Area Code Games: Pitcher Notes

Texas prep RHP Tyler Kolek

Kiley shares some notes from the first two days of the five-day high school event in Long Beach, CA. A steady stream of power arms took the hill today, some with less stuff than they showed earlier in the summer while Texas prep righty Tyler Kolek was one that showed improvement.

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Pitcher Notes

The lefties mostly met expectations, with three of my most recent high school top 30 at least holding their positions with early outing in Long Beach. Georgia prep LHP Mac Marshall (LSU commit) only threw 88-90 as opposed to the 90-92 mph I've seen in the past but, as with all of these arms I'll mention below, a few ticks of velo missing over two months into showcase season isn't that big of a deal, as it normally comes back in the spring. Marshall's curveball, which was a 55 pitch for me when I saw him this spring, was still only an average pitch as it's been all summer but his changeup, which was also a 55 this spring but rarely used this summer, was the standout pitch today. He doubled up on it and spotted it well, showing the above average pitch he had in the past. Also among my Top 30 and holding their positions were lefties Brady Aiken (California) and Kodi Medeiros (Hawaii). Aiken's (UCLA commit) velo was also down just a bit, working 87-90 mph tonight but flashing an above average changeup and good feel for pitching that stymied the Royals (Northwest region).

Medeiros is still a tough evaluation for me, as he's got an above average to plus fastball-slider combo, is an athletic two-way talent and is a lefty that's one of the younger players in the class. On the other hand, he throws from a low slot, has little feel for a changeup and is only 6'0. He sat 89-92 mph with a plus 77-80 mph slider last night and will be a be an interesting arm to monitor this spring to see how the industry evaluates his unique skillset and locale. Two other lefties worth bringing up are Arizona two-way player Alex Verdugo and Colorado-bred giant David Peterson. Verdugo is a better prospect as a hitter and is a top three rounds type, but was the best I've seen him on the mound today. Verdugo sat 89-92 mph with a solid average curveball at 74-77 mph that he spotted well for strikes and also buried at times. He's likely a pro type but would be a superstar of a two-way prospect if he gets to campus for Arizona State. Peterson, an Oregon commit, is a 6'6, 215 pound lefty that shows the makings of adding velocity down the road and won't be a top round prospect until he does. He sat 87-90 mph with a solid average 78-81 mph changeup and a fringy 76-78 mph curveball which would likely improve as he adds arm speed.

There were also plenty of righties that have thrown early on that were high on my initial high school top 30. The top arm, Tyler Kolek didn't show any signs of summer season fatigue, looking just as strong as he did two months ago. Kolek sat 93-96 mph early and lost a few ticks by the third inning but that's typical for a kid that age at this time of year. The more important part is that his delivery, consistency and command were all strong and his curveball was sharper than it was in the above video, from early in June. I have no problem calling it a 60 pitch and it may end up being a grade better at some point. There are still some concerns here but they're all tied to a limited track record of success (largely unknown until two months ago) and developing some feel aspects to his craft (like a changeup, which he doesn't throw in games) that should come with more innings and physical development.

Some other righties from the list that have also appeared here early include California's Luis Ortiz, Arizona's Ryan Castellani and Florida's Touki Toussaint and Sean Reid-Foley (Florida State commit). Ortiz had consistent velocity at 92-95 mph earlier in the summer and that was down some at 91-93 hitting 94 mph here but otherwise he looked just as good as I described in my scouting report: at least a #3 starter and potential top 20 pick. Castellani is a personal favorite of mine as the now stuff isn't quite there yet. He sat 89-91 mph last night with a 77-79 mph curveball that flashed above average potential and an 81-83 mph changeup that's already average. As a projectable, athletic 6'4 righty with at least average command and two-way ability to go with a long track record of good stuff and performance, Castellani is just the kind of guy to come on strong this spring.

Toussaint's peak is still last October's Jupiter tournament and while some of that arm speed came back today (92-95 mph early), the curveball is still a 55 at best right now and his command is still spotty. There's still lots of good elements and we know better is in there, so his spring will be key to deciding his draft stock. Reid-Foley has a high elbow in the back of his arm action that worries me a bit and also lengthens his arm action, affecting his command. His stuff has been consistent this summer and it was good again today (90-93 hitting 94 with above average 80-82 mph slider) but his command deserted him a few batters into today's outing. I don't think his arm action will harm his draft stock much, as many teams still don't pay much attention to that specific issue, but strike-throwing is something they all pay attention to.

Two quick righties to mention that didn't make my list but guys to to keep an eye on: Texas' Turner Larkins (Texas A&M commit) and California's Tylor Megill. I saw Larkins early and was told he's already improved this summer which I saw first hand yesterday. Larkins would be on the list now, as he sat 90-93 mph with an above average curveball at 74-77 mph and an 80-82 mph changeup he didn't throw much that was solid average at times. Megill is a guy I hadn't heard much about but stood out today, standing 6'7, 220 pounds and sitting 89-91 mph with a curveball that flashed above average potential and a changeup that was at least average in a brief look. There's understandable inconsistency given the length of his limbs, but there's a lot to like here and he's only scratching the surface.

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