Trackman Traits - Pitching: 2023 RHP Nick Sulpizio (Bishop Eustace)


Zach Guth
Advanced Scout

Welcome back to Trackman Traits. In this piece we will be dissecting the numbers the Trackman produces and the effect they can have on a pitcher's approach. Below there will be definitions of each category that we believe to be the most important for a young arm to keep in mind as well as breaking down an arm and giving suggestions on how they can improve their game. Keep in mind, in some categories it is better to be further away from average even if the numbers are wavering on below average. 

FASTBALL VELOCITY

Fastball velocity doesn't go much deeper than just looking at the numbers and comparing them to the graphic below! Fastball velocity complements just about all of the other metrics that are measured. If you throw hard, it makes all your other pitches/metrics even better.

FASTBALL SPIN RATE

Spin rate is a measurement that if you are below average or above average, you can pitch with more room for error. On the other hand, if you are average you should try to throw in the bottom half of the zone with exceptional command. High spin fastballs profile as one that is frequently described as having "late life". Low spin fastballs tend to profile as a fastball that has heavy feel to it. Pitch movement is still dependent on spin direction of the pitch but Trackman does not have that metric displayed on profiles. 


BAUER UNITS

Bauer Units are an easier way of determining how useful the spin numbers are compared to the velocity. We can calculate this metric by taking average spin rate and dividing it by average velocity. Bauer Units are useful because we can have a case of two pitchers with the same spin numbers, ex. 2200 RPM, but one pitcher throws 90 MPH and the other throws 83 MPH. The pitcher throwing 90 MPH with 2200 spin is not as impressive as the pitcher throwing 83 MPH with the same spin. Typically, we would tell the harder throwing pitcher to throw up in the zone purely off his velocity and his high spin, but because his Bauer Units would equate to around 24 that would be only 1 unit off of average (23), therefore he would want to hammer the bottom of the zone. On the other side, the pitcher throwing 83 MPH has a Bauer Unit measurement of 26 which is incredibly impressive. This would allow him to throw up in the zone even though his velocity is not blow away type numbers because he produces above average spin with that slated velocity. 

FASTBALL INDUCED VERTICAL BREAK

As far as deception and importance goes, fast induced vertical break (IVB) may be the most important. Induced vertical break is not what is sounds. IVB simply means the pitch is "breaking" upward from the average level a pitch falls from release to home plate. This is a stat that you want to stay away from being average at. Fortunately, this can be tweaked slightly depending on release height. To put it simply, the higher number =  more "rise" the pitch has compared to average. Lower number = more depth the pitch has to it. 

VERTICAL APPROACH ANGLE

Vertical Approach Angle (VAA) is essentially how steep or shallow the ball is entering the strike zone. The average entry into the zone is around -5.5 degrees for the Division 1 college level. Anything below or above that number is considered an outlier and would be ideal because it is not what the hitter is used to seeing. A VAA of -4.5 degrees would be considered a shallow entry, this, with some other variables mixed in (IVB, velocity, release height), allow for success up in the zone due to the "ride" or even sometimes "rising" effect. A VAA of -6 degrees would be considered a steep entry. This is the type of ball that has a lot of success in the bottom of the zone (including the same variables mentioned previously) because it feels like the pitcher is throwing it off Mt Everest. With the perfect combination of low IVB and high release it could be a very steep entry that would be hard to hit. 


Nick Sulpizio

Class of 2023 / RHP

Player Information

  • Graduating Class: 2023
  • Primary Position: RHP
    Secondary Position: SS
  • High School: Bishop Eustace
    State: NJ
  • Summer Team: Scanzano Sports
  • Height: 6-1
    Weight: 185lbs
  • Bat/Throw: R/R

Scouting Report

7/05/20

 

 6-foot, 165-pound lanky frame. During the event, clocked a 60 time of 7.33. Starts in a tall open stance with a smooth controlled load, then uses a small leg kick to initiate his swing. Bat speed was raw, had uphill loose swing plane and high finish. He found a couple of barrels through his round. Line drive approach. Exit velocity registered 91 mph. Smooth showed his live arm in the infield with position velocities up to 85 mph; had a quick fluid exchange, athletic footwork and twitchy soft hands. Consistent accuracy to the bag, used a loose arm action with a high ¾ slot. Projectable on the mound, had a high ¾ arm angle and a loose arm action with quick arm speed. Shows easy effort in his delivery. Tall balance point with uphill shoulders. Lands open with an athletic finish. Threw his fastball 80-83 mph and topped out at 83 mph; showed arm side control and running action. Shows tight action and glove side command on his 11/5 slider (69-72). His changeup (75-77) showed fading action and arm side control.

 

2/16/20

 

6-foot, 165-pound lean frame. In the box, the right-handed hitter had a max exit velocity of 74 mph. Began in an open stance with a smooth load, then used a leg kick before his swing. Showed an uphill swing plane. In the infield, had a live arm with throws that topped out at 85 mph; has soft hands and smooth footwork. Used a high-3/4 slot. In the 60-yard dash, he clocked a time of 7.62. On the mound, he showed a high-3/4 angle and a long, easy arm action. He is a tall-and-fall type pitcher. Has uphill shoulders with a tall balance point off the mound. His fastball came in at 80-83 mph with some armside life. Has feel of a 11/5 curveball at 70-71 for strikes. His changeup (73-74) has fading action to the armside. Interesting prospect to follow. High-ceiling on the mound.

 

12/28/19

 

6-foot, 165-pound right-handed hitter starts from a wide, slightly closed stance and initiates his swing with a lift-and-replace stride. Displayed a short, line drive oriented swing path. Registered a bat exit velocity of 80 mph and ran a 7.64 60-yard dash. Flashed easy 79 mph arm strength across the diamond defensively and sat 79-81 off the mound from a high 3/4 arm slot. Also commanded a curveball at 67-69 with occasional tight 11/5 rotation and a changeup at 70-72 with good arm speed.

 


Videos

(2/15/21)

Fastball Breakdown

Velocity: Sulpizio is super intriguing. He throws with a funky windup and the ball couldn't come out any easier. He is topping out at 88 MPH as a 2023 arm with ease in the mechanics, this typically means there is some more velo coming in the future. With Sulpizio coming in at 88 MPH he is in the top 10% of HS arms as a sophomore. 

Spin Rate: Sulpizio also spins it fairly well too. With a max spin of 2258 RPM and an average of 2075 RPM he finds himself in the top 10% for his max and under the top 25% for his average. Ideally, Nick would want to tap into the high spin fastball and take his fastball profile to the next level. Spin gives the fastball potential, and Sulpizio has incredible potential for his fastball to be a next level swing and miss pitch. 

 Bauer Units: Bauer Units give us a good idea of the "expected" spin Chanley produces for the velocity he is throwing. With a Bauer Unit measurement of 26, Sulpizio's spin is a couple ticks above where a typical 87 MPH fastball should be. This just means that he is producing more spin than an average fastball of this velocity should be. Again, this measurement is not something that you want to be super concerned with. It is more valuable just to gauge you spin relative to your velocity. 

Induced Vertical Break: Sulpizio finds himself in the top 50% for induced vertical break on his fastball among all HS arms. What we know from the relationship of spin and vertical break is that when there is high spin, the vertical break does not always have to follow along. This could be from a number of things but to keep it simple, it could just be from a release that isn't as clean as it could be. Nick could just be wrapping a little on his fastball or could be pronating a lot on it, causing the spin to aid in horizontal break more than vertical. There is a ton of potential for Sulpizio and his fastball, more because of the raw velocity than anything else. If he can tap into his high and true spin on his fastball he could have a high IVB fastball. He releases around 6 feet which is about average but they way he gets over his front side gives him more downhill feel on his fastball than anything else. 

Vertical Approach Angle: Sulpizio maintains a VAA that floats just between -5.8 and -6.5 degrees. This would qualify his fastball as a steep entry type heater. This means Sulpizio will have more success in he bottom of the zone with his low IVB and high VAA. Overall, Sulpizio has the potential to be a high IVB, top of the zone arm but right now the way he is throwing, he will find way more success in the bottom of the zone. High velo, high VAA and low IVB all equate out to a bottom of the zone, bowling ball fastball. 


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