PDP League Scout Notebook: LHP Nate Savino Shows Promise In 2020 Draft Class
BRADENTON, Fla. — The Prospect Development Pipeline League had its first games of its inaugural season Thursday at IMG Academy. The league, run by Major League Baseball and USA Baseball, provides 80 of the most promising high school players a month-long development and training opportunity and also serves as an identifier for USA Baseball’s 18U National Team during June and July.
The PDP League uses MLB club representatives as coaches and new technology to help promote the growth process of prep players. The league’s top performers will get to play at the inaugural High School All-Star Game at Progressive Field in Cleveland as part of the MLB’s All-Star festivities.
This is one of the integral events to jump-start the 2020 draft class and gives scouts and major league clubs a chance to see the top prep talent in the country face off against one another in a unique environment.
Here are notes on a few of the players who stood out on Day 1:
Nate Savino, LHP, Potomac Falls HS, Sterling, Va.
The 6-foot-3, 190-pound Savino got the start for Team Larkin. The lefthander fired three innings while allowing just one earned run. On the mound, Savino has a loose body and repeatable three-quarter delivery. His arm tracks well in the back and allows him to finish pitches out front. Against Team Jeter, he attacked hitters with a quality three-pitch mix.
Savino established his fastball early, making quick work of the first two batters. He started out throwing his fastball with good downhill plane, showing some natural sink on the pitch. It topped out at 92 mph, and he was able to work it inside to righthanded batters.
The lefty worked with a mid-70s curveball that had two-plane depth and some horizontal tilt, working away from lefthanded hitters. At times, the pitch had more slurve-like movement, but he was able to keep the pitch down in the zone. His athleticism clearly stood out, as he shows feel to spin the ball and good arm strength.
The only blemishes came on a pair of singles and a solo home run. His fastball command left him on certain pitches, as he threw uphill and wasn’t able to get on top of the baseball.
Final Line: 3 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 SO
Jace Bohrofen, OF, Westmoore HS, Oklahoma City
Bohrofen patrolled right field for Team Jeter, driving in the first run of the game with a solo blast in the third inning. He is a 6-foot-2, 195-pound outfielder with an athletic frame and strong body that has room to continue filling out. Bohrofen showed hustle and impressed on both sides of the ball.
At the plate, Bohrofen is under control and shows plus bat speed. While he was out in front on a few breaking pitches with a couple lengthy swings, the outfielder was able to adjust and make sound contact. He has a balanced stance with some pre-swing movement in his hands, which allows him to make the most of his weight transfer while firing his hands through the zone. Bohrofen showed patience at the plate, making the necessary adjustment on breaking pitches while turning on a fastball for his solo home run.
Besides bat speed and a nice swing, Bohrofen showed he can play the outfield. He pays attention and hustles, going all out to dive for a ball down that was hit down the right field line. He took a direct route to the ball and showed off an average arm that has accuracy and solid carry.
Jared Jones, RHP/OF, La Mirada (Calif.) HS
Committed: Southern California
In the day's second game, Jones was impressive in his three-inning start for Team Howard. The righthander allowed just one hit—which was quickly erased by a ground ball double play—and two walks. Jones struck out five batters, showing a feel to pitch and the ability to command the baseball.
Jones has an athletic build with a loose arm action and plus-plus arm strength on the mound. While his fastball topped out at 93 mph, Jones was able to spot it for strikes and had plus command to his arm side. While his delivery needs some polishing, the righthander was under control and was able to maintain a consistent arm slot while getting good extension off the mound.
He made the most of two different breaking pitches to rack up the strikeouts. He threw a slider in the low 80s as well as a curveball in the mid-70s. His arm strength allows him to snap off a quality slider that has downward break. Both breaking pitches worked well off his fastball and put away hitters in two-strike counts.
Final Line: 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 SO
Alek Boychuk, C, Mill Creek HS, Hoschton, Ga.
Committed: South Carolina
Boychuk is a 6-foot-1, 205-pound catcher who is a good target and has agility behind home plate. He called a good game and picked the right spots to go out and talk to his pitchers. Beyond physical actions, Boychuk never showed a lack of focus or hustle behind the dish.
While he only had two at-bats, Boychuk showed a good swing and the ability to hit the ball the other way. For a larger-framed catcher he is quite at the dish, using a small leg kick to get his swing started. He was able to work a line drive into right field for a single in the bottom of the eighth inning.
Defensively, he impressed by showing the ability to move well laterally to block pitches in the dirt. He has sound footwork and a quick arm, and showed plus arm strength while making a throw to nail a runner trying to steal second base.
Texas Rangers 2019 MLB Draft Report Cards
Highlighting the best tools, best debuts, late-round steals and more from the 2019 Texas Rangers draft.
Other Players To Note:
Marquis Grissom Jr., RHP, Counterpane HS, Fayetteville, Ga. — Grissom Jr. made an appearance for Team Larkin in the first game. The righthander has an athletic body and long levers but was unable to throw strikes with consistency. He was erratic with his command, walking three batters and allowing two hits. The righthander topped out at 89 mph with his fastball, which was mostly straight with occasional sinking action. His breaking ball had inconsistent depth and resulted in some hard contact. Grissom Jr. is committed to Georgia Tech.
Max Rajcic, RHP, Orange (Calif.) Lutheran HS — Rajcic was impressive for Team Jeter, fanning five batters across three scoreless innings. The righthander stays closed well, creating a deceptive delivery as he drives off the mound. His fastball worked in the 87-90 mph range, and he got some strikeouts with a slider that showed solid depth. Rajcic has a long track record of performance against high-level competition and routinely pitches above his stuff. He is committed to UCLA.
Michael Brown, 1B, Vacaville (Calif.) HS — Brown had a hit, walk and run scored for Team Howard. The 6-foot-5, 220-pound first baseman makes loud contact and shows plus raw power. He did a nice job making adjustments on breaking pitches, recognizing them and shrinking his strike zone after seeing them for a second time. Brown is currently uncommitted.
Timmy Manning, LHP, Cardinal Gibbons HS, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. — Manning allowed four runs in three innings for Team Jones, but showed some solid raw stuff. While the 6-foot-2 lefthander is strong, his delivery isn’t fluid as he comes to a hard balance point and explodes off the mound. His fastball topped out at 89 mph today and he worked with a low-70s curveball that had good depth and 12-to-6 movement. The lefty showed feel to throw a changeup, although he worked back to his fastball when he got in trouble. Manning is a Florida commit.