Prep Baseball Report

Top Prospect Games: Pitching Superlatives

By: John Nolan
Assistant Director of Scouting 

Last weekend Prep Baseball Report hosted the 2014 Top Prospect Games at Davenport Field on the campus of the University of Virginia for members of the 2016 and 2017 classes. Over 65 players participated, with some of the best talent from all corners of the Commonwealth showing off their ability on the field over the weekend. Here are some of the pitchers from the event that stood out from the crowd for a specific strength.

Best Fastball Velocity:

Fox Semones (RHP, 2016, Hylton) had the highest top velocity of the weekend, touching 89. Semones is an athletic two-way player who sat 86-88 his entire first inning of work. He generates easy velocity with a very quick, short arm action.

Best Fastball Movement:

Dawson Sims (RHP, 2017, North Stafford) and Steven Johel (RHP, 2016, Marshall) had the fastballs on the weekend with the best movement. Sims is a 6-3 sidearm pitcher that gives righthanded hitters nightmares. He used his movement to create weak contact early in at bats and was not afraid to attack the inside corner on righties, generating a handful of swing and misses. Johel is also 6-foot-3 and throws from a three-quarters slot. His fastball ran 80-83 with heavy sink and run on it late, generating numerous ground balls.

Easiest Velocity:

Kyle Whitten (RHP, 2017, Osbourn Park) generated some of the easiest velocity of the weekend, working from 82-84 and touching 85 MPH. He has a long, quick arm action that allows him to create armspeed with minimal effort. He should add significant velocity as he fills out his 6-foot-2, 160-pound frame.

Best Breaking Ball:

High school rivals Robert Riddick (RHP, 2016, Paul VI) and Rafi Vazquez (RHP, 2016, Bishop O’Connell) had the best breaking balls on display over the weekend. Both pitchers worked in the mid to upper 80s with their fastballs and threw outstanding late-breaking sliders that they disguised well. Riddick’s ran from 73-76 and Vazquez’s ran 75-78.

Best Change-Up:

The best change-ups on display were thrown by Michael Taylor (LHP, 2016, Osbourn) and Austin Gerber (RHP, 2016, Patriot). Taylor is a lefty who worked in the mid-80s with his fastball and used his change-up frequently, creating weak contact on a pitch that he throws with full armspeed that has a lot of arm side run. Gerber is a righty who worked from 80-81 with his fastball and generated a handful of swing and misses on his change-up which sinks late and ran 70-73 MPH.

Best Command:

Austin Landrum (RHP, 2017, Battlefield) and Alex Burke (RHP, 2016, Potomac) showed the best command of their full arsenal over the weekend. Landrum worked in the low 80s with his fastball and used his slider and change-up effectively. Burke was in the low to mid 80s with his fastball and used his good overhand curveball and changeup down in the zone to complement his fastball at the top of the zone.

Best Pitchability:

Coleman Duty (LHP, 2016, Goochland) and Brett Kreyer (LHP, 2016, Stone Bridge) did an outstanding job of mixing their pitches and reading hitters throughout their outings to create weak contact and easy outs. Duty is a low slot lefty who worked in the high 70s and complemented his fastball with a slider that he could adjust the shape of and a good fading change-up. Kreyer used his four-pitch mix effectively to get ahead in counts and put batters away on his terms, relying on his fastball, 12/6 curveball, and sharp slider while also sprinkling in a fading change-up.

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