Prep Baseball Report

Scott, Barger and Hoglund Shine in Tampa Triple Header

Doug Freeman
Florida Scouting Director

This time of the year is packed with high school baseball as spring breaks begin across the state. One of the largest tournaments is the 38th annual Tony Saladino tournament in Tampa. The original plan was to catch three games Monday, Tuesday and one Monday, but unfortunately the impending weather canceled the Monday slate. Even with the change, there was plenty of talent on display.

The first game of the day put Tampa Plant against Lennard High school. Plant features on of the top players in the 2018 class, outfielder Connor Scott. Plant would dominate the game, winning in a 10-0 run-rule, while Scott would walk away the big winner. Scott has been a somewhat difficult player to see on a consistent basis over the course of the summer and fall for a variety of reasons. When I did catch a game, or handfull of at-bats, the tools were always present. While there was swing and miss in the path, as he tended to drift and create some steepness, there was leverage with above average bat speed and power. He also would show above average in game run tool, but the swing would need to become a bit more compact and consistent. Since then, he has clearly gotten healthy, quality reps and made strides offensively. The swing has leveled, using the leverage more efficiently, while being more consistently compact. The most impressive part of the entire day was his first at-bat. He would drive a fastball over the centerfielders head, knowing triple out of the box, he would record a 4.25 on the turn (while others had 4.15 and below), with long strides and would show plus in game speed. Scott would follow up with a double in his second at-bat and finish 2-3 with a walk. He has a plus in game run tool and the projectable frame with average present hit and power tools with above average power potential, Scott is a player on the rise.

The second game of the day was King High School against Plant CIty High School. King would jump out to an early lead and win the game 6-1 over Plant City. Kins is led by another Florida recruit and 2018 MLB Draft prospect, shortstop Addison Barger. While not the same athlete as Scott, he was also very impressive on the day. He is a lean shortstop with strength throughout the frame. He is a fringy athlete and runner, but has a feel for short and shows average range, an above average arm and all around a solid defender. Offensively, from the left side he is balanced and stays in the lower well. The swing is compact and stays in the zone for a long time. He has a feel for the barrel and shows the potential to have above average hit and power tools in the future. Barger would finish the day 2-4 with a double and single, both on the barrel, on the day.

The final game of the day, while not in the Saladino Tournament, was still a well attended game by professional scouts as Gunner Hoglund started for Fivay High School against Bishop McLaughlin. On a chilly night, Hoglund would allow one run, on three hits, while striking out eight in five innings of work. While the velocity that has been seen by others was not there on this chilly night, you can easily see that it will be there. Hoguland is a two-way player and that athleticism plays well on the mound. He has a lean frame with strength throughout. He lands slightly closed, but repeats and is simple and clean. The arm works freely from a high 3/4 slot. The fastball worked mostly 88-91 touching 93 mph in the first. The ball comes out of his hand well and fastball has tilt with life in the zone. He worked the majority of fastball/slider combo, with the slider having a late, sweeping action with occasional bite at 78-82 mph. He would throw a straight changeup occasionally at 85 mph with potential. The arm really works and has low effort. There is a lot to currently like and the athleticism lends to some big future projection.

I would catch Scott’s morning game Tuesday morning, where Plant would beat East Bay 5-2 and Scott would add a pair of singles. He continued to show the plus in game run tool and would expect him to be on the rise on many teams draft boards after this week.

While these players led the way for their respective team, check out some notes on a few other players who stood out as well:

Justice Thompson, OF, King HS (2018)

Yazael Nunez, SS, Lennard HS (2019)

Cade Shissler, SS, Plant CIty (2019)

Jatniel Erazo-Hernandez, SS,Fivay (2019)

Derek Stager, C, Bishop Mclaughlin (2019)

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