Prep Baseball Report

Denaburg Dominates At Florida Preseason Classic

Nathan Rode
National Supervisor

MERRITT ISLAND, FL—A day before opening day of the college season, a massive crowd of scouts gathered at Merritt Island HS, FL, for the PBR Florida Preseason Classic. Five of the state’s top 10 prospects are in the event and the first two games featured some big arms. RHPs Carter Stewart (Eau Gallie HS, FL) and David Luethje (Vero Beach HS, FL) faced off in the matinee, but it was RHP/C Mason Denaburg (Merritt Island HS, FL) in the nightcap who stole the show.

Denaburg has long been a two-way prospect, but it’s clear he has been focusing on developing on the mound. He came out sitting 94-96 mph in the first inning. However, he was overthrowing and gave up two runs on three hits. After that, he settled down and simply dominated. He allowed just one other baserunner and finished with 10 strikeouts in four innings. His fastball sat mostly in the low 90s, but he would reach back for more when he wanted it. In the past, Denaburg has flashed a hard slider. His breaking ball is more of a curveball now, though it’s shape did morph at times. It’s an average pitch now, but will be plus down the road. When it’s on, it has hard, sharp break with 11/5 shape around 80. Denaburg also displayed fastball command and is a competitor on the mound. The first inning trouble didn’t seem to faze him one bit and he easily course corrected. At the plate, he was 1-for-2 with a double, run and two walks, showing his athleticism with easy strides into second base.

Facing TNXL Academy, FL, Denaburg had two showdowns with OF Elijah Cabell. Leading off the game, Cabell chopped a ball to third base, reaching on an infield single, but Denaburg got him to strike out on three pitches in the next at-bat. Before the game, Cabell showed quick, loose hands in batting practice and an above-average arm from center field.

Here are a few more highlights from the day…

+ While Denaburg created most of the buzz from Thursday, Stewart certainly didn’t disappoint. He is tall with broad shoulders and methodical in his delivery. His fastball sat 91-94 mostly, touching 95. His trademark is his curveball, which has an excellent spin rate and sat 80-82. It was inconsistent in this outing, slipping out of his hand at times, but showed plus potential with tight rotation and depth. He also showed feel for a changeup with sink at 81-82. He allowed an unearned run on one hit while striking out six in three innings.

+ Stewart was relieved by RHP Nick Pogue, who looks trimmer than last summer, but still stands at a strong 6-foot-5, 225 pounds. He was 91-93 early in his appearance, occasionally getting some plane to his fastball. His curveball flashed downer break with swing-and-miss potential at 78-80. He also mixed in a straight changeup at 82-84. He allowed five hits and two walks in four innings while striking out five.

+ Opposite Stewart was Luethje, who has a long, skinny frame. His fastball was in the high 80s, but looked harder as it has finish through the zone. He pitches with a loose arm and high leg kick in his delivery. His slider is sharp with lateral action at 78-80. He walked one and allowed a hit in three innings while striking out three.

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