2018 NHSI: Day Two Prospect Notebook
CARY, N.C.—Day two of the 2018 National High School Invitational is in the books, and during the last game of the day Thursday, Green Hope (Cary, N.C.) High made NHSI history by becoming the first team North Carolina team to advance to the final four of bracket play, knocking off Mountain Ridge (Riverdale, Ariz.) High, 8-3.
A big part of that victory was the play of North Carolina commit Jordyn Adams, who sparked the team offensively and has proven to be a terror for opposing teams on the bases. Adams is one of just a handful of highly-regarded draft prospects who has come out of the gate strong with the bat.
We’ll break down his play to this point in the tournament below—where you can see for yourself just how fast the athletic outfielder runs—and also touch on what some of the event’s top prospects have been up to, in addition to other players to note.
If you missed our reports and video of the tournament’s top pitching prospects from day one, be sure to check that out here.
Jordyn Adams | OF | Green Hope (Cary, N.C.) High
Adams is one of nine players at the NHSI with four hits after the first two days of the tournament, and he’s also currently leading the competition with five stolen bases. There are three other players with three.
Most of the damage that he’s done so far came in the final game of the day Thursday afternoon against Mountain Ridge, when Adams went 3-for-4 with two singles and a triple—all of which were hit hard.
"It feels really good,” Adams said after the game. “I started the season off slow, not really hitting it that well. But towards the middle of the season, coming into this tournament, I started barreling up balls, hitting them really hard and everytime I go up to bat, my plan is just to get on base no matter how… find my way on base somehow."
Adams has done that in spades throughout the first half of the tournament, and has been a menace once reaching. After singling through the right side of the infield in his first at-bat, Adams stole second, then stole third using a smooth swim move to the bag to avoid a potential tag, and then scored when the throw from the plate went into the outfield.
During his second at-bat, Adams smacked a hard-hit single up the middle. After reaching, he got an extremely impressive jump to steal second base, getting into his long, smooth stride immediately. A few pitches later, Adams took off for third and managed to round the bag and dive safely into home on a passed ball.
His best hit of the game came in his final at-bat, when he pulled a hard line drive down the left field line, where he again displayed his graceful stride and slid in safely to third as the throw from left field went to the plate. On the play he rounded first base in 4.44 seconds and on Wednesday clocked a 4.12 on a groundout—a 70-grade run time for a righthanded hitter.
Adams uses his speed to cover ground in center field as well, and as a four-star wide receiver committed to play both football and baseball at North Carolina, it’s unsurprsing to find that he tracks down balls well. He had to make one full-effort throw Thursday after fielding a single in front of him and attempting to throw a runner out looking to score from second base. The throw was solid, but it tailed off a bit and caused his catcher to move a bit too far up the third base line, though he had enough on it to beat the runner if it was more directly on target.
Looking at TrackMan, Adams is also responsible for the third-hardest hit ball of the tournament, at 106.1 mph off the bat. Altogether, his 97.8 mph average exit velocity is currently good for the top mark of tournament.
With the way Adams is barreling baseballs every time he comes to the plate, and with how easily he manages to take over games on the basepaths, teams might start thinking very hard about letting the Tar Heel signee get to campus. Adams could have a promising future on the gridiron, however, and that might end up winning out in regards to the draft.
Tournament Stats: 4-for-8, 1 2B, 1 3B, 0 BB, 0 K, 5-5 SBA
Joe Gray | OF | Hattiesburg (Miss.) High
Another athletic and speedy centerfielder, Gray has continued his hot fall into the spring and has impressed at the plate through two days in Cary. The Mississippi commit is 3-for-5 at the plate with two doubles and has yet to strikeout while walking three times. Gray has also played flawless defense in center field when Baseball America has had eyes on him.
During one at-bat against Mater Dei (Santa Anna, Calif.) High, Gray jumped on a 79 mph first pitch and drove the ball on a line over the third baseman. While that velocity is far from what he’ll face at the next level, Gray also turned around a 90 mph fastball on day one, hitting a screaming line drive right at the third baseman. Bat speed has never been an issue with Gray, and he’s always had the ability to turn around big velocity, but he’s been showing much better bat-to-ball skills in the last six months compared to what he showed during the summer showcase season.
Gray is an aggressive and instinctual runner on the bases as well, going from first to third on a fairly routine 5-3 groundout during Thursday’s game.
Tournament Stats: 3-for-5, 2 2B, 3 BB, 0 K
Brice Turang | SS | Santiago (Corona, Calif.) High
The top-rated high school position player, Turang has just one hit through two games. Turang's lone hit was an infield single up the middle where the Louisiana State commit was clocked at 4.11 to first base—a 60-grade run time out of the lefthanded batter’s box.
Turang impressed scouts with his batting practice on day one, but that has yet to fully translate to games. Defensively, Turang has looked sound. On one play Thursday he had to go deep into the hole to his right and field a ground ball with a backhand. He did this cleanly and also positioned his feet to first base before the ball even reached his mitt, helping him make a strong throw across the infield to complete the play.
Tournament Stats: 1-for-5, 1 BB
Triston Casas | 3B | American Heritage (Plantation, Fla.) High
Casas played third base for most of American Heritage’s game against John Curtis Christian Thursday, making a few routine plays and failing to make a couple others that required diving efforts. Casas has more than enough arm strength for the position and does a solid job making plays moving forward, but he has a long arm action for the position and might not have enough range or quick-twitch lateral movement to stick there.
Offensively, Casas went 1-for-1 with an intentional walk and a hit by pitch on Thursday, with his sole hit a line drive single through the right side of the infield on an 89 mph fastball. Casas was caught off-guard on the bases multiple times Thursday, and was thrown out on a close play attempting to go from first to second after an errant backpick attempt. He was also picked off of first base after reaching in his first plate appearance.
The most impressive look for the 6-foot-4 slugger actually came when he took the mound in the final innings for American Heritage. Casas entered with the bases loaded and no outs and struck out three straight batters after balking before he could throw a pitch. Casas is not considered a pro prospect on the mound, but he displayed his arm strength if nothing else by throwing 92-93 mph fastballs and touching 94 on his final pitch of the sixth inning.
Tournament Stats: 1-for-3, 2 BB
How Austin Hendrick Re-tooled His Swing Around 'Utterly Elite' Bat Speed
One of the top 2020 MLB Draft bats, Austin Hendrick has always had bat speed, but only recently has he gained full control of his swing.
Raynel Delgado | SS | Calvary Christian (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) High
Delgado is responsible for one of the loudest hits among the top hitting prospects at the NHSI to this point. In his second at-bat against Sandra Day O’Connor, Delgado jumped on the first pitch he saw—an 86 mph fastball down in the zone—and ripped a long triple to right field.
The Florida International commit had an aggressive approach Thursday, swinging early in the count multiple times and it paid off for him during this at-bat. His other three plate appearances resulted in groundouts to the right side. A switch-hitter with power from both sides, Delgado batted exclusively from the left side Thursday.
Tournament Stats: 2-for-6, 1 3B, 1 BB
Other players to note:
- Mater Dei (Santa Anna, Calif.) High shortstop Emilio Rosas has gone 4-for-6 through two days, with three singles and a double. He’s walked once and has yet to strikeout.
- In the lineup as a designated hitter for Calvary Christian (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) High Thursday, Mykanthony Valdez showed some serious opposite field juice, when he hit a huge opposite field triple off the wall in right field. He missed a home run by a few feet and while it’s difficult to confirm after the fact, his hardest hit of the tournament so far according TrackMan is 98.3 mph. This triple was likely that hit. Valdez is a member of the 2019 class and is committed to Miami.
- Hanover (Mechanicsville, Va.) High infielder Camden Grimes has just one hit throughout the tournament, but has been the top hitter in terms of exit velocity, according to TrackMan. Grimes, a Virginia Tech commit, has the hardest hit ball of the tournament at 107.6 mph and the second-best average exit velo (97.6) behind only Jordyn Adams.
- Top third base prospect Nolan Gorman didn’t get many opportunities at the plate in his game against Hanover. He walked in his first two at-bats and on the first pitch he saw in his third at-bat, he popped out to the third baseman in foul territory. In pregame batting practice, Gorman showed his ability to hit with authority to all fields, hitting the bottom of the fence in left-center in one round before yanking a ball into right field that hit the top of the fence in his next round.