Coppola’s frame to dream that he will gain much more velocity than his current low-90s operation. While he struggles to repeat his pretty simple mechanics in game, it is pretty understandable because he is still young and trying to get a hold of his tall body. He looks like a project pitcher but there are necessary ingredients in him to think that he will be a potential force next spring.

Jac Caglianone is already a very good hitter but he is not too shabby on the mound either. While he has some command issues, there are some things in his mechanics that he can do to locate better such as having a more consistent landing spot on the mound.

I do like his fastball and slider combination on the mound, where his true 3/4 slot allows his fastball to have a flat approach angle and have arm-side run. His slider flashes tight break and has shown the ability to backfoot it on righties. If a team drafts Caglianone as a two-way guy, I think there is enough promise on the mound as well to be developed as a starting pitcher.

Spin rates!
Fastball: 2300 – 2500 RPM
Slider: 2300 – 2500 RPM

Hitters That I Love

It ain’t a hitters that I love list without starting with outfielder James Wood. This guy is unbelievable in my opinion. I am frothing in my mouth watching him hit and play in the outfield. I mean look at this clip.

A pitch that is in his eyes that he hit for a home run with a wooden bat. He is already pretty impressive in center field but with his extra large frame, he will likely move to a corner eventually. None of that matters anyway, as he is a fantastic athlete with above-average speed with plus arm strength. This is the guy that I dream to have in my team if I am a GM as of this moment.

When I watched the PG National Showcase a couple of months ago, Benny Montgomery is the first prospect that looks different (in a good way) in my opinion. He looks different in a way that he is extremely toolsy and has a lot fo quick twitch. When he hit mid-90s in his OF throw, I know that Benny is a player and he sure is currently.

Benny grades plus on four of his tools except the hit tool. There will be plenty that will question his ability to hit the ball because of his unorthodox, Hunter Pence-like swing mechanics at the box. However, he makes so much loud contact that it might not matter anyway. The trouble that I see is him tapping to his power stroke more consistently. I see Benny as similar to Garrett Mitchell without the health concerns as both are ridiculously toolsy outfielders with wacky swings that they keep making good contact but will likely struggle to hit for consistent power. I am so excited to see him play and see him impact the game on both sides of the ball.

While doing the shortstop ranks with Jake, I was blown away by what I saw on Kahlil Watson. His defense at shortstop is phenomenal, as he stays low to the ground, has light and quick feet, soft hands, and throws an accurate ball on multiple platforms. He will definitely stay at shortstop long-term.

Watson’s bat is no slouch either, as he has very good bat speed and the bat travels well through the zone. I love how strong and quick his hands are to turn on fastballs and he shows the ability to control the strike zone. In my opinion, I see a bit of Lindor in his game in terms of being a high-quality defender at short with a good-looking bat with the ability to hit for some power.

I really love Ian Moller. The prep catcher is one of the best in the draft class in terms of hitting the ball. His natural swing path is conducive for generating flyballs and he has advanced feel for the strike zone which is pretty unheard of for a prep catcher.

Moller’s defense in the squat is also very good, with a strong and accurate arm that generates strong pop times and the agility and natural instincts for the position. The problem for Moller is whether will the rigors of catching erode his hitting ability moving forward or he will move out of the squat because his bat is very good. Defensively, I think he is definitely a keeper at catcher. That talk is for like 8-10 years down the road so I am just going to sit back and enjoy his star potential in the toughest position in the baseball field.

Stay tuned for more 2021 MLB Draft content from Prospects Worldwide moving forward that will deliver you high-quality scouting reports in both the prep and college ranks!

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