Game Report: 9/10/17 - Royals Scout Team @ Walters State

Thu September 14, 2017

On Sunday, the Royals Scout Team traveled to Morristown, Tennessee to take on Walters State.  The Royals Scout Team is a collection of some of the best draft talent over the next 3 years in the state.  Meanwhile, Walters State is one of the best junior college teams in the country, excelling at all 3 phases.  Below are some notes on some Walters State standouts and notes on every player on the Royals Scout Team that played. 

Walters State Standouts

So. RHP Lehman, Hayden – Max FB: 90, FB (87-90), CB (72-75), SL (78-80), CH (82)

Lehman tied for the team lead in appearances last year and, on a staff losing their top 3 starters, will be looked at to take a bigger role.  Judging by his work on Sunday, he is ready.  He pounded the zone and made the scout hitters extremely uncomfortable.  FB featured consistent arm side run.  He then mixed in a get me over big 12-6 CB, a ¾ tilt SL and a CH w/ armspeed and sink.  Big time arm that needed only 25 pitches to get through 2 innings.

So. LHP Alford, Peyton- Max FB: 88, FB (83-87), CB (67-69), CH (76)

Alford returns the most starts for Walters State and that pedigree showed on Sunday.  Alford mixed 3 average or better pitches to strike out all 6 hitters he faced.  Staying nearly exclusively to his arm side, he mixed in FB’s w/ arm side run and deception, a big 12-6 curveball that he utilized to steal a strike and a CH w/ excellent arm speed and sink as the out pitch.  He generated a whopping 75 % swing and miss rate.  He needed 27 pitches to record 6 strikeouts.

Fr. RHP Thigpen, David – Max FB: 91, FB (88-91), CB (73-76), CH (80-81)

Thigpen, a freshman from Roswell HS in Georgia, showed the best stuff of the day.  He features a lightning quick arm from a H ¾ release and features repeatable mechanics w/ a high effort throw.  His fastball gets on you, as his arm action is short in the back and appears in the hitting window quicker than hitters expect.  His curveball was a tight, 12-6 downer that broke late and hard.  He mixed in a couple changeups that were a bit firm, but showed some fade.  He needed just 13 pitches to strike out the side.

So. RHP Akey, Zach – Max FB: 89, FB (87-89), CB (74-76)

Akey, a Milligan College transfer, brings another power arm to the Walters State staff.  Akey attacks from a high ¾ angle in a clean, well tempo’d delivery.  His FB gets on you quickly w/ some ride through the zone.  Also featured a tight, medium downer CB with late break as an out pitch.  Recorded 2 strikeouts in his lone inning of work.

Royals Scout Team Pitchers

2018 RHP Caldwell, Seth (Oak Ridge) Max FB: 89, FB (83-88), CB (74-77), CH (74-78)
RHP w/ prototypical size and flashes 3 above avg pitches.  Full windup w/ H 3/4 release and quick arm.  Opens his hips just a hair too early, causing a lot of misses to his glove side and making it harder to stay on top of off-speed pitches. Gets downhill with a heavy ball when right.  FB is straight, flashes occasional run.  Medium downer CB flashes tight and late break.  CH with armspeed and sink, flashes occasional cut.  More of a thrower right now, but small mechanical tweaks should allow him to command.  Featured a 39 % swing and miss percentage against Walters State.  Profiles as a potential high-end starter and could be a draft guy out of high school if mechanical consistency develops.

2019 RHP Hansen, Cameron (Hendersonville) - Max FB: 88, FB (84-87), CB (70-73), CH (76-77)
6-4, 230-pound RHP shows potential for 3 avg or better pitches.  Built like a bulldog, pitches from a full windup w/ 3/4 release and well tempo'd delivery.  Repeats mechanics well for someone his size.  FB has consistent above avg life, showing run and sink.  CB flashes plus rotation w/ above avg depth.  When he gets the CB in a zone consistently, becomes very difficult to hit.  Throws the CH w/ armspeed and flashes fade and sink.  Will be at least avg w/ reps.  Fills the zone, still learning difference between strikes and quality strikes.  Profiles as a high level potential starter.

2020 LHP Hassell III, Robert (Independence) - Max FB: 86, FB (81-85), CB (72-73), CH (76-77)
Young, projectable LHP w/ potential for 3 avg pitches.  Full windup w/ H 3/4 release and consistent, repeatable mechanics.  Quick arm.  FB w/ some arm side run.  Breaking ball is a slurve that flashes avg w/ proper rotation.  CH thrown w/ armspeed and fade has an above average ceiling.  Filled the zone w/ strikes, mechanics suggest above avg command coming.  Vanderbilt commit.

2019 RHP McElvain, Chris (Summit)Max FB: 91, FB (86-90), CB (76-79), CH (79)
6-1, 180-pound RHP continues to show like a potential top 10 round draft in 2019.  Full windup w/ H 3/4 release and lightning quick arm.  Clean and repeatable.  FB shows arm side run w/ occasional sink.  CB is a tight medium downer that flashes above avg depth.  Occasionally gets slurvy.  CH is thrown w/ armspeed and sink.  Fills the strike zone, generated 46 % swing and miss against Walters State.  Elite RHP shows as one of the best 2019 arms in the state.

2019 RHP Odom, Travis (CPA) - Max FB: 86, FB (83-86), SL (74-78), CH (77-78)
6-1, 185-pound RHP has all the tools you look for in a young starting pitcher.  H 3/4 release from a full wind-up w/ quick arm.  Some head violence, some effort in the throw.  FB features consistent arm side run.  SL w/ tight 3/4 tilt and consistent shape.  Flashes as an out pitch.  CH w/ armspeed, fade and sink.  Shows control and flashes FB command, pitching w/ intent.  Arkansas commit.

2018 RHP Sells, Carter (Ravenwood) - Max FB: 86, FB (83-85), CB (68-71)
6 foot, 205-pound RHP has a short and stocky frame w/ high spin rates on both his pitches.  Working from the stretch only, he pitches w/ a high effort, OTT release.  Has a slight pause after he breaks his hands to allow the lower half to build drive.  Classic example of radar gun not capturing the effectiveness of a pitch.  Throws a straight 4-seam fastball, but keeps his fingers on top of the ball, creating very good ride through the zone.  Generated 35 % swing and miss on the pitch.  CB is a tight medium 12-6 downer that was inconsistent, but flashed late break and rotation.  Threw strikes w/ the FB, but struggled to get CB in zone consistently.  Arkansas commit.

2018 RHP Taylor, Matt (Dobyns-Bennett) - Max FB: 85, FB (83-85), CB (67-71), CH (77-78)
RHP w/ XL build and present strength shows potential for 3 avg pitches.  Works in an up tempo delivery w/ a high effort throw and 3/4 release point.  Inverted W.  Lot of limbs coming at hitters.  Gets downhill life on the FB when finishes, flattens out when elevated.  Combination of the deception and FB velo resulted in 44 % swing and miss rate.  CB is medium downer w/ early break, flashes tight rotation.  CH w/ armspeed and fade.  Strike thrower (15 of 21) with an idea of what he's doing with it.  One of the top uncommitted arms in the 2018 class.

Royals Scout Team Position Players

2018 CIF Cooper, Bass (Gibbs) - 6-4, 210-pound first basemen.  The switch hitter hit from the left side in his two at bats.  Hits from a straight on, upright stance w/ bat resting on his back shoulder.  Toe tap w/ proper load.  Above avg bat speed.  Hit a fly ball and walked in his two plate appearances.  Defensively, made all the plays and showed avg arm strength.  Tennessee commit.

2019 CIF Denton, Zane (Ravenwood) - 6-0, 180-pound corner infielder.  Switch hitter went 0-4 with zero swing and miss against elite staff.  From the left side, hits from an open, slightly crouched stance with back shoulder hand location and weight on back side.  Mini leg kick w/ proper load.  Lower half works extremely well in swing, allowing for a large power ceiling.  From the right side, hits from a slightly open, slightly crouched stance w/ back shoulder hand location and some bat waggle.  Leg kick w/ proper load.  Power over average from right side.  Overall, shows premium bat speed from both sides of the plate in repeatable swings w/ a large power ceiling.  Defensively, spent time at 1B and 3B and made all the plays.  Profiles as an elite level bat.

2020 OF Dickey, Jared (Friendship Christian) - 6-2, 220-pound outfielder.  The lefty hitter hits from a straight on, upright stance w/ back shoulder hand location.  Crouches slightly w/ inconsistent lower half trigger (showed a toe tap, stride and mini leg kick) and proper load.  Premium bat speed w/ big power ceiling.  Advanced approach w/ idea of strike zone.  Got a little pull heavy on this day, but is normal for a young hitter.  DNS enough defensively to have thoughts.  Elite prospect w/ special offensive profile.

2018 C Dreier, Kaden (Brentwood) – 6-2, 210-pound catcher.  Big, physical kid w/ prototypical professional build.  Righty hitter hits from an open crouched stance w/ low back shoulder hand location.  Leg kick w/ short hand load where hands go up to the proper load position.  Above avg bat speed w/ barrel in the zone for a long time.  Profiles for potential avg and power.  Is a presence in the box.  Showed above avg arm strength behind the plate.  Samford commit.

2018 OF Ellington, Rook (McCracken, KY) – 5-11, 170-pound outfielder.  Righty hitter went 0-3 with a walk, but no swing and miss against elite staff.  Hits from a straight on, slightly crouched stance w/ back shoulder hand location and small bat waggle.  Strides on to his toe w/ proper load.   Above avg bat speed w/ short to the ball swing.  Shows all field approach w/ idea of the strike zone.  Defensively, shows the tools to stay in CF w/ speed, bat reads and arm strength.  Kentucky commit.

2018 C Evans, Hunter (South Warren, KY) – 6-3, 180-pound catcher.  Righty hitter hits from a straight on, crouched stance w/ back ear hand location and slight bat waggle (Moises Alou similarities stance wise).  Stride w/ deep hand load.  Above avg bat speed.  Pull heavy approach should profile w/ some power.  Defensively, presents big target w/ quiet movements.  Soft hands w/ advanced receiving tools.  Western Kentucky commit.

2019 MIF Gent, Noah (Grace Christian) – 5-11, 175-pound middle infielder.  Righty hits from a straight on, slightly crouched stance w/ back ear hand location.  Knee to knee type stride w/ hands going into proper load position.  Above avg bat speed.  Got a little off balance at times with the lower half.  Gap to gap approach.  DNS enough defensively for an eval.  Intriguing 2019 prospect.

2018 C Goodman, Hunter (Arlington) - 6-1, 210-pound catcher.  Righty hits from an open, slightly crouched stance w/ back shoulder hand location and short bat waggle.  Leg kick w/ power load.  Consistent landing with leg kick, maintains balance.  Premium bat speed.  Elite level hitter w/ average and power potential.  Defensively, presents a good target.  Glove rest gets a little big.  Gets a little stabby as a receiver, but likely due to catching pitcher he is unfamiliar with.  Memphis commit.

2018 OF Grable, Ben (Science Hill) – 5-11, 165-pound outfielder.  Lefty hits from a slightly open, slightly crouched stance w/ back ear hand position.  Bunted for a hit in his only at bat on the first pitch he saw, running a 3.97 down the line.  Defensively, shows the tools to stay in CF w/ arm strength, routes and pure speed.  Very intriguing uncommitted 2018.

2018 OF Green, Ryder (Knoxville Christian) – 6-1, 200-pound outfielder.  Tooled up player is experimenting with switch hitting this fall.  From his natural right side, hits from a slightly open, very slightly crouched stance w/ back shoulder hand location.  Proper stride and load.  From the left side, hits from a slightly open, slightly crouched stance w/ back shoulder hand location.  Stride w/ very short hand load.  Lands open.  Shows elite bat speed from right side, above average bat speed from left side.  Connected on a no doubt home run from right side of plate.  Defensively, is exactly what you want in a corner OF.  Above avg speed underway w/ plus arm strength w/ carry through the target.  Plays the game hard, legging out a 4.28 run time on a routine ground out.  Has the looks of a top 10 round draft.

2018 OF Hall, Chance (Science Hill) - 6-2, 190-pound outfielder.  Righty hits from an open, slightly crouched stance w/ back shoulder hand location.  Stride to square w/ proper hand load.  Above avg bat speed.  Gets very close to rolling over the wrists too early.  Projects for power.  Defensively, shows the arm strength to play in a corner OF spot. Intriguing uncommitted 2018 prospect.

2018 IF Hammons, Jerry (Knoxville Christian) - 6-0, 215-pound infielder.  Righty hitter hits from an open, slightly crouched stance w/ back shoulder hand location and a little bat waggle.  Mini knee to knee leg kick w/ hands dropping and returning to the proper position.  Avg bat speed.  Surprisingly consistent swing for contact given the movement of his hands.  Showed ability to recognize off speed pitches.  Showed avg arm strength.  Walters State commit.

2020 OF Hassell III, Robert (Independence) - 6-2, 180-pound outfielder.  Lefty hitter hits from an open, very slightly crouched stance w/ back shoulder hand location.  Leg kick w/ proper load.  Above average bat speed w/ clean, repeatable swing.  Quiet in the box, projects to have a very strong hit tool w/ gap to gap approach.  Defensively, showed projectable above avg arm strength w/ the ability to play any spot in the OF.  Vanderbilt commit.

2019 OF Keener, Zane (Christian Academy of Knoxville) - 5-10, 160-pound outfielder.  Lefty hitter hits from an open, slightly crouched stance w/ back ear hand location and bat waggle.  Leg kick to slightly open w/ short hand load.  Above avg bat speed w/ short to the ball swing.  Potential exciting offensive player when he puts muscle on his frame.  DNS enough defensively for an eval.  Tennessee commit.

2018 CIF Komistek, Paul (Knoxville Christian) - 6-2, 180-pound corner infielder.  Prototypical body type for corner infield, looks stronger than 180.  Righty hitter hits from a straight on, slightly crouched stance w/ back shoulder hand location and weight on back side.  Knee to knee leg kick w/ proper hand load.  Above avg bat speed when on time.  Lot of power in the bat.  Defensively, showed above average arm strength at 3B w/ the requisite actions to play there.  Tennessee commit.

2019 MIF McElvain, Chris (Summit) - 6-1, 180-pound middle infielder.  Righty hitter hits from a straight on, slightly crouched stance w/ low back shoulder hand location and slight bat waggle.  Leg kick and hand load where hands drop nearly to the belt before returning to a near shoulder level location.  Above avg bat speed w/ barrel that stays in zone.  Needs more reps against velo, but there is offensive upside here.  Vanderbilt commit.

2018 C McKenry, Ross (Bearden) – 6-0, 195-pound catcher.  Righty hitter hits from a very slightly open, very slightly crouched stance w/ back shoulder hand location.  Mini leg kick where he picks foot up and puts down in same spot, but squared up w/ short hand load.  Avg bat speed w/ all fields approach.  Intriguing uncommitted 2018 prospect.

2019 MIF Molnar, Sam (Independence) - 5-11, 165-pound middle infielder.  Delivered one of two extra base hits by the Royals Scout Team against elite pitching, hitting a double down the left field line.  Righty hitter hits from a straight on, upright stance w/ low back shoulder hand location.  Moves hands to high back ear hand location as pitcher is in windup.  Stride and proper load.  Above avg bat speed in repeatable swing.  Gap to gap type hitter.  DNS enough defensively for an eval.  Very intriguing uncommitted 2019 bat.

2019 MIF Odom, Travis (CPA) - 6-1, 185-pound middle infielder.  Righty hitter hits from a slightly open, slightly crouched stance w/ back shoulder hand location.  Slight bat waggle.  Shift of weight, stride to toe w/ short hand load.  Got a little pull heavy w/ a little hip leak against elite pitching.  Premium bat speed.  Some pull power in bat.  True defensive SS w/ plus arm strength.  Arkansas commit.

2018 C Osborne, Brayden (Mt. Juliet) - 5-11, 180-pound catcher.  Righty hits from an open, crouched stance w/ high hand location near even with the top of his helmet.  Leg kick to slightly open w/ proper load.  Above avg bat speed in all fields approach.  Bat has taken step forward since last look, getting on base in both at bats against elite pitching.  Some power in the bat.  Defensively, still shows above average pop times and arm strength.  Shows ability to box balls.  Gets a little stiff as a receiver, still learning how to frame and catch as opposed to catch and frame.  Has handled elite pitching staffs.  The top uncommitted catcher in the 2018 class in Tennessee.

2018 3B Pennington, Jacob (Oakland) - 6-3, 200-pound third basemen.  Projectable, pro type frame.  Lefty hits from a slightly open, slightly crouched stance w/ bat resting on his back shoulder.  Shift of weight w/ toe tap and very small hand load.  Above avg bat speed in very consistent swing.  Can unlock more power w/ a little more hand load.  Intriguing offensive profile.  DNS enough defensively for an eval, but showed above avg arm strength in I/O.  Tennessee commit.

2019 C Preston, Knox (CPA) - 5-11, 185-pound catcher.  Righty hitter hits from a straight on, slightly crouched w/ back shoulder hand location.  Shift of weight, leg kick and short hand load.  Lands open.  Above avg bat speed in gap to gap oriented approach.  Defensively, presents good target w/ quiet movements.  Soft hands w/ feel for framing.  Advanced defender.  Tennessee commit.

2018 3B Runion, Braydon (Cooper, KY) – 6-0, 200-pound corner infielder.  Righty hitter hits with a straight on, very slightly crouched stance w/ back shoulder hand location.  Mini leg kick w/ short hand load.  Above avg bat speed w/ pull oriented approach.  Intriguing offensive option w/ more power in bat then showed today.  Defensively, had the best arm strength across the infield from 3B.  Intrigued to see him on the mound (warmed up, but did not pitch in game).  Uncommitted with the potential to help a college both ways.

2018 OF Scott, Christian (Clarksville NE) - 5-11, 155-pound outfielder.  LHH hits from a slightly open, slightly crouched stance w/ back shoulder hand location and some bat waggle.  Shift of weight, toe tap (occasional leg kick) and proper load.  Quiet and calm in the box.  Above avg bat speed w/ balanced, all fields approach.  Advanced hitter.  Defensively, shows above avg speed w/ above avg throwing arm and tools to stay in CF.  The top uncommitted 2018 player in Tennessee.  

2019 CIF Sherrill, Jackson (Ravenwood) – 6-2, 210-pound corner infielder.  Righty hitter hits from a straight on, slightly crouched stance w/ back shoulder hand location.  Leg kick w/ power load.  Above avg bat speed w/ lot of power in his profile.  Impressive all-around offensive package.  DNS enough defensively for an eval.  Big time power bat in the class of 2019.

2019 C Vandenbergh, Patrick (Ensworth) – 6-0, 170-pound catcher.  Lefty hitter hits from an open, slightly crouched stance w/ back shoulder hand location and slight bat waggle.  Stride to square w/ short hand load.  Above avg bat speed.  All fields approach w/ idea of the strike zone.  DNS enough defensively to eval.  Very intriguing LHH catching option in 2019 class.

2019 C Webb, Noah (Sevier County) - 5-11, 180-pound catcher.  Righty hits from a slightly open, slightly crouched stance w/ back shoulder hand location.  Stride to slightly closed w/ proper load.  Above avg bat speed w/ slight uppercut plane.  More power than frame suggests.  Intriguing offensive profile w/ avg and power potential.  Advanced receiver presents quality target combined w/ soft hands.  Feel for framing.  As a thrower, shows good footwork w/ above avg arm strength.  Tennessee commit.