The Mailbag: Answers to Your Questions

By Greg Williams
PA Director of Scouting

"The Mailbag", is a new feature that provides followers the opportunity to ask a question regarding amateur baseball in Pennsylvania. The feature has become quite popular in short order since we introduced the idea on December 17. We will continue to answer many of your questions on a daily basis as they are received on Twitter @pbrpennsylvania.

"The Mailbag" will take a brief break for the holiday season and will return in early January.

Ground rules

We will answer a variety of questions, but can't possibly answer every question that is posed on a daily basis. Questions about specific teams, leagues or individual prospects are less likely to get answered as are more general questions that would be of interest to the masses. We will be running in-depth season previews of high school programs from around the state in the new calendar year leading up to the start of the high school season. We will also break down some of the top prospects in each classification and by geographic region at that time.

Top Questions

Where will the next Midwest Future Games be held?

We have continued to add new states to the PBR family with 10 states of coverage, soon to be 12, creating a need for a facility with multiple fields. Next year's event will take place at the brand new Grand Park Sports Campus in Westfield, IN near Indianapolis.

Who has the biggest upside with the bat in 2016?

We have just begun to get significant looks at prospects in this class. Many will get their first taste of real varsity action this spring. Admittedly, we have not seen all players in this class and have definitely seen some, more than others. Some hitters that have stood out so far are Nicky D'Amore (Neumann-Goretti), Connor Hood (Susquehannock), Adam Celidonia (Montour) & Corbin Kessler (Seneca Valley). We will have an opportunity to see many of the top prospects in this class side-by-side at some of our winter events in preparation for naming our Team PA roster for next summer's Midwest Future Games.

Are there any projectable arms I'm the 2014 class playing at small schools who you think could develop well over time?

We've already written a lot about Seton Hall commit Zach Schellenger (Devon Prep), who is #1 in the 2014 class in PA. The University of Kentucky staff is excited about incoming 6-foot-4, 180-pound Erich Hartman (York Catholic). 6-foot-4, 175-pound St. Bonaventure signee Brandon Schlimm (Elk County Catholic) ran his FB up to 89 at the PBR PA Top Prospect Games. You didn't ask about the 2015 class, but we'll give a bonus answer: keep an eye on starting QB John Bowman (Canton), who has a loose arm and touched 87 at the PA Underclass Games in July after not throwing a baseball in two months.

Ask nathan rode

PBR National Supervisor Nathan Rode is also fielding questions and posting his answers on the PBR main Twitter handle (@prepbaseball). CLICK HERE to ask Rode a question regarding topics in the 10 state PBR coverage area or amateur baseball nationwide. Following are answers to a few questions that have been answered by Rode in the past week that contain information on prospects from Pennsylvania.

List 5 pitchers in midwest C/O 2014 that are somewhat unknown that you think could make huge jumps in velo and scout interest level this spring.

There are a few guys that aren't unknown, but are outside the overall top 10 that I think have a chance at stepping forward. I'm a big fan of Jake Latz (IL). His velo isn't quite to the point scouts would want to see, but his ability to spin a curveball leads me to believe there's more on the fastball to come. Zach Schellenger (PA) has already stepped forward some with his No. 1 ranking in Pennsylvania. With his frame, he could climb even more throughout the spring. While I haven't seen him personally, our guys like Jayce Vancena (OH) and he's a big, strong kid so keep an eye on him. Zack Engelken (KS) comes from an area that's known for churning out pitchers. His teammate Ryan Ralston (KS) is also one to watch. A scout told me he saw Ralston up to 91 when he was still in shape for football and not pitching. Once he focuses on baseball for the spring, he could make a climb too. --Nathan Rode

Who are some shortstops that are not talked about a lot that impress you in the 2015 class?

With the way my coverage works, I focus on the present draft class and much of what I see beyond that is the best of the best for underclassmen. So, guys in the '15 class that impress me are generally talked about a lot already. John Aiello (PA), Brendan Rodgers (FL), Nick Shumpert are a few examples. Though I don't think Shumpert stays at SS. I caught a brief glimpse of Alonzo Jones (GA) while in Jupiter. He was interesting and will likely get some more attention as we move along through next spring and summer. Kyle Datres (PA) and Cole Daily (IL) are worth keeping an eye on as well.

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