2019 Area Code Games: Day 2 Scout Notebook
LONG BEACH, Calif. — Day 2 of the 2019 Area Code Games was a quick one, as pitching prevailed throughout all three games and a total of just five runs were scored among the six teams.
As such, Tuesday’s notebook on standouts is pitcher heavy and is led by a standout performance from the hardest-throwing pitcher in the class. If you missed yesterday’s Area Code Games notebook, check that out here.
Pitcher Of The Day — Jared Kelley, RHP, Refugio (Texas) HS
Kelley—the No. 4 ranked prospect on our early top 50 high school draft list—put together the best pitching performance of the Area Code Games so far, and one that will be tough to top over the event's final three days. The 6-foot-3, 213-pound righthander struck out six batters and allowed just one baserunner (via a walk) over three innings, throwing 25 of his 36 (69.4 percent) pitches for strikes.
The Texas commit opened up with an explosive fastball that came out of his hand at either 97 or 98 mph for each pitch in a 1-2-3 first inning. After that, his velocity dropped to the 94-96 mph range, where he remained for the next two innings. It wasn't just the pure velocity that was impressive, but rather the ease in which Kelley generated the mid- to upper-90s heat with minimal effort in his delivery that caught evaluators' eyes.
On top of that, Kelley had a great feel for spotting the pitch—even in the 97-98 mph range—and did a nice job using it for strikes on the edges of the strike zone to both his arm side and glove side. Kelley paired his heater with a mid-80s changeup that has to be among the best in the class. It’s a swing-and-miss pitch now, which he’s able to land consistently and throw with excellent conviction and arm speed.
Kelley’s slider is the worst pitch in his arsenal at the moment, but he landed the 81-86 mph breaker for strikes fairly consistently, though he yanked the pitch on occasion. He showed promise for the offering moving forward, but he’ll need to sharpen the pitch to get it to the caliber of his fastball and changeup, which both look like plus or better (in the case of his fastball) future offerings.
In a time where there are few workhorse starters in the major leagues, Kelley is built like you would draw them up, and his premium stuff, strike-throwing ability and the ease of his operation check plenty of boxes that make him a first-round talent.
Hitter Of The Day — Blaze Jordan, 3B/1B, DeSoto Central HS, Southaven, Miss.
It was a down day for the hitters, as we mentioned previously, in part because of efforts like Kelley’s. But whether or not Jordan is adding hits to his box score, he seems to constantly barrel the baseball and hit the ball hard. That was the case for the Mississippi State commit again on Tuesday, as he went 1-for-2 with a single and a pair of balls that came off his bat in the triple digits.
His first at-bat resulted in a groundout to shortstop, but he hit a rocket against an 87 mph fastball that came off the barrel at 100.5 mph. In his second trip to the plate, Jordan drove an 88 mph fastball the other way with a sharp, low line drive right over the second baseman—this one coming off the bat at 101.6 mph.
Jordan is known for his power, but he has an advanced feel for hitting—particularly when considering he’s one of the youngest players in the 2020 class and will be just 17.5 years old at the time of next year's draft. He doesn’t just step into the box trying to re-create one of his many viral home run clips on YouTube, but instead focuses on spraying line drives with excellent carry to all parts of the field.
Defender Of The Day — Robert Moore, 2B, Shawnee Mission (Kan.) East HS
Moore plays the game at a level that may be expected of the son of Royals general manager Dayton Moore. He has a terrific understanding of the game and a high baseball IQ, and he has some of the quickest and surest hands of any player in the 2020 class.
Moore plays a lot of second base (as a frequent double play partner with Illinois shortstop Ed Howard) and has all the tools necessary to handle the position, with terrific footwork around the bag and a rapid exchange when turning doubles plays. But he has naturally impressive arm strength as well that plays up considering his exchange, and he would likely be able to handle shortstop without a problem.
Moore showcased his body control and ability to throw on the run during the final game of the day, when he ranged up the middle and in on a slow, chopping ball that pulled his momentum away from first base. He fielded the ball cleanly and made a strong, accurate throw to make the out, with his body moving toward third base. There’s some room to question Moore’s ceiling as a pro prospect—he’s listed at 5-foot-8, 165 pounds with limited impact at the plate as of now—but his polished game and defensive acumen routinely stand out among the most talent-heavy fields in the country.
2021 High School Baseball Rankings: Top 25 Teams In The Country
Baseball America’s High School team rankings are selected through a poll of representatives from the National High School Baseball Coaches Association (NHBCA).
Other Players To Note
Miles Garrett, RHP, Parkview HS, Lilburn, Ga.
Garrett worked a quick three innings against the Royals on Tuesday, going three up, three down in each frame with four strikeouts and no hits or walks allowed, showing off an athletic delivery and solid three-pitch mix along the way. He sat in the 87-91 mph range with his fastball and paired that with an 80-83 mph sinking changeup and a breaking ball in the 76-81 mph range that showed solid spin at times. Garrett will need to improve the consistency of his breaking ball and get on top of the pitch with more reliability, as he would get around the ball at times and not break the pitch off sharply. Garrett is undersized for a high school pitcher, at 5-foot-10, 160 pounds, but he has plenty of athleticism with an up-tempo delivery and solid fastball control. Garrett hails from Parkview High, a Georgia powerhouse program that has had eight players drafted from 2010-2019, the most recent being catcher Jonathan French in 2019. Garrett is committed to Vanderbilt.
Coby Mayo, 3B, Stoneman Douglas HS, Parkland, Fla.
Mayo is another of the many big, righthanded hitters in the Nationals' lineup this week, along with Jordan and 2021 standout Brady House. Standing at 6-foot-5, 215 pounds, Mayo is immensely physical with plenty of room to add more muscle and weight in the future, which should add to his already impressive raw power. He has no problem driving the ball out of the park in batting practice, and he went 1-for-2 with a hard-hit single through the left side of the infield on Tuesday, leaving his bat at 99.7 mph. Mayo is committed to Florida.
Tanner Witt, RHP, Episcopal HS, Bellaire, Texas
After being the hitter of the day on Monday with a loud day at the plate, Witt showed that he was a legitimate two-way player on Tuesday, pairing up with Jared Kelley and Cam Brown to limit the White Sox club to just one hit and one run. Granted, Witt was the pitcher who allowed the hit and the run, but he showed solid stuff out of a surprisingly synced up 6-foot-6, 198-pound frame. Witt threw his fastball in the 89-92 mph range and touched 93 mph in the first inning before settling a tick down into the 88-90 mph range in his second frame. Witt has naturally high spin on his fastball (2500 rpm) and his curveball (2700-2900 rpm), which he threw in the 72-75 mph range with big, bending depth. He’ll need to sharpen the pitch more and add to the power of the offering, but the foundation for a solid out-pitch is there. Witt also threw a changeup in the mid-80s but predominantly used a fastball/curveball combination over his two-inning outing. Witt is committed to Texas.
Cam Brown, RHP, Flower Mound (Texas) HS
Brown was the third Texas arm to impress in Tuesday’s final game, and he showed the most balanced three-pitch arsenal of the trio, with a fastball in the low 90s, a sharp, biting 77-81 mph slider and a mid-80s changeup. He generated two whiffs on each of his three pitches in his first inning alone—a 1-2-3 frame in which he struck out the side—and then added two more strikeouts in a 1-2-3 seventh inning that also featured a groundout. Brown had excellent control of all of his offerings and has a great understanding of how to mix them in and keep hitters off-balance. A 6-foot-3, 210-pound righthander committed to Texas Christian, Brown has continued to standout throughout the summer after showing well at the PDP League, and he will have a chance to continue doing that as a member of USA Baseball’s 18U Trials roster, which gets started next week.