2015 Under Armour All-America Pre-Season Tournament: 2016 Grad Honorable Mentions
The class of 2016 honorable mention group includes players from twelve states and Puerto Rico. Accounting for fifteen of twenty-five players, the traditional warm-weather hotbed states of California, Texas and Florida are well-represented — Texas leads all states with six total players, while Florida has five and California has four.
Nine of the twenty-five players on this list are Division I commits, with one more slated for the JC ranks. With three commits, the University of San Diego is the most popular destination, while the University of Texas and the University of Central Florida both have two commits.
Our scouts, along with the others in attendance, were treated to impressive displays from this group of players. While we cannot honor everyone that attended, we did want to highlight a few players that stood out from each graduating class.
Below is an alphabetical listing of Honorable Mentions from the class of 2016.
1B – 6’2″/200 – L/R – Lafayette HS – Lafayette, LA
Branson was a 2016 Grad Honorable Mention at the 2014 Under Armour All-America Pre-Season Tournament as a catcher. He has since moved from behind the plate to first base, but he maintained the left-handed power that caught our eye last year. His move is simple and compact, and he generates bat speed through contact. He has some natural lift to his stroke, which he was able to translate into some deep drives to CF and RCF. Standing an athletic and projectable 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds, he is a better runner down the line (4.43) than in the 60 yard dash (7.24).
C – 6’1″/195 – L/R – Heritage Christian HS – Kissimmee, FL – Univ. of Central Florida commit
One of two UCF commits in this group (Joe Skinner is the other), Beaver combines catch and throw skills with a quality left-handed bat. He posted workout pop times between 1.90 and 2.00, and showed athleticism from his crouch to block. Though he wraps the bat a little, he has rhythm to hit and enough bat speed to make it work. He made several confident passes at game speed, collecting three hits in eight at bats, offering further proof of usable hitting ability.
3B – 6’2″200 – L/R – St. Dominic’s HS – Seaford, NY
A 2016 grad honorable mention at the 2014 Under Armour All-America Pre-Season Tournament, Cancel earned the honors again this year. After featuring a loose left-handed stroke with notable raw power, he tripled and walked three times in seven trips to the plate. Defensively he showed rhythm with his actions and a great feel for positioning his body, allowing for a sure handed play on the ball and a coordinated release.
C – 5’11″210 – R/R – Aledo HS – Weatherford, TX
Cheema showed among the best raw power at the event — but it isn’t the all or nothing type you might think. He has hitting ability as well, meaning he should be able to translate raw power into usable power in game at bats. He did some of that at this event, with a ground rule double and a hard line drive single to right center field. Defensively, he showed arm strength and posted pop times as low as 2.07.
OF – 6’0″/205 – R/R – Laurel Springs School – San Juan, PR
Standing a broad and well-proportioned 6-foot-0 and 205 pounds, Conde posted 6.94 in the 60 yard dash. He boasts a well-rounded set of tools, with raw power standing out as his best – and among the best at the event. He made aggressive passes in game at bats, but only on good pitches to hit – his plate discipline and strike zone knowledge are advanced, and indicate good feel for hitting.
His older brother, Vince Conde, was a middle infielder for the 2014 national champion Vanderbilt Commodores, and was a 9th round pick of the New York Yankees in the June 2014 Major League draft.
C – 6’2″/185 – L/R – Heritage HS – Brentwood, CA
Along with workout pop times between 2.00 and 2.07, Cruce showed standout left-handed raw power. He made a full move through contact and easily got the ball in the air, allowing him to drive the ball with authority to the pull side. In addition to his catch and throw skills, he moved well to block balls in the dirt and showed sure hands to receive.
RHP – 6’3″200 – R/R – Wakeland HS – Frisco, TX
Working from a high three-quarters arm angle and exclusively from the stretch, Davis threw his fastball between 86 and 89 with arm side run. He’s improved his top end fastball three mph since we saw him last year at 86 mph, on route to 2016 Grad Honorable Mention honors at the 2014 Under Armour All-America Pre-Season Tournament in Tucson, AZ. His breaking ball had sharp 11 to 5 action in the low 70s, while his change was a mid to upper 70s offering with some sink. He worked three quality innings, mainly pounding the zone with his fastball.
C/OF – 6’0″/180 – R/R – Magnolia HS – Magnolia, TX – Univ. of Texas commit
Groshans has a strong build at 6-foot-0 and 180 pounds. He applied his strength through contact to produce among the best raw power at this event, and featured hand-eye coordination and feel for hitting to allow for high marks as a hitter as well. He’s an instinctual baserunner, allowing him to play faster than his run times may otherwise indicate. Defensively, he showed athleticism from his crouch to block balls in the dirt and to throw. He posted release times most commonly around 2.05, and as low as 2.01.
SS – 6’2″/190 – R/R – Xaverian Brothers HS – Franklin, MA
One of thirteen in the 2016 class to run at least 6.85, Hart posted 6.83 in the 60 yard dash and got down the line as good as 4.25 from the right side of the plate. At 6-foot-2 and 190 pounds, he has an athletic and well-proportioned look. He showed good feel for the barrel in BP, along with quick hands and the ability deliver the barrel to contact. He was able to translate that feel to his game at bats, and showed instincts on the bases. Defensively, he moved his feet with ease and quickness and showed athletic actions to catch and throw.
RHP/SS – 6’3″/195 – R/R – Groves HS – Port Neches, TX
A high-waisted 6-foot-3 with width to his back and shoulders, Henry has some definition already with room to develop further physically. He has some two-way potential, mainly thanks to leverage and natural pull side lift that leads to above-average raw power. Whether or not he stays in the middle of the field is to be determined.
On the mound, he used his length to generate downward angle on his pitches. He threw his breaking ball up to 77 mph, and with fastball plane from his hand it appears to have the makings of a quality slider. He topped at 85 mph with his fastball and mixed in some mid 70s changeups.
LHP – 6’2″160 – L/L – Glenbrook North HS – Northbrook, IL – Heartland CC commit
Kempner featured an advanced three-pitch mix, including an 80-87 mph fastball with flashes of command. He added and subtracted with his fastball, and moved it to both sides of the plate. The ball was hidden from the view of the hitter until just before it left his hand, earning him high marks for deception. His changeup was a mid to upper 70s offering with fading sink, while his breaking ball had rolling 1-7 break in the low 70s. All pitches were usable, allowing him to keep hitters off balance and uncomfortable.
LHP – 6’3″195 – R/L – Templeton HS – Templeton, CA – Gonzaga Univ.
Lardner featured an incredibly advanced feel for pitching, along with arguably the best changeup at the event. He commanded each of his three pitches, and threw each with the same delivery and arm stroke. He worked mostly around 83 with his fastball, though his ability to pull the string with the changeup made his fastball effectively much firmer – offering clear proof that the radar gun doesn’t tell the whole story. Through three controlled innings of work, he struck out eight of fifteen — including a stretch of four in a row, and seven of the first ten hitters he faced.
RHP – 6’3″180 – R/R – Western HS – West Middleton, IN
One of only three 2016 grads to touch at least 90, Leighty actually didn’t throw a single pitch below 80 mph — his breaking ball was 80-81, his changeup was 80-82, and his fastball was 88-90 mph with late arm side run. He worked from a high three quarters arm angle, and featured arguably the best arm speed at the event. There were seven fastballs ahead of his based purely on velocity — but when life, angle and command were factored in it was likely near the top. He showed feel for his curve and change, with his curve showing depth to two-plane action after leaving his hand on nearly the same plane as his fastball.
1B – 6’1″230 – R/R – Kingwood HS – Kingwood, TX
Moll featured big right-handed power, generated from a strong move with among the best bat speed at the event. His move was aggressive — he rarely got cheated in game at bats, and as a result he was able to produce for extra bases and RBI. A stocky and strong 6-foot-1 and 230 pounds, he showed the ability to move his feet around the bag at first base. A good receiver with the ability to pick throws in the dirt, he also showed arm strength beyond the usual expectation for his position.
LHP/OF – 6’2″/180 – L/L – Bishop Moore HS – Maitland, FL
When we saw Mosley in September 2014 at the Under Armour Fall Classic, he featured a low 80s fastball and showed an advanced feel for pitching. This time out, he bumped his top end fastball up from 82 to 85 mph, and showed a more effective breaking ball to go with the advanced changeup we already knew about. He is a good athlete with room for projection on his 6-foot-2 and 180 pound frame. His two-way potential was more evident this time out as well — he showed better bat speed along with great instincts, making his left-handed bat more of a commodity to go with his value on the mound.
1B – 6’1″220 – R/R – North Florida Christian HS – Tallahassee, FL
With an athletic and physical frame one of our scouts compared to Preston Wilson (10 year Major Leaguer with the Mets, Marlins, Rockies, Nationals, Astros and Cardinals), Travis Ray featured a right-handed power bat. He generated bat speed through the zone, and applied his strength through contact to drive the ball with authority. He doubled twice to deep left field, offering proof that he has enough hit to get to his power.
RHP – 6’0″185 – R/R – Fordyce HS – Fordyce, AR
A solidly built RHP, Rogers was among the most dominant arms at the event. He attacked both sides of the plate with his heavy fastball that featured arm side run and reached 89 mph. He also showed the ability to change hitters’ eye levels by climbing the ladder when ahead in the count. His slider was a difference-maker with late, sharp tilt sitting in the 74-76 mph range and resulting in swing-and-miss from the few hitters that weren’t completely frozen by it. The strike-throwing Rogers also showed a glimpse of a promising change, rounding out his impressive 3-pitch repertoire.
C/1B – 5’11″/184 – R/B – Sequoyah HS – Canton, GA
Seres was one of the most complete catchers at the 2015 UAPSAA Tournament. His skills were evident in the workouts with a clean, quick exchange on throws to 2B, the ability to deaden balls in the dirt, and a strong, balanced stroke with strength through the hitting zone. What was more impressive, though, was the way those skills translated into game action. Seres cut down an opposing base runner with a 1.95 in-game throw and hit 2 doubles in game action flashing some of his pull side power. Also evident in games was his leadership ability. Great game awareness along with the willingness to be vocal and direct traffic made Daniel stand out among a talented pool of players. Another stand-out moment occurred when he played 1B in a game left-handed and threw naturally from that side too.
3B – 6’2″/190 – L/R – Bishop Moore HS – Lake Mary, FL – Univ. of Central Florida commit
Skinner, a University of Central Florida commit, was among the most physically impressive players at the event with broad shoulders and a strong, mature frame. Along with present strength, he is an extremely athletic young player – running a 6.75 in the 60 yard dash and moving very well at 3B. His hands were sure in both workouts and games and he showed plenty of arm strength with on-line carry across the diamond. Despite those tools, his calling card appears to be his left-handed bat that features a compact, repeatable stroke that results in hard line drives to all fields.
SS/RHP – 5’11″/180 – R/R – Ronald Reagan HS – San Antonio, TX – Univ. of Texas commit
The solidly-built Sosa is a University of Texas commit who showed advanced ability in all facets of the game throughout the weekend. His confident approach at the plate and great feel for the barrel were on display through an impressive batting practice that resulted in lots of loud line drive contact. His instincts defensively help his range and he showed efficient feet and dependable hands in the field with outstanding arm strength across the diamond. Overall, Andres appeared to be one of those special players that has the ability to slow the game down.
SS/2B – 6’1″/175 – R/R – Hempfield Area HS – Irwin, PA – Fordham Univ. commit
Tarabek was a 2016 grad honorable mention at the 2014 Under Armour All-America Pre-Season Tournament, and showed once again this year what a quality young player he is. The Fordham commit showed an advanced approach with selectively aggressive at bats in games. His coordinated stroke leads to barrel accuracy and consistent line drives. As a defender, he was the complete package with good instinctual reads and angles to the ball, soft hands, a quick release, carry to his throws and a feel around the bag on double play feeds and turns. This northeast blue-collar infielder played the game hard in Arizona and has improved each time we’ve seen him perform.
SS – 5’11″/170 – R/R – Cedar HS – Cedar City, UT – Univ. of San Diego commit
While Tom is a talented young player who displayed his tools in the workout setting, where he really stood out was in game action. Several scouts used the “gamer” tag when discussing Rykker and his 4 hits and a walk in 9 plate appearances — multiple plays in the field and quality, hard baserunning certainly supported that. His sound and aggressive swing coupled with present strength and tracking ability gave this University of San Diego commit one of the more impressive overall hit tools at the event.
OF – 6’1″/195 – L/L – Westminster Christian HS – Miami, FL
Standing at 6-foot-1 and 190 pounds with a high waist and round shoulders, Valdez has some present strength on an athletic and well proportioned frame. He ran better down the line (4.28) than in the 60 yard dash (7.15), and showed among the top outfield throwing arms at the event. He moved naturally to the ball and played through it with momentum, adding to the life and carry on his throws. At the plate, he showed strength and bat speed in his left-handed stroke. The ball jumped off the bat when he squared it up. In eight at bats, he collected a pair of singles and a fly out to deep right field.
C/RHP – 6’4″/175 – R/R – Carlsbad HS – Carlsbad, CA – Univ. of San Diego commit
Another University of San Diego commit, the 6-foot-4 Walker offered one of the most unique packages of any player at the 2015 UAPSAA Tournament. His pitcher/catcher combination is rarely seen at this level, yet he showed as a prospect at both positions. On the mound his fastball had excellent tailing life and was up to 87 mph. He complemented that offering with a 2-plane slider with late bite and a change with good arm speed and some sink. His arm strength was also on display behind the plate where he threw to 2B in 1.82 seconds with carry through the bag. Offensively, the right-handed hitter has a quiet approach and had advanced feel for the barrel with some whip through the zone.
RHP – 6’5″/180 – R/R – High Tech HS – San Diego, CA – Univ. of San Diego commit
The long, lean Worley (another U of San Diego commit) stands 6-foot-5 and was quite a presence on the mound in Arizona. He pitched off of a mid to upper 80s fastball that had great downhill plane and was consistently thrown for strikes. He showed confidence on the mound with all of his pitches and was not afraid to pitch inside to hitters – something not regularly seen in high school pitchers. He was able to add and subtract some velocity to his breaking ball that had 11-5 shape and produced some swing and miss. In addition, Jonathan seemed to hide the ball well as hitters did not react well to his stuff as evidenced by his three innings pitched without allowing a hit.