PDP League Scout Notebook: Timmy Manning Takes Notes From Andy Pettitte
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The PDP League ventured 45 minutes north from IMG Academy’s campus on Thursday for a pair of games inside the the Rays’ Tropicana Stadium. Pitching led the day for the most part, as the arms who took the mound kept the opposing bats as cool as scouts and coaches were as they took in the action from the air conditioned dome.
Here are some of the standouts from the day. If you have missed any of our previous PDP League prospect coverage, check out our other notebooks below to continue familiarizing yourself with the top talent of the 2020 prep class.
Timmy Manning, LHP, Cardinal Gibbons HS, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Manning, who we currently have ranked as the No. 7 high school prospect in the 2020 class, put on an impressive three inning outing on Thursday for Team Jones. The 6-foot-2, 175-pound southpaw struck out four batters and allowed just one weak infield single while throwing an upper-80s fastball with plenty of life and a hammer, 72-76 mph curveball with huge depth and impressive spin.
But perhaps the best thing about Manning’s outing on this occasion was the fact that he felt he kept his fastball down in the zone more consistently and got four groundouts to just one fly out.
“My timing from my hand break has been a little off,” Manning said after the game. “Coach (Andy) Pettitte and a couple other coaches have helped me with that, so I can have a smoother transition . . . Just getting (the ball) more down in the zone—which I felt like I was doing more with my fastball today.
“Getting more ground balls instead of leaving it up and giving up an Austin Hendrick home run.”
Manning grew up a Yankees fan, and he talked about how excited he was to have the five-time World Series champion giving him pointers in the bullpen—though Manning did joke about the fact that it was tougher for him to teach his patented pickoff move.
“Nothing compares to this at all,” Manning said about the PDP League. “I’m having so much fun. These guys are going to be the guys I’m hanging out with the rest of my life, playing baseball.”
While Manning is considered one of the top pitching talents in the 2020 class and has plenty of projection that pro scouts covet, he’s also a Florida commit and could be an outstanding addition to a college program that routinely produces arms. When asked about why he chose the program, Manning's answer was simple.
“They win. They know how to win. And I love winning.”
That works for us.
Enrique Bradfield, OF, American Heritage HS, Plantation, Fla.
The leadoff hitter for Team Jones, Bradfield is a small, skinny lefthanded-hitting outfielder. He’s listed at 6 feet, 155 pounds and doesn’t show much power during batting practice, but he has quick hands and proved to be a dangerous threat atop the order on Thursday as one of the best pure runners in the 2020 class.
Bradfield was one of just two hitters with a pair of hits on the day, going 2-for-4 with a walk and a strikeout, though both of his hits (singles) failed to get out of the infield. Bradfield slapped the ball on the ground to shortstop in both of his at-bats, but he flies down the first base line, posting run times in the 4.05-4.15 second range on both attempts, which included a stumble out of the box on one occasion.
Bradfield has a short, simple swing out of the lefthanded batter's box, which is geared for low line drives and ground balls—suiting his play style and toolset just fine. Bradfield’s athleticism and quick-twitch skills could allow him to become a dynamic two-way player, but his power could always be a real question mark and he’ll need to refine his routes in center field despite well above-average running ability.
Carson Swilling, RHP, Smiths (Ala.) Station HS
Swilling took the mound in the middle of the second game of the day for Team Larkin and put together one of the best performances of the day. The Auburn commit struck out six batters and walked just one over three frames and allowed two hits (both singles) while throwing 41 of his 61 pitches for strikes (67 percent).
Swilling opened up with a fastball in the 91-92 mph range in the first inning, and he complimented that pitch with a 74-76 mph curveball. His fastball was the better offering on this outing, although his breaking ball progressed inning by inning. Initially it showed decent three-quarter shape and spin, but it lacked power and the pitch came across the plate without much bite, and at times he didn’t get fully on top of the pitch.
However, during his third inning, Swilling got more depth on the pitch and showed better feel to spin the offering. He created one whiff with the breaking ball, compared to seven whiffs with his fastball.
Five of his six strikeouts were ended with the fastball. Swilling is listed at 6-foot-1, 185 pounds and throws out of a three-quarter slot with some length in the back of his arm stroke, but he repeated his release point well and spotted his fastball nicely.
Mario Zabala, OF, International Baseball Academy, Ceiba, P.R.
Committed: Florida International
Zabala is likely the top Puerto Rican player in the 2020 prep class at this point, and while Thursday was an example of the rawness still in his game, it was also an exciting glimpse at a number of the tools that give him some intriguing upside.
A 6-foot-1, 195-pound outfielder committed to Florida International, Zabala put on one of the best batting practices of the day—among all four teams—with a smooth, consistent righthanded swing. Zabala has above-average bat speed and drove his hands directly to the ball, making hard contact with good carry to all fields throughout each round. He had no issues squaring the ball up on the sweet spot of the barrel and showed good balance throughout his frame.
However, in-game, Zabala was more prone to swinging and missing than his batting practice indicated. He struck out three times and swung and missed seven times (the most of any hitter on Thursday), all on fastballs in the 89-93 mph range. Zabala’s timing was off throughout the game, though he did square up a 92 mph fastball from righthander Max Rajcic (Calif.) for a hard-hit ground ball single in the seventh inning.
After his single, Zabala showed off his running ability on the bases. He took advantage of multiple throwing errors from the defense and showed some aggressive baserunning instincts that allowed him to go all the way around the bases and score. He’s a plus runner and moves well on the dirt and in the outfield, where he has a solid arm as well. With plenty of strength, power potential and speed, Zabala’s pure toolset is exciting, although scouts will need to get a better feel for his pure hitting ability and see how much of a concern his swing-and-miss might be in the future.
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Other Players To Note:
Nate Savino, LHP, Potomac Falls HS, Sterling, Va. — Savino has stood out throughout the PDP League, and he shined once again on Thursday, with five strikeouts across three innings while showing an impressive, 91-95 running fastball and a mid- to upper-70s slider with terrific horizontal movement. In addition to showing two plus offerings, Savino showed above-average control of his entire arsenal and spotted both his fastball and breaking ball while throwing the highest percentage of strikes (81.6 percent) of any pitcher during the day. Savino is a Virginia commit.
Max Rajcic, RHP, Orange (Calif.) Lutheran HS — We’ve touched on Rajcic before, but today the polished SoCal righthander showed better velocity than he did a week ago. Rajcic’s fastball was in the 93-94 mph range in the first of his three frames, and he never threw a pitch lower than 90 mph throughout the outing after throwing in the upper 80s last week. Rajcic showed good spin on a 78-80 mph slider as well, but he repeatedly got swings and misses with the heater—11 total and at least three whiffs in each inning. Rajcic is an UCLA commit.
A.J. Vukovich, 3B, East Troy (Wisc.) HS — Vukovich went 1-for-2 during game one for Team Jeter, but he didn’t square up the ball particularly well. He got on with an infield single that was hit off the cap of his bat and then broke his bat on a groundout to third base in his second trip to the plate. However, the 6-foot-4, 210-pound infielder showed extremely easy pull power during batting practice and is an interesting power bat to keep an eye on. As a Wisconsin hitter, scouts will be bearing down hard to get a better feel for his hit tool, but the Louisville commit has the strength to go gap-to-gap with authority.
Austin Hendrick, OF, West Alleghany HS, Imperial, Pa. — Hendrick has looked like one of the best hitters of the 80-player field to this point, and it doesn’t take more than a round of batting practice to see why. Hendrick’s raw power is among the best in the class thanks to extremely loose and quick hands from the left side. In Thursday’s batting practice, Hendrick hit three straight home runs to right field in one of his rounds, including a blast that cleared the seats in right field of Tropicana and landed on the stadium’s concourse. In our high school Top 10 Prospects list, we noted that Hendrick has plenty of moving parts in his setup, though the Mississippi State commit already seems to be quieting his lower half and simplifying his leg kick, which no longer includes a stabby, toe tap in his load.