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Scouting Update: Peter Tago, RHP, Dana Hills (CA) HS (2010 Draft)

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June 2, 2010

Peter Tago’s final start of his high school career showed one last time his ability to maintain his power deep into games, pitch with his fastball but also show confidence with his breaking ball in fastball counts, and to know when to pitch for precision and when to reach back to find something extra.

Tago struck out 13 and walked two in this seven-inning complete game. He reached 95 in the first inning and 95 in the seventh inning.

He also touched 96 in the first inning and proceeded to pitch comfortably with his fastball at 93-94 into the sixth. Tago typically generates more consistent power the deeper he gets into games. I thought his best fastball inning was the sixth, when he was getting great extension and downhill plane, and his arm slot and release points were consistent and accurate.

Having personally scouted Tago from August until June, the one developmental aspect you have to give him is the fact that he has learned to maintain the same arm slot that works for him. He had a past of experimenting with it, but this spring, he showed that he is really beginning to understand what kind of pitcher he needs to be in order to be successful. For Tago, his best fastball is a hard, sweeping fastball that comes from a mid ¾ (more on the higher side of mid if you really want to get technical). He throws it across his body, with torque and arm speed. This is a put away big league pitch at the high school level, and it’s going to make Tago go higher than every mock draft has him going.

At this stage of his development, Tago is usually good for one inning (often the third) when he needs too many pitches. Sometimes it’s metal bat bleeders and sometimes he looses the arm slot or release point. It’s a typical power pitcher trait. Overall, Tago’s fastball command and control, for a pitcher with this kind of arm, is extremely well developed. Once he worked past the third, Tago’s velocity never dropped below 91-94, which has also been typical of him this season. If you were to put a number grade on Tago’s arm speed, you’d have to go 8/8. I don’t give 80s unless I’m sure.

Tago alternated the breaking ball looks here. This spring, his slider has been much more consistent than it was in the summer and fall, when he often couldn’t keep the pitch out of the dirt. Here, it was 75-77, and the speed maintained no matter if he didn’t finish it and it slurved or if he got a sharper tilt on it. The curveball here, which has a different plane than the slider, was 74-75, and was a pitch he had enough to make work.

Tago mixed in a few change-ups here, which is something he hasn’t thrown much in high school but will become a much more visible pro weapon. He threw it sparingly in this game. One was hung, but another was a power change, 84, for a second inning strikeout. There was also a very good 77 change later in the game. It might seem hard for a change-up, but when you can come back on the next pitch at 94, it works.

He gave up seven hits and a few balls were clean hits. One thing about Tago is that he is not afraid to challenge hitters, to pitch to contact, or to show pitch ability to go with his power.

There were moments where he threw too many fastballs that wouldn’t be quality pro strikes, but those spurts are very few and far between for a high school pitcher.

You would grade Tago’s future command and control as major league average, but you’ve got to think there are going to be some nights when he has the ability to put them all where he wants to.

Tago showed one last time the extremely competitive side that he has, one that transcends all the scouts, showcases, draft talk and the general world around him. In his draft year, Tago was always his own closer. If he got himself in trouble, or trouble was made by circumstances out of control around him, he made pitches in big spots. That shows power, execution, pitch ability, and competitiveness. I’ve said it before. I see too many guys who pitch for themselves, from high school right up to the big leagues. Tago wants to win. You can’t help but to find it fun to see a power arm play to win, to not beg out, to not whine, and to not be soft. There is nothing entitled about him.

Tago finished the seventh inning with his 13th strikeout, all fastballs, going 91, 92, 93. His final out was a pop-up to the right side, an out here and an out elsewhere.

He would be able to close the CIF final because he has three innings remaining in his 10-inning high school playoff limit. So for once in his life, if needed, Tago can close for someone other than himself.

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