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Preseason All-State: Quick Hits


Phil Kerber
Georgia Scouting Director



On Jan. 11, the PBR Georgia staff hosted its inaugural Preseason All-State at Rountree Recreation Hiram, GA. The event featured nearly 50 of the state's top prospects in the class of 2020 an 2021, a mix of committed and uncommitted players. Today, we’ll be spending some time highlighting the best things we saw from Sunday in the form of our Quick Hits post.

We already took a look at the top statistical performers with leaderboards and full stats on every prospect in attendance in our Statistical AnalysisWithin 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
Outfielders

We knew of the speed of OF Clifford Pless III (Veterans, 2021) when he posted multiple sub-3.7 home to first times over the summer at LakePoint Sports. He showed that same type of speed on Saturday when he ran an event best 6.60 60 yard dash. His athleticism plays throughout his game. A natural center fielder his arm plays loosely as he quickly tracks balls and plays through them with fluidity. From the left-side at the plate, he takes a simple line drive approach, knowing he has the speed to beat out any ball put in play.

One of the top ranked prospects in the 2021 class, Florida State commit OF James Tibbs (Pope) showed why. Not enough can be said about his powerful, explosive left-handed swing. His setup is unique, as he is narrow, and open with his hands in a low, relaxed position. But none of that matters, as he comes balanced as the ball approaches and his lower half quite literally lifts off as he explodes through contact with a powerful pull-side swing, posted a 99 exit velocity.

In the months prior to the event we had produced senior superlatives, Samford commit OF Blake Bortak (Archer, 2020) was ranked as one of the top-5 defensive outfielders in the state of Georgia. A quick-twitch 5-foot-11, 170-pounds he ran a 6.64 60 yard dash. In the outfield he moves extremely well with quick feet and a soft glove. The arm is loose and whippy with accuracy, 89 mph on throws to home. A right-handed hitter, Bortak has noticeably strong forearms which allow him to whip the barrel through the zone and produce hard line drive contact, generated a 95 mph exit velocity off a tee.

Lipscomb commit OF Christopher Robinson (Notre Dame, 2021) has a strong, 6-foot, 175-pound frame that he keeps adding additional strength. What really stands out is his left-handed swing. Robertson generates easy bat speed, 91 exit velocity, and is consistently on-time. He looks to elevate the ball and drive it to force gap-to-gap with a smooth uphill swing.

Middles

Uncommitted SS Kareh Valentin (Chapel Hill, 2021) put together one of the best overall performances. The 5-foot-10, 155-pounder is athletically built with a strong lower half that he utilizes well, a 6.98 runner in the 60 yard dash. Offensively, Valentin has a low effort, repeatable line drive swing. He consistently barreled up pitch after pitch, driving them up the middle, posted a 91 exit velocity. On the defensive side, he was without a doubt the top defender. Valentin showcased advanced feel, quick footwork and a strong, loose arm, getting rid of the ball quickly at the pace of 91 mph across the diamond.

Rated as a one of the top left-handed bats in Georgia’s 2020 class, Samford commit MIF Garrett Howe (Hebron Christian) was explosive at the plate with ultra quick hand speed through contact, he creates leverage as he elevates the ball to the pull-side, created 87 mph exit velocity off a tee. Judging by his frame and hand speed, there is much more power in his swing than the numbers say.

A recent commit to Gordon State JC, MIF Dwight Banks (McEachern, 2020) stands a long, lanky, high-waisted 6-foot-3, 170-pounds. A true late bloomer, it seems every time we see him he has added another inch or two to his frame along with 10 pounds of muscle. There is a considerable amount of projection in his game. He is fundamentally sound at the plate with a smooth, easy line drive swing. On the defensive side of things, the game comes easy. Banks covers ground with long strides and good body control, then uses a consistent compact arm accurate across the diamond.

Mercer commit 2020 SS Wesley Franklin (Brookwood) is a projectable, athletic 6-foot-3, 205-pound right-handed hitter. Franklin’s swing stood out amongst the rest, he sweeps the barrel long through the zone, hitting off the front-side of his large frame, and drives balls to the gaps, 99 mph exit velocity off a tee. Franklin also carries his weight considerably well, running a 7.04 laser-timed 60.

Corners

Uncommitted 2021 3B Coby Wilkerson will be a real long ball threat this spring at Walnut Grove High School. His swing works with length through the zone as he looks to elevate the ball and drive it with force, 91 exit velocity. A projectable 6-foot-2, 183-pounds there is a ton of room for him to add additional strength and power.

North Alabama may have gotten themselves a steal in 3B Quinn Petty (East Cobb Academy, 2021). Petty smashed line drives back up the middle during his batting practice round with controlled aggression, to the tune of 94 off the barrel. On the defensive side of things, all his actions work athletically and he is able to utilize multiple slots, going 86 across the infield.

Easily the most physically imposing prospect in attendance was Miami (OH) commit 2021 3B Parker Lester (Calhoun) at 6-foot-3, 195-pounds. A left-handed hitter, he allows the ball to travel before letting his strong upper half to do the work, he showed easy juice at the plate recording a 94 exit velocity off a tee.

Catchers

Gordon State JC commit C Cole Stanford (Harris County) impressed as a top defensive performer. Stanford showed all the traditional actions you want to see. The arm action is short, and over-the-top, producing throws with true backspin. He posted event best’s in catcher velocity, 78 mph, and pop time at 2.00. He is also an above average athlete, running a 6.90 60 yard dash, while standing 5-foot-11, 175-pounds.

A Polk State commit, 2020 C Brandon Lawrence (Redan) had one of the loudest rounds of batting practice. A physical 5-foot-11, 187-pound right-handed hitter, he had one of the strongest lower halves at the event. A gap-to-gap hitter from the right-side, Lawrence drove the ball with force, posted a 98 exit velocity. Defensively, he got rid of the ball quickly, posting a best pop time of 2.00.

Two-Way Prospects

UAB commit 2020 OF/RHP Darryl Buggs (Heritage-Conyers) was without a doubt the top statistical performer on the day. We were aware of his athleticism from his summer LakePoint Sports. But Buggs truly put on a show and exceeded expectations. He ran one of the top 60 times, a 6.64. Then he really put his athleticism on display. At the plate, his hands work quickly through the zone and his long levers get out front as he hammered line drives with a 95 exit velocity. In the outfield, he showed off premium arm strength as he attacked the baseball, throwing 94 mph to home. Adding to that he hopped on the mound, topping out at 87 while offering up three serviceable off-speed pitches.

Uncommitted 2021 3B/RHP Glenn Green (Sandy Creek) popped onto our radar at the Fall Upperclass Games in November for his natural athletic ability, and he only solidified our views at Preseason All-State. A lanky 6-foot-2, 185-pound with a strong lower half, his entire game plays with strength. His arm plays loosely at 91 mph across the infield. On the mound, we have seen him up to 91 before, on Sunday Green sat 88-89 with good tilt on his fastball. What separates him is his hard, tight slider that is a true out pitch at 78-80.

The left-handed hitting uncommitted SS/RHP Ryder Wagenknecht (Starrs Mill, 2021) came away as one of the biggest winners of the day. At the plate, he looks to elevate the ball and produces back spin with a level swing path, producing a 91 exit velocity. On the infield, he showed quick actions in everything that he did, going 89 across the infield. Wagenknect profiled as a closer-type on the mound, his short, quick arm action plays up to 86 mph with good angle. A two-pitch pitcher, his changeup has the ability to take-off late with fading action.

Arms

A lean athlete at 6-foot-2, 175-pounds, Young Harris commit RHP CJ Harrison (Winder-Barrow) has an electric arm that we have seen more than once. He has a low stab on the back-side, but manages to keep the ball hidden as he comes to release. His fastball, topping out at 89 but seen up to 90 before, and changeup are devastating pitches due to the extreme run that he is able to produce.

Big bodied 6-foot-2, 230-pound Chattahoochee Valley commit 2020 LHP Wesley Hancock (Pike County) showed a clean arm action from a high ¾ slot and feel for a three-pitch arsenal. His fastball sat 84-87, touching 88 mph, the pitch came out his hand crisp. Hancock located his curveball to the arm-side, a slurve-like pitch that showed good bite to it. On top of that, he offered up a changeup that sank low in the zone.

Wofford commit 2020 RHP Reid Fagerstrom (Northgate) has a powerful 6-foot-1, 200-pound frame. He uses his frame and quick arm action to work in the upper 80s with his heavy fastball. The off-speed, predominately a slider, sits in the lower 80s and has tight cutting action to it.

Kennesaw State commit 2020 RHP Jake Haynes (Winder-Barrow) uses a long arm action that accelerates quickly out front.  At 6-foot-3, he uses his length to get on top of the ball and pitch down in the zone. Previously seen up to 89 mph, he touched 86 mph at the event. He showed good feel for a slurve-like breaking ball and a changeup that has sink and fade to it.

The top uncommitted pitcher at the event, 2020 RHP Geoffrey Watkins (Lassiter) stands a lanky, towering 6-foot-6, 195-pounds. Watkins is able to get out front to a high ¾ slot. His fastball played at 84-86 with run and complimented it with a 12/6 curveball that showed late, sharp break. 

Future Gamers

Uncommitted 2021 RHP/3B Caleb Logerwell (Homeschool) is physically impressive at 6-foot-2, 190-pounds. He shined on the mound at the 2019 Future Games for Team Georgia where he allowed zero runs and struck out five batters in three innings. Logerwell’s arm works quick, easy and clean to a high ¾ slot. While he worked up to 88 mph, it is his power breaking ball that really stands out. The pitch is a present swing and miss pitch with depth and late bite to it. In the field, his strength plays on the infield where he was 90 across the diamond. Additionally, at the plate he has a power swinging, hitting everything hard no matter where it is, posted the only triple digit exit velocity off the event at 100 mph.

One of the breakout prospects of Team Georgia at the 2019 Future Games, UAB commit 2021 RHP Aidan Moza (North Cobb Christian) has one of the quickest arms in his class. His arm plays loosely and whips through to a high ¾ slot. Although he did not show the same type of velocity we have seen before (89 mph in the fall), it is obvious he has it in the tank. Moza’s curveball is a true 12/6 pitch which he has great feel for.