Baseball season in the Sunshine State is just cooking up with JUCO season now in full swing and the rest of the amateur circuit just around the corner. Scouts are pouring into the metal bleachers as several junior college powerhouses and draft prospects are on display. We’ve got you covered on the ones who stood out this past week.
Hunter Perdue, RHP - State College of Florida
Tall, projectable righty with plenty of room for added strength, especially in legs. Fastball sat 91-94, reaching 95 with heavy run and sink. Draws lot of weak contact and ground balls when he keeps heater down. Maintained velocity through five frames. Curveball was 77-80 with good 11-5 shape. Also showed feel for at least average change. Athletic, knee to chest delivery that ends with him falling off toward first base. Three average or better offerings with more to come. One of the best JUCO arms in the country that should be projected to go in the top five rounds in June at this point.
Orlando Ribalta, RHP - Miami Dade College
Tall, imposing 6'7” hurler with strong, muscular legs and long levers. Fastball is overpowering. Sat 94-96 with run and heavy sink. Ball explodes and gets on batters quickly. Currently a closer. Not sure of starter potential because he only threw one breaking ball in the eight-pitch outing. Quick, jerky delivery portends to a reliever future. An electric arm with closer potential.
Josh Crouch, C - State College of Florida
Athletic, lean body. Starts from extra wide base. Slight toe tap before initiation of swing. Short, simple swing mechanics with little wasted movement. Runs out of bat on pitches away because of front shoulder that leaks during swing. Can also play third and outfield. Frame and profile fits best behind the plate.
Mason Doolittle, C/1B - Palm Beach State College
Tall with square shoulders and strength throughout. Built like a brick house. Plus raw power. Starts from medium base and drops hands during load. Swing is long and conducive to lots of swing and miss. Will need to make adjustment to shorten swing in order to hit at next level. Will be interesting to watch especially with that kind of raw power from behind the dish.
Tyler Acosta, OF - State College of Florida
Body oozes with athleticism. High waist with plenty of room for added strength. Starts with low, relaxed hands. Kyle Lewis-esque leg kick. Maintains good balance on back leg during leg lift. Doesn’t like spin. Has some swing and miss present in his game. Swing has slight loft. Very raw, high-upside hitter to keep an eye on this spring.
Brandon Knarr, LHP - College of Central Florida
Stocky 5’10”/215 build with thickness in legs. Poised competitor who comes right at you. Sat 89-91, reaching back for 92. Showed a plus curve which is a sharp 12-6 downer settling in the high 70’s. Commanded his breaker better than heater, using it to put batters away. Delivery is repeatable but high-effort. Some head waggle. Is physically maxed out with his body, two-pitch mix, and delivery screaming reliever. Potential lefty bullpen piece.
Chris Holcomb, LHP - State College of Florida
Intriguing southpaw. Long arm action from 3/4 slot. Throws across body and is an uncomfortable at-bat for lefties. Fastball sat 87-88 and topped at 89 with medium effort. Curve showed inconsistent 1-7 shape with depth at times. Keeps heater low and has run some run at times. Struggled with command after first inning of work. Finishes delivery stiff and straight up. Could add velocity with longer stride and more extension. Interesting lefty specialist-type with refinement and added velocity.
Shane Shifflett, SS - State College of Florida
Very slender build. Acrobatic fielder that showed off plus range up the middle as well as an arm to stick at short. Also accurate with throws on the run. Is very light on his feet with sound footwork. Disciplined hitter. Starts from medium base with hands high. Bats stays vertical prior to swing. Shifts all weight to backside. Line drive-oriented swing. Frame will hinder any potential power. Slick-fielding, defense first shortstop.
Francisco Mateo, RHP - College of Central Florida
Small 5’8” with strong upper legs. Athletic, low-effort delivery. Sat 89-91 with good arm side run. Likes to elevate fastball. Flashed a good slurvy breaker at 75-77. Struggled with command during look. Lands on front leg stiffly and ends straight up after delivering pitch. Not much starter projection because of size and exclusive two-pitch arsenal. Interesting pen arm that could surprise some people.
Brendan Bell, RHP - College of Central Florida
Quick arm that really impressed during the short stint I saw. Smallish, athletic frame with room for strength in upper body. Sat 91-93. Flashed a plus curve as well as slider. Compact, raw delivery that will improve with development. Someone whom I will definitely keep an eye on this season.
Bryce Hulett, 1B - State College of Florida
Already strong frame with room for more. Slightly open stance with quiet hands. Gets good load and fires swing with loft that will be conducive to power as well as contact. Has the ability to take it the other way. Showed discipline spitting on some good off speed, although he can be passive at times. Athletic for a first basemen. Runs well enough to potentially fit in a corner outfield spot. A JUCO bat to pay attention to this season.