By The Baseball Beginnings Guy
February 14, 2010
Dylan Covey continued to show the quantity and quality of stuff that separates him from a strong national crop of high school right-handed starting pitchers, but he wasn’t the only starting pitcher who helped himself Saturday at the Major League Scouting Bureau Southern California Invitational Showcase at the Urban Youth Academy. (more)
Covey is the pitcher the national level scouts want to see. Covey (Maranantha HS) was playing catch with his fastball at 91-92. Against Tony Wolters, he threw a 92-mph fastball with hard sinking life and a 91-mph fastball with rising action. He saved his best stuff for Dominic Ficociello. Batting left-handed, Ficociello saw a hard 76-mph curveball, Covey’s best breaking ball of a tidy stint. Covey came back with an 84-mph slider. He also threw a change-up at 79-81, finishing off Wolters, Mike Lorenzen, Connor Hoffman and Ficociello. Covey showed both quantity and quality of stuff.
Right-hander Peter Tago (Dana Hills HS) pitched with his fastball at 90-92, sitting mostly at 91. His slider at 82-84 was harder and more consistent than when I last saw him and he struck out Vincent Velasquez with a 72-mph curveball, Tago’s best of the sequence.
Left-hander Griffin Murphy (Redlands East Valley HS) helped himself more than any other starting pitcher, striking out all four hitters he faced, including Derek Campbell and Angelo Gumbs. As I reported earlier, I said I wouldn’t be surprised to run into Murphy throwing 90-92 down the road. Well, the road hit 90-91. More importantly for Murphy, his curveball at 75-76 was better than any breaking ball he had last summer. He also threw his change-up at 80. Murphy was closed much better in his delivery, much trimmer, more coordinated, and landed well. When you walk off the mound and the scouts without attention spans are on their Crackberrys, you know you’ve helped yourself.
Right-hander Tyler Shreve (Redlands East Valley) also helped reestablish himself, hitting 92 with his fastball again after a below-average performance at the Aflac game. Shreve pitched at 88-91 and picked up speed as he progressed. His curveball at 75-76 was harder and sharper and his slider at 74-76 profiles as a third pitch in a power array. Austin Wilson, whose strong hands ripped an opposite field single, was the only hitter to touch Shreve.
Left-hander Kyle Richter (Santa Margarita HS) is probably going to develop more power than the 85-90 fastball velocity he showed. Tall and lean, Richter’s delivery has noticeably improved since fall. He was very smooth on Saturday, showing whippy torque, and a slider at 72-74. Against Wolters, Richter hit 90 for the first time, came back with a change-up at 75 and then struck out Wolters with another 90-mph fastball bearing down on his feet. Against Lorenzen, who is a strong right-handed hitter and created a good match-up to judge both, Richter attacked the inside half with his fastball and struck out Lorenzen looking with an 87-mph fastball. In this outing, Richter showed that he’s in the middle of physical development and also showed a good idea of how to pitch to both sides of the plate with the goal of cutting it in half.
Vincent Velasquez (Garey HS) separated himself more on the mound than he did offensively. Velasquez struck out all four batters he faced, throwing his first pitch at 92 and then recording strikeouts with a 74 curveball, 80 slider and 81 slider. Overall, Velasquez pitched with his fastball at 90-92, his curve at 73-74, a harder slider at 83, and a change-up at 80-81. A switch-hitter, Velasquez was noticeably better in BP from the left side, where he hit four consecutive authoritative line drives to right and center field in the best BP round I’ve seen from him.
Right-hander Jesus Valdez (Hueneme HS) pitched at 89-91, with his slider at 72-74 and his change-up at 75. He appeared a touch taller and more slender than he did in the summer, though he didn’t have additional power. He got a strikeout and a pair of softly-hit ground balls.
Right-hander Aaron Sanchez (Barstow HS) helped himself. He was noticeably better than he was last September and looked more like he did at Area Codes and Aflac. Sanchez pitched at 91 with his fastball, also hitting 92 a few times. His curveball was 72-74, slider 78 and change 83. He commanded his fastball at 91 and lost it at 92. His best fastball was a 91-mph fastball on the outside corner to strike out Hahn. He also got ground ball outs against Stefan Sabol and Austin Wilson.
Right-hander Cody Buckel (Royal HS) might not have gotten much taller since last summer, but he may have added a touch, and he looks more slender than he did last summer. Buckel pitched with his fastball at 91 with good arm speed. His breaking ball was 73-75 with a change-up also at 75. I wasn’t sold on Buckel’s physical projection when I saw him last spring and summer, but what I saw Saturday was a leaner pitcher with more room to add power. He might be best served going to college to reach that point, but it’s hard to discount the possibility that he could pitch at 92-93 within three years.
Right-hander Gabriel Encinas (St. Paul HS) pitched at 90 mph with a breaking ball at 74-76 and recorded three strikeouts before giving up a well hit single up the middle to catcher Aaron Jones.
Right-hander Scott Frazier (Upland HS) pitched at 89-91, which has been the 6-6 right-hander’s regular velocity. His curveball was 72-74, slider 78, change 83, but his fastball command was below average in this outing and gave up Christian Yelich’s triple.
Left-hander Chase Johnson (Fallbrook HS) pitched at 89-91 with a slider at 75-77. He still looks like he is growing and could possess more power in the future.
Right-hander Zack Weiss (Northwood HS) is a big body type with broad shoulders. He lands well and has average arm speed. He invited contact with his fastball at 90-92 and got a pop-up out with a 92 fastball, a ground ball on a 79 change-up, a strikeout with a 72 curveball and a fly ball on a 91 fastball. He showed four pitches and could pitch at 93 in the future.
Right-hander Brandon Brennan (Capistrano Valley HS) pitched at 90-91 with a heavy fastball. Another burly body type with broad shoulders, he’s still learning balance and coordination but flashes hints of power. Brennan showed an 80-83 slider, a 79 change and a rarity in this game, an 81 split that had bite.
Right-hander Aaron Berglund (St. Francis HS) pitched at 89-90 with a slider at 78. Berglund has a big body and broad shoulders and is learning balance and coordination.
Right-hander Austin Reed (Rancho Cucamonga HS) looked a touch taller and stronger than last fall. He pitched at 90-91, striking out Yelich with a sweeping 90-mph fastball and striking out Brenton Allen with a harder 91-mph fastball.
Others (Pitchers and Position Players)
Right-hander Sebastian Santos (Murrieta Valley HS) pitched at 88-89, with a slider at 73 and a change at 79….Right-hander Cesar Aguilar (AB Miller HS) pitched at 85-87 and possesses hips and thighs that could help him generate more power in the future… Chris Wilson (St. Paul HS) pitched at 89-90 with a change-up at 72. At 6-5, 225, he could produce more power in the future. In BP he hit with some authority to right field… Kyle Hayes (Santana HS) pitched at 86-88 and also threw well at third base…Brando Tessar (Chaminade HS) has speed as his best tool and pitched at 86-89. Offensively, he’s a contact hitter and a good athlete who could develop into a better prospect as a middle infielder in college baseball… Brenton Allen (Gahr HS) is a left-handed hitter with a big body, long swing and some power potential. He hit a ball out to left field in BP…Jake Jelmini (Mira Costa HS) struggled offensively and defensively, but sped his hands up against two 90-mph fastballs and fouled them down the third base side later in the game. He has strength and power potential but as of now would be better suited to college baseball where he could catch up and make better use of his power…Catcher Will Swanner (La Costa Canyon HS) is best offensively when he goes gap-to-gap, as he did in BP, showing limited power but hitting consecutive line drives to each field…Brad Haynal (Rancho Bernardo HS) has an easy stroke and the ability to lift the ball from the right side, but is raw and is developing power…Stephen Wallace (Charter Oak HS) showed the ability to throw the bat head during BP and lifted a HR to left field, and later another in the quick round. He has strong hands but needs more wood at-bats…Humberto Tovalin (Otay Ranch HS) is a smooth defensive middle infielder with limited size, but sprays the ball and will be a very good college player.