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Underclass Invitational: Quick Hits


Phil Kerber
Georgia Scouting Director



PBR Georgia's first ever Underclass Invitational took place on Jan. 12 at Mike Cameron Baseball Academy in Stockbridge, GA. The event brought together some of the top 2022 and 2023 prospects in the state of Georgia for a pro-style workout. Today, we will 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 Sunday.

Quick Hits
Future Gamers

One of the stars for Team Georgia at the 2019 PBR Future Games, 2022 INF Brant Baughcum (Brookwood) committed to Georgia Tech shortly following the event. The 6-foot, 180-pound right-handed hitter has only gotten more physical since we last saw him, while sacrificing none of his athleticism. About as good of a pure hitter as you will come across, Baughcum simply hits. He attacks pitches with controlled aggression and drives the ball to all fields, posted an 87 mph exit velocity.

Uncommitted 2022 UTL Jackson Gaspard (Buford) continues to get better and better. He shows steady improvement in his arm strength, going 87 across the infield. Very fundamental in everything he does from his approach and defensive abilities. At the plate, he packs a punch with reach swing, utilizing his strong lower half in his 6-foot, 175-pound frame. Capable of playing just about any position on the field, he may be best suited for work on the mound. With a present mid-80s fastball, it is his feel for his changeup and curveball that really stand out. The changeup is a power pitch coming in at 80-82 and with all kinds of movement. His curveball is a true 12/6 hammer that shows depth and bite, one opposing batters will struggle to deal with.

2022 1B Jonathan Jaime (Brookwood) swings a powerful stick from the left-side of the plate, one that no doubt played a big role in him landing at Tulane. A big, strong 6-foot-2, 184-pounds, Jaime works the middle and opposite fields, driving the ball with force, generated 89 mph exit velocity.

Uncommitted 2021 OF Bryant Herring (Dutchtown) has made impressive improvements in his entire game since the Future Games. At the plate, he has a simple setup, and a consistent approach. He is steadily progressing from a line drive hitter to one that can drive the ball into the gaps with an easy effort swing, posted a personal-best 91 mph exit velocity off a tee. In the outfield, he is as fundamental as they come, everything works on-line as he fields out front and plays through the ball. His throws are true with back spin and accurate at 85 mph.

Advanced Arms

One of the top-ranked prospects in the 2022 class, Auburn commit RHP/SS Hayden Murphy (Tiftarea Academy) had an electric bullpen. At 6-foot-3, 180-pounds he is long and lanky with plenty of room to fill out. Working from a low ¾ slot, his arm is ultra quick and whips through release. Murphy posted an event-best 89 mph fastball and complimented that with a swing-and-miss sweeping breaking ball. He has feel for both pitches and consistently threw them for strikes.

RHP Luke Fernandez (West Forsyth, 2022) has been on our radar since his freshman year at West Forsyth. His performance on Sunday only solidified his position as one of the state’s top right-handed pitchers. A strong, projectable 6-foot-3, 190-pounds, Fernandez is becoming more and more of a polished pitcher. Already equipped with an upper-80s fastball, it is his curveball that sets him apart from his peers. More of a 12/6 than an 11/5, it is out-pitch with late bite to it. We have already seen him numerous times at LakePoint buckle knees and get swing-and-misses with the pitch, and there will be plenty more this spring.

2022 OF/RHP Matthew Hoskins (Peachtree Ridge) looked to be in midseason form already. At 6-foot-1, 187-pounds, he carries strength throughout and projects to add more given his broad frame. His arm strength is quickly improving as he eclipsed the numbers he posted in the fall at Underclass Trials, going from 84 to 88 from the outfield and 84 to 87 on the mound. At the plate, he goes gap-to-gap with a long swing, generating an 89 mph exit velocity.

SS Brady Jones (Decatur, 2022) has a huge arm from the left-side of the infield, topping out at 92 mph across the diamond, and will form a formidable left-side of the infield with No. 1-ranked 2020 in Georgia, 3B Jordan Walker (Duke). Jones plays larger than his 5-foot-11, 170-pound frame with a long swing that whips through the zone, creating leverage and easy bat speed, put up one of the top exit velocities on the day at 91 mph. We have yet to see him on the mound, he lists right-handed pitcher as a secondary position, but one can imagine his arm strength would certainly translate.

Projectable Frames

The No. 1-ranked 2023 in the state of Georgia, SS Dylan Cupp (Cedartown) committed to Mississippi State a day after the Underclass Invitational. Cupp seemingly keeps on adding inches and strength to his 6-foot-1, 170-pound frame every time we see him, and he shows no signs of slowing down. He has advanced bat speed with a level barrel path, the ball jumps off the bat at 88 mph, peppering the entire field. In the field, he has advanced defensive actions and arm strength to handle the left-side of the infield for years to come.

2022 SS Nico Senese (East Coweta) has a long, lean, athletic frame at 6-foot-2, 170-pounds. A standout defender, he uses his length to range to both sides, making the athletic plays seem easy. At the plate, he has an easy, relaxed swing that creates line drive contact. Senese projects to add considerable strength to his frame.

It is hard to believe that 6-foot-6, 195-pound 3B/RHP Andrew Dunford (Houston County, 2023) is only a freshman. He uses his long levers and lower half well to generate force at the plate with a gap-to-gap approach, posting an event best 93 mph exit velocity off a tee. On the mound, he gets good extension with his extra long frame, working out of a ¾ slot. The fastball played up to 84 mph, with much more in the tank as he physically matures. He showed good feel for a slurve and fading changeup.

OF Gage Harrelson (Houston County, 2022) is a projectable left-handed hitter, standing 6-foot-2, 165-pounds. Harrelson showed athletic actions in all facets of his game. At the plate, he loads up and creates leverage with a quick swing, putting up an 86 mph exit velocity. In the outfield, he played through the ball with fluid footwork and a soft glove, arm played up to 85 mph.

2023 OF Garrett Garner (Franklin County) has a frame that you can dream on, lean with broad shoulders, standing 6-foot-2, 170-pounds. He has the potential to add a ton of strength. It is already evident that he has a big, loose arm, given his 84 mph throws from the outfield (has been 87 from the outfield previously). Offensively, his hands work athletically with present bat speed, producing line drive contact.

2023 SS Aaron Gates (Trinity) has added considerably to his 6-foot, 165-pound frame since we last saw him in May at the Underclass Games. And it shows throughout his game, especially at the plate. He does a good job of keeping his hands back, creating leverage and exploding through the ball, generating a 90 mph exit velocity off a tee. With more reps, Gates will only gain more feel and confidence at the plate.

Backstops

Quite possibly the top defensive catcher in the entire state, in any class, Alabama commit C Sammy Leis (Denmark, 2022) put together quite the show. The 6-foot-1, 165-pounder has ample arm strength, throwing 82 mph down to second. His arm works traditional, short, loose and over-the-top. With advanced flexibility in his hips, knees and ankles, he creates a low target, and then uses quick footwork and transfers to get the ball to second with haste, posting pop times between 1.87-1.94.

The large frame of C Tyler Minnick (Mount Paran Christian, 2023) stood out behind the dish and at the plate. A big, powerful 6-foot-2, 180-pounds, he swings a power bat that operates long through the zone and generates hard contact, 89 mph off the bat. Defensively, he is flexible despite his large frame, and moves with fluid actions, putting up a best pop time of 2.00.

Do It All

A super utility player, McDonald McCommons (Lake Oconee, 2022) can quite literally do it all. His arm strength plays from anywhere on the field and he has the defensive actions to go along with it. He may be best suited in the corner outfield where his arm was up to 88 mph, or behind the dish where he was 80 mph and popped a best 2.01. On the mound, his quick, clean arm action really works. His fastball plays up to 86 mph and he offers up a tight cutter in the upper-70s  

Impressive PBR Debuts

When you think Buford High School baseball, the names that come to mind might be Dylan Lesko, Riley Stanford, Jackson Gaspard. Well, you can now add OF Stan Zagrodnik (2022) to that list. Zagrodnik was a big time performer for Team Elite over the summer at LakePoint with his quick, whip-like swing that plays in uphill through the zone. He elevates the ball with ease and gives it a ride with force, 91 mph exit velocity. In the outfield, his arm is loose and athletic with present strength, throwing 87 mph.

UTL Reid Harvey (Thomas County Central, 2023) will be a prospect to keep an eye on out of the southern part of Georgia. Harvey is a physical right-handed hitter at 6-foot-1, 180-pounds. The swing has length to it, however he is able to consistently elevate and drive the ball gap-to-gap with an 88 mph exit velocity. Only a freshman, Harvey will make an immediate impact this spring.

Southpaws

LHP Dawson Coe (Loganville, 2022) is going to be a nightmare for left-handed hitters to face this spring. Coe strides across the mound towards the first base side and utilizes a low ¾ slot, with the ball seemingly coming out behind the hitters head. His fastball touched 84, and there is more in the tank. He compliments it with a 2/8 breaking ball that showed depth and some bite to it.

LHP Nick Milbrandt (South Effingham, 2022) has an extra large frame at 6-foot-2, 240-pounds, an imposing presence on the mound. His arm works short and clean, hiding the ball well until release out of a ¾ slot. His fastball played up to 84, and offered up two different breaking balls, a slider and curveball. The slider is the better of the two pitches, featuring tight sweeping action. The curveball is a 12/6 and flashed bite.

2024 To Know

One of the more eye opening performances of the day came from the young SS/OF Bryce Clavon (Dutchtown Middle, 2024). Clavon is a twitchy athlete at 5-foot-11, 155-pounds, he possesses advanced feel for the barrel and present strength throughout his game. He swings with aggressive intent and an explosive upper half, creating leverage. The ball flies off his bat, driving it gap-to-gap. Defensively, his actions and arm plays from the middle infield and the outfield.