Live Looks: Carter Stewart impresses in JUCO debut

(via Jason Woodell and Kyler Peterson)

Melbourne, FL - Carter Stewart was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the 1st round of the 2018 MLB Draft. However, negotiations broke down after a physical uncovered a wrist injury and Stewart refused to sign for 40% of the $4m slot value. After an arbiter refused to grant him free agency, Stewart enrolled at Eastern Florida State College. He is undoubtedly the top JUCO prospect heading into the 2019 season.

Stewart made his debut on Jan. 29 facing Seminole State College. He threw 4 innings, allowing 2 hits, 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 HBP, and 7 Ks. From a scout perspective, there is a lot to like. Stewart has an extra-large frame with projection. His delivery is athletic with fast arm action. He stays tall through his delivery and gets good extension. Stewart’s fastball sat 92-94 mph all evening. He struggled to get in a rhythm in the first inning. He walked the leadoff hitter on six pitches and allowed three of the first four hitters to reach. He had zero feel for his curveball and the only curve he threw for a strike in the zone was a hanger that led to a double.

Despite the struggles, Stewart fanned two hitters in the first while allowing 2 runs. Seminole State would get one more baserunner, via hit-by-pitch, in the next three innings against Stewart. He appeared much more relaxed, repeated his delivery and was able to throw his curveball for strikes. Stewart’s curve sat 78-81 mph. and featured a sharp downward break. He sequenced his fastball-curveball combo well. He was able to elevate the fastball while burying the curveball down in the zone. His ability to change eye level and extend the plate with excellent velocity separation led to 5 strikeouts and 0 hits in his next three innings. His curveball had improved command arm side (backdoor to LHH, front door to RHH) while he routinely elevated and extended the plate glove side with his fastball. He also sprinkled in a few change-ups which registered 85-86 mph. The change appeared firm and he used it as a quick strike early in the count.

Overall, after a rusty first inning, Stewart flashed plus stuff with good sequencing. The body and projection are what scouts drool over. While the fastball was 92-94, he did touch 97 once. That pitch was clearly overthrown and nowhere close to the zone, but it was also clear that as he continues to mature and get stronger, there is more velocity to come. The curveball flashed plus with 12-6 break after the first inning and I really like the arm action. FULL VIDEO

Donovan Benoit - Santa Fe

Donovan Benoit - Santa Fe

Live Looks

Kyler Peterson/Jason Woodell

Donovan Benoit, RHP - Santa Fe College

Tall, athletic build, with high waist. Strong frame. Easy, athletic delivery with downhill plane. Stays tall. Repeats. Cross-body action leads to deception. Inverted W. Fastball sat 92-94, curveball sat 78-80 flashing hard spin with big downward break. Inconsistent shape at times. Also throws a changeup. Firm at times but good arm speed and command can generate weak contact at this level. More velocity in the tank.

Nick Davila, RHP - Hillsborough Community College

Slender build with short arm action. Low three-quarters release. Struggled with fastball command in this look. Fastball velocity high 80s. Changeup sat 81. Breaking pitch has slurvy feel. Flashes two-plane tilt with depth but lacks hard biting action that would lead to swing and miss at next level. Want to see more.

Brock Edge, OF - Sante Fe College

University of Florida commit. Thick, strong legs. Simple set up with hands shoulder height. Efficient to load with fast bat. Swing is short and quick. No wasted movements. Like the bat to ball skills and approach.

Michael Entenza, RHP - Eastern Florida State College

Strong, athletic build with a short and fast arm action. Fastball sat 87 mph. Looks like a high spin rate based on how quick it got onto hitters. Slider sat 76, flashed plus with hard, two-plane tilt. Swing-and-miss pitch. Good tempo. K’d side in 1st inning. In 2nd inning, late to first, allowing speedy baserunner. Drastic change in tempo with runners on. From stretch, stuff and velocity down. Lost command. Really liked what he flashed in short 1-inning stint. Present strength, build with projection could lead to mid-90s FB. Definitely an arm to keep an eye on.

Ivan Johnson, MIF - Chipola College

Strong build with barrel chest. Switch hitter. Wide base with relaxed hands. Leg kick and simple swing mechanics. Reads and picks up spin well. Plus bat speed and good runner. 4.1- second home-to-first time. Fits better at second. Quick feet, sound footwork and accurate arm in the field. One of the top JUCO guys in the nation. Keep an eye on him leading in to June.

Andrew Moore, RHP - Chipola College

Tall 6-foot-5, 210-pound freshman righty with long levers. Sat 90-92. Three-quarters slot with some effort in delivery. Struggled with command, especially glove side. Flashed decent curve at 75-78 but is inconsistent. Needs to establish off speed. There is more room for projection.

Blake Baker, RHP - Miami Dade College

Athletic, 6-foot-3 build with room for added strength. Fastball 89-90, scraped 91. Throws from high three-quarters slot with low-effort delivery. Showed good splitter while varying speeds from 79-84. Was everywhere with command. Slow worker on mound. Needs a putout pitch. FULL VIDEO

Jordan Anderson, OF - Chipola College

Raw, toolsy player. Tall, slender build with long legs. Good arm strength. Plus runner that will stick in center. Starts from wide base with hands low. Plus bat speed. Swing can get long. Lots of tools to like if hit tool develops enough.