Opening Day Review

By Toby Bicknell
Texas Scouting Director

Twitter: @PBR_Texas

This was our first crack at Opening Day in Texas since Prep Baseball Report launched in September of this past fall, and our staff was excited to say the least. With scouts covering several tournaments from around the state, look for in depth coverage in our area scout blogs next week. But for now, we look at some of the highlights of Opening Day 2017.

There was plenty of talent at Prosper High School for the early game as The Eagles took on The Coppell Cowboys. A large number of major league scouts were also in attendance to see both teams open the season.

To say that Prosper came out swinging like a challenger trying to prove something in a boxing match would be an understatement. Senior shortstop Easton Murrell led the way with a two-run homerun to deep left field in the very first inning. The 6-foot, 195-pound, switch-hittting Arkansas recruit, had two extra base hits on the day, including a double off the right-center field wall from the left side of the plate. Murrell has a smooth swing with strength at contact from both sides of the plate, and shows good actions at shortstop.

Marcus High School got off to a good start with a 10-2 victory over Arlington behind a strong pitching performance from junior right-hander Justin Kleinsorge. Kleinsorge, an uncommitted junior, threw six strong innings, allowing only two runs on three hits, while fanning ten Arlington Colts batters. He showed good command of his fastball and curveball, only allowing one walk. Senior third baseman Michael Van Gundy was 3-4 with two doubles for Marcus. Dallas Baptist commit and senior shortstop Jimmy Glowenke also had two doubles. Final score was 10-2.

Left-hander Russell Smith, a 6-foot-9, 220-pound, TCU recruit, was dialed in for the afternoon game in front of an estimated crowd of 14 major league scouts. Smith was impressive to say the least, getting a lot of swings-and-misses on his fastball that ranged from 88-89 mph in the first inning, topping out at 90 mph. Has an up-tempo delivery with good energy and athleticism for such a towering frame. He works from a high-¾ slot with clean arm action. Smith worked himself into a jam in the third inning, loading the bases, but was able to pitch his way out of it. The senior got stronger in the fourth and fifth innings, continuing to run his fastball up to 89 mph but with a higher strike efficiency. His curveball was 75-76 mph, and although he used it sparingly, it was a very effective pitch with 2-8 shape and depth.

In the night-cap over at Grapevine High, the stage was set to see senior right-hander Ryan Drake take on Irving Nimitz. Drake, an Arkansas recruit, put together a solid senior debut. His fastball was 83-86 mph in his first official outing of the spring, with his slider coming in at 73-75 mph. Drake showed good feel for both pitches and was able to keep a scrappy Nimitz team at bay. Drake also paced Grapevine offensively with two doubles, including one to deep left-center field for a three RBI double.

Down in Laredo at The Border Olympics, the CC King Mustangs over-matched the Madison Mavericks in a 15-1 decision. King was guided by a strong performance from senior left-hander Dustin Saenz.

By Colter Bostick
PBR Texas Associate Scout

Dustin Saenz, LHP, Corpus Christi King, 2017
Texas A&M commit. Saenz uses his 6-foot, 178-pound frame well, with a tight coiling, cross-body delivery that allows his ¾ arm slot to a lateral angle to the plate that hides the ball well from hitters on both sides of the plate. His fastball sat in the 87-90 mph range, topping out at 92, and was offset by a quality sweeping curveball at 76 mph, and an excellent 81 mph changeup. The changeup that Saenz was able to command with ease had great life and late depth, and should translate well at the next level. In Saenz’s five innings pitched he tallied seven strikeouts and allowed only one run, which was unearned.


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