Live Looks: West Coast Draft Prospects

Our guys Jason Pennini and Lance Brozdowski were out on the scouting trail in Arizona and California this past week where perennial college powerhouses and top draft prospects were on display. We’ve got you covered with fresh notes and videos from some of the top prospects available in the 2019 MLB Draft.

Live Looks

Andrew Vaughn - 1B, California - Tree trunk legs with thick frame. Extremely advanced hitter. Wide base stance and big leg kick with twist of the hips; leg kick varied slightly seemingly based on pitch type. Excellent use of lower half. Swing reminds a bit of Josh Donaldson. Great balance and timing. Strength allows him to create power with direct path to the ball. Understands how keep hands inside and go oppo, also good at getting hands extended. Pepperdine did their best to pitch around him. Very patient with excellent eye for the zone; did not expand or do opposing pitchers any favors, punished them when they entered the zone. -Jason Pennini

Erik Miller - LHP, Stanford - Surgeon. Worked 5 pitches. Clean delivery and arm action with efficient motion to home. Fairly high slot. Fastball low-90’s and touched 94 (2-seam high 80’s). Curveball most-used secondary with good feel for the pitch; low 80’s offering. Change was low-80’s and flashed plus with big movement down and away from right-handed hitters. A couple of mid-80’s sliders shown flashed 55. -Jason Pennini

Nick Lodolo - LHP, TCU - High waisted, long-limbed frame. Body reminds of Forrest Whitley. Works from a low three-quarters slot and has some crossfire in his delivery. Good use of lower half and torque through his hips. Front leg propels the body. Upright finish eats into extension. Fastball has natural cut to the glove side at times. Sat low-90’s and touched 95. Command was better to the glove side. His slider was consistently plus with huge horizontal movement/tilt. Ump had trouble calling it and missed a couple should-be strikes. Exciting player, legitimate chance to be a mid-rotation MLB starter. -Jason Pennini

Michael Toglia - 1B/OF, UCLA- Large 6-foot-4 frame; active front leg and hands pre pitch. Does not create a dramatic amount of hand separation away from body, yet is extremely quick to ball on inner-third. Best bat speed and raw power of UCLA hitters. There is a slight bounce of his hands down during his load that may contribute to the quick-twitch of his stronger movements. But I also think it may unintentionally lengthen his swing. Combine that with average pitch recognition and there is a good amount of swing and miss in this profile. Could have simply been a bad weekend, but I confirm the belief he is a three-true-outcomes player with back-to-back years on the Cape showing double-plus raw and below average hit. Swing from right side is less athletic and choppier, but likely allows him a better shot at hanging with left-handed pitching than if he tried to battle as same handedness. If he can’t move off first base, even though he’s considered a good defender there, it’s tough for me to see him going inside the top 10 come June. -Lance Brozdowski

Chase Strumpf - 2B, UCLA- Simple set-up, bat flat on shoulder, shoulder-width feet. Loads down and back with his hands into his hip and back leg, rather than simply swaying back or keeping higher load on hands. I think this creates a natural upward attack angle as he comes up through the ball. Innate barrel control and pitch recognition, has no problem with breaking balls. Keeps weight centered enough to fight off spin away. Might have a hole with velocity up, but this feels common among most young bats. Best all-around hitter on current UCLA club. Considered average to below second baseman, but I did not get any looks defensively aside from one turned double play. -Lance Brozdowski

Brandon Williamson - LHP, TCU - Tall but not dense frame. Having recently turned 20 it’s possible some more weight will fill in his frame. Easy, low effort delivery. Low-90’s fastball touched 93; will run it at times. Will work fastball up with 2 strikes as a chase pitch. Double-plus curve in 74-79 range. Moderate depth but tight, late break is devastating. Excellent feel and will use to both sides of plate. Used four straight down and away from Bleday for swinging K. Changeup in mid-80’s also flashed plus with big depth. Used secondary pitches to set up the fastball, pitching backwards. -Jason Pennini

Charles King - RHP, TCU - Athletic delivery with deception; ball remains hidden until last moment. Big momentum and athletic burst to home makes it hard to pick up out of hand. Good arm speed. Fastball heavy mix; able to run or straighten fastball. Excellent command of fastball down and away from right-handed hitters. Slider had a short break and a cuttery shape, worked it to both sides effectively. -Jason Pennini

Gavin Velasquez - RHP, Cal State Fullerton - Upright finish results in below average extension. Good run on fastball with sink down and away from left-handed hitters. Changeup flashed plus but more consistently 55. Curveball slow with 12-to-6 shape, fringe average. Crafty pitcher who can be greater than the sum of his parts. -Jason Pennini

Ethan Paul - SS, Vanderbilt - Smooth defender with quick hands and efficient transfers, looks the part of a middle infielder at the MiLB level. Range above-average but arm was around 50 grade. Inside-out oppo tendency but capable of using all fields. Adept at keeping hands in and hitting opposite way with authority, smooth oppo stroke. Short load and approach. Upright base stance with slight sway for timing. Elbow raises above shoulders at slot, adding length. Postulate: couple placement of elbow at slot with upright nature of stance, and he may be susceptible low in the zone. Sometimes in front of spin and took off-balanced hacks. Seemed to have overall feel for hit and good use of all fields. -Jason Pennini

Ryan Kreidler - 3B - UCLA - Another large-framed infielder, but this one has feel for the left side, actions and arm can stick at third base, but needs development of offensive profile for bat to be average with standard of the position. Hands start neutral, nearly center with chest, bat on shoulder. Hands drift back and up and they continue to move back deeper into load when his front foot makes contact with the ground. Seems reasonable to assume when drafted, major league organization would bring him up off this leg, or power would suffer. Swing is line-drive based at the moment. -Lance Brozdowski

Tanner Morris - SS, Virginia - Short approach in swing, almost no lower half use. 55-60 arm with good footwork defensively. -Jason Pennini

Austin Henry - 2B, TCU - Some of the best bat speed of the weekend but some aspects of his game look raw. Twitchy athlete but defense could use polish at 2B, poor hands on a groundball on 2/15. Good read on pop up to shallow RF on 2/16; tracked well and made hard catch look easier than it was. 4.44 run time (RHH) on not max effort play grades to 40. 4.05 on bunt hit jailbreak. Guestimate: around 55 runner. Quicker than fast. Bunt on 2/15 on 2-0 count with runners on and TCU down elicited ponder face emojis. Moderately wide base stance with bat rested on shoulder. Quiet pre-slot hands with fairly large leg kick, but lower half does not carry much momentum into swing. Hands slot well before front foot strike with bat angled back over head, adding some length. Front foot down early at times. Some swings were from heels, which reminded of Cristian Pache. Bat speed bordered on double-plus. Could be dangerous with refinement to swing mechanics. -Jason Pennini

Johnny Rizer - CF, TCU - Love the swing. Wideish base stance. Short load and approach. Hands slot near shoulder height. Strong hips timed well to point of contact. Little to no wasted movement. Approach looked geared for contact over power. Good hands and plus bat speed, excellent use of lower half especially the hips. Swing looks short to ball. Keep two eyes on this guy. -Jason Pennini

Drey Jameson - RHP, Ball State - Thin and on the shorter side, maybe 5’11”. Excellent athlete. Double-plus arm speed. Ball jumps out of hand. Delivery looks stressful on the arm with disproportionate burden on arm vs. lower body, little lower half use. Moderate head movement. Fastball 92-95, touching 96 generated swing and miss up. High spin? A couple slider variants: one 80-82 and another 77-79. Unable to ascertain whether they were different pitches or whether Jameson was taking something off of it. Huge sweeping break on the SL. Will use early in counts in later innings. Believe there was also a mid-high 80s change but did not see that reported anywhere else, was not used much and flashed ave. Mostly FB/SL -Jason Pennini

Drake Fellows - RHP, Vanderbilt - Prototype pitcher body with extremely easy playing catch delivery. Little lower half use; delivery relies on sheer strength. Low three-quarters slot. Short strider with below-average extension. Stable delivery with plus balance. Low-90’s fastball made me wonder if there was more in there. Breaking ball 79-83 was around average. Low-80’s change. -Jason Pennini

Pat Demarco - OF, Vanderbilt - Strong build for a centerfielder. Slight pre-swing rock for timing. Feet moderately apart in base stance with moderate leg kick and approach. Leg kick shorter at times. Hands start near head and slower to slot, settling around shoulders. Lower half timed well with swing; powerful full-body swings, not getting cheated. Strong back leg well-utilized. Attacks ball out front and extends hands. Aesthetically pleasing swing. Showed ability to go opposite field, but approach looks more pull heavy on first glance. Wrote 40 arm in notes but honestly do not remember the throw, monitor going forward. -Jason Pennini

Cam Simmons - OF, Virginia - Toolsy athlete and possible power/speed combo type guy. 4.07 home-to-first on possible double play ball; 70 runner with long strides under way. Good read and direct routes in centerfield. Short leg kick and stride. Swing relies more on hands. Hands slot slightly below shoulders. Several poor swings vs. spin a bit concerning; not a death knell to profile due to compilation of other tools but worrisome. -Jason Pennini

Josh Watson - OF, TCU - Upright base stance. Simple, efficient swing. Little to no load. Lower half not heavily utilized, but very short to the ball with hands slotting slightly below shoulders. Swing reminded of Connor Marabell. Made hard contact to all fields throughout the weekend. Was surprised to see him shifted by Vanderbilt on 2/17 after hitting a Kumar Rocker fastball down and away oppo two plate appearances earlier. Among the best pure hitters of the weekend for my money; following with anxious anticipation of good things. -Jason Pennini

Patrick Raby - RHP, Vanderbilt - Low effort delivery and over the top slot. Plus command of low-90’s fastball. Would also work 2-seam in the high-80’s. Uses full zone and changes eye levels with intent. Curve 78-80 with average depth and 12-to-6 shape. Lacks true put-away pitch. Without a more dominant offering he is more a guy than a dude for me. -Jason Pennini

JJ Bleday - OF, Vanderbilt - Excellent athlete/frame, stands out physically. Good offensive approach and seemed to be looking for “his pitch”. Fairly wide base stance with very slight bend in back leg. Elbow rises above shoulder length at slot creating uppercut path. Moderate leg kick and good lower half-utilization. Strong hands and plus bat speed. Showed ability to use all fields, including an impressive oppo single when he spoiled an 0-2 pitcher’s pitch down and away. Arm plays in right to tune of 55-60, good carry, but did not get a good feel for his defense otherwise. Highly rated guy and totally get it. -Jason Pennini