Blewett impresses at WWBA World Championship
JUPITER, Fla. -- There are dozens of future big leaguers playing in Perfect Game's 16th annual World Wood Bat Association World Championship. Of the roughly 1,700 players on the 85 teams, perhaps none looks more like a big leaguer than Scott Blewett.
He won't turn 18 until April, but Blewett (Baker High, Baldwinsville, N.Y.) already is a sturdy 6-foot-6 and 210 pounds. The Syracuse Sports Zone right-hander has a sound delivery, especially for a teenager with such a big frame, and the ball comes out of his hand well.
Blewett picqued scouts' interest in a Thursday bullpen session, making his Saturday start against defending WWBA champion East Cobb Baseball one of the most anticipated outings of the tournament. He didn't disappoint, though he did take a 3-1 loss.
Blewett opened the game by firing 91-94 mph fastballs and touched 96 one time in the first inning. Even when the St. John's recruit dipped to the upper 80s in the latter half of his outing, he still was able to get outs thanks to the riding life on the pitch.
Of the 84 pitches Blewett threw (52 for strikes), 71 were fastballs. His curveball has improved over the course of this summer, and he threw some tight 75-78 mph breakers. He worked five innings, allowing three runs on four hits and two walks while striking out three.
• There were several other players of note in the East Cobb-Syracuse matchup. East Cobb outfielder Dazmon Cameron (Eagle's Landing Christian Academy, McDonough, Ga.) is the top-rated prospect for the 2015 First-Year Player Draft.
The son of former All-Star Mike Cameron, Dazmon showed quick hands when he lined a Blewett fastball in the 90s for a single to center field in the first inning. He's a 6-foot, 186-pounder who continues to get faster and stronger and could develop plus tools across the board.
Another 2015 prospect, right fielder Isiah Gilliam (Parkview High, Lilburn, Ga.), provided the key hit of the game when he tripled off an 88-mph Blewett fastball to plate the tying run in the bottom of the fourth. A 6-foot-2, 210-pound switch-hitter, he may wind up at first base in pro ball but does have arm strength to go with his enticing power.
East Cobb's top 2014 Draft prospect, left fielder Kel Johnson (home-schooled in Palmetto, Ga.), didn't do much on Saturday. He went 0-for-3, grounding out and striking out on a 77-mph breaking ball against Blewett. He has tremendous raw power, but the Georgia Tech recruit will have to show he'll hit enough to get to it consistently.
The Sports Zone had a pair of intriguing up-the-middle players. Catcher Drew Lugbauer showed off arm strength (erasing Cameron on an attempted steal of third base in the first inning) and power (pulling a home run over the right-field fence in the second). The Michigan recruit is big for a catcher at 6-foot-4 and 210 pounds.
Isan Diaz (Springfield, Mass., Central High) showed smooth actions at shortstop, making several plays look easier than they were. The 6-foot, 185-pounder has shown some offensive promise but went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts and struggled against breaking balls. He has yet to commit to a college.
• One of the best pitching matchups of the tournament pitted Marucci Elite's Keith Weisenberg (Osceola High, Seminole, Fla.) against Chicago Scouts Association's Noah Burkholder (Crown Point, Ind., High).
Burkholder won't be Draft-eligible until 2015, but he outpitched Weisenberg on Saturday. He showed good body control for a 17-year-old who stands 6-foot-7. The right-hander threw 44 of his 71 pitches for strikes and issued just two walks in five shutout innings of what ended up being a 4-0 victory.
Burkholder's fastball parked at 87-89 mph for all five innings, topping out at 91 mph and elicting swings and misses with its sinking life. Six of his eight strikeouts came via his heater, which should add velocity as he fills out his 190-pound frame. The Louisville recruit also threw some tight 77-82 mph sliders.
Noah Burkholder inherits his height from his father Brett, who's 6-foot-10. The elder Burkholder played basketball for Ray Meyer at DePaul and was drafted by the NBA's Milwaukee Bucks.
Weisenberg, a right-hander who's committed to Stanford, also has a projectable frame at 6-foot-4 and 190 pounds. His loose arm delivered 91-95 mph fastballs in the first inning and still pumped 89-91 mph heat in his fourth and final frame. His fastball has sinking action, as does his changeup, which was a bit firm in the mid-80s. He threw 13 changeups and just two sliders.
Weisenberg filled the strike zone with 46 of his 70 pitches, but his command wasn't as sharp as his control. He left some pitches up and gave up three runs on six hits and two walks while striking out five.
Marcucci Elite had a lineup laden with prospects, headlined by shortstop Gregory Deichmann (Brother Martin High, New Orleans). A 6-foot-2, 185-pounder, he had the lone hit against Burkholder, pulling a double inside the first-base bag in the fifth.
Deichmann has a quick left-handed bat and solid speed, and he may have the arm and range to stay at shortstop. The Louisiana State recruit made a nice play on a grounder up the middle in the top of the third.
• Saturday featured 54 games, with as many as 13 at once, and wound down early with four contests at 5:20 p.m. ET. One of the main attractions in the final group of games won't be Draft-eligible until 2016, but he already has a fastball that hit 95 mph during his freshman season at American Heritage High (Plantation, Fla.).
Right-hander Anthony Molina didn't reach the mid-90s in two innings of work for the South Florida Elite Squad on Saturday, though he did touch 93 mph twice and averaged 90 mph. He's still growing into his 6-foot-4, 184-pound frame and could stand to tighten his clean delivery a bit. He worked mainly with his fastball, which accounted for 29 of his 38 pitches (21 for strikes), and mixed in a few 74-76 mph curveballs.
He struck out four batters and left with a 3-1 lead, though the Dallas Tigers eventually rallied for a 5-4 win. Though Molina still has three high school seasons ahead of him, he already has committed to Miami.
• The Royals Scout Team has a pair of athletic outfielders in Reese Cooley (Fleming Island High, Orange Park, Fla.) and Hunter Railey (North Florida Christian High, Tallahassee, Fla.), both of whom performed well at the Florida Diamond Club showcase in Lakeland last weekend. On Saturday morning against DBacks Team BC, they combined to go 0-for-5 with three strikeouts and were upstaged by another outfielder, 2015 prospect Demi Orimoloye (St. Matthew High, Orleans, Ont.).
Born in Nigeria, Orimoloye is a physical 6-foot-4, 225-pounder with all-around tools. After getting hit by a pitch in his first plate appearances, he displayed good bat speed while producing a double and a single his next two times up.
Left-hander Brendan McKay (Blackhawk High, Beaver Falls, Pa.) pitched very well in relief, striking out 10 in 4 2/3 innings as the DBacks rallied for a 4-3 victory. The 6-foot-2, 205-pounder topped out at 89 mph with his fastball and sat in the 84-86 mph range, and the Royals never seemed to get good swings against it. He fanned both Cooley and Railey on fastballs.
A Louisville recruit, McKay threw 43 of his 57 pitches for strikes. He also showed some feel for spinning a curveball that reached as high as 79 mph.