5/10/2012 10:40:21 AM
Kris Bryant is having a big year for San Diego, and had a huge weekend against BYU. He really has added muscle mass to his frame since high school and looks a lot differently physically, and he still has some room to add more. He really looks like a big leaguers in terms of his stature. He always had big power (I think he won the HR derby at the PG/Aflac game a few years ago), as the ball continues to jump off of his bat. He employs a crouched stance and has very good bat speed. He shows a good eye and takes confident, aggressive swings at the plate. He did a nice job keeping his hands back before drilling a fastball down the pipe to the opposite field for a big home run, allowing the ball to travel deep in the zone to use his strong hands, wristbands and forearms to drive the ball. He also drilled a solo shot in another at-bat, driving the ball to the right field side of center. He added a 2-run shot later in the game, an absolute laser line drive to left center. He has enough strength that he pulled a ball on the ground that had enough force to squeeze through the left side of the infield, and also hit a single up the middle in another AB. Overall I liked the way he waited for his pitch, laying off soft stuff away, as that is how teams apparently try to pitch him. He's going to be an early pick in next year's draft.
Dylan Covey: As a Brewers fan it was particularly nice to see Covey pitch, who is quietly having a nice year. He didn't have as strong of a start vs. BYU, lasting only 3.2 innings, and he also hasn't been missing many bats this year, but the talent is evident. He too continues to fill out, and reminded my both physically and stuff-wise to former USD RHP Kyle Blair with thick proportions, particularly in the lower half. His breaking ball continues to have sharp, late break and he showed pretty good command of his fastball. He was sharp in the first inning of work, but labored after that, throwing a lot of pitches and not hitting his spots. He was 93-94 and also showed a really good changeup, a perfect slow ball. He and Bryant give USD a pair of premium prospects for the 2013 draft.
Louie Lechich: I covered Lechich last summer in the Northwoods League when I rated him the No. 30 prospect based off of his strong, athletic frame, and didn't realize he had transferred to USD after playing his freshman year at Cal. His physical presence is obvious, and currently plays CF for the Toreros. He employs an open stance showing good speed and instincts in center, and made a really nice diving catch on one play. He's an aggressive hitter that kind of reminded me of Jim Edmonds given his size, strength and LH bat. He'll need to refine his approach, but has the strength to hit the ball out.
Andrew Heaney: Heaney pitched one heck of a game against Oklahoma, going the distance while giving up only 3 hits and 1 walk, striking out 7. He also had a 12:6 groundout to flyout ratio, doing a really nice job inducing weak contact, and faced only 30 batters. I've profiled Heaney before, who employs a low three quarters delivery that creates plenty of deception. He has good size with long limbs, working quickly and throwing strikes. I remember his throwing more of a true curveball, but looked to throw more of a slurvy breaking ball in this game while throwing around 90-93, keeping the ball down in the zone. He also has a good changeup, giving him a deep arsenal of pitches, and he knows how to change speeds and move the ball around to change the batter's eye and upset their timing. He reminded me a lot of Danny Hultzen from a year ago, although he doesn't throw as hard as Hultzen did his junior year. If Hultzen went No. 2 overall last year there's no reason to think Heaney can't go in the 5-10 range this year.
Jordan John: Oklahoma's starter opposite Heaney and a fellow LHP has very good size and strength, with thick proportions throughout his frame. He threw strikes with 3 pitches FB/CB/CH, sitting in the upper-80s. He has some deception in his delivery and exhibited good command. He'll get drafted and has some pro promise, and if he can find a way to add a few ticks to his fastball (his size indicates he might) at the next level I could see him enjoying success given his current abilities.
Alex Wood: This was my first chance to see Wood, and I got a chance to see the odd delivery that David Rawnsley described in his Draft Focus report. There is effort to his delivery, with an odd windup in which he brings his arm and shoulder back before bringing his whole upper body forward toward the plate. He has long arms and wiry strength, and the moving parts creates good deception even if it isn't conventional. The opposing hitters had a hard time catching up with his low-90s fastball, which he commanded pretty well. His slider is a sweeper, keeping the ball in the lower half of the zone, and also threw a pretty good changeup. He struck out 10 in 8 innings of work, including 7 through the first 4 frames. As a lefty with good size and good stuff he'll get drafted early, and it will be interesting to see if the team that drafts him tries to polish up his mechanics/delivery at the pro level.
Austin Kubitza: Kubitza reminded me of a right-handed version of Brett Mooneyham, both physically and facially as well as his stuff and the way he pitched. He has good stuff and his fastball explodes out of his hand and sits in the 91-93 range. He threw both a sweeping slider down and away from RH hitters and a curve that he dropped in for strikes. He has a slow windup and easy delivery, but I would like to see him pitch more aggressively given his stuff. His fastball has very good late sinking movement, and he lands a little upright as part of his delivery. That said he still creates some good downward plane to the plate, and I could see his draft stock exploding a year from now if he makes some minor adjustments and everything starts to click.
Taylor Wall: Wall came in for Kubitza in the 4th inning and kept the game against Houston at 1-0 leading up to J.T. Chargois as Rice won in extra innings. He's a LHP with good size and a very good looking overall athlete. There is some attitude to his approach, as he attacks hitters with his fastball and isn't afraid to elevate the pitch looking for a K. There is some twisting to his leg as part of his drive and plant, and he also threw a solid curveball. I didn't see a changeup, so I'm not sure if starting is in his future, but I could see him having success in middle relief.
J.T. Chargois: This was my first time seeing Chargois pitch, and it was immediately evident why some people think he could be pitching in the big leagues by the end of the year. He's a great looking athlete with an exaggerated delivery and some attitude/edge to the way he pitches, making him a perfect fit for a setup, and eventually, closing role. He snaps off a sharp yet short, late breaking curveball in addition to his explosive mid-90s fastball. The Houston hitters had a tough time catching up with his stuff. He also throws a more violent breaking ball that is a swing-and-miss pitch in the dirt that resembled more of a slider, but he doesn't appear to use that pitch to get ahead in the count.
Jace Fry: I was expecting to see Brett Mooneyham throw for Stanford on Saturday, and while that didn't happen, I was treated to seeing Fry pitch. Pitch is the key word for Fry, as he's very advanced as a pitcher, moving the ball around and changing speeds to get outs. He's aggressive with his approach, attacking hitters while showing a fearless approach. He has a low three quarters delivery with a 4- and 2-seam fastball and a quick arm. He uses his 2-seamer down in the zone before busting hitters upstairs, changing the batter's eye. He also threw a sweeping curve that reminded me of Kevin Ziomek's, who he profiles in a very similar fashion overall. He doesn't overpower hitters, at least not at this point, but similar to guys like Heaney and Hultzen, I could see his velocity increasing over the next 2 years to become a premium prospect for the 2014 draft.