10 standouts from Appy League vs. Collegiate National Team series

July 4th, 2024

Select players from the Appalachian League East and West Divisions got to measure themselves against USA Baseball’s Collegiate National Team in a pair of exhibitions this week. The matchups were intended to bring together some of the game’s best collegians (and in some cases, future collegians) and give both evaluators and fans looks at potential high Draft picks for 2025 and beyond.

The two sides split the two games played as part of USA Baseball’s Summer League Tour. The Appy League East Division won the first contest, 4-3, on a walk-off ninth-inning single by Alexander Wright on Monday at Pulaski’s Calfee Park, while the Collegiate National Team bested the West Division with a 7-6 victory Tuesday at Johnson City’s TVA Credit Union Ballpark.

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Here are 10 standout performers from those contests, six from the Appy League and four from the CNT listed in alphabetical order:

Appalachian League
Gunner Boree, INF, Johnson City: Batting second and starting at third base on Tuesday, Boree went 2-for-4 as one of two West players to pick up multiple knocks. His RBI double in the third inning opened the scoring in his home ballpark. The Brown infielder is coming off a breakout junior season, hitting .287/.421/.522 with five homers in 35 games, and he’s carried that into pro ball with a .400/.552/.677 line through 19 games with Johnson City. He leads the Appy League in all three slash-line categories as well as total bases (44).

Jacob Gholston, RHP, Kingsport: The 6-foot-6 hurler only made two appearances for Oklahoma this spring and walked four of the five batters he faced, so he’s had to make up for lost time. He was extremely efficient as the West starter Tuesday, striking out two in a perfect inning while throwing seven of his eight total pitches for strikes. Gholston, who has 21 strikeouts and only four walks in four starts for the Axmen this summer, has run his sinker up to 95 mph and shown an upper-70s curveball that can get whiffs.

James Guyette, RHP, Danville: The Kansas State right-hander got the start for the East in Game 1 and struck out all three batters he faced in a perfect first inning, getting Gavin Grahovac, Tre Phelps and Henry Ford all swinging. The 19-year-old hurler struggled in sporadic appearances on campus this spring, giving up 15 earned runs in six innings, making Monday’s showing even more important.

Austen Jaslove, INF, Pulaski: Only one player went deep over the two games this week and that was East starting shortstop Jaslove, who went the opposite way to right field for a two-run shot off Vanderbilt righty Brennan Seiber in the third inning of Game 1. Jaslove has only one homer through 20 games for Pulaski this summer but is coming off a solid spring for Arkansas State, where he hit .300/.360/.441 with six dingers in 47 games. The former Tennessee Volunteer has announced he’s headed to Austin Peay for the 2025 season.

Blake Julius, RHP, Greeneville: Also pitching for the West on Tuesday, Julius almost matched Gholston’s line exactly. He struck out a pair in a scoreless inning but needed nine pitches to accomplish it, throwing eight of them for strikes. The 6-foot-6 righty didn’t pitch at all for Oklahoma State this season but has shown a 90-93 mph fastball and has kept hitters off guard with an upper-70s changeup with as much as 15 inches of horizontal break.

Adam Magpoc, 2B/OF, Elizabethton: Magpoc was the only other member of the West Division with multiple hits Tuesday, going 2-for-2 with a pair of singles as the team’s starting second baseman. The 19-year-old got a good bit of playing time as a Boston College freshman in the spring and took advantage with a .289/.383/.410 line in 48 games. He’s been even better with Elizabethton, posting a .455 OBP with more walks (19) than strikeouts (13) over 18 games, and notably, he's moved from his collegiate spot in the outfield to the keystone in the Appy League.

Collegiate National Team
AJ Gracia, OF: Gracia hasn’t slowed down after posting a 1.000 OPS and earning All-ACC freshman team honors for Duke this spring. The 19-year-old outfielder, who also saw time in the Cape Cod League before joining USA Baseball, went 3-for-5 with a pair of walks and a stolen base across the two games for the CNT. He could become a top name to follow for the 2026 Draft if he continues to build on this foundation.

Tre Phelps, 2B/OF: An All-SEC freshman honoree at Georgia, Phelps rebounded from an 0-for-4, two-strikeout night in Game 1 of the Appy League series to go 2-for-4 with a triple and three RBIs in the Game 2 win. The 20-year-old saw time at second base and in left field over the two exhibitions. He impressed with the Bulldogs this spring, hitting almost as many homers (12) as he had strikeouts (15) while slugging .699 over 42 games.

Liam Peterson, RHP: Peterson managed just a 6.43 ERA over 63 innings as a freshman starter for Florida but earned a CNT invite on the strength of a fastball he can run up to 98 mph and three secondaries (slider, curveball, changeup) with whiff rates above 40 percent. Pitching out of the bullpen in Game 1, the 6-foot-5 hurler shut down the East Division with seven strikeouts and only one hit allowed over four scoreless innings.

Pablo Torres, RHP: The Bethune-Cookman reliever stands just 5-foot-11 but can fool hitters with a 91-94 mph fastball featuring good ride and a low-80s slider that plays off it. He struck out three over two scoreless innings against the West on Tuesday, throwing 20 of 26 pitches for strikes -- a major positive for a hurler with a career 5.4 BB/9 in NCAA play.