Prep Baseball Report

Georgia Underclass Trials: Quick Hits

Phil Kerber
PBR Georgia

On Nov. 9, the PBR Georgia staff hosted its final underclass showcase of 2019, the Underclass Trials, at LakePoint Sports in Emerson, GA, that featured nearly 80 prospects primarily representing the 2022 and 2023 classes, with a handful of seventh- and eighth-graders in attendance. Today, we will be spending time highlighting some of the best things we saw from Saturday in the form of our Quick Hits post.

Keep an eye out tomorrow for a Statistical Analysis, detailing the day’s top performers in each of the measured categories. Within the next few weeks, videos from this event will be posted into profiles and we will have scouting reports on each of the prospects in attendance. For now, here are the highlights from Saturday.

Quick Hits
Super Utility

+ Jonathan Vigoa (Rome, 2022) was a consistent in-game performer for the Georgia Scorpions all summer and fall at LakePoint. To none of our surprises the twitchy, athletic 5-foot-11, 170-pound right-handed hitting catcher, middle infielder and right-handed pitcher put together one of the best all-around days on Saturday. He began his day by posting the 2nd fastest 60-time at 7.09 before really shining offensively. An advanced hitter, he used controlled aggression at the plate to spray the ball all over the field. Defensively, he shows a quick release with a strong arm as backstop, 75 from the crouch with a best 1.97 pop time. On top of all of this, he takes on a closer’s mentality on the mound working up to 85, an event best, while showcasing two distinct breaking balls.

+ A late addition to the roster, McDonald McCommons (Lake Oconee Academy, 2022) showcased one of the strongest arms from every position possible. He landed himself in the top-5 in max fastball (85 mph), outfield velocity (85 mph), infield velocity (84 mph), catcher velocity (84 mph), and catcher pop time (2.11 seconds).

+ Davis Green (Pierce County, 2022) really separated himself from the rest of the crowd with his round of batting practice. His advanced hand-eye coordination allowed for him to barrel up pitch after pitch in an aggressive manner as he thrust his lower half through contact, generating hard contact gap-to-gap, 90 mph exit velocity. In the field, Green let it go from the outfield with an event best 87 mph throw, and a top-5 84 mph throws across the infield. 

Underclass Ams to Know

+ The physical makeup of RHP Manning West (Apalchee, 2022) is second to none in the state, already standing 6-foot-6, 220-pounds with a thick lower half and strength throughout. We had seen the monstrous right-hander up to 89 mph earlier this fall. On Saturday, in chilly conditions, West sat 82-84, but it is clear and obvious the power in his arm is present. Paired with a sharp 12/6 curveball and a changeup that showed sink and fade, West has a bright future ahead of him.

+ RHP Tyler Hower (North Gwinnett, 2022) posted the top fastball of the day at 85 mph, and could have fooled our staff if you told us it was even harder than that, as the ball jumped out of his hand and got on the catcher in a hurry. Hower hides the ball well with a short, compact arm swing, and has feel for an 11/5 curveball, repeatedly dropping it in for strikes at 72-74.

+ Two-way prospects RHP/OF Matthew Hoskins (Peachtree Ridge, 2022) and C/RHP Grayson Smith (McCallie (TN), 2023) shined on the mound. Hoskins stands 6-foot-1, 187-pounds with a strong lower half, which he utilizes well throughout his game. The right-hander topped out at 84 off the mound and from the outfield, while showcasing strength at the plate with his 90 mph exit velocity. The top 2023 arm in attendance, Smith showed his advanced arm strength with a heavy fastball topping out at 83.

Big Bat Round-up

+ Continuing a long line of impact players to come out of Decatur will be SS Brady Jones (2022). Jones is a physical right-handed hitting middle infielder, standing 5-foot-11, 170-pounds. Jones is a solid athlete for his size, running a 7.22 laser-timed 60, but it was his arm and bat that really impressed. He stood head and shoulders above the rest on the infield with a loose, whippy arm, topping out at 89 across the infield. At the plate, he kept things simple, working level through the zone and driving the ball gap-to-gap, even showing off the ability to back spin the ball.

+ Grey Brannen (Westfield, 2022) possessed maybe the most projectable frame out of any prospect in attendance, standing 6-foot-4, 185-pounds. A rare combination of size and athleticism, he posted the top 60-yard dash time of the event at 7.04. At the plate, he created leverage at the plate with his long arms and blasted balls with power to the pull-side.

+ Easily the most impressive round of batting practice belonged to Alabama native OF Aiden Macks (Robertsdale, 2022). The strong, stocky 5-foot-11, 195-pound right-handed hitter was the only prospect to leave the yard, accomplishing the feat four times. In fact, it appeared he did not even get all of it on each hit with his low effort swing.

+ If you are looking for size and strength out of a corner infielder, look no further than the trio of Jackson Hiatt (Pensacola Catholic (FL), 2022), Andon Lewis (Calhoun, 2022) and Charlie Siegel (North Paulding, 2022). Carrying themselves at 6-foot-4, 6-foot-2 and 6-foot-1, respectively, and weighing no less than 190-pounds, each swung a power bat,  hammering the ball with force middle/pull.

+ OF Timothy Burnsed (Effingham County, 2022) presently will not blow you away with his physicality, but he makes up for it with wiry strength in his 5-foot-10, 148 pound frame, projecting to put on significant more strength. Offensively, he showed quick hands and whippy barrel speed while aggressively attacking the baseball, generating line drive contact gap-to-gap.

Switch-Hitting Backstops

+ Switch-hitting John Daniel Coleman (Effingham County, 2022) really stood out behind the dish as he set the tone for the rest of the catcher’s with his opening salvo of throws down to second, taking home the crown of top pop time at 1.94, topping out at 76 from the crouch. His arm strength translated to the field as well where he was 83 from the outfield and 81 across the infield. Offensively, he has a similar line drive approach from both-sides of the plate.

+ Two of the younger prospects at the event C AJ DeMastrie (River Ridge, 2023) and C Luca Perriello (Greenbrier, 2024) both have the makeup to be game changers. DeMastrie is about as relaxed as they come in the box with a simple setup and fluid rhythm. He already has the ability and strength, 88 exit velocity from the left and 89 exit from the right, to drive the ball gap-to-gap. Behind the plate he is a sound defender, making consistent throws down to second. Perriello was easily the most memorable 2024 in attendance. It is evident throughout his game that he is more mature than his age would lead you to believe. Behind the plate his arm plays with looseness as he keep his throws low and on a line. Offensively, he has quick hands and gains extension through the zone, helping him to work the gaps on a consistent basis.

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