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Summer notebook: July 25

Summer Collegiate : : Story
Patrick Ebert         Frankie Piliere        
Published: Friday, July 25, 2014

PGCBL Spotlight: Taylor Blatch

A former 27th round draft pick by the Minnesota Twins in 2013 MLB Draft, Taylor Blatch is no stranger to opening eyes with his lively right arm. And, open eyes is what he’s done very consistently over the course of his summer in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League.

Even on an Amsterdam Mohawks pitching staff that includes other all-star standouts like Ryan Clark and E.J. Ashworth, Blatch has garnered attention for his powerful fastball and improving consistency with his command. The coronation of his breakout summer came at last week’s All-Star Game, where he ran his fastball up to 93 mph.

On the summer, the 5-foot-11 righthander stands at 4-1 with a 2.18 ERA over six starts. In 33 innings, he has struck out 32 batters and allowed just 22 hits. That performance comes on the heels of a learning experience of a freshman season in which Blatch posted a 6.23 ERA over 14 appearances.

But, it should comes as no surprise that Blatch has already begun to show improvement at the collegiate level. The Stuart, Florida native attended 13 Perfect Game events over the course of his high school career, advancing from a young pitcher working at 78-83 mph with his fastball in 2010 to one of the standouts of the 2012 PG National Showcase in 2012, where he touched 93 mph.

An above average athlete with a live, clean arm action and a sharp breaking ball, Blatch has the look of a pitcher who will continue to improve as he logs more innings. And, as he logged those innings this summer in the PGCBL, that improvement has come rapidly.

Around The Cape

Marc Brakeman
, RHP, Stanford – No pitcher on the Cape throws more changeups than Hyannis’ Brakeman. And, it’s hard to argue with his success. He’s currently second in the league in strikeouts, and has accomplished that by throwing more changeups than fastballs. A dominant, plus offering, it’s a pitch Brakeman can and will throw in any count to both righty and lefty hitters. The biggest development in Brakeman’s game, however, may be his increased fastball velocity. He’s been up to 95 mph this summer and has worked consistently at 92-94 mph. And, in his most recent and best start this summer, he carried that velocity deep into the game.

Alex Young, LHP, TCU – The owner of arguably the league’s best breaking ball, Young technically throws both a slider and a curveball. The curveball is a true hammer at 81-83 mph, showing hard, late action and outstanding depth for a curveball at that velocity. He’ll also throw a true slider at 82-84, a pitch that flashes 65 potential on the 20-80 scale and can be “back-footed” against righthanded batters. Young’s fastball has lived mostly in the 89-92 mph range, touching as high as 93. But, it’s his command of the breaking ball, as fell as a late fading changeup, that make him one of the most well-rounded pitching prospects in the college ranks right now.

Walker Buehler
, RHP, Vanderbilt – A late arrival to the Cape, Buehler’s stuff has not disappointed in his two starts. His fastball has ranged from 92-96 mph, with his better velocity coming in his first time out. He throws both a slider and curveball that he’s comfortable locating even behind in counts. His slider at 83-84 mph has been the more consistent offering for on the Cape, but his curveball also flashes above average depth. And, his 83-86 mph changeup has been a consistent weapon for him as well.

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