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Scouting Update: Dylan Covey, RHP, Maranatha (CA) HS (2010 Draft)

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May 3, 2010

After two or three consecutive starts in which many scouts expressed concern that Dylan Covey’s stuff and velocity were slipping, Covey’s start Wednesday night drew nearly as many scouts as did his season-opening start in March.

Covey responded immediately. His first two fastballs in the first inning hit 93, the next two hit 94. His curveball was 78-82 in the first inning and his change-up was 80-81. For a high draft pick in this situation at this time of the year, the question always comes to down to power more than pitch-ability. Teams want to see exactly what is in the gas tank before they take the ride home.

Once the velocity is registered, the next question for Covey to answer in this outing was how he maintained it. His first pitch in the second was 94, and he hit 94 for strikes six times in the first two innings, scattering several 93s along the way. Against his final batter in the inning, he went 94, 94, 77 curveball, and an 89 slider for the strikeout against a right-handed hitter.

Covey threw a lot of change-ups in this outing, which sometimes scares scouts if they feel the pitcher is trying to hide down velocity. But in the third inning, Covey bumped 95.

He maintained his velocity into the fourth inning and continued regularly separating speeds, going from a 92 fastball, missing with a 77 curve, coming back with a 93 fastball, snapping a better 79 curve, and then coming back with consecutive 93s. In the fifth inning, Covey played with his high-roller curveball, which he has described as the one that rolls off his fingertips. He finished the inning with four consecutive fastballs, going 91, 92, 93 and 94.

Covey finished his outing in the sixth inning. He lost the power on his curveball here, but his last three pitches went 91, 93, and 93.

It is true that scouts were scared, or you wouldn’t have seen 30 area guys checking on him this late in the season, many of whom have to know that Covey has no chance of getting to them. When this happens, scouts swarm, hoping, hey, maybe this guy will get to me if enough other clubs are scared. I don’t think that scenario will play out here based on this look.

The question Covey had to answer was if his power was intact, which he did. For comparisons sake, Covey was 91-95, averaging 92-93 early in March. The velocity in this late April outing was consistent with that. His curveball power in early March was 76-84 (81), compared to 78-82 (78-80) in this outing. The slight dip in curveball power but not fastball velocity might better reflect a pitcher coming off a dead arm period than one with an arm injury. His change-up velocity was consistent with March.

I’ve seen Covey with better pinpoint control of all four of his profile pitches than he had in this outing, and while his overall fastball command in this outing was adequate, it was enough for what teams were looking for, and probably reflective of a guy coming off a tired-arm period. 

If this was a case of 90-91 with max effort, you’d have a problem. But a 92-94 with the same degree of effort as early in the season tends to dispel those fears. I’ve said several times that what separates Covey for me is the combination of power and pitch-ability. It is hard to find guys with power and stuff who can command multiple pitches and show a concept of how and when to execute them within the flow of a game. Regardless of arm power, pitch-ability can be taught, but not all pitchers have the capacity to learn it. Pair that with power and you got a guy, as long as the power as advertised is there. 

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Read Fall 2010 Dylan Covey Scouting Update
Read May Dylan Covey Scouting Update
Read earlier Dylan Covey Scouting Update
Read Dylan Covey Q&A
Read Dylan Covey March Scouting Update
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Read Dylan Covey Season Debut Scouting Update
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Watch more Dylan Covey Scouting Video

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