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Tournaments  | Story  | 12/15/2023

Scout Stories: Part 8

Jheremy Brown      AJ Denny      Tyler Henninger     

Best Game I Saw: Hiro Wyatt's Masterpiece
A known name on the summer circuit from his 14u days, right-hander Hiro Wyatt used last spring as a springboard to launch his draft status into orbit, surging up boards before ultimately hearing his name called in the third round to the Kansas City Royals. In my look towards the end of his senior spring Wyatt was downright dominant, recording a complete game, no-hit, 18 strikeout performance with an arsenal that came straight from a video game. Throughout each of the seven frames the then USC signee worked almost exclusively in the 93-96 mph range, bumping 7s along the way while attacking hitters with a cutter/slider combo that just wasn't fair and for good measure, sent a ball over the left field wall early in the game to really set the tone. 

Best Tournament Performance I Saw: Rylan Jenkins, 13u PG National Elite
It wasn't so much a single game performance as it was a single inning performance and it was a feat that I simply don't think will ever be topped in terms of production. A three hit game is enough to get excited over as a hitter at any age group, but what Jenkins did in Hoover, Alabama was pretty remarkable as he went 3-for-3 in the TOP OF THE FIRST INNING! Opening up the game with a single to center field, the fleet footed Jenkins proceeded to pull a ball into right field before going the other way for his third knock, helping to propel his offense to a 15 spot in the first. He finished 3-for-4 on the day and it came during a stretch of 4 consecutive multi-hit games (including a 4 hit performance) and while three singles on their own are solid, collecting them all in the same inning is pretty otherworldly. 

Favorite Single Game Moment 14u: Grindlinger Endures the Grind
You wouldn't know Grindlinger was the youngest of the 52 players in attendance at the 14u Select Festival this past Labor Day as he was nearly young enough to qualify for the 13u Festival on age, but it proved to be irrelevant as he was pivotal in the West's walk off victory of the East. Tabbed the PG Two-Way Player of the Year earlier in the weekend, Gringlinger came out of the 'pen in the top of the 9th (his scheduled inning) and threw up a much needed 0 on the scoreboard as his offense plated 4 and had all the momentum in their dugout. With his club knotting things up in the bottom of the 9th, Grindlinger came back out for the 10th and entered the frame with the bases loaded and one out (tie break rules). He proceeded to continue peppering the strike zone with upper-80s thunderbolts from the left side to record back-to-back strikeouts, letting out a roar as he came off the mound en route to MVP honors. 

Biggest Showcase Breakout Performer: Amaree Griffin
Griffin came to the 14u National Showcase and showed the was we saw all spring and summer was just a warmup to his encore performance in West Palm Beach. The long limbed and athletic left-hander out of Georgia came out and absolutely filled the strike zone to the tune of a 82% strikes, something you'd had trouble replicating in a video game even. Along with the advanced command, Griffin also showed an uptick in his stuff as the fastball peaked at 86 mph though that's as far cry from where he'll be come graduation time in 2027. He ran a 6.88 at the start of the event to highlight his athleticism and continued to show well into live action with the bat where he picked up 5 knocks, including a triple where he again could show off his speed, helping secure a spot in the 14u Select Festival. He's an exciting player to watch out of Loganville and one we'll be keeping close tabs on.

-Jheremy Brown

Best Game I Saw: Wow Factor National 15U vs. Team Elite 15U Scout Black
We have to go back to the last day of June for the best game I saw this year, which included two of the top teams in the country going head to head in a WWBA playoff clash at East Cobb. When Wow Factor and Team Elite got paired up you knew there was going to be fireworks, but this game delivered all that and more, ultimately ending in an 11-5 Wow Factor win after nine innings of baseball. The stars were certainly on display throughout the contest, featuring three 85+ arms (Griffin Loy, Jack Ryan, and Colton Cravens) with countless studs scattered between both lineups. While the two teams combined for 25 hits(!), Jaylen Walker and Wyatt Shelley delivered the crucial blows for Wow Factor in the top of the 9th, Walker picking up a huge two RBI double to break the deadlock followed by a Grand Slam by Shelley to seal the deal and put Wow Factor into the quarterfinals.

Best Tournament Performance I Saw: Carson Liedel, Freshman WWBA
When trying to decipher through all the high level talent seen over the course of the year, there’s one name that really stands out: Carson Liedel. While we can have an entire conversation about just the offensive ability here, what really impressed me at Freshman WWBA in October was Liedel’s ability to pitch. The numbers speak for themselves, as the 6-foot, 190 pound righty finished that weekend with ten strikeouts and only one earned run allowed over the course of eight innings pitched against some of the best competition in the class. He ran the FB up to 92 mph flashing heavy life and didn’t mess around with hitters, pounding the zone for both called strikes and swing/miss. The ball jumps out of the hand effortlessly with potential for more velo to come, not to mention an advanced offspeed arsenal that includes a CB, SL, and CH. His ERA on the year sits at a 0.77 through 36.1 IP.  Stunning stuff to say the least from a kid who just recently turned 15.

Favorite Single Game Moment: Watching Miguel Sime Jr Chuck 99 mph
This has already gotten its fair share of coverage (and deservedly so), but it’s really hard not to choose watching a 16 year old pump 99 as my favorite moment. Watching a 16 year old throw 90 is impressive in its own right, but 99 coming out of the hand of a kid who hasn’t even started his Junior HS season is just simply jaw dropping. There isn’t much more to say that hasn’t already been said, but Sime Jr. is special if you didn’t know, and I feel bad for hitters who have to step into the box against him in the future. 
Biggest Showcase Breakout Performer: Will Cowan
Cowan quickly found himself ranked in the Top 500 after posting 91 mph across the diamond and a 93 mph exit velocity at the New York Workout Showcase, and has since backed up these statistics in game by posting a .400 BA over the course of Summer/Fall 2023. The St. John’s commit is a high contact bat at the top of the order and finds multiple ways on base with athleticism flashed in all aspects of his game. He’s a reliable glove on the left side of the infield and has a cannon of an arm as the velocity suggests. 

Pick To Click: Brady Guzzie
Heading into his Freshman season, Guzzie is a prospect that you should expect to hear more and more about as he continues to get older and add on to an already multi-dimensional game. After posting a 2.25 ERA in 28.0 IP through ‘23, it’s clear that Guzzie knows how to pitch and can effectively control the game on the mound. He’s been up to 84 mph, a number that is almost guaranteed to increase as the 5-foot-11, 155 pound frame fills out and physically develops. Offensively, the lefty has flashed both contact tool and young signs of power, finishing the year with a .355 BA over 126 PA. 

-AJ Denny

Best Game I Saw: 5 Star/Top Tier Roos Mafia vs. Canes National/NY Mets Scout Team, WWBA World Championship
A matchup in the Round of 16, the field was loaded with talent as two heavyweights battled it out in Jupiter. Jackson Sirois gave 5 Star/Top Tier Roos Mafia an early lead with a two-run home run, before Zion Theophilus settled in for six strong innings. A rally in the 3rd inning by Canes National/NY Mets Scout Team, which included a 2-run double by Chris Newstrom, gave them a 4-2 lead for a majority of the ballgame. An RBI single by Kelvyn Paulino Jr. that cut the lead to 4-3 in the 6th inning started a snowball of chaos. Three free passes to begin the seventh, followed by two RBI singles and a 2-run single by Paulino again turned the lead over again. After a strikeout and an intentional walk, Andrew Tess stepped up to the plate and put the game out of reach with a massive home run to dead center field. The energy from both sides, as well as a back and forth battle made the game one I’ll remember for a while. 

Best Tournament Performance I Saw: Roman Carrington, 2023 16u Fall National Championship
It is hard to put together a better weekend than Carrington did back in September when he had a 13-hit performance during the Fall National Championship. A ridiculous .520/.556/.680/1.233 slash line was posted. Advanced bat to ball skills allowed for consistent contact and resulted in 5 multi-hit games. Carrington helped create 15 runs, scoring seven and driving in another eight. The shortstop played advanced defense with a handful of highlight-reel plays. The absurd performance resulted in an All-Tournament selection and a strong run into the semi-finals round. 

Favorite Single Game Moment: Andrew Tess, Go-Ahead HR in Jupiter Round of 16
As mentioned in the “Best Game I Saw” category, the battle between 5 Star/Top Tier Roos Mafia and the Canes National/NY Mets Scout Team in Jupiter was one to remember. The biggest moment of that game came from the bat of Andrew Tess. Stepping up the plate as the rain began to fall, Tess took a 93 mph fastball on a 1-2 count and launched it to dead center field for a home run that ended all chances of a comeback from the Canes National/NY Mets Scout Team. The second the ball connected with the barrel, the dugout erupted and a remarkable energy took over the quad. It was a massive swing in a massive moment at the biggest event in the country. 

Biggest Showcase Breakout Performer: Trey Gregory-Alford, PG National
Standing at 6-foot-5, Trey Gregory-Alford has always featured intriguing upside that made him one of the top ranked prospects out of the state of Colorado for quite some time. That upside turned into reality during the righthander’s performance at PG National this year. Throwing the last inning on day one, Gregory-Alford kept people in their seats. Needing just 14 pitches to get three outs and generate four whiffs, the fastball got up to 97 mph and paired with a dynamic slider. The outing allowed Gregory-Alford to burst onto draft boards and helped earn him a trip to the PG All-American Classic.

Pick to Click: C/SS Jackson Weber, 2026, Phoenix, AZ
Weber burst onto the scene this year and looks to have the makings of a big time prospect. Advanced athleticism stands out and allows Weber to perform both on the dirt and behind the plate. There is plenty with the bat, showing a strong hit tool and advanced power. Weber posted an impressive .465/.515/.737/1.252 slash line in 68 plate appearances. There is pull side power present that should grow into advanced gap to gap power. Weber has barrel feel that gives him the ability to consistently generate quality contact. It would not be a surprise if Weber is far higher than his current rank of 448th overall in the Class of 2026 very soon. 

-Tyler Henninger