Case Sanderson isn’t using summer vacation to be a couch potato.
He’s representing the Nevada High School baseball program on a national stage.
The 6-foot-2, 200-pound sophomore was one of 22 players representing Team Missouri in the Prep Baseball Report 16U Futures Games. The events took place on July 28-31 at LakePoint Sports Facility in Emerson, Georgia.
“It feels pretty good,” Sanderson said. “I’m glad I got the opportunity to do this. I have to thank Kevin Moulder (PBR Missouri Scouting Director) for giving me this chance. It has been a good time. There is a lot of good competition down here.”
The PBR Futures Games is the premier summer scouting event for the Class of 2023 prospects who have seen more than 300 college coaches from all over the country in attendance from years past.
Each state team, including Team Missouri, played three games. On Wednesday, all position players were put through a showcase workout in which they ran a 60-yard dash, took batting practice and were evaluated at their primary position.
“I’m really happy Case is having this opportunity and getting the exposure he is going to get down there,” Nevada coach Danny Penn said. “He’s an extremely hard-working young man who cares a lot about his performance on the baseball field. For him to get this opportunity and exposure, it’s definitely well-deserved.”
In his first season playing for the Tigers this spring, Sanderson was an instant contributor. He hit .468 and showed a significant amount of power, collecting nine doubles, six triples and six home runs while driving in 37 runs.
Sanderson finished with an impressive 1.536 on-base plus slugging percentage en route to being named a unanimous first-team All-Big 8 West outfielder. On the mound, he went 4-1 with a 2.76 ERA while racking up 76 strikeouts in 43 innings.
He also earned first-team all-conference honors as a pitcher.
“Case is a very athletic lefty arm-lefty bat,” Penn said. “For us, he played center field when he wasn’t on the mound. For the PBR Missouri team, he’s playing first base and that is something he can handle as well. Very fluid, sweet and pretty left-handed swing. He produces a lot of bat speed and a lot of power. On the mound, he does a really nice job with controlling both sides of the plate.
“He works ahead and works with a really nice tempo. He gets the ball back from the catcher and gets right back up on the mound to go again. He throws a nice little knuckle curve and a changeup that he can control. Even as a sophomore to have three pitches (plus a fastball) to throw to either side of the plate and command, that led to a lot of success for him. I have no doubt he will continue to progress as a player.”
Sanderson said he feels most comfortable as a position player, where he averaged 96.53 miles per hour in exit velocity at the PBR Futures Games. His max exit velocity number sits at an eye-popping 100.42 mph.
“I’m not as big on pitching, but I still like to do it still,” he said. “I prefer hitting and playing in the field.”
Sanderson currently ranks as the No. 43 prospect and top first baseman in Missouri, according to PBR.
“It has been a good experience getting time at first base,” Sanderson said. “I didn’t play it as much in high school, but I’m very comfortable with the position. I like it a lot. The guys down here throw a little harder and throw off-speed for strikes. They throw in the upper 80s, if not 90. It’s tougher, but I’m hoping to prove that I’m built for this level of competition and I can hit and play with these guys.”
Sanderson's skills were not lost on Moulder.
"Case shows plus bat speed and the ball jumps off his bat, we've recorded him with 100 mph exit velocities which is elite at the high school level," Moulder said. "He's also considered a plus runner for his position and he performed extremely well at the Future Games for Team Missouri. He is a guy that will be on college coaches radars."
While Penn would have loved to see what Sanderson could do as a freshman had it not been for COVID-19 in 2019, he’s excited to watch his growth over the next two years at Nevada.
“I don’t want to overlook the fact that as much success as he’s having on the baseball field and as good of a baseball player as he is — he’s a great kid,” Penn said. “I’m glad he’s having success and having fun pursuing his love of baseball.”