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Shooter's Summer Favorites


Shooter Hunt
Vice President, Scouting

More than any state or region since I first joined the PBR staff, northern California provides for the biggest excitement each summer in anticipation for which prospects will take advantage of the national spotlight and explode in front of important decision makers. Time and time again some of the biggest names and helium risers hail from the northern part of the Golden State.


And it was no different in the summer of 2021.

++CLICK FOR 2022 RANKINGS++

 Henry Bolte (August 2021)

With Covid-19 wreaking havoc on the world, the state of California was especially affected from a baseball standpoint. Difficulty seeing players over the past year plus left internal PBR talks wondering “who is the biggest name in the 2022 draft class”? So while it was eye opening when OF Henry Bolte (Palo Alto HS, CA) tore up elite competition throughout the summer, it was hardly surprising. Bolte, a pristine 6-foot-3, 200-pound Texas recruit left little doubt as to who was the “name to know” coming out of California. The combination of speed and power, and more specifically “impact and acceleration” combined with a frame that is equal parts present physicality and future projection, left plenty to dream on as to his future potential. The right-handed hitter holds some of the biggest raw power in the class, and taking into account the difficulty to find game action in the region throughout Covid, his ability to slow things down and perform against premium pitching was fun to watch while also considering what an extra 1500 at-bats might allow him to do down the road.

 Braeden Sloan (July 2021)

In a similar situation, LHP Braeden Sloan (Woodcreek HS, CA), a USC recruit, saw a steady rise throughout the summer. Long-limbed with a wiry 6-foot-4, 185-pound frame that should hold substantial strength in the future, Sloan was ultra-impressive late in the summer working with an 89-91 fastball that featured some arm side life from a near ¾ slot. There is some deception to the delivery with arms and legs moving all over, but his ability to remain connected down the mound, and more so to repeat a consistent slot, stood out. Southpaws are always valued high, and with the full arsenal that Sloan brings to the table, his rise in the state and nationally is well warranted. The changeup (76-77) profiles best off the fastball with some late fading action, and he demonstrates confidence in throwing the pitch in all counts with there being plus-potential. Dropping in a 72-74 curveball for strikes gives the big left-hander a full three-pitch arsenal, and each offering shows signs of ticking up sooner rather than later.

 

Ethan Petry (August 2021)

FLORIDA DUO:
Performing side by side with probable first round pick, OF Elijah Green (IMG Academy, FL), is no easy feat, as Green’s five-tool potential can be difficult to look away from even when surrounded by a full lineup of future impact players. However, that only makes what 3B Ethan Petry (Cypress Creek HS, FL) and OF/1B Jayden Hylton (Palm Beach Gardens HS, FL) did this summer that much more impressive. Petry, a 6-foot-4, 215-pound South Carolina recruit, boasts immense power potential thanks to big physicality and a right-handed swing that works short-to-long with audible bat speed and uphill intent. But even more than the raw physicality, the approach and balance that the big third baseman displays is advanced, and should help provide for quick jumps in the future with considerable helium potential next spring. Hylton, a New Jersey transplant and Stetson recruit, is wide-shouldered at 6-foot-6, 210-pounds, and though his long-limbs should be difficult to deliver consistent movement patterns with, his athleticism eliminates any doubts, and there is consistent barrel accuracy from the right side. Like Petry, Hylton also produces considerable present power, and while the frame is already large, it is easy to envision the future run-producer packing on more strength. There are NO down years in Florida, and with Green leading the way as a top 10 pick, MLB scouts are once again going to be crossing the Sunshine State for talent in 2022.



NORTHERN TRIO:
Most years the draft talent is top heavy with an emphasis on the Big 4 (California-Florida-Georgia-Texas). However, 2022 feels a bit different. Yes, there is still plenty of talent in the Big 4, but pockets throughout the country, and especially in northern states, are sure to have scouting directors racking up even more flight miles than ever. The summer circuit gave a great glimpse at some coast-to-coast talent including this trio of arms that shot up draft boards as well as the PBR Overall Rankings. 

OWEN MURPHYRHP / 3B / RIVERSIDE-BROOKFIELD, IL / 2022

The Illinois native and Notre Dame recruit is a true two-way talent with strong bat-to-ball skills, and would likely provide the Irish with some dynamic possibilities if he makes it to South Bend. However, the 6-foot-2, 190-pound right-hander holds his biggest upside on the mound thanks to the efficient/athletic movement down the mound, an electric arm, and especially innate ability to spin the ball. Up to 94 mph with 2500+ RPM on the fastball, there is riding life through the zone. Attacking hitters and hunting swings and misses, the slider is a separator. Thrown firmly in the mid to upper 70s, the pitch holds plus potential with the upside even greater with future commitment as a pitcher only.

 

MICHAEL KENNEDYLHP / 1B / TROY , NY / 2022

It was a treat getting to watch Kennedy work late in the summer as he is one of the smoothest movers down the mound that I have seen in the class. Strong posture with a ¾ slot that is even more deceptive thanks to a crossbody step, Kennedy worked 89-91 while showcasing a quick arm that promises even more velocity to come. Durably-built at 6-foot-1, 205-pounds, there is present strength in the lower-half, and he has the look of a future starter moving forward. Tunneling a tight slider at 79-80 with nearly 2700 RPM, Kennedy has advanced aptitude for spin that pairs well with an innate feel to pitch and disrupt timing. There is a toughness to the way that he attacks hitters, and his loose arm combined with a flat vertical approach angle makes it difficult on all hitters but especially left-handed ones.

 

JACKSON COXRHP / TOUTLE LAKE, WA / 2022

The Pacific Northwest keeps churning out big arms, and while RHP JR Ritchie (Bainbridge Island HS) continues as the top prospect in the region for 2022, Cox caught the most helium throughout the summer. Running his fastball up to 95 mph thanks to a quick/whippy arm that can be electric with heaviness at the plate, Cox is athletic on the mound even without much use of the lower-half. The slider (79-81) is quickly becoming an elite pitch with 3000+ RPM that is sure to excite scouting departments, and already garners plenty of swings and misses. The 6-foot-1, 185-pound Oregon recruit has some of the highest upside in the class with an athletic frame that should add much more strength in the future, and the pure stuff to make an even bigger jump perhaps as soon as next spring.

 


SLEEPERS:

GRAYSON SAUNIERRHP / COLLIERVILLE , TN / 2022

Saunier, an Ole Miss recruit, did not show off the eye opening velocity of some of his peers, but that should not dissuade from the massive upside and potential that he holds as a future starter. The 6-foot-4, 185-pound right-hander oozes projection, physically, with room to add strength to both the upper and lower-half. The arm works loose with quickness out front, and the 88-90 fastball that he showcased late in the summer is likely to see bigger jumps as soon as the spring. Effortlessly completing a smooth delivery, Saunier possesses advanced feel for his secondary offerings including a changeup (79-80) that profiles very well against the fastball with fade and is thrown with intent to both sides of the plate, as well as a tightly spun breaking ball (69-71, 2700+ RPM) that holds depth and given his aptitude might ultimately be developed into a firmer slider. Overall, it is easy to bet on the upside that Saunier exhibits, and given his frame, quick arm, and complete arsenal, MLB scouting departments are likely to value his upside as a future starter.

 

ELI SERRANOOF / PRO5 ACADEMY, NC / 2022

Serrano, a North Carolina State recruit, was one of my favorite hitters of the summer. Long and lean at 6-foot-5, 190-pounds, the left-handed hitter leverages his long frame while maintaining an innate understanding of the movement patterns that it creates. Rarely sped up, he slows the game down at the dish thanks to quick hands that enable the barrel to work short-to-long with considerable lag in the zone while covering the plate. There is present power to the pull side, and his intent to utilize the whole field would lend well to the belief that there is the potential for even more power to develop down the road. With his ability to track and change planes combined with a frame that should add more strength, Serrano is a “sleeper” name to know next spring.

 

 

9 TO KNOW: MUST SEE SPRING BREAKOUT CANDIDATES
A look at some of the top talent in the country that I will be tracking closely next spring with the potential to explode up draft boards. Each of these players is already featured in the Top 100 in the 2022 class, but with razor thin separation amongst the group, spring performances in front of decision making eyes will be vitally important with regards to MLB Draft implications.

 Roman Anthony (June 2021)

ROMAN ANTHONYOF / STONEMAN DOUGLAS, FL / 2022

A summer favorite who I thought separated himself from a handful of other future middle-of-the-order bats, Anthony has a chance to rise even further next spring, especially playing in talent-rich Florida. The 6-foot-3, 195-pound Ole Miss recruit has the look of an impact bat with big present power that pairs well with what could be an elite hit-tool. A left-handed hitter with the ability to drive the ball in the air to all fields, Anthony delivers an accurate barrel with the ability to impact the baseball.

ROSS HIGHFILLC / 3B / MADISON CENTRAL, MS / 2022

Highfill, a Mississippi State recruit, has not slowed down since a dominant spring that included helping lead Madison Central to a state championship. A sturdily-built 6-foot, 205-pounder, Highfill’s athleticism is sure to excite scouts as he holds big power potential while also being a 6.5-runner who can stick behind the dish. His strong arm and receiving/blocking abilities stand out as does a compact right-handed stroke that moves well through impact. Continued power production throughout the spring combined with exciting athleticism could allow Highfill to rise even higher.

AUSTIN HENRYRHP / 3B / DELL RAPIDS (SD), MN / 2022

Henry just kept rising higher in the many discussions that went into putting together the 2022 Overall Rankings as he holds some premium characteristics that are sure to excite MLB scouts. Physically imposing on the mound at 6-foot-5, 205-pounds with a barrel chest and thickness in both the upper and lower-half, Henry delivers 89-92 fastballs (2300-2400 RPM) with a steep vertical approach with a loose, quick arm that gets quality extension out front. The velocity is sure to continue rising, but the separating factor is sure to be the curveball. With near 12/6 shape, it is a power pitch with impressive depth and more than 3300 RPM in the 75-77 range. Henry rips it off audibly, and demonstrates the ability to tunnel it well off the fastball.

GAVIN TURLEYOF / 3B / HAMILTON, AZ / 2022

Turley, an Oregon State recruit, fills the stat sheet with elite metrics thanks to impressive athleticism that provides for plenty of twitch loud tools. The 6-foot-1, 185-pound outfielder has electric hands with astounding bat speed, and the ball jumps off the barrel with intriguing power potential. A 6.58-runner, Turley has five-tool potential, and should get a plethora of looks from MLB scouts in the spring with so many in close proximity to his Hamilton High School in Arizona.

BROCK WILLSSS / 2B / HOLLY SPRINGS , NC / 2022

Wills, a UNC Wilmington recruit, stole the show at the State Games in North Carolina, and could be the next in line as an in-state player who stirs up considerable draft buzz in the spring. Lean and athletic at 6-foot, 160-pounds with a smooth left-handed stroke, Wills is a starting quarterback during the fall. A quick first step with confident hands, Wills should stick up the middle in some form. It is easy to bet on North Carolina prep products as they have a long history as spring sensations, and given the buzz that Wills has already stirred, I’ll be glued to his games next spring.

FISHER INGERSOLLSS / 3B / AMERICAN FORK , UT / 2022

Ingersoll has been one of my favorite follows since PBR first added the state of Utah to its network as he seems to check a plethora of boxes as a dual-sport athlete (football) with an Adonis frame (6-foot-3, 195-pounds) who also hits left-handed. PBR Utah scouting director and former 20+ year MLB scout, Jeff Scholzen, puts it into even better context here:

“Ingersoll moves to the #1 spot on the ‘22 Utah rankings and is the best athlete in the state, as he is not only the recently named Utah “Mr. Baseball”, but also the Gatorade Player of the Year. In addition to the baseball awards, Ingersoll is a 2 sport All-State athlete, as he also carries football scholarships to 3-4 D1 schools. It remains to be seen what sport Fisher will play, but he is leaning towards baseball. Recently decommitted and is fielding calls and offers from P5 programs as we speak. What I do know is that if Fisher plays baseball, he has professional potential down the road if that’s his sport of choice. The son of longtime American Fork baseball coach, Jarod Ingersoll, who has three 6A state championships to his credit as his club took the top spot in ‘21 with a 30-1 record and a final ranking of #6 nationally. Fisher was the driving force behind this spectacular team. With a 6-3 195 lean chiseled build and carrying athletic twitch, he ran a 6.64 at our recent event. He put up a 98 mph exit velocity and was just taking an easy BP and not selling out for metrics. He sprayed LD’s to all fields with a deep drive high over the RF wall with wood and showed an easy compact stroke with on-plane accuracy at 83%. The swing is controlled and has the type of stroke that will impact any D1 program. Defensively he has soft hands and educated feet with an easy throwing stroke that was clocked at 83 mph. It remains to be seen if he stays at SS or makes the move to 3B as he projects to be a physical athlete, or by using his plus speed to man CF. Athletic enough to play anywhere on the diamond as he has a high baseball IQ. The top player in the 2022 class and one of the top couple of players in the four corners in this scouts opinion.”

-Jeff Scholzen (PBR Utah Director)

BRENDAN SUMMERHILLOF / C / WHITNEY YOUNG, IL / 2022

Summerhill, a recent Arizona commit, delivered plenty of results throughout the summer, and possesses a pro-ready 6-foot-3, 195-pound frame that produces intriguing power potential. The left-handed hitter is a 6.59-runner with the ability to impact the baseball before accelerating out of the box, and his uphill path and powerful stroke are likely to intrigue MLB scouts in the midwest all spring. Balanced at the plate with the ability to move smoothly through contact, there is intent to do damage with each swing including some controlled aggression with fast hands. Given his professional profile, Summerhill should receive plenty of interest next spring.

MAX BELYEUOF / RHP / ALEDO, TX / 2022

There was limited buzz around Belyeu, a personal favorite hitter since first exploding onto the scene at the PBR Future Games in 2019, this summer as he found himself performing outside of the Lonestar State, but it should not detract from the upside that he has always held. The 6-foot-2, 190-pound left-handed hitter utilizes some controlled aggression at the plate in producing louder gap-to-gap coverage with present pull side power. Already creating some buzz within the PBR network with a strong first weekend of fall baseball, Belyeu’s hit-tool is sure to have scouts making their way to Aledo High School in the spring.

MATTHEW HOSKINSOF / RHP / PEACHTREE RIDGE , GA / 2022

Hoskins nearly snuck under the radar last summer as an uncommitted two-way player at the PBR Future Games, but I was able to watch him hop on the mound on the final day and he left as one of my bigger follows at the event. Fast forward a year, and the square-shouldered 6-foot-2, 200-pounder looked like one of the more physical players in the class with a pristine frame that features defined, lean strength throughout. There is some power potential at the plate from the Georgia commit, but his ability to backspin the baseball on the mound is even more exciting. Working up to 95 mph effortlessly with even more on the way, Hoskins possesses immense upside thanks to big arm-talent and elite athleticism that includes being a 6.5-runner. Beyond his on field talent, Hoskins’ makeup should also stand out as one of the more mature players in the class.

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