Hall, Danner, Greene shine on Day 1 of Tournament of Stars
Top 2017 Draft prospects register scoreless outings in opening-round games
By Jesse Burkhart
Special to MLB.com |
CARY, N.C. -- Left-hander D.L. Hall (Houston County HS, Ga.) was in full control from the first pitch as he started the opening game of USA Baseball's Tournament of Stars, leading Team Brave to a 7-5 victory over Team Stars.
Hall -- one of the top pitching prospects at the event, with potential first-round talent -- tossed three hitless innings with an impressive three-pitch arsenal. His fastball ranged between 89-92 mph, and he consistently worked the lower third of the zone with an easy motion. Hall mixed in a three-quarters curveball at 74-77 mph, which accounted for two of his five strikeouts and showed enough depth to project as an above-average pitch. He also notched two whiffs with a 78-79 mph changeup, which he sells nicely thanks to good arm speed.
Hall got early run support, as Brave touched up Stars starter Nick Pratto for two runs in the second inning. Pratto's fastball sat 87-89, and he also showed a good feel for a 76-79 mph changeup. Brave opened up the game in the fourth inning when right-hander Jon Stroman replaced Pratto and allowed four straight hits, leading to four runs in the frame and an early 6-0 lead that wouldn't be relinquished.
Brave shortstop Mark Vientos, one of the top hitting prospects in the field, stood out for his discerning approach. Throughout the game, he quietly took pitches out of the strike zone as he tallied four walks and finished 0-for-1. He also showed at least average arm strength when he received a cut-off throw and nailed a baserunner in a play at the plate to prevent a run.
For Team Stars, outfielder Kier Meredith put his plus speed on display for the jam-packed scout section when, in the sixth inning, he laid down a bunt from the left side and posted a jail-break time inside 3.65 seconds to first base. He later legged out a groundball in the ninth inning and reached first in 4.10 seconds, a plus run time.
Two-way prospect Jordon Adell stepped onto the mound for Team Brave to record the last four outs of the game, but not before allowing three runs. Still, he exhibited the athleticism and arm speed that makes him an intriguing pitching prospect, running his fastball up to 93 mph with a biting 79-82 mph slider that flashed good vertical depth.
Power Arms Propel Team United to Victory Over Stripes
Team United defeated Team Stripes, 7-1, in the second game of the day on Field 2, where scouts gathered behind home plate to see some promising arms.
Right-hander Hagen Danner (Huntington Beach HS, Calif.) got the final six outs for United, bumping 93 mph with his fastball and settling into the 89-92 range. He also mixed in his trademark downer curveball, which registered between 77-78 mph and flashes above-average potential. The key development for Danner since last year is an improved changeup, which he used more often Wednesday than he has before. It arrived at the plate with ideal velocity separation at 79-82 mph, featuring late fade that was responsible for both of his strikeouts. He surrendered two hits, issued two walks, and didn't allow a run.
Right-hander Tanner Burns (Decatur HS, Texas) pitched well for United earlier in the game, touching 96 mph with his heater and sitting 91-95 in his scoreless two-inning outing. He also showed a promising low-80s curveball. Listed at 5-foot-11, 208 pounds, he's got the look of a bulldog reliever with late-game power stuff.
Outfielder Quentin Holmes (Westmont High School, Calif.) -- who recorded a 6.45 60-yard dash in Tuesday's positional workouts -- is one of the fastest players in the event and flashed his wheels in game action. Facing right-hander Chandler Ferguson, Holmes turned on an 88 mph fastball and glided around the basepaths for a triple. His speed and fast-twitch athleticism give him a center field profile at the next level.
Greene, Crouse Light Up Radar Guns
A couple of California right-handed fireballers kept the scouting section quiet in the third and final game on Day One, as Team Free defeated Team Pride, 5-0.
Hunter Greene (Notre Dame HS, Calif.), an elite two-way prospect, was the aggressor throughout his outing as he worked two scoreless innings for Pride. He touched 97 mph and settled into the 94-96 range with his fastball, combining the heater with a sharp 79-81 mph slider that projects as a plus offering and a late-diving 84-86 mph changeup. He recorded strikeouts with all three of his pitches, totaling four in two scoreless innings. His present athleticism, stuff and polish are the attributes that frontline starters have when they're 16 years old.
Pitching for Free, Hans Crouse also touched 97 mph and sat 94-96 with his fastball as he cruised through three scoreless innings. He mixed in a 78 mph curveball that spun tightly in its 11-to-5 trajectory, showing easy plus potential. There's some funk and effort in his delivery, but his lightning-fast arm is fun to watch, and there may still be more velocity in the tank as he continues filling out his lean 6-foot-5, 184-pound frame. He recorded four strikeouts and allowed just one hit.
Tournament of Stars action continues on Thursday with three more games on the slate.
Jesse Burkhart is a contributor for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.