Top Prospect Games: Team Royal Pitcher Analysis



By Chris Fuller
Kentucky Scouting Director

The PBR Kentucky Top Prospect Games took place June 16-17 at Western Kentucky University and afforded close to 120 players from around the state the opportunity to showcase their abilities to the PBR Kentucky staff and many college coaches in attendance. The following is a look at the pitchers from Team Royal. This is pitcher analysis only. Those pitchers who also played a position at the event will have that evaluation featured in a subsequent article.

Trip Lockhart, RHP/SS, Lexington Catholic HS, 2017
6-foot-2, 165-pound RHP with lanky frame that projects well, quick arm works through a ¾ to high-3/4 slot with regular effort, stays online and lands square, showed expected jump in velocity as fastball sat 83-86 mph topping at 88, fastball shows some arm-side run, showed a curveball and slider in warm-ups but stuck with the slider in live action, slider sat 74-75 mph with sharp/late break and has big potential, threw one changeup at 77 mph with good arm action, pounds the zone, allowed an infield single, no walks, and struck out two swinging (one on FB and one on SL) in his two innings of work, one of the top arms in Kentucky’s 2017 class.

Brian O’Neil, RHP, St. Xavier HS, 2016
6-foot-4, 180-pound RHP with ideal pitcher’s frame that projects well, uses long arm action through a high-3/4 slot, arm shows some quickness with regular effort, fastball sat 81-84 mph mostly straight, shows good confidence in his 68-71 mph curveball that has good depth and sharp 11/5 action, stuck with the fastball/curveball mix in game action, throws strikes with both pitches consistently, allowed one hit, no walks, and struck out three (two swinging on curveballs) in his two innings of work, projectable arm has shown significant velocity gains.

Dalton Shoemake, LHP, Glasgow HS, 2017
5-foot-11, 175-pound LHP uses long arm action and works through a high-3/4 slot, commands all pitches well and hits spots effectively, minimal effort in delivery, fastball sat 79-80 mph topping at 81, two-seam fastball shows some arm-side run, has excellent feel for 67-68 mph curveball with 1/7 action and some depth, allowed no hits, no walks, and struck out four (3 on FB’s and one on CB) in his two innings of work, have seen Shoemake up to 84, and his pitchability makes him one of the top lefties in Kentucky’s 2017 class.

Nolan Johnson, LHP, Daviess County HS, 2017
6-foot, 160-pound lanky LHP works through a high-3/4 arm slot with regular effort, good rhythm in delivery and repeats it well, fastball sat 77-79 mph topping at 80, works the bottom of the zone well, 61-65 mph curveball has solid 1/7 action with some depth, showed a 74 mph changeup thrown with good arm action, throws strikes with all pitches, allowed two hits, no walks, and struck out three (2 on FB and one swinging on CB) in his two innings of work, continues to show velocity gains with good pitchability.

Steven Bender, OF/RHP, Lexington Catholic HS, 2017
6-foot, 160-pound lanky RHP uses long arm action through a high-3/4 arm slot, regular effort in delivery, fastball sat 81-82 mph with occasional arm-side run and sink, throws a 68-70 mph curveball with solid 11/5 action and good depth, good arm action on 74 mph changeup that mirrors the action of the fastball, saw slightly better velocity from Bender in the spring when he was up to 85 mph, throws strikes with all pitches, allowed two hits with no walks in his inning of work.

Brenden Lewis, RHP, Hancock County HS, 2017
6-foot-1, 160-pound RHP with slender frame, uses long arm action through a high-3/4 slot, regular effort and stays tall on the mound, fastball sat 80-81 mph topping at 82 with occasional arm-side run, throws a 66-68 mph curveball with 12/6 action for consistent strikes, did not show a changeup in his outing, allowed one hit and no walks in his two innings of work, should be watched for potential velocity gains in the near future.

Brian Baxa, RHP/1B, Danville HS, 2017
6-foot-2, 205-pound RHP uses long arm action and works through a high-3/4 arm slot, has some effort in delivery, works quickly, showed similar velocity as in previous events, fastball sat 81-83 mph with some downward tilt, showed a 71-72 mph curveball with some sharpness and 11/5 action, struggled some with command in his outing walking two and striking out one (swinging on CB) in his two innings of work on the mound.

Austin Brinkman, C/RHP, Russell Hs, 2017
5-foot-11, 170-pound RHP uses long arm action through an over the top slot, fastball shows some cutting action and sat 75-77 mph, showed a 65-68 mph curveball that he consistently got around leaving it flat and up, walked the lead off batter, gave up one hit, and struck out two (both on fastballs) in his one inning of work.

Tanner Maple, 1B/RHP, Greenwood HS, 2016
5-foot-11, 180-pound RHP uses medium arm action and works through a ¾ slot, fastball sat 73-75 mph topping at 77 and shows occasional arm-side run, showed a curveball that varied between 60-65 mph with sweeping action, struggled some with command in his inning of work, retired the first two hitters and then walked four and gave up two hits before the inning was rolled.