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CLASS OF 2018

RHP

Richard
Fitts

Auburn
Helena (HS) • AL
6-3 • 215LBS • R/R

Rankings

2021 National

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2018 State

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Commitment

2021
PBR DRAFT
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7/01/21

2021 MLB DraftAt 6-foot-3, 215 pounds Fitts passes the eye test with ease. From a high-3/4 slot he works at 92-93, touching 95, with high spin to his four-seamer. He works down the mound with very good extension to the plate, up to seven feet. Though he has good metrics, they don't always allow the fastball to play up. His breaking ball sits 80-83 and he has comfort in throwing a changeup that is firm in the high 80s. Overall, Fitts checks a lot of boxes with his frame, athleticism, delivery and arm speed, but needs to see the stuff and execution take a step forward.

3/26/21

After a tremendous fall season that earned him recognition as one of most improved prospects in the country, Fitts was elevated from the Tiger bullpen to the starting rotation this spring. After three starts, a foot injury and a rough outing against Boston College in Week Three, Fitts has since been moved back to the bullpen where he looks to get healthy and find his autumn groove. At 6-foot-3, 215 pounds Fitts passes the eye test with ease. From a high three-quarter slot he delivered his first two fastballs at 95 mph with relative ease. He then quickly settled in at 92-93 with his high spin (up to 2648 rpm on the Stalker Pro II S) four-seamer. He worked down the mound with very good extension to the plate; up to seven feet, averaging around 6-foot-8. Despite his extension, the high spin and around 18-21” of Induced Vertical Break (IVB), the riding action on his fastball did not allow his fastball to play up from its pure velocity. This was especially apparent after comparing Fitts to shorter pitchers with lower release heights, but similar spin rates that I saw last week in Nashville; Jack Leiter (Vanderbilt) and Brett Kerry (South Carolina). Of Fitt’s 29 pitches, he generated four swing/misses; two of 18 fastballs and two of 11 breaking balls. His breaking ball spun in the 2300-2400 range topping at 2450, while sitting 80-83 mph. He threw one firm, circle changeup to a left-handed hitter for a ball at 88 mph. It came out of his hand comfortably, albeit from a slight lower release point, with some fade and looks to be a potential average pitch in the future. It could become even better than average if he could kill more spin (current 2000 rpm) which could create more depth to the pitch. Overall, Fitts checks a lot of boxes with his body type, athleticism, delivery, arm speed and present average-quality breaking ball to be considered in the top rounds this July. On this brief, one inning relief look, he did not show enough present stuff or abilities for the first round. However, with a college class full of struggling prospects, there is plenty of season left for Fitts to regain early Day One consideration. Inside the Metrics: Fitt’s Vertical Approach Angle (VAA) is -5.2, which is smack in the middle of where you don't want to be. He's going to need more velocity and an even better breaking ball to miss bats consistently with his current VAA. However, Fitts does have the IVB and spin that can, if used correctly, miss bats on a consistent basses. If he could work to get his VAA down gradually to -4.2 given his spin and IVB, it's a big change, but one that would make for much more nasty stuff. With that said, we are probably talking about dropping his release height 8-10”, a big in-season adjustment. In the short-term, working on more velocity, maximizing spin, and developing his breaking ball even further might be the easier route. But, it's good to have options and his IVB and spin gives him these alternatives.

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