PDP League Scout Notebook: Alex Santos, Ben Hernandez Impress On The Mound
BRADENTON, Fla. — Weather limited looks at the 80 players at the PDP League during games on Friday, as rain cut short the day’s second game. However, there were still a few standout performances and exciting prospects worth mentioning.
If you’ve missed our previous coverage on the PDP League, you can find all of our scouting notebooks below:
Alex Santos, RHP, Mount St. Michael Academy, Bronx, N.Y.
Two of the best arms on the day took the mound for Team Larkin, and Santos was the first one who stood out, taking the rubber for the first three innings.
A lean, 6-foot-3, 185-pound righthander, Santos has a projectable frame and a quick arm. He throws from a three-quarter slot, and while there’s some length in the back of his stroke and some effort in his delivery, it’s a loose, athletic operation overall. Santos tossed three shutout innings without allowing a hit, while fanning three batters and walking one.
The New York righty threw a fastball in the 90-93 mph range that featured some cutting life at times and paired it with a 78-80 mph slider that can get a bit slurvy but has good movement and plenty of depth. He used the breaking ball to finish each of his strikeouts—two swinging and one looking.
Santos didn’t show a changeup in this outing, but he faced the minimum through three.
Ben Hernandez, RHP, De La Salle HS, Concord, Calif.
Hernandez took the mound after Santos for Team Larkin, and he also looked sharp, putting up an identical line with three shutout innings with three strikeouts, a walk and no hits allowed.
The Illinois-Chicago commit has more current physicality than Santos, listed at 6-foot-2, 205 pounds, and he throws with a clean delivery from the first base side of the rubber. His fastball clocked in at 91-94 mph in the first inning before ticking down to the 90-92 mph range for his next two frames, and he supplemented the pitch with a big, 73-75 mph curveball that has solid spin but needs to get sharper, and a changeup that he showed tremendous feel to locate and throw for swings and misses.
Hernandez threw the change in the 82-84 mph range and delivered it with excellent arm speed while spotting it down in the zone and using it to finish two of his strikeouts and induce one ground ball. The pitch has solid fading life and at this point and was likely his best offering.
Kevin Parada, C, Loyola HS, Los Angeles
Committed: Georgia Tech
Parada made a name for himself as an underclassmen at last year’s Perfect Game showcase in Jupiter, where he showed power at the plate and impressive arm strength behind the dish. On Friday, Parada continued to show skills on both sides. He went 1-for-3 with a single, which was a hard line drive into left field against a 90 mph fastball. He also showed off his arm strength, but throwing out outfielder Enrique Bradfield (Fla.), who is one of the fastest players in the class, with a 1.95-second pop time.
Parada will be a few months shy of 19 at the draft next year, but he has shown arm strength, solid receiving skills and some pop out of his righthanded bat. There is some swing-and-miss in his game, as evidenced by a pair of strikeouts and four whiffs on the day (two versus sliders and two against fastballs), but he’s one of the top backstops in the 2020 high school class.
Hunter Haas, SS, Corona del Sol HS, Tempe, Ariz.
Committed: Oregon State
A 6-foot, 170-pound infielder, Haas led off for Team Larkin on Friday and sparked the top of the lineup with a 2-for-3 day in the shortened game. While Haas has limited power currently, he has shown a great feel for putting the barrel on the baseball, both in batting practice and in games. He uses the opposite field well, and he got both of his singles by going backside in this game, hitting a hard line drive against a 90 mph fastball to right-center in his first at-bat and then grounding a sharp ball between first and second base in his second trip to the plate.
Haas has good actions defensively and is a solid all-around player who also moves well out of the batter's box and on the bases.
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Other Players To Note
Carson Tucker, SS, Mountain Pointe HS, Phoenix — On a day that featured a number of errors on the infield, Tucker stood out. He’s athletic with pro bloodlines (his father, John, played pro ball), and he glides around the infield easily with impressive range. In Friday’s game he made a slick sliding play on a ball in the hole to his backhand side and popped up to his feet quickly to make a strong throw to first base and record the out. Tucker is committed to Texas.
Jordan Walker, 3B/RHP, Decatur (Ga.) HS — A physical two-way player who’s been into the low 90s on the mound, Walker stood out with his bat on Friday. The physical, 6-foot-5, 220-pound Duke commit went 2-for-2 with a double and a walk. After he doubled in his second trip to the plate, Walker turned around a 93 mph fastball from righthander Charez Butcher (Ind.) for a single up the middle. There’s some crudeness to Walker’s game at the moment, but he’s got plenty of strength offensively that will excite teams.
Charez Butcher, RHP, Kokomo (Ind.) HS — Butcher threw three shutout innings for Team Jones and struck out three batters on Friday. The Texas commit has athleticism and threw a fastball in the 90-93 mph range and touched 94 mph, but he’ll need to improve his secondaries. His arm slows on his 75-79 mph curveball that had big shape but lacked bite, and the same was true of his 77-80 mph changeup—though he did generate three whiffs on the changeup and used the pitch to strikeout two batters. There’s some work to do here, and Butcher has plenty of crossfire in his landing that might need to be cleaned up as well, but he’s an interesting arm with some upside.
Brandon Fields, OF, Phillips HS, Orlando — Fields went hitless on the day and has some real swing-and-miss in his game (he struck out twice and whiffed seven times in five plate appearances), but he is a tremendous runner and floats around the outfield, covering plenty of ground and making impressive jumps on fly balls. He made one sliding catch on a dying line drive that looked like a hit off the bat, and he has the athleticism and running ability to be a plus defender in the middle of the outfield. Fields is committed to South Carolina.