2019 East Coast Pro: Day 3 Scout Notebook
HOOVER, Ala. — Saturday featured what is typically the biggest annual matchup at East Coast Pro, as the Blue Jays (mostly Florida players) took on the Brewers (mostly Georgia players) during the third game of the day.
During the previous two years at East Coast Pro, the Georgia-Florida matchup has given scouts some of the best pitching performances of the respective draft cycles. In 2017 Ethan Hankins overwhelmed every hitter he faced and established himself as the top pitcher in the class at the time, while in 2018 Daniel Espino did his best Jose Fernandez impression. Both players went on to be first round picks by the Indians.
It might be a bit more difficult to figure out which prep pitcher Cleveland will be taking in 2020 however, as there wasn’t a clear-cut dominating performance that stood out among the rest of the field, though a number of pitchers gave it a good shot.
Here are plenty of pitching notes (and a few nuggets on some hitters) from Day 3 of East Coast Pro. If you missed Baseball America’s previous coverage of the event, check out our Day One and Day Two scout notebooks.
Ty Floyd, RHP, Rockmart (Ga.) HS
Commit: Louisiana State
A Georgia prep righty who’s committed to LSU and went off on Day 3 of East Coast Pro? Yes, it does sound similar to Espino, so perhaps he’ll be our guess for the Indians selection at this point.
Joke aside, Floyd was dominant in his two innings Saturday night, striking out six of the seven batters he faced and walking just one. Floyd has a quick arm and an easy plus fastball that settled into the 90-95 mph range and jumped on hitters. He generated five whiffs on the pitch in the first inning along and tacked on seven more swings and misses in his second inning of work.
In fact, every batter he faced swung and missed at least one time against him and five of the seven swung and missed multiple times. Floyd lived up in the zone with his fastball and had no issues in doing so. He broke out a curveball in the 76-78 mph range, and spiked several of them during his first inning, but showed better feel to land the offering in the second, with three-quarter shape and moderate depth.
Floyd is athletic and has a quick arm, with some short stabbing action in the back and a bit of recoil at times in his finish. Listed at 6-foot-2, 180-pounds Floyd will need to refine the curveball and also show a third pitch in the future to further improve his profile, but in this outing his electric fastball was more than enough to mow down batters.
Victor Mederos, RHP, Monsignor Pace HS, Miami
Mederos came on in relief during the night game of Saturday's action. The righthander was impressive across two innings, allowing no base runners while striking out three batters. Mederos showed off premium stuff and physicality that made him tantalizing on the mound.
The 6-foot-3, 215-pound righthander is mature physically with a strong lower half. His large frame is built for innings and he has plus arm strength. Mederos works from a three-quarter arm slot with long action in the back. His torso and hips don’t turn too early, which helps him to get his arm through on time as he strides home. In particular, he gets over his front side well for his size. This helps him maintain angle on his fastball and finish his breaking pitches. His control was scattered in this outing, and he doesn’t always hit the same release point with consistency. This causes him to miss inside to left handed hitters while occasionally spiking his breaking pitches and he also had a tendency to overthrow his fastball in this outing.
Mederos topped out at 96 mph with his heater. He was able to throw it for strikes while elevating it to get hitters to chase out of the zone. The pitch had life to it and was difficult for batters to square up. While Mederos did miss with it early on, he wasn’t afraid to challenge hitters later on in counts.
The righthander featured two different breaking pitches. He threw a curveball that had over-the-top tilt to it, registering in the upper 70’s. While impressive, his slider was better. It registered in the low-80s and had late, sharp break with good tilt to it. He was able to keep it down in the strike zone and use it as a put-away pitch late in counts. His premium arm speed and ability to get out in front help him to have good feel for spinning the baseball at will.
Mederos didn’t need to use his changeup as hitters couldn’t catch up to his heater at any point. While his command wasn't as strong as it was a few weeks ago when he won the Under Armour All-America Game MVP Award, Mederos continues to show that he's one of the best pitchers in the 2020 class.
Caden Grice, LHP, Riverside HS, Greer, S.C.
There have been a number of standout performances this week from South Carolina products, and Grice was another on Saturday. A 6-foot-6, 220-pound lefthander with a frame to dream on and a loose arm, Grice threw just two innings (with a pair of strikeouts and one hit allowed but showed plenty of elements to get excited about.
Grice uses his lower half to get off of the rubber well, and pitched with an 89-92 mph fastball. The pitch can flatten out at times, and when he left it up and over the plate it got hit hard (SS Kevin Karstetter doubled off of him), but there’s potential for more here and he also showed a pair of solid secondaries.
Grice showed feel to break off a 77-80 mph slider that had lots of horizontal movement and good finish, and he used the pitch as a swing-and-miss offering to lefties and righties. He also showed some feel for an 82-85 mph changeup that he used for a whiff as well, but he spiked the pitch frequently and will need to improve his control of the offering. There are some areas to improve here—spotting pitches more effectively chief among them—but a lefthander of his size with some feel to spin a breaking ball has to be exciting.
Steven Ondina, SS,International Baseball Academy, Ceiba, P.R.
Commit: Florida International
Ondina provided a nice spark from the leadoff spot for the Brewers, collecting two hits in three at-bats. The infielder smacked a double and drove in a run while coming around to score once as well. Ondina’s athleticism and tools make him intriguing both at the plate and in the field.
The shortstop has an active presence on the infield. He is into every pitch and clearly has high baseball IQ, making the smart moves on where to throw the ball and where to back up. He is a good runner and his arm has plus strength, although he did show some issues with his accuracy throwing runners out at first base. His 5-foot-9, 155-pound frame helps him to move with solid range while also being able to throw from multiple angles. He is always an athletic position on ground balls, with his hips squared away to home plate which helps him to be in a good position for his hands to field the ball. This allows him to have a quick transfer to his throwing hand as he begins to throw.
At the dish, he has a quiet setup but has some juice in the bat. He has no pre-swing movement, and uses a small leg kick to start his swing. Ondina does load his hands as he puts his foot down, which helps him to generate more torque when the bat gets on plane with the strike zone. He has good bat speed, and is able to hit the ball up at the plate. While he did chase out of the zone, the infielder did show the ability to stay back late in counts and hit pitches to the opposite field.
Ondina seems to be this year’s Nasim Nunez/Anthony Volpe/Xavier Edwards type. That’s not necessarily a direct comparison, as each of those players' toolsets vary, but Ondina is an undersized, slick-fielding shortstop with good running ability and consistency on both sides of the ball. Ondina is 5-for-10 with just one strikeout over his three games so far at ECP.
TK Roby, RHP, Pine Forest HS, Pensacola, Fla.
Roby opened the game for the Rockies in the first game of Saturday’s ECP action, and while the 6-foot-1, 180-pound righthander’s 89-92 mph fastball didn’t jump off the page in the first inning, he got more intriguing as his outing progressed.
Hitters seemed to have a difficult time picking up Roby’s fastball, and after whiffing four times against the pitch in the first inning, swung and missed against it four times in the second and twice more in the third inning. Roby has some crossfiring action in his landing that might add to his deception, and he regularly got swings-and-misses by using the pitch up in the zone. The fastball ranged from 2300-2500 rpm and he touched 93 mph a few times, including in his final third inning.
Roby threw a curveball with solid spin as well, though he didn’t show the pitch until his second inning. A 76-78 mph breaking ball, the pitch lacks sharp bite currently, but has the makings of a future weapon with shape that ranges from three-quarter to more vertical 11-to-5 movement. TrackMan had the pitch at a 2700 spin rate, and he showed some solid feel to land the offering, though he’ll need to add power to it in the future, as it can get loopy when he casts it to the plate.
Roby struck out four batters and walked one, allowing three hits and throwing 78.6 percent of his 42 pitches for strikes. His strikethrowing, the swing-and-miss that he manages on his fastball and his feel for spinning the baseball make him an interesting arm, and he adds to his deception by occasionally pausing during his windup.
Kellum Clark, INF/RHP, Brandon (Miss.) HS
Committed: Mississippi State
Clark showed off his two-way ability for the Rockies on Saturday, getting a chance to do damage with the bat while also working in relief. The infielder had an RBI in two at-bats while pitching a scoreless inning in relief and collecting three strikeouts. Clark’s tools translate well on both sides of the ball and made an impact for the Rockies.
Clark has a large frame at 6-foot-4, 220-pounds. He is strong and still athletic with loose levers. At the plate, the lefthanded hitter shows sound swing mechanics, transferring his weight while keeping his hands back and making the most of a small leg kick. While his swing did get long at times, Clark was able to manipulate the barrel to make more contact and showed good bat speed. In addition, he shows the ability to track pitches and stays back well, not committing too early on off-speed offerings.
The infielder has spent a good amount of innings at first base these past few days, showing solid footwork and a plus arm across the diamond. His hands are workable at first base, and he shows a good target. His athleticism helps him throw from multiple angles to second base if need be.
On the mound, Clark worked from a three-quarter arm slot with a long arm action in the back. The righthander’s fastball topped out at 91 mph, which he lost command of from time to time when he would fall off to the first base side of the mound. His main secondary offering was a breaking ball which had some shape to it and registered in the mid-70’s. It helped get hitters off his fastball, and the 10-to-5 break worked to get swings and misses off the plate.
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Others To Note
Enrique Bradfield, OF, American Heritage HS, Plantation, Fla. — Bradfield has gotten Juan Pierre comps and will likely continue to get them as scouts watch him range across outfields with ease and terrorize pitchers and catchers alike on the base paths. When a ball is hit into either gap in the outfield, there’s a good chance Bradfield will come down with the ball if he’s in center, as the 6-foot, 150-pound outfielder gets excellent jumps and also consistently runs efficient routes. Pair that with his 6.32 60-yard dash time (the best at the event) and it’s easy to find yourself looking at a plus-plus defender at a premium position. Tack on Bradfield’s impressive bat-to-ball skills and you’ve got a lot to get excited about. Bradfield is committed to Vanderbilt.
Carson Montgomery, RHP, Windermere (Fla.) HS — Montgomery didn’t look quite as sharp tonight as he did a few weeks ago at the Under Armour All-America game (where he was an honorable mention for best command), but he still showed a 92-94 mph fastball that generated six whiffs and flashed an above-average 80-82 mph slider with late break and two-plane biting action. Montgomery’s control was the limiting factor in this outing, as he struggled to spot his fastball and yanked plenty of pitches in multiple innings, though he did have a solid second inning where he seemed to put everything together nicely. Montgomery will need to improve the consistency of his control and show a third pitch, but his fastball/slider combination continues to be impressive. Montgomery is committed to Florida State.
Steven Ondina, SS, International Baseball Academy, Ceiba, P.R. — Ondina seems to be this year’s Nasim Nunez/Anthony Volpe/Xavier Edwards type. That’s not necessarily a direct comparison, as each of those players' toolsets vary, but Ondina is an undersized, slick-fielding shortstop with good running ability and consistency on both sides of the ball. While he’s just 5-foot-9, 155-pounds, Ondina should run into his fair share of extra base hits, thanks to his speed after hitting line drives into the gaps. The Florida International commit went 2-for-3 with a double and a single Saturday night and is 5-for-10 with just one strikeout over his three games so far at ECP.
Marquis Grissom Jr., RHP, Counterpane HS, Fayetteville, Ga. — Grissom struck out four batters in two innings of relief for the Brewers Saturday night, and showed off a devastating changeup that consistently got hitters flailing over the top of it. A 6-foot-2, 180 pound righthander and the son of the four-time Gold Glover, Grissom threw a 90-92 mph fastball but pitched off of a 76-79 mph changeup that had tremendous tumble and looked like a 55-grade pitch currently, with an easy future plus projection down the line. Grissom throws the pitch with fastball arm speed, and used it to generate four whiffs (including one out of Bradfield, who rarely swings-and-misses) and finish three of his strikeouts. Grissom didn’t show a breaking ball in this outing, but has shown a solid one in the past. He is committed to Georgia Tech.
Nick Conte, RHP, North Providence (R.I.) HS — Conte only threw one inning and 15 pitches Saturday during the first game of the day for the Red Sox, but he broke out an intriguing slider that he used to strike out Blaze Jordan (Mississippi). An 82-85 mph sweeping breaker, the pitch looked like a potential above-average offering with lots of horizontal movement and a 2800-2900 spin rate. Conte is undersized, listed at 5-foot-10, 180-pounds, but throws with solid arm speed out of a three-quarter slot with wrist wrap in the back of his arm stroke and a crossfire landing. Conte threw an 89-92 mph fastball that touched 93. He is currently uncommitted.
Tripp Moore, OF, Mary Persons HS, Forsyth, Ga. — Moore didn’t tally a hit during Saturday’s action, instead drawing a pair of walks, popping out and grounding out, but he did impress in the outfield with a strong arm and noticeable route running. He cut off balls to his left and right well to prevent an extra-base hit on one occasion and to deter a runner from taking an extra bag on another. The 6-foot, 178-pound outfielder hasn’t show much with the bat to this point at ECP, but looks like an instinctual defender. Moore clocked a 6.78 60-yard dash and is committed to Georgia Tech.