2019 National High School Invitational: Day 2 Hitters Notebook
Day two of the NHSI was a busy one, as inclement weather pushed Friday games to Thursday, putting major league scouts, scouting directors, and a few GMs on a swivel with games on multiple fields from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Here are the standout hitting prospects and performers from Day 2. And if you've missed any of the NHSI action, be sure to check out our hub page here that includes results, standout players from each game and links to daily scouting notebooks.
Pete Crow-Armstrong, OF, Harvard-Westlake (Studio City, Calif.)
-2020 Vanderbilt Commit
The top 2020 prep prospect showed why scouts are so excited for next year’s draft class Thursday, with a loud, 3-for-4 day at the plate that included a pair of singles and a triple.
Crow-Armstrong has one of the best pure hit tools of the tournament and should be among the top hitters in the 2020 draft class, with a simple swing that includes a short leg kick and lightning quick hands that bring his bat through the zone level, with a line drive oriented stroke that serves him and his plus speed well.
He has a solid approach at the plate and has good balance in his lower half, staying back on the ball well on the outside corner and going to both gaps with solid pop. His most impressive hit of the day came in the top of the fifth inning, when Crow-Armstrong went down in the zone and slammed a ball deep into the right-center gap, allowing him to show off his running ability around the bases. He was slightly early on the pitch, but keeps his hands back so well that he was still able to drive the ball with some impact, rather than rolling over on the pitch.
Defensively, Crow-Armstrong wasn’t challenged too much, but makes good reads and jumps off the bat and has the tools to be a plus defender in center. He’s clearly a player to watch for next year’s class.
Anthony Volpe, SS, Delbarton (Morristown, N.J.)
-2019 Vanderbilt Commit
Jack Leiter’s teammate and fellow Vanderbilt commit, Volpe stood out on Day 1 for his standout defensive skills at shortstop. He wasn’t challenged much on that end of the field Thursday given Leiter’s dominance, but he did show plenty of ability at the plate.
Volpe went 4-for-4 with a home run, a hard hit single up the middle and a pair of infield singles, as well as a walk. Volpe’s hands work quickly through the zone and directly to the ball and he made a lot of loud contact Thursday.
While he’s not a burner, Volpe gets out of the box well and scouts have noticed improved run times this spring. A natural leader on the field, Volpe brings plenty of energy and while he doesn’t have the biggest raw tools, will get everything out of his talent and then some with his knowledge of the game and work ethic.
Joshua Rivera, 3B, IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.)
-2019 Florida Commit
Rivera got four at-bats and played the hot corner for IMG Academy against Blessed Trinity. He had one hit and two RBI in the game.
Rivera has an athletic body with a strong lower half. At the plate he generates plus bat speed and is aggressive early in counts. He has a loose swing with some rhythm but did get a bit long with it at times. He has a simple set up at the plate with a modest load of his hands before getting the barrel into the zone. While he did lunge out at a few breaking pitches, Rivera was able to make the adjustment in his next at-bat and control the strike zone better.
The third baseman hustles on the bases and in the field. He has a good internal clock with solid lateral range and shows athletic actions in the field. His arm has natural carry, and he is able to throw from different arm angles with accuracy. His hands work well and he has sound footwork which should help him stay on the left side of the infield.
Rivera is clearly a threat on both sides of the ball and has exciting tools which make him a player to watch for the future.
New York Yankees 2019 MLB Draft Report Card
Highlighting the best tools, best debuts, late-round steals and more from the 2019 New York Yankees draft.
Drew Bowser, SS, Harvard-Westlake
-2020 Stanford Commit
Another high-upside 2020 prospect on Harvard-Westlake, Bowser is a toolsy shortstop who showed promise on both sides of the ball Thursday in the NHSI semi-final game against Blessed Trinity.
Listed at 6-foot-3, 205-pounds, Bowsers’ athletic and muscular frame is the first thing that stands out when you watch him on the field, as he’s proportionally built now with room to add more strength in the future.
At the plate, Bowser went 1-for-4 with his sole hit coming in the first inning—a hard single up the middle. During the plate appearance Bowser leaked out on a breaking ball early in the count but made a nice adjustment within the at-bat, staying back on another curveball he was thrown and lining a hard hit line drive right back up the middle. He has the natural strength to project big power on down the line and showed the aptitude to make adjustments on the fly.
Defensively, it would be easy to push Bowser off of shortstop and say he’s too big for the position, but he showed intriguing tools there Thursday night. He has obvious arm strength that should allow him to play either position on the left side of the infield if necessary, but also did a nice job going to his backside on a double-play ball, making a quick and accurate feed on a tough play, showing impressive balance and good footwork.
Another high-upside Southern California prospect to monitor for the 2020 class.
Jackson Grabsky, 3B, Hagerty (Oviedo, Fla.)
-2020 Jacksonville Commit
Grabsky was at third base for Haggerty in the evening consolation game against IMG Academy. He went one for three and made hard contact during his at-bats.
The 6-foot-2 third basemen has a slim build and a projectable frame. He shows a quiet confidence in the field and athletic, loose actions when fielding grounders. He reacts well off the bat and showed off a plus arm with good carry and accuracy. A few hard hit grounders were no problem for Grabsky, and he proved that he can throw off balance with ease and accuracy. His footwork is solid at the position and he moves effectively to both his left and right side. Grabsky is attentive and well-schooled at the position.
At the plate, Grabsky showed an aggressive approach. He made loud contact and put the barrel on the ball with an easy trigger. His batting stance is relaxed with a slight crouch that features little pre-swing movement. Grabsky showed the ability to stay short to the ball and manipulate the barrel to hit pitches on the inner half of the strike zone. While he did have good swings, he also stepped in the bucket a few times on breaking pitches. Grabsky has the tools and upside that will make him fun to watch as he matures as a player.
Emilio Morales, C, La Mirada (Calif.)
-2020 Southern California Commit
Morales had a hit and an RBI in La Mirada’s victory over Christian Brothers Academy. The athletic catcher showed promise behind the plate and with the bat as well.
The 6-foot-3 catcher has a slender, wiry frame and isn’t the sturdy, strong-bodied type of catcher. He uses a slightly closed stance and has a level swing. He made contact to right field multiple times during the game and showed a feel to hit. He uses a small leg kick to start up his swing and help him stay back. Morales showed good knowledge of the strike zone and was patient during his at-bats.
Morales is athletic behind home plate, showing good footwork and the ability to block pitches with consistency. He was able to widen out and angle his chest to best block wild breaking pitches in the dirt. His footwork helps him to get a consistent arm slot when throwing down to second base. His arm is solid average and has some carry with good accuracy as well. He shows a good target for his pitchers and his hands work well at receiving pitches in different areas of the strike zone.
The athletic Morales has some solid tools and should continue to improve both offensively and defensively as he matures.