Prep Baseball Report

Georgia Draft Workout Highlights

Nathan Rode
National Supervisor

MARIETTA, GA—The beauty of baseball in the South is that it gets going early and typically has good weather in the spring. But that also means high school playoffs start early and draft prospects can see their seasons come to an end with more than a month to go before the draft. On Sunday, a host of high school, junior college and college prospects, with no more regular season games to play in, gathered in Marietta, GA, for a workout. The main attraction was RHP Ethan Hankins (Forsyth Central HS, GA). Not only was his team eliminated from the playoffs, but he also missed some time with an injury this spring, so scouts are keen on getting more looks at the highly regarded righty.

There is no questioning Hankins’ fastball. He pitched two innings and it was 93-95 mph, touching 96 in the first, and then sat 92-94 in the second. It has excellent life with finish through the zone and easily overpowers opposing hitters. The question with Hankins is his breaking ball and he didn’t really provide any answers in this outing. He showed a curveball and slider, both of which are still developing. Given his lower arm slot, he’ll probably settle on a slider eventually and occasionally snaps some off that show average potential. It was looser today and he struggled to throw it for strikes. It was 76-78. The curveball is more 73-74 and loopy. However, Hankins did show feel for a changeup at 86-87 and got a strikeout on it. The Vanderbilt recruit is athletic, but lacks drive with his lower half and his back foot comes off the ground early.

Here are some more highlights from Sunday evening…

+ RHP Cooper Stinson (Norcross HS, GA) is a Duke recruit with a large frame at 6-foot-6, 240 pounds. Given his commitment and the fact that his brother is currently a Blue Devil, he probably won’t be an easy sign, but he flashed the stuff to warrant a serious look on Sunday. His fastball was 90-93 with heavy life and he flashed a swing-and-miss slider at 85-87. It had short, cutter-like break at times, but others were wipeout offerings. He also mixed in a changeup at 84-85. He struck out four in two innings and allowed a triple.

+ RHP Landon Marceaux (Destrehan HS, LA) made the trek from Louisiana and was the first guy to take the mound. The Louisiana State recruit is known for showing premium command of a four-pitch mix, as evidenced by the four walks he allowed in the spring. He didn’t have that command on Sunday, walking two batters in two innings, but his fastball ranged from 89-93, sitting mostly 91-92, with arm-side life. While he walked a couple guys, he very much kept his pitches out of the middle of the zone. His curveball has sharp, downer break, depth and the makings of being a plus offering at 77-80. His changeup had heavy run at 84.

+ After allowing two hits and a run in his first three batters faced, LHP Justin Wrobleski (Sequoyah HS, GA) settled in and struck out four straight at one point. Coming from a 3/4 slot, his fastball was 87-91. His slider had tilt at 80-81 and the changeup was a swing-and-miss pitch with hard fade in the low 80s. He is committed to Clemson.

+ Pitchers dominated the day, but a couple hitters did stand out. IF Kelvin Smith Jr. (Redan HS, GA), a Missouri recruit, showed quick hands and strength when he smoked a single to center field off a 90 mph fastball. OF Lawrence Butler (Westlake HS, GA) was probably the biggest offensive winner. A West Virginia recruit and left-handed hitter, he stayed back on a changeup and smoked a triple high off the batter’s eye in center field and then turned on a slider down and in for another triple to right-center field.

+ RHP Noah Bryant (Georgia Highlands JC) sent a hush over the crowd when he ran his fastball up to 97 and sat in the mid 90s with tailing life. He does struggle to spot his pitches, which is evident in his season stats. In 18.1 innings, he walked 23 and struck out 22.

+ SS/RHP Justin Evans hopped on the mound to close the day and was 89-94 with arm-side life. His changeup was 86 with fade and his slider was inconsistent, but flashed bite at 83-85.

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