Prep Baseball Report

College Crosscheck, Week 2: Arkansas, Michigan, Oklahoma State & Oregon State

By David Seifert
Director of College Scouting

Our Director of College Scouting, David Seifert, spent last weekend inside Globe Life Field, home of the Texas Rangers, where the stadium hosted the Kubota Baseball Series. The event featured four premier programs: Arkansas, Michigan, Oklahoma State, and Oregon State, which include several of the top collegiate players in the country. Seifert was fortunate enough to witness one of the best-ever college pitching performances too, which leads off this week’s College Crosscheck.


Continue on to read Seifert’s College Crosscheck, Week Two:

Arlington, Texas – During my 34 years of playing, coaching and scouting college baseball, I have many great memories.

Whether it’s experiencing the grind of a 56-plus game season or appreciating the talent on the diamond. From playing against Todd Helton (Tennessee) in college, to coaching in an NCAA regional against future Major Leaguers – like Sean Doolittle (Virginia) and Justin Smoak (South Carolina) – to one of my first scouting memories, the 1997 SEC Tournament in Columbus, Ga., where Tim Hudson (Auburn) played center field and he was also the Tigers’ ace. Earlier that same spring was the first time I ever personally saw triple digits on a radar gun, compliments of Matt Anderson (Rice). Making this ‘hundo’ even more amazing was that it was measured with the “slow gun,” otherwise known as a Ra-Gun. This type of radar gun was 3-5 mph slower than today’s TrackMan, PitchFx and Stalker guns, as the Ra-Gun measured the speed of the pitch as it crossed over the plate, not out of the hand as today’s technology calculates.

Now back to the present day, I leave Globe Life Field with the best single-game performance that I have ever witnessed: Arkansas’ Hagen Smith versus Oregon State on Friday, Feb. 23.




Hagen Smith LHP / Bullard, TX / 2021

Smith was in total control throughout his six-inning, 17-strikeout dominance. Through five innings, he sent 15 Beavers back to the bench via the KO, and for the evening, 15 of his 17 strikeouts came via the slider. He allowed just three hits and one walk over his six scoreless innings. Remarkably, even with a high strikeout total, he threw just 78 pitches, 59 of them for strikes. Smith’s fastball sat in 95-99 mph range all evening and he was still touching 97 into the fifth – and it’s not an ordinary heater. His No. 1 rides up in the zone and sinks when down. As good as his fastball is, his slider is even better. It’s at least a 70-grade offering and a top-of-the-scale 80 grade would be an accurate evaluation as well. Ranging from 84-88 mph with spin into the 2,500-plus rpm range, it’s a swing-and-miss putaway pitch, and one that struck out the best pure hitter in the country three times, Travis Bazzana. Oregon State knew the pitch was coming, and still repeatedly swung over the top of it for a total 18 times. Smith also flashed an 87-88 mph changeup with spin in the 1,900s.

Heading into this season, the industry had one main question regarding Smith’s future role: Is he a starter or reliever in professional baseball?

For me that question has clearly been answered – he’s a frontline starting pitcher. As Major League ready as Paul Skenes looked last spring, Smith may be even more prepared. The stuff he displayed with such a high level of command is more than enough to navigate through a MLB lineup.

Young for his draft class, Smith doesn’t turn 21 until after the 2024 Draft. Smith has slotted himself as No. 2 on my personal draft board, which obviously remains fluid throughout the season. It’s not fluid in the sense that it changes weekly based on each and every performance, but fluid as in there will be other talent that needs to be evaluated and re-evaluated throughout the season and the health of each monitored.


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