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NaturChem Invitational Prospect Info

NaturChem

-NaturChem Invitational: Prospect Info-

HopkinsBrody throw20Brody Hopkins - 2020, Summerville HS, OF/RHP, College of Charleston signee: Hopkins got the rock first for Summerville in the NaturChem and he showed quickly why. In the first frame the fastball was sitting 88-91 MPH with serious arm-side run. He also dropped in a slurve that registered at 77-78 MPH. The long limbs he possesses while standing at 6’3” is very difficult for batters to lock in on. He did have several arm-side misses due to breaking his hands late in his delivery: especially out of the windup. The kid has tremendous upside on the mound and is one of the best, pure athletes that will step on the diamond this spring. He also made a positive impact with the bat, belting a handful of doubles this weekend to allow Summerville to have a successful start to the 2020 season. Obviously, Messina will be a major impact on the Green Wave lineup, but Hopkins’ production will be what allows this offense put up runs. {Video}

Grayson Hollingsworth - 2021, Belton-Honea Path HS, C/RHP, Uncommitted: Hollingworth’s stock continues to rise each year. Very active behind the plate and has a quick of a release as anyone in the state. Pop times varied from 1.97-2.1 and showed good flight on the baseball with his throws. The kid has always been a legit threat with the bat in his hands but that is the part of the game that is really trending up. His power display in the HR Derby is worth noting (also ran one out in game Friday night). He was launching balls of to left-center field throughout the entire round. Very active behind the dish. The Bears will be successful this season because of their strength up the middle. Hollingsworth can also run the fastball up to mid-80’s on the bump as well. {Video}

MessinaCole squat20Cole Messina - 2021, Summerville HS, C, South Carolina signee: Last season, Messina led the state in home runs, and he got off to a good start by depositing one over the centerfield fence during the first game of the spring. His power has always been what caught the average fans eye but what separates him from the others is his plate coverage. He can reach any pitch and can also “spoil” a pitcher’s pitch and then unload on the mistake. For a kid that still has two full seasons of prep baseball to go, it is impressive what his IQ is in the box. Behind the dish he has a very strong arm and commands the game very well. The Gamecock commit is also a better runner than what most may realize. He runs the bases well and is “sneaky” quick. Has the versatility to play either corner infield position as well which opens his options at the next level. Excited to see what kind of numbers the state's top catcher in the 2021 class puts up this spring. {Video}

lucaslandon pitch19Landon Lucas - 2020, Blythewood HS, INF/RHP, Clemson signee: DP got to lay eyes on Lucas yet again this weekend and he was as good as advertised once again with the rock in his hand. Fastball sat 90-92 MPH and the breaking ball showed tight spin once again. Got to see what Lucas was made of after giving up a home run and was showed up by the celebration of the opposition. He checked that box by taking the ball back and challenging the rest of the lineup all night. We made the comment in the stands that he had the mentality that another guy was not reaching base. That was definitely the case when we stayed for a little after the hit. Lucas also added a new wrinkle that was interesting. In the third inning, he showed a totally different delivery and arm slot and was equally as effective (Fastball 88-89 MPH with more sink). His ability to do this speaks for his athleticism. Did not have the weekend he had wished when we were in the stands but still a bat that pitchers have to be very careful with moving forward. He is yet again a threat to hit 10+ dingers this spring. {Video}

SmithLandon throw20Landon Smith – 2020, Wren HS, RHP, Uncommitted: After spending most of last year on the shelf with injury, Smith made a strong case for ‘top uncommitted senior arm in the state’ on Saturday. He cruised through a potent Blythewood lineup with established hitters through 5 innings before running out of gas (typical for early March). FB was firm sitting 86-87 while sniffing multiple 88’s. The slider (79-81) was the difference maker today and projects as a swing-and-miss pitch at the next level, on any level. Not afraid to go to it often, Smith put hitters away one-by-one even when hitters knew it was coming. Wouldn’t surprise me to see college interest bust wide open if he can continue to repeat what we witnessed today.

StokesJansen stance18Jansen Stokes – 2020, Blythewood HS, 3B/UTL, Uncommitted: Stokes made his case for ‘top uncommitted senior position player in the state’ this weekend. In the snapshot we witnessed, Stokes did a little of everything. From making diving behind the bag plays at 3B to hitting walk-off bombs, Stokes stole the show. Lefty stick with above average speed (4.33 on bunt) and solid size standing 6-2/190. Good bloodlines and heard he is a high character kid. The uncommitted tag might not be there too much longer if he continues having days like today.

LeeHudson pitch20Hudson Lee – 2022, Dorman HS, LHP, Uncommitted: Second weekend in a row seeing Lee and the same guy showed up. Nothing special or electric about this sophomore lefty but he understands the zone and mixes it up really well keeping hitters off-balance. FB sat 78-80, CB dumped in at 68-70, and CH was used wisely at 70-73 MPH. I’m not too concerned about the velo right now because I don’t think he will be a velo guy. He has a solid frame standing 6-2/180 and will get stronger over time if he continues to work hard. Knowing who you are as a pitcher now and learning to throw with ‘not so good’ stuff will pay off once stuff gets better. Interesting follow guy!

-Notables-

McMahanL stance20Landon McMahan - 2021, Lexington HS, INF, Uncommitted: McMahan displayed smooth actions in the field and a quick, accurate throws to first base on balls to the glove side. The junior is not going to wow you with arm strength, but he always seems to be in position to make the play. He got down the line on a bunt with the time of 4.2 and 4.37 on an infield single to start the game. McMahan is going to be the sparkplug for the Wildcats offense this spring. {Video}

Landon Gaddis - 2021, Belton-Honea Path HS, INF/RHP, Uncommitted: Yet again, another pleasant find this week for the DP guys. Gaddis can play anywhere on the diamond and no question has the arm strength to hold down the hot corner for the Bears. Arm strength is above average and the strides he took around the bases were as good as we saw all weekend. Have heard he can run it up pretty good on the bump as well. Gaddis is no question a priority to track down again to lock in on as the spring unfolds!

BKnight stance20Blake Knight – 2021, Lexington HS, C, Uncommitted: You want to talk about a player on the rise, Knight is your guy. Second viewing of the good-looking backstop (6-3/195) and walked away wondering ‘what is this going to be 3 months from now’. Knowing the instructions he is getting from his HC, tells me the end result will be a college catcher on some level. Knight just recently made the transition behind the plate and showcases arm strength (2.01-2.10), a quick release, direct flight and solid footwork. He’s not too bad swinging the stick either and moves well for a bigger kid.

LeCroyTalmadge run19Talmadge LeCroy – 2021, Belton-Honea Path HS, SS/C/P, South Carolina commit: There is something about LeCroy that tells us he might play this game for a long time. We have seen similar players come through like him that are knocking on the door in the Big Leagues right now. What separates him from others is his versatility. Having that in his back pocket at the next level opens up so many other doors for him to succeed. He can play SS with the best at the prep level then give top-end catchers a run for their money when he puts the gear on.We maybe looking at a very special player in the makings right now. Can’t emphasis how important being versatile will pay off as his career develops.

Maddox Webb - 2023, Summerville HS, INF/RHP, Uncommitted: Another freshman to keep eyes on moving forward. He stands at 6-1/150 with the frame to add weight which will come with age. He seems comfortable in the field but can tell he is not trusting his natural instincts. This young man needs to keep in mind the coach has you in the lineup for abilities, trust them! He found the barrel a handful of times versus quality arms. Webb will be in the lineup for several years to come!

drozeconnor stance19Connor Droze - 2021, Dorman HS, 1B, Uncommitted: Droze is a kid we have liked for years because of the bat speed but have not seen it translate to a game. He showed us the potential power with an impressive dinger over the press box versus one of the best arms in the state. Glad to see Droze have the impressive showing but I do recommend keeping the emotions in check. Won’t be the last time this junior goes yard this spring.

HerndonCal throw19Cal Herndon - 2021, Lexington HS, RHP/OF, Uncommitted: Herndon turned in a quality start Saturday afternoon versus a well-respected BHP club. Glad to see this young man back on the mound after a tough 2019 campaign. Fastball was 82-84 MPH but was in the mid to upper-80’s in the past. When the mechanical flaws are ironed out, he will be back in form. Bulldog on the mound and bared down and got the punchouts he needed to be successful. {Video}

Nick Morgan - 2022, Wren HS, OF, Uncommitted: Big, strong kid that parked some balls just foul. Quick hands are present which shows he can get to fastballs. Interesting kid on the diamond that has also had some success on the gridiron. Pitchers should be careful challenging this sophomore this coming spring.

WattsCamden sign20Camden Watts - 2023, Blythewood HS, RHP, Uncommitted: Last season, Steelman and Wright were the freshman that came in and threw well for the Bengals. This season, Watts will be that guy. Fastball was up to 81 MPH but has been as high as 83 MPH with good feel for the off-speed. Would not be surprised if this kid wins 5-7 contests this spring. Definite prospect in the making.

TollR stance20Ryan Toll - 2021, Lexington HS, INF, Uncommitted: Third consecutive weekend seeing Toll and came again very impressed. Have touched on the abilities on the field a great deal but this weekend the bat came to life by shooting some screamers to the opposite field including one that left the yard. Another underclassman for the Wildcats that is trending up and has the potential to have a terrific spring. For his efforts this weekend, Toll was awarded the MVP of the NaturChem Invitational.

EllisonJudd throw20Judd Ellison - 2023, Wren HS, RHP, Uncommitted: First viewing of the freshman that we have heard several good things about. Fastball reached 82 MPH from an over the top arm motion. Ellison got brought into some difficult situations and did not do his best, but that experience will pay dividends for him down the road. Talented young arm that has been thrown into the fire early and will reap the benefits later in his career.

Ahmad Tucker - 2020, Summerville HS, RHP, Uncommitted: Tucker came in and shut the door in the first game of the tournament. Seem unphased by being thrown into a tough situation and displayed the ability to throw pressure strikes. Loose arm action and ran the fastball up to 83 MPH.

CromerDavid stance18David Cromer - 2020, Lexington HS, OF, South Carolina signee: Cromer may have found his groove this weekend at the NaturChem. On Saturday, blistered a hanging breaking ball out the yard to right-centerfield and followed that up with another blast in the championship game. He does a nice job of hammering balls to right-center and should trust his hands when it is time to “turn and burn”. Impressive showing of power in the homerun derby as well! 

Owen Austin - 2022, Wren HS, LHP, Uncommitted: Clean arm for a young southpaw that ran the fastball up to 78 MPH. Does not have anything now that will you blow you away but has the arm swing and frame to develop into a quality option for the Hurricanes from the left side. At the moment, he is a solid bullpen option and hopefully the experience could propel him to be a starter sooner than later. First time seeing Austin and excited to follow him in the future. 

Other Notables: Cooper Thomas (2021, Wren HS, 1B/RHP), Colton Harman (2020, Blythewood HS, OF), Ben Bear (2020, Belton-Honea Path HS, 3B), Owen Recio (2021, Wren HS, C), Ty Dooley (2021, Blythewood HS, MIF), Reed Morrissey (2021, Wren HS, C/OF), Carter Gaines (2021, Belton-Honea Path HS, RHP), TJ Tillman (2020, Summerville HS, INF/C), Kevin Steelman (2022, Blythewood HS, RHP), Isaac Franklin (2020, Wren HS, 3B)