Scout Blog - West Linn vs Grant (4/12/21)


Dan Jurik
Scouting Director - Pacific Northwest

After nearly 2 full years of waiting we were finally treated to High School baseball in the state of Oregon. 

The sights and sounds of opening day were in full swing across the state as rosters competed against each other under the cover of blue skies and sunshine. 

For our first match-up of the 2021 season, we headed over to Grant to check out their match-up against a strong West Linn squad. 

west linn

West Linn was paced by starting pitcher ‘21 RHP Kyle Sullivan. The Portland commit toed the rubber and competed with the poise and moxie you would expect from a senior player. Sullivan came out with a lively FB at 84-85 and held his velo consistently from start to finish. Hides the ball well during his quick paced delivery then gets into a high ¾ release from a tight, compact arm action. The SL is a consistent swing and miss pitch for Sullivan and he shows the ability to manipulate shape based on the count. You can sense the competitiveness in how he approaches his starts and he’ll likely be a workhorse type starter who consistently eats up innings this season. 

Sullivan relieved by ‘24 OF/RHP Gabe Howard. Just a freshman, Howard is already an Oregon commit and he showed why in his brief outing against Grant. The lean & athletic 2-way prospect touched 86 mph with his FB and comfortably held 85 while keeping all of his FBs competitive around the zone. CB command fluctuated a bit on this look but we’ve seen him control the offering before and he will likely get back to form with his secondary stuff as he gets more innings. Overall, it was a big first impression in 2021 for Howard and he will likely be a permanent fixture towards the top of our 2024 state rankings moving forward. 

Offensively, West Linn was paced by another freshman who has secured a D1 commitment for themselves as well. ‘24 C Ryan VandenBrink (Oregon State commit) had a big day offensively going 2-4 with 2 RBI, leading the team in both categories on the day. We’ve discussed VandenBrink with our national coverage before and he sure lived up to the expectations. Hitting from a balanced, wide set-up, he used a toe-tap load to stay in his legs while still creating some separation against his front side. His single was a hard liner up the middle off of an 85 mph FB and his double cleared the outfielder in center. Despite his size and bigger levers, VandenBrink stayed short to the ball and kept his hands tight, allowing the barrel to stay connected at impact and get extension after contact. Expect to hear more from the powerful slugger as he continues to develop and do damage at the plate.

A versatile group of prospects handle duties in the INF for West Linn with responsibilities being spread out amongst a pair of seniors in ‘21 Caden Parker (Clark College commit) and ‘21 Adam Simshauser. They’re joined by juniors ‘22 Kace Naone and ‘22 Jeremy Levasseur

Parker was in the DH role on this look and showed off the exceptional bat speed and approach we’ve come to expect from him. Laced a hard oppo single in the middle of the game and also drew a walk. Managed to come around and score in both instances. Simshauser and Naone both added bunt singles and 1 BB in their plate appearances. Each scored a run as well. Levasseur was quiet at the plate but drew a BB then had a hard shot up the middle that was too tough for the INF to handle and he made his way on-base. 

Another young bat for West Linn that flashed some impressive ability was ‘23 1B Jake Holmes. He crushed a ball into the LCF gap then nearly cut through the vicious cross wind that was howling all game. But instead of a home run he had to settle for a deep double to the wall. Expect Holmes to be a presence in that West Linn line-up as he continues to get consistent ABs.

grant

Grant features a senior heavy line-up with a few select underclassmen who look ready to be contributors this year and then take over more duties once they become the more experience players on the squad

‘21 RHP/C Kaden Segel led the way on the mound for Grant and came out aggressive. The Linn Benton commit fired his first pitch of the game in there for a called strike at 86 mph. From there he sat 84-86 and mixed in a slurve shaped breaker at 73-75 and CH at 76-78. The stocky righty has a clean, consistent delivery with a short, bent arm action. Strength in the lower half helps him brace with his front leg and be aggressive out front at release. Segel also did some damage at the plate with a loud solo HR to deep right field. He finished 1-3 on the day.


Chasing Segel on the bump was ‘22 RHP Christopher Moore. Moore won’t light up the radar gun with his FB at 75-77 but he really pitches well off of his SL and showed the confidence to use it in big spots. Notably, in the top of the 6th, West Linn loaded the bases while Grant held a 2-run lead. But Moore snapped off a 3-2 SL to get the inning ending K and escape the jam. He finished with 3 scoreless IP and 5 K. 

Offensively, Grant relied on the long ball as 3 of their 6 hits were round trippers. ‘22 C Cole Snidow got things started early with his 2-run HR in the bottom half of the 1st. Snidow has shown his potential across multiple events as well as our 2019 Fall PNW Championship tournament. The wiry backstop is noticeably stronger and more physical than before and it looks like the added size will pay dividends offensively this season

Grant got another HR from ‘23 Kellen Segel. Not to be outdone by his older brother, Kellen made his only AB of the game count when he drove an oppo blast over the RF fence. Whenever you see a young prospect on a roster loaded with upperclassmen, it gets your attention. Kellen has exciting offensive potential and looks ready to assert himself as a name to know in the ‘23 class for Oregon. 

Another sophomore who made their presence felt for Grant was ‘23 1B/RHP Ben Christensen. After getting the start at first and notching a hit in one of his 3 ABs, Christensen came on in a relief role for the 7th inning save. Working quickly and efficiently, he attacked the zone with a heavy FB at 79-80 and had a quick 1-2-3 inning for himself. The physical corner bat should be a consistent contributor in a lot of ways for Grant this season. 

Lastly, ‘21 SS Spencer Scott looks like he’ll be one of the best all-around players in the state this season. The Portland commit has a proportional build to his frame with functional strength that allows him to stay smooth on the INF but also deliver power with his barrel. Defensively he’s light on his feet and maintains body control while on the move laterally. The glove-to-hand exchange is fluid and helps him keep his feet underneath him while transitioning into his throws. Offensively the approach is disciplined while being selectively aggressive. After a BB in his first AB, Scott drove a deep ball to CF for a loud out and then ripped a hard single through the left-side in his final AB. Expect a huge year from Scott as he anchors that Generals on both sides of the ball.