Prep Baseball Report

NC Preseason All-State: Quick Hitters from the Pitchers

Brandon Hall
North Carolina Director of Scouting

One hundred of the top players from across North Carolina converged on Pineville, NC and the On Deck Academy to take part in the PBR Preseason All-State event.  In its third year, the Preseason All-State event has become one of the premier events in North Carolina for high caliber high school players. 

The day began in the morning with pitchers throwing controlled bullpens in front of college coaches, pro scouts, and the PBR Scouting Staff.  PBR was able to collect notes on each pitcher, as well as velocities and video.  At the same time, the catchers were beginning their workout with their receiving skills on exhibit. 

After the bullpens, position players began to move through their defensive workouts.  Catchers were outside on a full sized infield, throwing pop times to second base.  PBR collected video from several vantage points, as well as getting pop times and a positional velocity from the back stops. 

Infielders were next, on the outdoor infield, working out from shortstop or first base.  Each position player took multiple ground balls with scouts and evaluators noting their hands, feet, arm action, carry, and accuracy.  PBR staff also took down a positional velocity for the infielders.

Outfielders worked out in a controlled environment that allowed evaluators to see their approach to and through the baseball as well as their transition to a throw.  Throws were evaluated on a radar gun as well as for accuracy.

As position player completed their defensive workout, they worked through a series of stations, getting upwards of 150 swings on the day.  An exit velocity station took data from each hitter, working off a tee.  In the main offensive room, players worked through three rounds of BP in front of college coaches, pro scouts, and PBR scouts.  Video was collected of each hitter and will be posted soon.

Billed as one of the top events in the state, with an incredible roster put together the day did not disappoint.  Personal records, as well as event records were shattered throughout the day.  For the uncommitted seniors in attendance, the event provides good ammunition to fire at college coaches just before the spring season begins.  For the underclass, they were able to connect with college coaches as well as throw their hat in  the ring for future invite only events such as the Super 60, PBR Future Games, and Top Prospect Games.

CLICK HERE to see the full roster from the workout, along with the statistics compiled.

Below are some notes on several pitchers from Sunday.  While after one day it is way to early to digest all of the information, these quick hitters made some noise with their performances.  More information will be released within the week as PBR continues to cover the state of North Carolina.

By the Numbers:

+ The event soldout in record time, over 20 days prior to the event
+ 95 of the 100 registrants showed up for the workout
+ 26 players in the Senior Class
+ 48 players in the Junior Class
+ 80 players ran a timed 30 yard dash.  Median time of 4.08 with 31 players running a 3.90 or better
+ 44 players worked out on the infield
+ 78 mph was median velocity of infielder’s positional throws.  12 players clocked 81 or higher
+ 28 players worked out in the outfield
+ 86 mph was the median positional throw from the outfield with 2 players above 90 mph.
+ 18 catchers workout behind the dish with 6 players recording a positional velocity of 76 mph or higher
+ 2.08 – 2.18 was the median Pop Time range for catchers
+ 9 catchers registered a best pop time of under 2.10 in the workout format
+ 35 pitchers worked out in the bullpen format
+ 83 mph was the median of the max fastballs from each pitcher
+ 13 arms touched 85 or better with one arm reaching 90 mph

Quick Hitters - Pitchers

+ Seth Keener (RHP, East Surry HS, 2020) set off a lot of bells and cell phones as he began to throw.  With loose hips and a whippy arm, he reeled off pitch after pitch at 88-89, while bumping 90 several times.  With video getting out to Twitter during the bullpen, several PBR staff members began taking texts and phone calls from D1 coaches watching on-line.

+ If Keener set the tone, 6-foot-3, 160 pound lefty Daniel Brown (LHP, Broughton HS, 2020) made sure that all those in attendance, and those watching on-line, stayed locked-in.  Brown’s build catches the eye and then an ultra quick arm and low slot produced 85 with ease.  The comment from several scouts in attendance was simply, hitters will not want any part of that…

+ Two uncommitted 2019s threw well early in the event and profile as different types of pitchers down the line.  Reid Dittner (RHP, Apex Friendship, 2019) has a thick lower half and creates power with the frame.  The arm works through some effort, but when on time baseball comes out heavy, peaking at 87.  His breaking ball shows promise with good spin, while erratic at times in the January bullpen. 
Penn Sealey (RHP, Broughton HS, 2019) uses a thin, lanky stature to flood the zone with his fastball.  The arm has some whip and it is easy to dream on adding strength to the body.  Sealey touched 85 with more coming as he continues to get ready for the spring.

+ One of the bigger surprise on the mounds was 2019 Zack Michael (OF/LHP, Apex HS).  At this event last year, the outfielder showed premium arm strength touching 91 in defensive drills in the outfield.  He has now been working as a pitcher for one month and the quick arm seems to translate.  As with most making the switch, command will have to develop, but the fastball was heavy reaching 86.

+ Jacob Carter (RHP, Crest HS, 2019) was impressive in his bullpen.  Uncommitted, the righty was up to 84 with looseness.  A lanky, high waisted frame includes long levers.  Carter was down for part of the 2018 year, but seems to be back and working to be stronger.  The projection, along with feel for a tight breaking ball will make him a good pick up for someone this spring.

+ A good event can provide a lot of opportunity and no one exemplifies that more than Andrei Beal (RHP/OF, Parkwood HS, 2020).  Beal was impressive at this event last year, earning an invite to Team Carolina and the PBR Future Games.  Beal was back at it, up to 86 from an over-the-top slot that may create some deception. 

+ A name to watch this spring, as he becomes more and more comfortable on the mound is Zane Taylor (OF/RHP, Pro5 Academy, 2020).  Taylor showed premium arm strength again as he is prepping for his spring season that begins in late February.

+ Rhett Lowder (RHP, North Stanly HS, 2020) has been on the radar since a good outing at the 2018 State Games of NC.  Up to 86 with some ease in his delivery, there is a lot to like about his future potential.

+ Corey Avant (OF/RHP, Sun Valley HS, 2020) and Jackson Kirkpatrick (RHP, McMichael HS, 2020) simply keep growing… Each looked bigger and taller than the last time we saw them and for some that can me an adjustment period early in the year.  While they may be going through that adjustment, each still showed arm strength with a higher ceiling.

+ From the underclass, Cyle Phelan (LHP, Fuquay-Varina HS, 2021) and Carson Starnes (RHP, Parkwood HS, 2021) will each be followed closely.  Phelan threw a pen the day prior so he eased into his outing, only letting a couple loose and still touching 85 from a powerful build.  Starnes uses a quick twitch, up tempo delivery to get a quick arm moving.  Starnes was up to 84 with plenty more to come.

+ Michael Gracer (3B/RHP, Northwest Cabarrus HS, 2021) may be one of the top hitters in his class, but he has a chance on the bump as well.  Up to 81 from an over-the-top slot, there is arm speed.  The breaking ball has tight tilt and should continue to develop.

+ Grant Sutton (SS/RHP, Hough HS, 2021) worked easy, fluid, and with a strong arm action.  As the body continues to develop he should be ready to make quick gains.

+ The final bullpen of the day saw a strike thrower fill it up, with projection left in a thin build.  Matt Poole (RHP, Corinth Holders HS, 2021) was up to 80 in a frame that will add a lot of strength.  The arm wrapped behind the body slightly, but there is some arm speed at release.