The World Wood Bat Association (WWBA) World Championship, held annually by Perfect Game, serves as a somewhat belated punctuation mark to complete the summer showcase season. Once again held in Jupiter, Fla., in and around Roger Dean Stadium, hundreds of players come with their travel teams to be watched over
The World Wood Bat Association (WWBA) World Championship, held annually by Perfect Game, serves as a somewhat belated punctuation mark to complete the summer showcase season. Once again held in Jupiter, Fla., in and around Roger Dean Stadium, hundreds of players come with their travel teams to be watched over five days by nearly as many scouts.
The first day of the event, now in its 20th year, finished late on Thursday night with a total of 46 games being played, which will be the low mark until Monday's two semifinals and championship game finish things off. As usual, the event has attracted some serious talent for the 2019 Draft (and beyond).
• 2019 Draft order set
While most of the top pitchers for the Class of 2019 didn't throw on Thursday, there were some standouts on the mound. And there were plenty of bats on display from beginning to end. Bobby Witt Jr., considered by most to be the top prep player for next June's Draft and a potential No. 1 overall pick, was watched carefully. The shortstop from Colleyville Heritage High School in Texas went 2-for-4 with an RBI and had one of the best exit velocities (103.4 mph) and one of the longest hit balls (367.7 feet) of the day.
On Day 1, there were other bats just a bit louder. Here are five hitters who stood out in Jupiter:
Tyler Callihan, 3B, Providence HS (Fla.): The left-handed-swinging South Carolina commit was a perfect 3-for-3 on Day 1. On USA Baseball's 18U training roster, Callihan had a triple, two RBIs and two runs scored.
Jonathan French, C, Parkview HS (Ga.): Committed to Clemson, the catching prospect had a pair of hits, including a double, as well as two stolen bases to go along with two walks and an RBI. He recorded one of the top exit velocities (101.8 mph) on the day.
Rece Hinds, SS, IMG Academy (Fla.): He might have the best raw power in the class, and he's shown it in games, including on Thursday. The LSU commit went opposite field 389.4 feet, 99 mph off the bat for one of his two hits on the day.
Jason Hodges, OF, Marist HS (Ill.): The outfielder committed to Arkansas had three hits on the day, including a double and a home run, along with a stolen base. According to Trackman, he registered both an eye-popping exit velocity (103.9) mph and estimated carry (413.4 feet).
Jose Torres, SS, Calvert Hall College HS (Md.): Torres opened some eyes over the summer and kept doing so on Day 1, picking up three hits, including a double, and two runs scored. The North Carolina State commit showed off his wheels as well, swiping three bases.
While there were bigger names making waves at the plate, that doesn't mean there weren't pitching standouts. Top arms like Brennan Malone and J.J. Goss have yet to throw, but here are some arms who opened eyes on Thursday:
Andrew Devine, RHP, Simi Valley HS (Calif.): Listed at 5-foot-9, this Texas Tech commit has arm strength that far outstrips his size. He touched 93 mph, according to Trackman (94 mph on Perfect Game's radar gun), and had one of the top recorded Trackman spin rates at 2,757 rpm, leading to five strikeouts in two innings.
Sanson Faltine III, RHP, Fort Bend Travis HS (Texas): His future is probably as a position player, but he could play two ways if he were to go on to Texas for college. He showed what he's capable of pitching-wise on Day 1, striking out seven over five innings of work and touching 92 mph with his fastball, according to Perfect Game.
Evan Fitterer, RHP, Aliso Niguel HS (Calif.): The UCLA commit went all seven innings on Thursday, touching 92 mph with his fastball. The 6-foot-3 right-hander struck out 12 and allowed only one run on one hit and one walk.
Mark McLaughlin, RHP, Northview HS (Ga.): The 6-foot-2 right-hander committed to Tennessee struggled with his command in his one inning of work, walking three, but he also struck out a pair and didn't allow a run. He ranked among the best maximum velocity (92.1 mph) and spin rate (2921 rpm), according to Trackman.
Carter Sheppard, RHP, Lake Norman HS (NC): Topping out at 96 mph, according to PG, and 93.8, according to Trackman, the 6-foot-5 High Point commit struck out five over two hitless innings.
Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLB Pipeline. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.