College Crosscheck: Week 14
May 22, 2019
After a brief look at a talented Division II power armed righty from Michigan, I traveled to Louisville to catch the Cardinals against Florida State (35-20, 17-13). This ACC matchup was Mike Martin’s, college baseball’s winningest coach with 2022 career wins, final regular season games. It was an offensive series with 43 total runs scored as Louisville (43-13, 21-9) won the series and clinched the No. 1 seed at this week’s ACC Tournament. As for tools and talent, here’s what I saw…
Nick Bennett, LHP, Louisville- Physical lefty with a stiff delivery and open, off-balance landing. Muscles the ball to the plate to produce velocity. Despite the mechanical roughness, Bennett repeated his delivery for the first two innings and consistently released his pitches out front from a high three-quarter slot. Mixed his pitches to a variety of locations. Fastball sat 90-92 mph, topping at 93. Spotted the pitch down in zone and to both sides of the plate. Stayed on top and released out front his near average 74-77 mph curveball. Also, mixed in a fringe changeup at 83-86 mph. However, the third inning was a different story as Bennett started to miss spots, hit bats and was knocked from the game (2.1 IP, 9 H, 6 ER, 1BB, 2 SO). Overall, Bennett’s delivery is likely to remain inconsistent going forward just as it was on this look. He profiles as a reliever in professional baseball and will likely be selected during the middle-to-later rounds on Day Two this June. For video and a full draft report with future tool and round range projection, please visit Draft HQ and click on the Draft Reports tab.
Hunter Brown, RHP, Wayne State (Mich,)- Two inning look at the top Division II draft prospect in 2019. Durable build at 6-foot-2, 205 pounds. Sets up on the first base side of the rubber. Lands cross-body. Average arm action with a small cup and hook in back. Arm drags due to lower half rush, causing an inconsistent release point and resulting in more control than command. Blocks well, throwing against a strong front lower half. Loose and real quick arm out front from high three-quarter slot. Showed the ability to expand away with his fastball and ran it up to 98 mph, sitting mostly 94-97. Was very true with more down angle than wiggle. Played down a grade or more due to fair deception, lack of life and consistently staying away from hitters with his fastball. Effectiveness of fastball will be greatly increased when he develops the ability to pitch inside. Slider flashed above average at 85-87 with more sweep than depth. Threw it with confidence and in any count. Firm changeup to left-handed hitters at 88-90 with armside fade. Showed feel and will likely develop into a near average pitch in the future as he takes a few more mph off the pitch with pro instruction and reps. With a couple small adjustments and simply more experience, Brown could develop starter-type command and slot into the middle of a MLB rotation. If not, the back end of the pen where he can blow-and-go for an inning at a time is an obvious alternative. For the season Brown has 114 strikeouts vs 39 walks in 85 IP. He’s likely a late Day One to early Day Two selection this June. For video and a full draft report with future tool and round range projection, please visit Draft HQ and click on the Draft Reports tab.
Tyler Fitzgerald, SS, Louisville- At 6-foot-3, 205 pounds Fitzgerald is a plus athlete with strong tools across the board. He has improved his batting average, power production and plate discipline each year at Louisville. Although we previously saw him in the Cape last summer and last spring against North Carolina, he did not see action during the Florida State series. He was available for the weekend series, but not used, due to a hand contusion suffered after being hit by a pitch on Tuesday at Indiana. Fitzgerald currently leads the Cardinals with a .338 batting average and 15 stolen bases while fielding .959 in 53 games at shortstop. He’s projects to be an early round pick on Day Two.
Drew Mendoza, 3B, Florida State- Strong and trim at 6-foot-5, 230 pounds, Mendoza looks the part of big leaguer right now. From the left side he set up deep in the box with a slightly open stance. Rocked into his backside then took a leg lift load for good rhythm. Maintains good balance and created fair separation. His bat head became a little stagnant and swing less efficient with timing issues between bat tilt and foot settling. Good bat lag, got on-plane well with longer swing, good bat strength and slider bat speed. Stays behind the ball well and gets maximum extension through it. Plus to better raw power. Profiles for power over hit ability due to the swing/miss in his game. Average arm with fringe range at the hot corner. Fringe defender who will need to work hard to stay there or risk moving across the diamond to first base. Near average runner underway, as seen during his triple to right center field during Friday’s game. Once considered a potential first-rounder out of high school, Mendoza is now a likely late pick on Day One or early Day Two. For video and a full draft report with future tool and round range projection, please visit Draft HQ and click on the Draft Reports tab.
Logan Wyatt, 1B, Louisville- Athletic for his size at 6-foot-4, 230 pounds, Wyatt has a simple swing from the left side. Sets up tall in the back of the box with the bat resting on his back shoulder. Took a longer stride with a small hand load. Created fair separation. The timing of his load and stride were not in sync, causing the bat to become stagnant and lose some efficiency. Swing lacked barrel whip due to his bat angle and reduced his bat speed. Maintained a level head with good balance throughout. Very quiet in the box, stays back nicely and gets slotted well. Hit against a firm front side and finished high with good extension. Very selective approach evidenced by both his current season (23.7%) and career (21.9%) walk rates. While his swing produces plus raw power in batting practice, getting to that power is a work-in-progress. A low ISO, both this season (.206) and for his career (.188) are concerning for a prospect who plays a position which demands power production. Comparables to Wyatt’s offensive analytics are hard to find. However, one recent example of an early round college first baseman with a near .200 ISO and many more walks than strikeouts during his college career is Pavin Smith (Virginia, 1st round to Arizona in 2017). With just 15 home runs in 770 career minor league at-bats and a .132 ISO (including one full season in the hitter friendly California League), Smith has struggled so far in pro ball to get to his raw power. Wyatt moves well for someone his size, showing an athletic stride, but is a below average runner underway and well below down the line due to a long backswing finish. Defensively, he projects to be at least average at first base with sure hands and an average arm. For video and a full draft report with future tool and round range projection, please visit Draft HQ and click on the Draft Reports tab.
PBR/D1 Baseball On The Road
Kyle Brnovich, RHP, Elon- Broad shoulders with an athletic frame at 6-foot-2, 190 pounds. Simple delivery with an average leg kick to the low-chest, landing on-line and square. Average extension. Fastball ranged 87-91, holding his velocity through 5 innings of work. Velocity was consistent in the stretch as well. Straight, works to halves with average feel for location. Does have the ability to finish hitters in with the fastball. Lacked any type of movement. Slider allows fastball to play up. Hitters have to respect and expect the slider to have a chance. Everything works off the slider, thrown with a unique grip. Slider is hard and late, looking like a fastball until it explodes across the zone or down, with depth, through the zone. Slider ranged 81-85, sitting 82-83. Has the ability to create the movement he wants based on the hitter. Swings and misses on the slider in the zone and out of the zone. Leans on the slider to finish hitters and when runners are in scoring position. Change-up comes out of the hand with some stiffness at 79-82. Some deception in the hand speed. Change has fade and created some swing and miss out of the zone to left handed hitters only. Good feel for the game, controlling the short game and run game in the start. 1.25 to home on fastballs with runners on 1B. Profiles as a bullpen arm with an out pitch in the slider. Fastball may play better out of the bullpen, but Brnovich advances as far as the slider takes him. (B Hall) For video and a full draft report with future tool and round range projection, please visit Draft HQ and click on the Draft Reports tab.
Logan Davidson, SS, Clemson- High waisted, lean infielder with good present athleticism. Not a burner, but runs well when he gets underway. Rangy SS with advanced feel for the position. Soft hands and smooth footwork around the bag are paired with a strong arm capable of making throws from any position on the left side of the infield. (Made a backhand play from deep in the 6 hole in game 1 of the Wake Forest series) Switch hitter has a controlled approach at the plate with a soft stride and quiet load. Worked himself into multiple advantage counts during this game and showed a consistent understanding of the strike zone. Moderate raw power is present and will continue to develop with maturation. Competes with a calm and controlled savvy. (Tisdale) For video and a full draft report with future tool and round range projection, please visit Draft HQ and click on the Draft Reports tab.
Kody Hoese, 3B, Tulane- Long, wiry corner infielder with wide, broad shoulders. Plenty of room to add strength and size to frame. Hits from balanced, stacked setup. Athletic in the box with a nice and easy set up. Smooth load with short, simple stride creating good separation. Aggressive swing. Takes a hack and doesn’t get cheated at the plate. Good bat speed with present above average power and more to come as he adds strength. Barrel stays in the zone a long time, creating exceptional extension into high finish. Average defender on the corner, hands and feet work, flashes some range and athleticism. Long, loose arm stroke, throws from different angles with average arm strength across. His ability to hit for both average and power in the future will likely lead to a call on Day One of the draft. Projects as a future everyday ML corner infielder with middle of the order potential. (Sofio) For video and a full draft report with future tool and round range projection, please visit Draft HQ and click on the Draft Reports tab.
Greg Jones, SS, UNC Wilmington- Six-foot-2, 190 pounds. Lean, athletic frame that will continue to add strength. Biggest tool is the athleticism. Quickness shows up consistently on defense, offense, and on the bases. Switch hitter has a similar setup from both the left and right side, balanced, quiet, and with a flat bat head at launch. Limited pre-pitch rhythm. Leg kick loads the body. Medium to aggressive stride. Heavy on the front side with head drifting at times. Lacks load in the hands. Ultra-quick hands. Elite bat speed with average feel for the barrel, working to be direct and flat through contact. Hand speed and hand strength lead to extra base hits. Potentially more power from right side. Better contact rate from left side. Still raw on the bases with reads, but his speed still allows for success. Very quick acceleration and easy effort out of the box and going 1st to 3rd. Gains exceptional ground with every stride. Defensively made all the plays at shortstop. Hands are soft but tend to stop at the catch prior to funneling to an exchange point. Much better rhythm with the hands and feet on athletic plays on the move. Short arm action with a high-3/4 release. Easy carry and accurate. Has the ability to complete athletic plays off platform throwing from multiple angles with accuracy. 1st step and acceleration on pop-ups in the shallow outfield is exceptional. Should a move to the OF be necessary at some point, Jones has the chance to be an above average defender in the outfield. With the gains made in 2 years of college and his athleticism, Jones is a low risk draft with several ways to advance through an organization. He should get the chance to stick at shortstop, and has the tools in place to get to top levels as an infielder. Jones projects as a Top 2 round draft pick that should have a chance to stick in the big leagues as an every day player. (B Hall) For video and a full draft report with future tool and round range projection, please visit Draft HQ and click on the Draft Reports tab.
Shea Langeliers, C, Baylor- Listed at 6-foot, 190-pounds, Langeliers has a strong, muscular frame. High end arm strength behind the plate with a quick exchange and short arm stroke, he gets rid of the ball quickly and throws strikes to second base with true carry all the way through the bag. Athletic defender, soft hands, blocks easy with great lower half mobility and the ability to move laterally. Offensive, right-handed hitter with a short, simple swing that provides high end bat speed. Showed quality pitch recognition, and hammered two doubles, one to right-center, and another to left-center. Runs well above average for his position. Likely first round pick with his ability to play a premium position and hit for power. Profiles as everyday ML catcher with All-Star potential. (Bicknell) For video and a full draft report with future tool and round range projection, please visit Draft HQ and click on the Draft Reports tab.
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