Prep Baseball Report

2018 Top Underclass Games: Pitcher Analysis

Brandon Hall, Matt Payne, & Lee Miller
North Carolina Director of Scouting & PBR NC Scouts

Wednesday August 8th saw some of the Top Underclass players from across North Carolina converged on Jim Perry stadium on the campus of Campbell University.  The Top Underclass Games culminated PBR’s three days at Campbell and the talent on hand was impressive.

Close to 45 players took part in the day.  Position players ran through a full pro-style workout, running a laser timed 60, going through offensive testing, taking live BP, and working out defensively.  PBR was able to take statistics on each player throughout the workout. Video has been added to each player's profiles on PBR in the coming week.  Pitchers threw in live game situations, working two controlled innings, allowing hitters to get live at-bats.

Twelve of the top 2020 and 2021 pitchers were on hand, throwing two controlled innings vs hitters. With the August date of the Top Underclass Games, several arms may have been down a tick or two but their future potential was evident. Two arms touched 87 with several flashing advanced breaking balls. The group also featured a couple of potential dual pitcher/position player prospects. Below, the evaluations feature an in-depth look at each arm as well as their stats from the day. Their name will link back to their individual video from the Top Underclass Games.

PBR Top Underclass Games: By the Numbers
+ 44 Players worked out on the day… 39 took part as position players and 15 pitchers threw in live game action.
+ Top Underclass Games Record - Laser timed 60 of 6.48… Topped a record time of 6.52 recorded earlier in the day
+ 42 Players ran the 60.  4 ran under 7.00. Median time of 7.42.
+ 8 of 21 infielders had a positional velocity across the infield topping 80 mph
+ 7 of 15 outfielders posted a positional velocity of 80 mph or better
+ 5 of 9 catchers recorded workout pop times under 2.10
+ 15 hitters with an exit velocity of 85 mph or better… 9 above 88… 5 above 90 and the leader at 94.
+ Median fastball of 81 with two arms reaching 87 mph on the day.

CLICK HERE for a complete roster from the 2018 Top Underclass Games


CLICK HERE for a the complete statistical results from the Top Underclass Games.


2018 Top Underclass Games: Pitchers


Jacob Coffin LHP / OF / Apex , NC / 2021


Athletic presence at 5-foot-10, 145 pounds.  Good projection left as he continues to mature.  Left hander has a quick hand from a long arm action.  Loose through the delivery.  Occasional run on the fastball at 74-78.  Elevated a times with the fastball.  Breaking ball flashes depth at 61-65 with late 1/7 tilt.  High ceiling to spin as arm strength is continued to develop.  Slows the arm a bit on the straight change-up at 65, showing feel for the zone.  Average leg kick and stable head.  High front side after separation creates some uphill leverage.  Good rhythm, creates angle when on time.  Flat when elevated.  Lands on-line and square, working for at least average extension.

Marshall Witherell RHP / OF / South Point, NC / 2021

Average 5-foot-11, 155 pound frame.  Level and on-line, lands square with regular effort throughout the delivery.  Long arm swing to an over-the-top slot.  Average hand speed.  Good extension over the front side. Fastball ranged 69-74.  Breaking ball rolls with gradual tilt.  12/6 when on arm side.  Tends to bend to a 11/5 tilt when thrown to glove side.  Spin sat 61-63.  Erratic at times, showed feel for the zone in stretches. 

Offensively he works from the right side using a tall setup.  Short stride with some bat wrap during his load.  Gets his lower half through the ball with good balance.  Uses a more opposite field approach with his barrel working uphill through the zone.  Exit velocity recorded at 75 mph.  Athletically plays through balls in the outfield with fluid feet and above average hands.  Clean exchanges with a short arm action, throwing from an over the top slot. Accurate arm with some carry to his throws, topping at 78 mph.  Recorded a 7.84 in the 60-yard dash.

Tyler Blackburn RHP / OF / Grays Creek, NC / 2021

Average frame with projection left as he matures.  Stands 5-foot-9, 160 pounds.  Athleticism is present.  Feel for the zone with fastball and curveball.  Works to a coiled position at balance, closing is line slightly.  Level with some rhythm, lands square with the foot, across his line.  Long, loose arm swing, working behind the body line slightly.  Over-the-top release with better than average quickness in his hand.  Fastball at 76-81.  Straight, there is feel for location to the arm side.  Breaking ball is gradual with a hump out of the hand and 11/5 tilt at 64-66.  In the zone, spin comes from a loose wrist and will firm with better hand speed. 

Hits from the right side using an athletic setup.  Short stride with some bat wrap during his load. Barrel works level through the zone with average bat speed.  Fluid swing with a gap to gap approach.  Exit velocity recorded at 83 mph.  Athletically plays through balls in the outfield with quick, clean exchanges.  Long arm action, throwing from a high ¾ slot.  Arm peaked at 82 mph from the outfield with some accuracy to this throws.  Showed good hands at the plate in game barreling a couple balls for extra base hits. Recorded a 7.24 in the 60-yard dash.

Eli Culbreth RHP / 3B / Midway, NC / 2020


Lanky, athletic frame at 6-foot-3, 165 pounds.  Plenty of room to add strength as he matures.  High ceiling.  Heavy fastball has angle when in the down zone.  Ranged 81-85, touching 86.  Long, loose arm swing works through a slight stab but is on time to an over-the-top release.  Level with some rhythm.  High leg kick.  Slight tilt up in his hips out of balance.  Lands on-line and square.  Breaking ball is still maturing but has makings of an out-pitch.  At 66-70, it has differing shapes with downer 12/6 action, slight tilt at 11/5 and more sweeping 10/4 tilt.  When the hand maintains hand speed and he stays behind the pitch, the downer 12/6 has depth and is late creating swing and miss in zone as well as chase. 

Marlowe Iorio RHP / 1B / Chapel Hill, NC / 2020


Athletic with length in his limbs at 6-foot-3, 175 pounds.  Fastball touched 87, sitting 83-85.  Heavy, the fastball was around the zone creating some issues for hitters.  Breaking ball has hard, late slider shape at 70-73.  As depth continues to develop it is a potential out pitch.  Level, works to find a rhythm in the delivery.  High leg kick with some stiffness as the foot works outside the knee on the lift.  Counts on his athleticism to take over and repeat.  Some effort at release, working to be aggressive.  Long, loose arm swing to an over-the-top slot.  Head clears the line creating a bigger window for hitters.  Backside is very aggressive and hips fire through the pitch completely. 

Hits from the left side using an open setup.  Smooth load with a short stride.  Gets his lower half through the ball with good balance.  Fluid swing with above average bat speed.  Barrel works uphill with a pull type approach.  Shows ability to drive the ball during batting practice.  Exit velocity recorded at 88 mph.  Plays through balls on the infield with fluid feet and average hands.  Clean exchanges leading to a longer arm action.  Accurate arm across the diamond peaking at 80 mph.  Showed good game swing, with feel for his barrel and extension through the zone, driving the ball.  Recorded a 7.13 in the 60-yard dash.

Tyler Strickland RHP / 1B / Gray's Creek, NC / 2020

UNC Wilmington commit.  Impressive length and some physicality at 6-foot-6, 195 pounds.  Fastball was down a little in the late summer outing, from reports, but it is live and jumps on top of hitters late.  Created swing and miss in the zone, as well as when elevated, at 83-85, touching 86.  Breaking ball has a high future as it continues to develop.  Currently with gradual 10/4 action at 69-73.  The harder it was thrown, the tighter it became with depth and darting action.  Early when around the pitch.  At 71-73, spin created chase and got swing and miss in zone.  Stuff dipped a tick in the stretch across the board.  Works level to balance, with a coil, closing is line and showing the hitter his back.  Good looseness in hips.  Long arm swing to a high-3/4 slot with a quick hand through release.  Good extension.  Lands on-line and square.  Feel for each pitch is present.

Trent Hostetter RHP / 3B / Northern Guilford, NC / 2020


Average frame with some length in his limbs at 6-foot, 170 pounds.  Strike thrower pounded the down zone showing a feel for the fastball to both sides of the plate.  Occasional sink with better than average angle at 76-78.  Straight change-up works with some deception in the hand speed, touching 72.  The breaking ball rolls at times with gradual top to bottom tilt at 66-67.  Good feel for both off speed pitches.  Long arm swing works through a slight pause at the bottom of the arc.  High-3/4 release is clean and repeated.  Good extension.  Slight cross-fire, landing square with the toe.  Flooded the zone through his complete outing. 

Left handed hitter is open, using a leg kick and short stride to get back to even.  Waggle in the bat head through launch.  Rotational on backside, working for extension.  Average bat speed and barrel awareness.  Exit velocity of 80 mph.  On the infield, good bend in the hips and average hands.  Clean catches and easy transitions with active feet gaining ground.  Short arm swing and the ability to throw accurately from multiple angles.  76 mph across the diamond.  Ran a 7.52 sixty.

Gabe Zickefoose RHP / 3B / Southern Wake Academy , NC / 2020


Strong frame, standing 6-foot-2, 195 pounds.  Stretch only.  Fastball sitting 79-83, heavy and jumping on hitters.  Breaking ball is still maturing and working for consistency.  Sitting 71-73 spin shows signs of being sharp with downer action.  Pounded the zone with the fastball-curveball combination.  Level, fights for rhythm, with some effort throughout the delivery.  Ball is hidden through a long arm swing with a slight stab at the bottom of the arc.  Better than average hand speed and a high-3/4 release.  Slightly coiled at balance, lands on-line and square.

Balanced and open from the right side.  Bat rests on the shoulder using a slight leg kick to load the weight back slowly as the hands work to the launch position.  Short stride.  Aggressive back side.  Rotational, looking for extension with some uphill leverage.  High barrel awareness.  Better than average bat speed.  Strength over bat speed.  Exit velocity of 91 off the barrel.  Good approach in games with pop transitioning to live at-bats.  Active feet on defense with good hands, working to funnel the ball to the midsection.  Easy transfer with long feet and a medium arm swing to a high-3/4 slot.  Good carry and accuracy with a positional velocity of 82 mph across the diamond.  Ran a 7.49 sixty and a 4.50 home to first in live game action. 

Jesse Ashenfarb LHP / 1B / Cox Mill, NC / 2020


Average frame with length at 6-foot-1, 180 pounds.  Still maturing with room to add strength.  Located his fastball to arm side, creating swing and miss with sink.  Down zone, ranging 76-78 created twelve swing and misses on fastballs in, or around the zone.  Breaking ball is early, flashing occasional sharp 1/7 tilt at 65-66.  Some feel for spin, but a pitch still in development.  Stretch only with an average leg lift and stable head.  Deception with the arm swing, hiding the ball behind the body line.  Some scapular load in the arm swing to a high-3/4 slot.  Average hand speed.  Lands on-line and square.  Lacks extension at times. 

Landon Miller RHP / OF / North Iredell, NC / 2020


Average frame.  Thin, standing 5-foot-11, 130 pounds.  Slow over the rubber with a stable head.  Syncs his rhythm working level, on-line and landing square.  Good balance throughout with a firm front side at foot strike.  Early run out of the hand at 69-73.  Attacked the strike zone.  Gradual 11/5 break on the breaking ball at 66-67.  Flooded the zone with a fastball-curveball mix.  Long, loose arm action to a high-3/4 slot.  Should continue to improve arm strength with increased strength levels.  Decent feel for his body. 

Right handed hitter is tall and narrow with his hands set by his ear.  Short stride as the hands settle around the shoulder level.  Average bat speed sweeping through the zone.  Flat, works to stay gap to gap with average barrel awareness.  Exit velocity of 74 mph off the bat.  Outfielder is cautious through the ball, working to secure off the left foot with an easy transition at the belt.  Long feet to load the body.  Long arm swing to an over-the-top slot.  Accurate at 74 mph from the position with some carry.  Timed sixty of 7.97.

Cyle Phelan LHP / OF / Fuquay Varina, NC / 2021


Broad shoulders and a strong lower half.  Stands 6-foot, 190 pounds.  Athletic with strength and quickness throughout his game.  Dual potential as a prospect.  Stretch only.  Fastball up to 87, sitting 83-96 with heavy life.  Pounded the down zone with angle.  Smooth and stable over the rubber.  Long, loose arm swing to a high-3/4 slot with good extension.  Ball jumps out of the hand.  Average kick, loading the front hip with a slight turn.  Front side swings to the foot strike with good direction, on-line, and square.  Change-up occasionally cut working with deception out of the hand speed.  Typically straight at 75-78 with feel for the arm side.  Big, power breaking ball with downer action at 63-65.  Good feel for locating and expanding with spin.  Does not tunnel with fastball but depth and tilt provides issues for hitters. 

Power potential from the left side in the box.  Tall and balanced with a vertical bat.  Uses a small leg kick and some lag in the bat head to load.  Average stride with a strong, aggressive back side.  Rotational, works for extension with some uphill leverage.  Pop when on the barrel with a pull emphasis.  Exit velocity of 90 mph off the bat.  Arm played with ease in the outfield.  Long and loose, showed good feel for accurate throws at 86 mph out of the hand.  Athletic through the ball.  Easy transitions.  Ran a 7.34 sixty.

Caleb Cross RHP / 3B / Southern Lee, NC / 2020


Athletic frame with length in the limbs, standing 6-foot-1, 160 pounds.  Still maturing with plenty of room to add strength.   Strike thrower on the bump.  Fastball worked 78-81 with some feel for both sides of the plate.  Breaking ball has short, late action at 66-68.  Slight hump out of the hand producing 11/5 tilt.  Good mix of fastball-curveball.  Some rhythm working to a slightly closed position at balance, sinking into his back side and remaining stable over the rubber.  Long arm stroke to an over-the-top slot.  Quick hand.  Lands slightly open on his line.  Average extension through the pitch. 

Open and balanced, uses a leg kick to load.  Waggle in the bat, settling to a slightly vertical position.  Aggressive stride.  Direct path with better than average bat speed and barrel awareness when staying gap-to-gap.  Some strength to the opposite field.  Exit velocity peaked at 84 mph off the bat.  On the infield tends to catch the ball off the inside right hip, deep in his stance at times.  Funnels to the midsection.  Long feet through the transition with a medium to long arm swing and high-3/4 slot.  81 mph across the infield.  In the outfield, athletic through the ball with an easy transition to a medium arm swing, loading the scapular.  Over-the-top slot with carry and accuracy at 84 mph out of the hand.  Decent athlete, ran a 7.24 laser timed sixty.