Prep Baseball Report

A Statistical Look: The 2020 NC Arms at the 2019 SABB

Brandon Hall
Executive Director, PBR NC

The weekend of September 27 – 29 saw some of North Carolina’s top talent converge on Ting Stadium in Holly Springs, NC for the South Atlantic Border Battle (SABB).  The Border Battle features players from up and down the eastern seaboard, allowing players to play for MLB area scouts, representing Major League Clubs.  Players are assigned to teams by area, for the most part, with several North Carolina players playing for different areas that needed to continue to fill out their roster. 

Prep Baseball Report was on hand for all three days.  The first night featured underclass players in the 2022 and 2023 graduate years, facing off in a controlled scrimmage after an elongated batting practice and infield/outfield segment.  On Saturday and Sunday, players from the 2020 and 2021 classes were featured.  For these players, again they took an elongated BP, followed by an infield/outfield workout.  The position players also had the chance to run a timed 60 yard dash.  Each of these teams played two controlled scrimmages, one each day.

Below we begin to breakdown the South Atlantic Border Battle with a look at North Carolina pitchers in the 2020 class from the event.  Most of these arms threw two innings.  PBR was able to put evaluations on each arm including statistics on velocity and spin rates of each pitch.  The spin rate data was gathered from the new Stalker Pro SII radar gun and stalker has verified their spin rates with TrackMan data.


Statistical Analysis: 2020 North Carolina Pitchers at the SABB


Top Fastball Velocities

Each arm threw live to hitters in controlled innings that the MLB Scouts managing the teams would roll after 5-6 hitters.  This allowed scouts to get a full look at each arm while limiting some of the stress on the pitchers throwing. 

Cannon Pickell (RHP, Currituck County HS) led all NC arms, sitting 89-92.  Pickell, a North Carolina commit, has a physical frame and clean arm action.  The velocity is loud and can jump on hitters.  Four NC arms touched 90 with all eleven 2020 grads working at 87 mph or higher.  Below are the top five velocities from the 2019 SABB

Name Pos HT WT HS Commitment Max FB FB
Cannon Pickell RHP 6'2 215 Currituck North Carolina 92 89-92
David Keith RHP 6'1 180 Fuquay-Varina High Point 91 87-89, 91
Hayden Summers RHP/SS 5'11 177 Northwest Guilford North Carolina 91 87-91
Gus Hughes RHP 6'0 190 Grimsley Charlotte 90 87-90
Rhett Lowder RHP 6'3 165 North Stanly Wake Forest 89 87-89


Fastball Spin Rates

The new radar gun will allow PBR to track and follow spin rates of pitchers.  While we have a pure spin rate, it does not necessarily best or worst spin rate.  A high spin rate can create swing and miss from hitters as the ball seems to “jump” on them.  A low spin rate can create sink, affecting the ability of hitters to drive the baseball.  Some spin rates can vary based on the pitches’ spin efficiency, or the how much of the spin rate is actually affecting the baseball.  The new radar gives us the overall spin rate but not a spin direction or spin efficiency.  For this, PBR will continue to its scouts to describe what a pitches affect is as it reaches the hitting zone.  Below we take a look at the highest 3 spin rates on the fastballs, and the lowest 3 spin rates featured by NC 2020 arms.

Low Spin Rate Leaders

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