East TN Fall Prospect Games: Team Maroon Pitchers

By Matt Byrd
PBR Tennessee

The East Tennessee Fall Prospect Games event afforded players from around the state the opportunity to showcase their abilities in a combination showcase/game play event. There were many solid performances turned in, including some by players attending their first PBR event who opened some eyes. The complete statistics and top statistical performers from the event were previously posted. You can CLICK HERE to view that information.

The following is a look at the Team Maroon pitchers who participated in the event. This is pitcher analysis only. Those pitchers who also participated as a position player at the event had their position player performance featured in a previous article.

Alex Hoppe, Unity Christian (IA), 2017, RHP
The 6-foot-1, 160-pound lanky, athletic prospect showed a fastball that sat 84-86mph and topped out at 87 mph with occasional arm-side run, locates the fastball well on both sides of the plate. His 70-71mph curveball showed sharp 11/5 break. He stuck with the two-pitch mix in game play. Hoppe throws from a high ¾ arm slot with loose arm action. Up tempo delivery and occasionally lands open.  Hoppe had five strikeouts in two innings pitched during game play and impressed as the top arm at the event.

Matt Taylor Dobyns-Bennett, 2018, RHP
6-foot-4, 210-pound prospect with a large frame, quick and loose arm works through a high-3/4 slot,  fastball sat 83-84mph and topped out at 85mph with occasional good arm-side run, pitches inside well with the fastball, 72-73 mph curveball shows short 11/5 action, occasionally opens early and arm drags slightly on curveball, showed a good change with solid fade and sink at 76-77 mph. He also flashed a slider with a 10/4 break at 74-75 mph. Taylor uses both sides of the plate and showed good command during his outing. He had three strikeouts in two innings pitched during game play and jumped into the 2018 rankings after the event.

Thomas Zazzaro ,Station Camp, 2017,RHP
The 6-foot, 175-pound RHP has a loose/quick arm and shows the ability to throw all pitches from multiple arm slots. He showed a lively fastball with very effective arm-side run sitting 81-83 mph (was up to 85 mph at the PBR Future Games. His curveball produces swings and misses at 73-74 mph, showed a good tumbling change at 78 mph thrown with good arm action. His last pitch was a slider having a sharp 10/4 break to it. Zazzaro throws from a high- ¾ arm slot but will drop down occasionally to deceive the hitter. He had one strikeout and gave up two hits in two innings pitched during game play. Zazzaro committed to Lee University following the event.

Rob Patterson, East Robertson, 2017,RHP
The 5-foot-9, 175-pound RHP throws from a high-3/4 arm slot with a quick and athletic arm. His fastball sat 82-83mph, topping at 84 with good arm-side run but also showed effective cutting action on a few occasions. Patterson showed a harder curveball at 72-73 mph with 11/5 break and stayed low in the zone with it. He throws with some effort in his delivery at times and used his fastball as his out pitch running it in on the hands of right-handed hitters effectively. Patterson had four strikeouts in two innings pitched during game play. His quick arm could lead to an increase in velocity moving forward.

Noah Absher,  Sullivan Central, 2016, RHP
The 6-foot, 175-pound RHP shows a loose arm that works through a ¾ to high-3/4 arm slot with normal effort, drop and drive type delivery, fastball showed occasional arm side run and sat at 81-82 mph, touched 83 on one occasion, works both sides of the plate well with the fastball. Absher’s curveball has an 11/5 break at 72-74mph. He had two strikeouts and gave up one hit in one inning pitched during game play. Absher committed to Maryville College following the event.

James Irwin, Maryville Christian, 2016, RHP
6-foot-6, 216-pound RHP throws from a high ¾ arm slot with loose arm action, uses an overhead windup with minimal effort in delivery, fastball showed occasional slight arm-side run at 77-78 mph, touched 79 on one occasion, curveball shows 11/5 break at 68-70 mph, he also flashed a change that had some sinking action to it at 69-70mph, throws consistent strikes with all pitches. Irwin stays tall and uses his height to produce some downward tilt on his fastball. He gave up one hit and had two strikeouts in two innings pitched during game play. With is size, he is a very interesting mound prospect who has potential to add velocity.

Jacob Ferguson, David Crockett, 2017, RHP
The lanky 6-foot, 145-pound prospect uses long arm action through a high-3/4 to over the top arm slot, normal effort in delivery, pounds the strike zone with all pitches, spots his fastball well on both sides of the plate, fastball shows occasional slight arm-side run at 76-78 mph topping at 79. He also showed a curveball with an 11/5 break and sitting at 67-69 mph. Showed a straight change at 68-70 mph thrown with good arm speed. Ferguson had four strikeouts and gave up one hit in two innings during game play. He has potential to add additional velocity as he fills out his frame.

Malik Brooks, Ensworth, 2019,LHP
The 5-foot-9, 180-pound prospect works through a ¾ arm slot with loose arm action, normal effort in delivery,  fastball sat 73-75 mph with significant arm-side run. He showed a curveball with short 1/7 action at 66-68 mph, stuck with the two-pitch mix and consistently throws strikes. Brooks stayed away in the zone for most of his outing and produced weak contact. He had one strikeout in one inning pitched during game play.