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Tournaments  | Story  | 12/14/2023

Scout Stories: Part 7

Scott Rankin      John McAdams      Troy Sutherland     
Best Game I Saw

The best game I saw in 2023 was at the WWBA 16U National Championship when GBG National squared off against BPA in the Semifinals. Two stacked rosters took the game down to the wire with GBG pulling off a 7-5 win. The game features fifteen Division-1 commits. Tyler Wick (2025, CA) led the way for the GBG National 2025 offense going 2-2 with 1 double and 2 runs scored. Brady Ebel, the number one ranked in the 2025 class in California, had a double and three runs batted in for GBG as well. I’d be hard pressed to find a single game with that collection of talent in recent years.

Best Tournament Performance I Saw

This one was easy for me, and it was at the WWBA 17U National Championship in Georgia. Derek Curiel , the number one ranked player in the state of California, was on fire the entire tournament. In 17 at-bats he recorded 10 hits with nine runs batted in. He finished the tournament with a .588/.696/1.519 slash line that included two doubles and a triple. It was a truly dominant performance that was even with opposing teams trying to pitch around him (six walks). He also swiped three bags and played standout defense throughout.

Favorite Single Game Moment

This was at the Underclass All American Showcase at Pepperdine University. Brady Ebel came to the box in a one run game and laced a two-run homerun off the brick wall in right. The ball was never more than twenty-feet off the ground. It was truly an impressive barrel from Brady.

Biggest Showcase Breakout Performer

This has to be Max Collins for me. The right-handed pitcher dominated in his outing at the 2023 California Prospect Showcase at Great Park in Irvine, CA. He went three innings and struck out the first six batters faced. He sat 88-90 and topped 91 throughout. He has a big sweeping slider that he threw in any count and kept hitters off balance throughout. In total, he went three innings, struck out 6 and allowed just one hit. The primary pitcher also had a double in the game.

Pick to Click

Josh Proctor (2025 Altadena, CA) Physically, he is just different. 6’ 5” and 215 pounds with room to add. Defensively he moves well and plays short and third. He’s a gifted athlete with a big arm across the diamond (89 velo). Hits for average and power with plenty of more to come in the power category as he continues to mature. He is currently ranked 14th in the state of California in the 2025 class with a big jump possibly coming in 2024.

Best Tournament Performance I Saw

It was at the 18U West Memorial Day Classic in Surprise Arizona that I saw Cam Caminiti take the bump for 3D Warstic. He dominated through six innings of work, only allowing one hit, one walk, while striking out 13 and did not allow a run. He was virtually untouchable with a fastball that touched 96 and a big sweeping slider. The left-hander only threw 72 pitches to get through the six innings. His performance stood out among the rest.

-Scott Rankin

Best Game I Saw: 2023 12U Perfect Game Select Festival Game

The abundance of talent on display during the 12U Perfect Game Select Festival speaks to the future of the game and despite this being a piece driven towards scouting, this was perhaps the most fun game I witnessed throughout the various stops this past season. From climatic comebacks to numerous monstrous homeruns and high-octane fastballs on the mound, the pure joy in-which this group of players displayed left me overly excited for what is to come from these youngsters in the future. Sure, many will get stronger and faster likely leading to some distancing themselves from the pack but the overall talent and soundness of each of their games was simply fun to watch. So without divulging any acumen on specific players or their skills, the outpour of talent on display was ultimately absolutely awesome to watch.

Best Tournament Performance I Saw: Robbie Melo, 1B/OF, East Coast Lumberjacks

Army commit put on an absolute show at this year’s Northeast Qualifier, as the left-handed hitting first baseman hit .636 across four games played with four homers and ten runs batted in. He started the event off with a bang in-what we’ve have mentioned as the Best Game we saw within the region with a two homer, 5 RBI performance against two D1 arms in their matchup with the Oilers and culminated it with a three-hit performance in a tightly contested playoff matchup with Ascent Athlete. The barrel skills are hard to deny, as the 2024 Grad has rarely missed throughout 2023 in PG tournaments.
Favorite Single Game Moment: Echavarria vs. Seton Hall Prep

In what turned out to be a significant start of what was to come for Millburn HS’s Steven Echavarria. An early season matchup with a talented Seton Hall Prep squad was my favorite single game moment. In-front of a large crowd with nearly every MLB team in-attendance, the athletic right-hander delivered a masterful six-inning, sixty-eight pitch masterpiece with eleven punchouts but it was the ability to hold his uptick in velocity throughout the entirety of the outing that left a lasting impression on all those in attendance. The 2023 Grad opened up the first sitting 93-96 mph, grabbing 97 a couple times and simply pounded the strike zone. He his typical breaking ball for strikes, while showing the ability to manipulate the shape and depth to it with newfound ease. He would later go on to be drafted in the 3rd round of July’s Draft, capping off his excellent rise by signing for three million dollars.
Biggest Showcase Breakout Performer: Aiden Ruiz- Sunshine Mid-Atlantic/Sophomore National Showcase

In what would become a standout overall year for the young 2026 Grad, he burst into the forefront with his eye-opening performance at the Sunshine Mid-Atlantic showcase in early June and upped the ante y following it up with an even better performance at the Sophomore National Showcase just ten days later. The switch-hitting MIF/C is silky smooth at both positions, displays tons of athleticism and has real feel for the barrel at the plate. For those that think, well he is just performing in a showcase atmosphere, well he hit .453 across his PG tournament circuit throughout the summer including partaking in some of our toughest events.

Pick To Click: William Kirk, LHP, Class of 2024

Kirk is not unknown by any means but the reason for the pick to click is the absurdity that an expected velocity uptick could skyrocket an already polished operation even higher towards the top of the class. The 6-foot-2, 190-pound left-hander generates easy velocity with repeatability and good command. He pairs it well with a breaking ball that he can land at-will, while possessing a demonic changeup that he kills spin on effectively and generates tons of fading action on. With more velocity coming, a rapid rise will be in-order for the 2024 Virginia commit.

-John McAdams

Best Game I Saw in 2023 

The final of the WWBA Sophomore Worlds with MBA Navy facing off against SmarTense National stands alone as the best game I’ve watched this year. Hudson Reed vs. Samir Mohammed was a pitching matchup that exceeded any expectations going into the game. Both pitchers went 6 innings and both star-studded lineups had to grind to even get a baserunner. As the game reached the late innings it seemed as if the 1-0 lead that Smartense manufactured may hold up. Lucas Cannady had other ideas; he was able to get the big bases clearing extra base hit in one of the only times either team had multiple baserunners aboard. MBA turned to Wilson Andersen to close it out and after working around some trouble, MBA Navy was holding the cup as players took turns getting their obligatory post-championship photos. The great energy and competitiveness from both sides sets this one apart from all the others. 

Best Tournament Performance 

Brendan Conner (‘24 AL)  

The UAB commit’s showing at the WWBA East was memorable to say the least. He lived on the barrel throughout the event highlighted by a pool play game in which he launched two long “no-doubt” type bombs. He finished the event offensively with 4 extra base hits, a .400 BA, and a 1.433 OPS. Also contributed a scoreless 5 inning start and punched out 6. Hard to match that kind of two-way impact. After advancing to the championship game, he was awarded the WWBA East Most Valuable Player and rightfully so.
Favorite In-Game moment 

The second round the Mississippi State playoffs the perennial Mississippi powerhouse Lewisburg faced off against Oxford. Brady Stinnett toed the rubber and had the tall task of keeping a star-studded Lewisburg lineup quiet. But did he ever, Stinnett proceeded to strike out a dozen over six shutout innings. As he comes out for the seventh there was a palpable feeling from the once rowdy Lewisburg crowd that “We just can’t score off this guy”. After retiring the first 2, a routine groundball was sailed over the first baseman’s head and in stepped the big right-handed bat of Sam Richardson. He was able to knock a ball hard down the line and Lewisburg escaped with a win. The moment was the breathlessness from a packed house at how Stinnett was spinning it. Made a big fan of me that night. 

Showcase Breakout 

EJ Mayer (‘27 AZ) 
The young left-handed hitter middle infielder shined at the West Coast Prospect showcase. His defensive actions are way ahead of his years with offensive output that lives up to and may soon exceed how good of defender he is on the dirt. As this long lean frame adds muscle, we should see him come into more power. Exceptionally talented and promising young player with first round bloodlines. 

Pick to Click 

Going back to the well one more time with this selection, Gabe Boyd. After going through some growing pains and swing adjustments in 2023 Boyd is locked in for a monster 2024 season. 6-foot-2 underclassmen that have middle of the field athleticism, lightning quick hands, and stand out barrel accuracy will always have a vote of confidence from me. Especially when that’s blended into a high motor and slow heartbeat type player. Nowhere near his ceiling in any aspect. More juice is on the horizon, and it should come a bit more naturally given the functional muscle mass that has been added over the past 6 or so months. 

-Troy Sutherland