Best Tools: Uncommitted 2017 Pitchers



By Jacob Gill
Pennsylvania Assistant Director of Scouting

Earlier this week, we highlighted uncommitted prospects in the senior class with the best tools across various categories. Next, we will perform the same exercise for the junior class, beginning with pitchers.

Best Fastball Velocity: Meyersdale Area RHP Riley Christner & West Chester Rustin RHP Christopher McMahon

Christner's live right arm produced a fastball that peaked at 89-mph back in an August appearance. The ball comes out of his hand clean, and, given his athleticism (quarterback/wide receiver in football; point guard in basketball), it's easy to envision more in the tank for the 6-foot-2, 185-pounder. More than just an arm strength guy, Christner's first two high school seasons have produced 83 strikeouts against just nine walks in 52.2 varsity innings.

Just over one month ago, McMahon located his fastball down in the zone at 87-88 in the first inning of his outing, while earlier this month, TrackMan recorded him topping out at 89-mph. Like Christner, there is seemingly more in the tank for this 6-foot-1, 170-pounder, due to his loose, clean arm action and low effort delivery.

Best Fastball Movement: Bishop Guilfoyle RHP Will Lozinak & Loyalsock Township LHP Andrew Malone

Standing at a physical 6-foot-4, 200-pounds, Lozinak's fastball at 82-84 showed potential for heavy run and sink at the 2015 Preseason All-State Showcase. He keeps his delivery fairly compact for his size and maintains direction toward home plate. Arsenal also includes a low-70s curveball and mid-70s change-up. Biding his time behind two seniors, Lozinak posted a sophomore year line of 17 innings pitched, 12 hits, 15 walks, and 25 strikeouts. [Note: skip to 0:31 mark for pitching]

 

In a September outing out of a three-quarter slot, Malone threw both his four- and two-seam fastballs in the 78-80 range, with the latter pitch separating itself due to late armside action in front of the plate. He also featured a quality curveball that he backdoored and got gloveside, while there should be more velocity to come from his solid 6-foot, 170-pound frame. [Note: video is from July 2014]


Best Curveball: Conestoga RHP Angus Mayock & Butler Area RHP Cade Negley

Mayock is one of the more projectable arms in the class due to his size (6-foot-3, 215-pounds), ease of delivery, and ability to spin his breaking ball. Not only does the pitch, which clocked in at 72-73, have solid 11/5 shape with depth, but he commands it around the strikezone. On the September day that we got our first look at him, his fastball sat 82-84 and touched 85-mph, with plenty more in the tank when he learns to incorporate his lower half into his delivery.

Competing for Team PA at the 2015 PBR Future Games, Negley flashed a mid-70s curveball with bite and depth that has a chance to get swings-and-misses at the next level. It accompanies a mid-80s fastball and low-70s change-up. As a sophomore, the 6-foot-1, 185-pounder allowed 26 hits and 16 walks against 27 strikeouts in 28.2 innings pitched, which led the staff.


Best Slider: Malvern Prep RHP Matt Daller & Hollidaysburg Area RHP Cory Storm

Placing Daller in this category perhaps requires some projection, but we're willing to bet that the 6-foot-2, 170-pounder whom we've seen for exactly two hitters has the pedigree to live up to this billing. During that brief appearance, he flashed a 73-mph late breaking slider, for which the most intriguing part was the delta from his fastball at 78-79. If he can maintain that 5-6 mile-per-hour difference as strength and maturity lead to an increase in fastball velocity, the slider could become a true out-pitch for him. As a sophomore, he served as the bullpen ace for the PAISAA state champ Friars, logging 29.0 innings pitched (second most on the team), 25 hits, five walks, and 26 strikeouts.

While you will see Storm signal curveball when warming up in his video below, the mid-70s offering comes out of his hand like a slider, displaying sharp, late break. The 5-foot-9, 170-pounder accompanies it with a mid-80s fastball from a three-quarter arm slot. He is also a good athlete, posting a 6.89 60-yard dash.  [Note: skip to 0:10 mark for pitching]


Best Change-up: Hatboro-Horsham RHP Brian Edgington & Pine-Richland LHP Ryan Okuda

Edgington stands at 6-foot, 170-pounds with broad shoulders and has good armspeed, which he maintains when throwing his vulcan change-up at 71-73 that the bottom falls out of when it reaches the plate. His fastball sat 80-82 during a recent outing in September, while it topped out at 84-mph in a brief nine-pitch appearance we were able to catch during the high school season.

Okuda sports a lean, projectable 6-foot-1, 165-pound frame with loose, whippy arm action. He maintains fastball armspeed on his fading change-up for which he has an advanced feel. As of the 2015 Mahoning Valley Open ID Showcase in February, his fastball sat 79-81 and he also featured a sweeping breaking ball. The ace of the Rams staff as a sophomore, he recorded 35.0 innings pitched, 18 hits, 14 walks, and 32 strikeouts.


Best Command: Central Bucks South RHP Dan Klepchick & Penn Charter RHP Matt Gorman

During the last two summers playing for the Philly Bandits 18U, the 6-foot, 180-pound Klepchick posted a combined line of 112 innings pitched, 29 walks, and 117 strikeouts. Showing armspeed out front, he has exhibited a very good feel for a three-pitch mix that includes a low-80s fastball (which TrackMan indicates has peaked at 85-mph) with some downhill plane and armside run, big 12/6 curveball, and a change-up with fade.

Gorman might not even be eligible for this list if he had been able to pitch over the past year, as he was a rotation stalwart for a talented Quakers team his freshman year before injuries stalled his development as a sophomore. When healthy, the 5-foot-11, 170-pounder, who was the only rising sophomore to compete for Team PA at the 2014 PBR Future Games, filled up the zone with a fastball that sat 83-86, a curveball with 11/5 action and some depth, and a quality change-up with sink. 


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