JP and I recently chatted about the value of going to a field completely blind. What that means is not knowing anything about the players and trusting your eyes and instincts. We recorded a podcast detailing the process and the value it brings to our own development as evaluators. Below are a few players that popped in a few recent blind looks.
Alec Wisely, RHP - SR./ University of South Florida
Short but athleticism and present strength alleviate height concerns. Delivery drips athleticism. Very fluid. Fast arm action. really engages the lower half. Throws from a 3/4 release with cross body action. Fastball sat 88-90 mph. Straight and will get hit hard if left up in the zone. Struggled to command the fastball within the zone. Curve has a slurvy feel with an inconsistent shape. Often broke into swing plane of RH hitters. A few hangers were smoked, especially late. Flashed an above-average changeup at 84 mph but the pitch was underutilized. At-bats looked comfortable after first inning. The athletic delivery and pitch mix in short stints could play in a MiLB bullpen. VIDEO
Jesse McCord, RHP - SR./Samford
Thick, stocky build with no remaining body projection. Efficient delivery, repeats. Stays in line with home. short arm action. Fastball sat 90-91 early before settling in 88-89 mph. Pounds the zone Change-up flashes plus. Throws it with confidence to both RH/LH hitters. Will back it up in hitter’s counts. Curve was 76 mph. Fringey shape and feel, low usage tonight. Has to work ahead and keep the ball down to get outs. Should be a senior sign on draft day. VIDEO
Stephen Jones, RHP - SR./Samford
Athletic reliever. High-waisted with a strong lower half. Short, fast arm action from a low 3/4 slot. Fastball sits 93-94, gets on hitters quick. Curveball 82-84 mph, showing inconsistent shape. Did not generate any swing-and-miss with the curve in this look but did backdoor a lefty for K. VIDEO
Branden Fryman, SS - JR./Samford
Son of former Detroit Tiger Travis Fryman. Average height. Skinny. Right-handed hitter. Sets up in a crouch. Loose wrists with good feel for the barrel. Swing is linear and lacks anything more than gap power at present. Needs to add strength to hit in professional ball. 4.12 home to first. 60 runner. Good range defensively with soft hands. Average to below-average arm in this look. More likely a 2B long-term. VIDEO
Connor Radcliff, RHP - RJR./Samford
High-waisted, athletic build. Reliever. Effort in the delivery. Fastball 90 mph. Slider flashes above-average with two-plane tilt. Good velocity separation between the slider and fastball. Slider 81-83 mph. VIDEO
Mason Duke, RHP - SR./University of Tampa
Alabama transfer. Thick, stocky build. Delivery has a short stride, short arm/action. Appears to be minimal effort. Easy delivery. Fastball sat 88-89 mph. Has natural sink and cut. Uses fastball to extend both sides of the plate. Plus command of the pitch allows it to play up. Has missed barrels in two starts so far this season. Will scatter hits. Seems to get the groundball when he needs it. Slider was 81-82 with tilt. Hard, sharp break. Generates swing-and-miss at D2 level but unlikely to register high K rates at the next level. Shows good pitchability and sequencing. Expected late round senior sign on draft day.
Danny Maynard, C - SR./University of Tampa
Strong, athletic frame. Brings a certain level of physicality to the plate. Utilizes a leg kick with a short stride. Plus bat speed with a compact swing. Balanced. Let’s the ball get deep and uses all fields. Line drives have carry, consistently hitting the warning tracks in the gaps. Has flashed over-the fence power as well to all fields. Fringey defender, throws sail. Bat will carry the profile. Catcher versatility a plus as the bat will play.
Utah Jones, SS -SR./ North Greeneviile
UNC Transfer. Switch-hitter with a good feel for the barrel. Like the swing more as a lefty. Line-drive hitter with gap power. Linear swing. Stays short to the ball. Sets up with a wide base of support, pull approach. Defensively, can stick at SS in professional baseball. Smooth defender with a quick release. Strong, accurate arm can keep him on the left side. Made a couple plays from his knees and charging in, showing mature internal game clock.
Adam Sasser, 1B - SR./ North Greeneville
XL frame, big and stong. Swings from the lefty side. Simple set-up, short to the ball especially on fastballs. Swing can get long on off-speed. Patient hitter, will work deep into counts. Stays closed against LHP with a good feel for the barrel. Projects to have plus power but hit tool against advanced pitchers could limit actual game home-runs due to struggles with off-speed. Still too early to tell. Will have to hit to make impact at the next level.
Michael Neustifter, 3B - JR./North Greeneville
Large, sturdy frame. Sets up at the plate with hands high. Keeps front shoulder closed and showed good plate coverage. Able to turn on inside fastballs and drive pitches away to RCF gap with authority. Fringey defender. Average hands, first step. Likely a 1B at next level.
Ethan Garner, RHP - R-JR./North Greeneville
Average build, min. body projection. Stays tall in delivery but showed min. lower half usage. Short arm action with a low 3/4 release. Fastball flashes arm-side run but had zero feel and command in this look. Slider was flat with inconsistent shape. Labored all day to get-ahead and put away hitters. Didn’t see a viable third pitch but that could be more likely due to constantly pitching behind in the count. Command really struggled arm-side. Inconsistent release point.
Fraser Ellard, LHP - JR./Lander University
Tall, athletic build. Listed 6’4” and 205 pounds. Throws from a low 3/4 slot. Fastball sat 88 with run. Slider in this look was below-average with more horizontal break than tilt and clocked in at 75 mph. May have been a curveball with a slurvy feel. Stays away from right-handers preferring to extend the plate and avoid the barrel. Deceptive delivery allows pitches to play up in limited looks.
Davis Cunningham, RHP - RSO./Lander University
XL frame with a slender, athletic build. Listed at 6’8”. Long and loose arm swing. Fluid, athletic delivery. Great extension with whippy arm. Mainly uses fastball/curveball sequencing, throwing both for strikes and pounding the bottom half of the zone. Didn’t get velo in this look but based on athleticism and body projection, there should be more velo in the tank as he develops. VIDEO
Ryan Gusto, RHP - SO./Florida Southwestern State
JUCO kid. Strong, athletic build. Fluid delivery with some deception. Stays closed, hides ball. Fastball sits 90-92 and gets on hitters quick. Will elevate for swing-and-miss. Fastball dominant sequencing will lead to trouble against advanced hitters. Curve flashes 10-6 break. Inconsistent command of pitch overall. Struggles to break curve off away from righties. Improved arm side command in general though. Changeup 84-85. Fringey pitch in the look. Was able to carve up lineup with high fastballs. VIDEO