Continuing the reports with the Rule 4 draft on the horizon, this is a list of Midwest pitchers that I covered the last few weeks.
Harrison Musgrave (LHP – West Virginia University) – Frame and build is maxed, solid present lower half development, still working back strength and stamina. He displays solid fastball command, 89-91 (92) mph, and the ability to work it around the plate. Arm shows a bit of deception and allows the offering to have some hop on it. Change up, 81-83 mph, shows a little hand side fade with his slot, but decent amount of late depth allows it to project. Flashed a 1/7 baby slider that showed late boring action into the RHH. There are times he will leak and collapse towards 3B, leaves his fastball elevated. When he works downhill, he shows very good control and the ability to spot two average offerings. I see his ability to work inside on the LHH and spot the change L/A, work the slider and spot that fastball where logical LOOGY role might suit him. If he can gain some strength and enhance the action on the slider, starter could round out into a BOR lefty.
Jacob Brentz (LHP South HS, Ballwin MO) – Ideal frame with present development, who could see a bit more growth into the 210-215 pounds, leaving a bit of projection down the road. He has a high ¾ delivery and at its best is a nice three piece arm action with weight well out front, solid extension. He is still a touch raw, but the arm speed is outstanding. His fastball was 90-95 (96) mph and flashed good backspin. Good release gets decent plane, moves in/out and shows the ability to run and sink the pitch with grips. Jake shows nice two way action on the curve, with the slot, and late drop on it to be a potent offering. Nice hand side fade on the change up, shows deception, flashes plus ability with the action.
AJ PukA.J. Puk (LHP Washington HS, Cedar Rapids IA) – He is much more filled out this spring, looks about 230, but I can see a bit more lower half development and strength improvements. AJ has a ¾ slot that gets out with a solid extension for his size and release has hop to it. He has a good plane, gets downhill and the weight over his front side more consistently. Fastball was 89-92 (93) mph, works well inside on the RHH, nightmare for LHH. Curve has tilt and more of a slurve, but late depth with some glove side bite. Change flashes decent two way fade, nice late depth to it. He attacks LHH inside, tough for them to pick up slider. His slot and plane makes it tough for LHH to pull.
Devin Williams (RHP Hazelwood West HS, Florissant MO) – Devin has the ideal frame, narrow and minor muscular development, a ton of projection down the line. He gives off a bit of Edwin Jackson look at the same age. He flashed solid three piece arm action, could use a better drive and extension that will happen with development and some consistency with mechanics; you cannot teach his explosive arm speed. Fastball sat 90-92 (93) mph with the ability to sink the offering, and showed some backspin on the ball that will likely improve. He shows a workable slider that has tight bite rotation, flashed a few high quality offerings that can miss bats. Change up is above average at this stage of development, shows the action and deception to reach at least a plus ceiling, maybe higher. He is a string bean that flashes plus stuff across the board, proper development could lead to a TOR ceiling.
Trey Ball (LHP New Castle HS, New Castle IN) – He is still based on projection, as his frame is thin, but a bit more development than last encounter. The high ¾ delivery shows some arm wrap that will need to be ironed out down the line. He is a bit of a work in progress, sometimes opening up too soon, and inconsistent landing. These are all timing issues that will be things that require patience. He has the raw arm speed with size and everything else to be flat out nightmare for LHH. Fastball was 90-92 (94) with the flashed plane at times to make it tough to square up with the high release. Both his change and curve show solid action, but can still pick it up. These will be things that can be worked through coaching, real blank slate type. His change has better growth that was 81-84 mph, there was more pronounced fade at times. The curve shows decent depth, needs to tighten up, but that comes with strength and size. He has that fastball and raw ability to sit as high as he wants. Real enticing prospect, if you feel your player development department could mold him into that TOR lefty.
Tyler Skulina (RHP Kent State University) – Large athletic frame with good muscular development, could fill out and sit 240 pounds as he matures. He has a rocking OH delivery with a strong shoulder tilt, arm action on the back end is okay, shows a touch of arm wrap though. His stride is a bit short for his size and maintains an upright release, leaving a timing trigger that can leave his fastball elevated a bit much. He could use a bit more lower-half drive, chop off the plate. Little ironing in delivery could unleash some raw ability. Fastball was 92-94 (95) mph with okay plane and some tail with what looked like wrist pronation. He shows a slider, good amount of vertical break with a touch of glove side movement from his overhead delivery. The offering has some sharp bite at times, consistency to round out a solid above average offering, maybe plus. He has a show me curve and change that is more change of pace at this time. The change up that I saw last summer was not present this spring and needed work in the last encounter. Intriguing size and power potential, who needs some refining to improve his ability to spot his offerings.