3/25/2013 2:12:03 PM
There were some really good pitchers on display this past weekend pitching in some pretty cold/crappy weather conditions pretty much across the entire country.
Jonathan Gray - This was my first look at Gray, a big-bodied RHP with velocity to match his size. The TV broadcast had his fastball at 96-98, which isn't crazy considering reports indicate he's topped triple digits this spring. His breaking ball is an equally nasty pitch, thrown in the mid- to upper-80s with really sharp two-plane break away from RH batters. The velocity suggests it's a slider, but it looks to be thrown more like a curve. Whatever it is, it's nasty, and the hitters also had no chance catching up to his fastball. He attacked hitters with both pitches and really pounded the strike zone to go nine innings (in a 12 inning game). He maintained his velocity deep into the game, and he also mixed in a really nice changeup, which was just icing on the cake. That pitch showed really good fading/sinking action late and down in the zone, with a great speed differential to his fastball. There is some effort to his delivery, but I walked away very impressed. The only thing that came to mind is where he fell in the draft. With his stuff there's no reason to think he won't be in the Astros' discussion for the first overall pick, however his body type is somewhat unlike what you expect from a 1/1. You usually think of guys like Appel, Manaea and even Stanek with tall, lanky yet strong, projectable and well proportioned builds. Gray isn't out of shape by any means, but he's not in the same conversation when it comes to body type.
Preston Morrison - Morrison opposed Gray in the Friday matchup between OK and TCU. Morrison has some pro potential, although his upside is limited. He's rail thin with a low 3/4 delivery that alone could give him success, albeit more as a specialist. He has a good sinker/slider combo, and with his delivery should be able to induce his fair share of weak ground balls at the next level. He looks like a mid-80s guy, maybe high-80s, but with pitchability.
Dillon Overton - Gray has leap-frogged Overton in the Sooners' starting staff, which is one heck of a staff that should advance deep into the college postseason with a very good chance to make Omaha if they can get more bats going past Matt Oberste. I saw Overton and shared my thoughts on him a couple of weeks ago, but he's an interesting pitcher with legitimate pro promise. His upside isn't anywhere near that of Gray, but he should go in the early rounds. He has long and lean limbs with an athletic frame that still has room to add strength. His mechanics are smooth and repeatable with a fastball that tops around the low-90s with room for more He really hits his spots well with his fastball. His overhand curve has promise but the consistency and break just aren't there yet, something I noted in his last start. If he gets over it better I think he'll be able to snap off more effective offerings. He has a really good changeup that complements his FB perfectly. He really slows down with runners on, upsetting hitters, baserunners and just about everyone else's timing. I like that patience on the mound, as he's composed and makes sure he's the one dictating the speed of the game.
Brandon Finnegan - Another LHP and TCU's Saturday starter. TCU also has a pretty decent staff, but this season just hasn't come together for them. There's a lot of moving parts to Finnegan's exaggerated delivery but he did dial it up to the low- to mid-90s. He throws downhill and shows very good arm speed, but the delivery as it stands is probably better for relief. His secondary offerings also need work, throwing mostly fastballs early as he was unable to get his slurvy curveball over for effective strikes.
Kevin Cron - I don't have much to share on Cron, as he hasn't done much in the games I've watched him this year, but the dude's absolutely huge. I already knew that, but he's getting bigger, with his hulking frame likely to draw a ton of Adam Dunn between now and the 2014 draft.
Ryne Stanek - While Stanek hasn't enjoyed the best of starts to the 2013 season, Arkansas' pitching staff has been rock solid this year, and Stanek was very sharp against South Carolina on Saturday. Frankie Piliere was in attendance at this game and shared his thoughts in the PG MLB Draft Blog. I'm not going to add too much more to what Frankie said, since he painted the picture perfectly, but I will reinforce just how impressive he looked this weekend. The fastball was humming, the slider was sharp in the mid- to late-innings and he really seemed in tune in his dominant CG performance.