Prep Baseball Report

2018 Top Prospect Games: Pitching Analysis

By Steve Nielsen
Scouting Supervisor – Wisconsin/Illinois

Pitching is always a hot commodity and young projectable arms were a plenty at the 2018 Top Prospect Games. A pair of Wisconsin arms took the top two spots as RHP Max Alba (Franklin) and LHP Jackson Pothast (Sheboygan North) stood out as the top two arms at the event. Here’s a look at our top ten.

Top Pitching Prospects

1. Max Alba, RHP/1B, Franklin, 2018
Lean athletic projectable frame, 6-foot-5, 175-pound two-way player. Looks to project best on the mound. Full windup delivery, high leg kick, squared landing, works online. Arm action is quick and loose, high ¾ slot. Fastball has slight arm side run, sat 82-84 mph, showed control of the zone. Used curveball sparingly in game action, 70-71 mph, lateral action 10/4 plane almost slider type, near fastball arm speed. Flashed a straight changeup at 74 mph. Offensively hits from the left side, wider setup, hands drop at load. Pull side approach with uphill/lifting path, flashed power potential. 84 mph exit velocity from the tee. Defensively has plus arm strength from first base for his age, 83 mph across the diamond.

2. Jackson Pothast, LHP, Sheboygan North, 2018
Long lean projectable frame, ideal pitchers body, 6-foot-4, 195-pound left-handed pitcher. Athletic pitcher, tall and fall delivery, minimal effort, repeats well with squared landing and stays online. Arm action is loose, free and easy, high ¾ slot, quick arm projects for more velocity. Creates good arm side action on fastball, pounded the zone at 80-82 mph, touching 83 mph. Breaking ball has 10/4 shape, sharp late action, thrown confidently with fastball arm speed, 69-72 mph. Flashed a changeup at 72 mph. Pothast showed swing and miss stuff in the hitting zone with a big presence and moxy on the mound, competes well with athleticism, also showed advanced pick move for his age. High-level 2018 prospect.

3. Brady Miller, RHP, Plainfield North, 2018
Lanky athletic frame, projects well, 6-foot-2, 165-pound right-handed pitcher. Tall and fall delivery, squared closed landing. High ¾ arm slot, loose arm action, quick arm that projects for more velo. Fastball has slight running action, featured late life when down in the zone, sat 80-81 mph, touching 82 mph. Curveball has good shape on 11/5 plane, showed spin, 68-70 mph. Changeup has fading action, near fastball arm speed, 71-72 mph.

4. Ben Cornelius, LHP, Lake Zurich, 2018
6-foot, 185-pound left-handed pitcher, average frame and build, showed athleticism. Delivery is clean and repeats extremely well, tall and fall, easy effort, good direction works online. High volume strike thrower, great tempo and pitchability. Arm action is loose, high ¾ slot with quickness, projects well. Fastball Showed command of the fastball with slight running action, 78-79 mph, touching 80 mph occasionally throughout. Curveball has 1/7 shape, spins it well, advanced feel, showed a lot of confidence in it, ability to throw behind in counts, ranged 63-67 mph. Occasionally mixed in a straight change at 72-75 mph, flashed arm side run with fastball arm speed. Projectable pitchable left-hander to follow, velocity will come and already shows advanced fell for the strike zone.

5. Randon Dauman, RHP/OF, Columbus, 2018
5-foot-11, 160-pound athletic outfielder and right-handed pitcher. On the mound the right-handed pitcher is a strike thrower with a clean, athletic delivery. Works from a high ¾ slot, quick and loose arm action. Smooth rhythm, online finish, square landing and athletic finish. Pounded the zone with the fastball which ranged between 79-82 mph and touched 83, with slight arm-side-run. Curveball was 74-76 mph, fastball arm speed, tight spin and sharp break. Changeup was 73 mph and thrown for a strike as well. Impressed in game play going 2-4 with a stolen base, RBI and a walk. Offensively, hits from the right side, starts from a balanced, tall setup. Short stride, slight load with his hands and lower half. Handsy swing, stays level through contact. Line-drive hitter, registered an 80 mph exit velocity. Defensively, moves well in the outfield, fluid feet.  Short, ¾ arm action with some accuracy was clocked at 82 mph from the outfield.

6. Sean O’Brien, RHP/3B, Marquette University, 2018
6-foot, 175-pound two-way player, carries strength, athletic build. On the mound uses a slight drop and drive style delivery. Arm action has a long draw, release from the ear, over the top slot. Fastball is mostly straight four seam, showed control of the zone, flashed arm strength touching 82 mph, sat 78-80 mph for most of his outing. Curveball has 12/6 action, feel for the zone, showed depth with proper spin, 65-67 mph. Right-handed hitter, balanced stance, short stride, smooth loading action, maintained strong balance. Bat strength hitter, path works slightly uphill, producing gap power. 91 mph exit velocity from the tee. Defensively fields the baseball out in front, third base type defender. Arm action is short, over the top slot, arm has carry and accuracy to stick on the left side (80 mph). Ran a 4.62 down the line.

7. Andrew Wilhite, SS/RHP, Stillman Valley, 2018
5-foot-11, 165-pound left-handed hitting two-way player, average athletic build. Balanced stance, short stride, smooth loading action and solid balance. Loose hands with bat speed, short path with rhythm. 84 mph exit velocity from the tee. Defensively played the baseball out in front, hesitates to play through. Arm action is short, over the top slot, showed carry across the diamond, 82 mph. On the mound has an easy delivery, smooth and athletic. Loose arm, high ¾ slot. Fastball has slight arm side run, showed the ability to command to glove side, 78-81 mph. Curveball showed feel, has the ability to spin it, 67-69 mph. Flashed a fading changeup at 73 mph.

8. Paul Stefiuk, RHP, Green Bay Preble, 2018
6-foot-2, 210-pound right-handed pitcher, long legs, big bodied. Tall and fall delivery that works online with slight effort, upright through release. Arm action is short, over the top slot, showed arm speed. Fastball is mostly straight with slight run at the bottom of the zone, worked downhill with tilt, giving fastball heavy feel producing groundballs, sat 79-82 mph. Curveball has some depth, occasionally 12/6 action, 67-69 mph. Arm has upside showing above average arm speed for his age. Strong follow in Wisconsin’s 2018 class.

9. Nate DIrkes, RHP, Wheeling, 2018
Typical pitchers body, projects well, 6-foot-4, 185-pound right-handed pitcher. Worked exclusively from the stretch. Regular effort, loose arm action, ¾ slot, occasionally gets underneath. Fastball has run, heavy with occasional boring action going in to left-handed hitters, ranged 79-82 mph. Effectively wild in his outing, missed a lot of barrels flashing swing and miss action in the hitting zone. Curveball has 10/4 shape, thrown near fastball arm speed, 70-72 mph. Flashed a straight change at 70-72 mph.

10. Jim Frusciante, LHP/OF, Middleton, 2018
Projectable frame 6-foot, 160-pound left-handed hitting two-way player, projects best on the mound. Delivery is clean and athletic, tall and fall, easy and smooth. Arm action is long and loose, high ¾ slot. Fastball is mostly straight, showed command to arm side, 77-79 mph. Curveball has spin, 58-59 mph, decelerated arm action. Offensively, stays loose and whippy throughout swing. Pre-pitch rhythm in hands and smooth load. Short stride, good balance and uphill swing path. Registered an 80 mph exit velocity off of a tee. Defensively, the left-handed thrower plays with some bounce, fluid footwork and clean exchange. Throws were accurate, using the turf to lay the ball out nicely on one hop. Long, loose arm action, from a ¾ slot. Clocked at 80 mph from the outfield.

Best of the Rest (Listed Alphabetically)

Cory Denison, RHP, Jacobs, 2018
5-foot-10, 130-pound right-handed pitcher. Delivery works across his body, closed landing, stays upright, short stride. Over the top arm slot, short arm action. Straight four seam fastball, 75-77 mph. Curveball has 12/6 action, 64-66 mph, showed feel. Changeup flashed slight arm side action, 66 mph, with control.

Nate DeYoung, SS/RHP, Xavier, 2018
6-foot-3, 180-pound left-handed hitting infielder, long projectable frame, slender build. Bat shows projection, open stance, tall setup, short stride back to even. Loose hands, whippy bat, good approach, gap to gap type. 85 mph exit velocity from the tee. Defensively showed actions on the infield, clean exchange, plays through the baseball with a wider base than most. Arm action is loose and athletic, 77 mph across the infield. On the mound arm worked similarly and gets down the hill. Fastball played with sink down in the zone, 77-78 mph, touched 79 mph. Curveball has 11/5 shape, gradual action, 69 mph. Flashed a changeup at 73 mph.

Gavin Doyle, RHP, Plainfield North, 2018
6-foot-1, 165-pound right-handed pitcher, slender build. Delivery works in line with squared landing, some rhythm, athletic finish. Long loose arm action, high ¾ slot. Four seam fastball action, showed some control of fastball, 77-80 mph. Curveball has gradual 11/5 action, slightly decelerated arm action, 65-67 mph.

Christian Lucio ,RHP, Mount Carmel, 2018
5-foot-11, 150-pound right-handed pitcher, average frame. Delivery is athletic and has tempo, slightly across body. Quick whippy arm action, over the top slot. Fastball is mostly straight, four seam action, 76-78 mph, mostly up in the zone. Curveball has 12/6 action, thrown with arm speed, 69-71 mph.

Giuseppe Mattera, OF/LHP, Pleasant Plains, 2018
Athletic 5-foot-10, 148-pound left-handed hitting outfielder and left-handed pitcher. Offensively, has rhythm throughout contact, maintaining good balance. Flashed loose, quick hands. Smooth load, and looks to pull. Uphill swing path and registered an exit velocity of 76 mph. Defensively, Mattera showcased an athletic crow hop and quick, short arm action. High ¾ arm slot, and plays through the baseball while fielding. Clocked at 80 mph from the outfield. On the mound the undersized lefty operates from across his body, short arm action and regular effort in his delivery. His fastball ranged between 74-78 mph. Inconsistent action, cutting and running at times. Threw a curveball at 62-65 mph with 1/7 shape with some depth. Change-up was 70 mph, near fastball arm speed and for strikes.

Jack McNeil, 1B/RHP, Edgewood, 2018
Extra-large frame and build for his age, 6-foot-5, 230-pound two-way player. Right-handed hitter, balanced stance, tall setup, short stride, lower half has some collapse. Flashed pop in BP, strong bat, hits off back side on uphill plane, power swing looks to lift to gaps. 94 mph exit velocity from the tee. Average first base action, arm played at 72 mph across the diamond. On the mound works from an over the top slot, stays upright and finishes to first base side. Fastball is mostly straight, touched 79 mph, worked at 75-77 mph. Curveball has 12/6 shape, gradual action, 63-66 mph.

Dylan Honkala, RHP, McHenry West, 2018
6-foot-1, 175-pound right-handed pitcher. Tall and fall delivery, smooth delivery, lands square. Arm action is clean, athletic, strong arm, high ¾ slot, quick arm. Fastball is mostly straight, four seam action, 78-80 mph. Curveball has gradual 11/5 action, sat 70 mph. Changeup is mostly straight, 75 mph, showed feel for the pitch and thrown with fastball arm speed.

Zach Verta, OF/RHP, St. Laurence, 2018
Big, strong bodied 6-foot-2, 185-pound right handed hitting outfielder. Offensively, registered one of the better exit velocities at the 2018 Top Prospect Games, 90 mph. Simple, short, level path into and through the hitting zone. Flashed some extension through contact. Incorporates lower half into the swing. Starts from a tall athletic stance, short stride, and balance throughout contact. In game play Verta went 1-3 and drew a walk. Defensively, short arm action and high ¾ slot, and a clean exchange from the outfield. Clocked at 78 mph. On the mound the physical right-hander threw three pitches from an over-the-top slot. Fastball ranged between 77-79 mph with slight arm-side-run. Curveball featured 11/5 shape, some depth, sitting 62-64 mph. Also, flashed a change-up for a strike, fastball arm speed at 69 mph.

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