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College | Story | 4/12/2017

College Spotlight: Week 8

Patrick Ebert         Jheremy Brown         David Rawnsley         Vincent Cervino        
Photo: Michigan State Athletic Communications
 


Perfect Game College Player Database

Every week during the 2017 college baseball season we will be pulling at least one report, and corresponding video when available, of a player entered into the College Player Database. This week we will share several reports on players from the North Carolina/Boston College, Louisiana/Coastal Carolina and Fresno State/Michigan State series. There are also a handful of notes on players from UConn, Georgia, Michigan, Illinois, Clemson, Wake Forest, Missouri and Kennesaw State. All of the reports entered into the database can be found in one, easy-to-find place as linked above, and can also be accessed off of the individual PG player profile pages.

To access all of the reports you will need a College Baseball Ticket (CBT) subscription. To learn more about the CBT and to sign up today please visit this link.




Alex Troop, LHP/OF, Michigan State

Getting off too an extremely hot start a year ago and looking to be on the fast track to all-conference honors, Michigan State's Alex Troop injured his hand early on and missed the majority of the 2016 season. Coming back as strong as ever, Troop leads the Spartans on the mound on Friday nights as well as in the cleanup spot the rest of the week, making him one the preeminent two-way players in college baseball. 

On the mound, where Troop's real prospect stock is, he's 4-2 thus far this season with a 1.69 ERA in 48 innings, with 46 strikeouts and a .222 BAA in those 48 innings. 

He's of extremely good size and build at present, checking in at 6-foot-5, 210-pounds with some projection remaining throughout his frame. The delivery has some funkiness to it but he definitely makes it work and his athleticism, especially for someone his size and length, is very impressive and it shows up in the repeatability of his somewhat complex delivery. He's slightly crossfire at landing but has the torso strength and flexibility necessary to get over his front side still while retaining command to both sides of the plate. The arm action is mostly clean as well, with a clean takeaway, though he does break the axis of his body through the back. He's in a good position at foot strike, and uses both his height and some spinal tilt to get to an extremely high three-quarters arm slot. 

He's capable of generating big-time plane to the plate when he gets over his front side and extends downhill, something he did often vs. Fresno State. The fastball itself worked in the 87-90 mph range for the majority of his outing, topping out at 92 in the first inning. There's fringy movement on the pitch, but the amount of plane he creates allows the pitch to play up about a full grade in it's effectiveness, especially when he's able to locate it down in the zone. 

The weapon pitch for Troop was his changeup, a plus pitch that he has absolute confidence in. He's willing to pitch backwards with it, double/triple up on it, and throw it to hitters of both handedness. It's thrown in the 77-80 mph range with very good arm speed and outstanding deception out of the hand. There's no discernible change in the arm speed, arm stroke or release point from the fastball when he's throwing the changeup correctly. It has average fading action but what makes it plus is the mechanics of how it's thrown. 

Troop also flashed a nascent breaking ball in the middle innings, with some slight tilting shape in the 79-80 mph range. There's some feel to spin there and the pitch works as a change-of-pace pitch, but it's not a viable bat-misser at this time. Troop's performance coincided with the performance history and the buzz from scouts in the area, and as such we now feel comfortable placing him in the Top 150 draft prospects list, giving him a top 5 round grade at present. 

Other Michigan State players added to College Player Database:

• Matt Byars
• Brandon Hughes
• Ethan Landon
• Riley McCauley




Ricky Tyler Thomas, LHP, Fresno State

Coming into 2017 with a great deal of helium thanks to a tremendous track record, including a very good summer with the Team USA Collegiate squad, Fresno State's Ricky Tyler Thomas may have endured the worst start of his career on Saturday, but still showed like a pretty high round draft selection. 

Thomas is an undersized but extremely athletic lefthander, checking in likely around 5-foot-10 to 5-foot-11 and 175-ish pounds, but the stature doesn't really inhibit his abilities on the mound seeing as he's not an overpowering pitcher to begin with. The delivery itself is pretty clean, starting with a high leg kick and dropping slightly with excellent lower half usage, and really taking a long stride downhill and generating extension in the process. The arm stroke is clean as well, with a low takeback behind his rear leg to hide the ball, loosely flowing into the arm circle itself with above average arm speed up to a slightly-higher-than-traditional three-quarters slot, aided by some spine tilt to get there. 

Thomas' athleticism allowed him to repeat this delivery pretty well, and it's not a high maintenance delivery to begin with, so he has starter traits in that way. His stuff, on the other hand, while pretty solid in Saturday's game against Michigan State, has been down across the board according to contacts in the Northern California area who have seen him plenty this year. 

Thomas worked 86-89 mph throughout his start against the Spartans, touching 90 a few times and showing average life to the arm side on the pitch. The weapon here, as it's been for awhile now, is his legitimately plus, swing-and-miss changeup that he has command of and utter confidence in. The confidence factor may have gotten him into trouble a few times in this start, however, as he tripled and quadrupled up on the offering, so much so that the MSU bats started sitting on the changeup and adjusting to the fastball. This approach worked to the tune of 13 hits and eight earned runs off of Thomas by the time the bleeding stopped. 

The changeup features parachuting action halfway to the plate, seemingly stopping in midair at times while being thrown with conviction and fastball arm speed, fading away from the bats of righthanded hitters and generating several empty swings early on. It's a no doubt plus offering, but the concerns today had more to do with the fact that he didn't throw a single breaking ball, and the fastball was lacking in it's usual crispness. 

On the whole, the concerns as to Thomas' profile are in the lack of a seemingly viable breaking ball at present, as well the heavy reliance on a changeup that doesn't have an average fastball to back it up right now. His velocity had been in the 89-92 mph range earlier this season so it's within reason that he just had a down outing, but the concerns are viable nonetheless. 

With Thomas' proven track record of success at the highest level and a no-doubt, go-to plus pitch at his disposal, along with his athleticism, he's likely to be a top 3-4 round pick at this juncture.

Other Fresno State players added to College Player Database:

• Rickey Ramirez




Logan Warmoth, SS, North Carolina

Coming into the spring season North Carolina’s Logan Warmoth ranked among the top handful of shortstop prospects for the 2017 MLB Draft. Jump forward eight weeks into the season and it looks as though Warmoth may have established himself as THE top collegiate shortstop as he continues to rise up draft boards with steady, well-rounded production.

Strongly and proportionately built at 6-foot, 190-pounds, there’s little question as to whether or not Warmoth will be able to stick up the middle at the next level, whether at second or short and his performance this past weekend at Boston College did nothing but support that notion. Though there’s strength to his frame it doesn’t inhibit Warmoth’s movements or athleticism at the premium position as he’s light on his feet and shows excellent instincts off the bat. A solid average runner who will post above average times regularly down the line (he’s also 15-for-17 in stolen base opportunities) Warmoth shows comfort moving laterally to either side with solid footwork both to and through the ball. The Florida native shows enough strength across the diamond on his throws with a compact but quick arm action with solid carry. 

Should he eventually move to second base, he’ll continue to be a lockdown type defender though the biggest value may still lie in his righthanded swing. He enjoyed a breakout sophomore season of sorts after hitting .337 with four home runs after putting together a .246/one home run campaign in 2015, then continued to show his power last summer on the Cape with another four long balls. A quick look at his 2017 numbers already reveals he’s surpassed that mark with five long balls, two of which came this past weekend against the Eagles, and his average now sits at an impressive .348 mark. 

Before diving into his mechanics and abilities with the bat, it’s important to make mention of Warmoth’s overall approach at the plate. Yes, he can be aggressive early in the count but he’ll only do it when it’s a pitch he can handle. If it’s a fastball within the zone or a breaking ball he’s looking for, he’ll jump all over it. If not, he’ll simply lay off and wait for his pitch, something he did throughout the weekend as found more barrel than he did swing-and-miss. 

After a single swing of batting practice you take notice of just how quick and fluid Warmoth’s hands are at the plate, a trait that carries over into game action. As smooth as the hands are, they’re equally as quick and he demonstrated no troubles with the inner half fastball as he spun on one for a long two-run home run to his pull side in game one before launching another late in the finale. Warmoth consistently showed a full and smooth swing path through the zone with natural leverage as he also generated solid launch angle out front at the point of contact. His hand-eye coordination is also evident with the consistency of his barrel, whether it was spin early in the count or a fastball on the outer half that he took the other way. 

All the tools are there for Warmoth to be a consistent producer at the next level on both sides of the ball, but for now he’ll anchor a top 5 nationally ranked Carolina team who has some serious momentum heading into the back half of the 2017 season.

Other North Carolina players added to College Player Database:

• Austin Bergner
• J.B. Bukauskas
• Michael Busch
• Luca Dalatri
• Kyle Datres
• Zack Gahagan
• Rodney Hutchison
• Ashton McGee
• Brian Miller
• Cody Roberts
• Taylor Sugg
• Bo Weiss


Donovan Casey, OF, Boston College

The tools possessed by Boston College junior outfielder Donovan Casey are too hard to ignore but with the strides he continues to make on the mound he very well could be drafted as an arm this June. A plus runner with a plus arm and plus bat speed, Casey has been heating up with the bat as of late and not once, but twice found he barrel on a J.B. Bukauskas slider Friday afternoon, a feat not many in the country can say. 

Coming in out of the bullpen in the second game of Sunday’s double header against North Carolina Casey needed just 17 pitches to work through a potent Tar Heel lineup, delivering two flawless frames. Even since my looks two weeks ago against Clemson the 6-foot-3, 205-pound righthander looks more balanced with his delivery and comfortable on the mound. For an arm who hasn’t pitched much prior to this spring Casey does a nice job of repeating his mechanics while showing a full and loose arm stroke with solid extension out front. 

Just as he’s shown in prior outings, the fastball worked in the 91-93 mph range and the velocity comes rather easy for Casey which leads to believe there’s another tick or three left in the tank if he was to ever fully focus his attention to the mound. With his size and extension Casey generates nice plane to his heater and when he works to the glove side he’s able to generate some cut action. He also flashed both a curveball in the low-70s and a changeup in the upper-70s, a pitch he’s shown more comfort in throwing out of his two secondaries. 

Other Boston College players added to College Player Database:

• Matt Gill
• Dominic Hardaway
• Sean Hughes


Nick Lee, RHP, Louisiana

Lee has been a starter for the Ragin' Cajuns since the first week of his freshman season and posted a 7-1, 3.31 mark as a freshman. He's struggled a bit this year, going 4-3, 5.54 through eight starts, with lesser command seeming to be the major culprit.

Lee has an outstanding build for pitcher, with long arms and square shoulders and loose athletic actions on the mound. The arm action is loose and smooth from a three-quarters arm slot and he maintains good direction to the plate in his delivery with his lower half.  It's his upper half that seems to get out of whack at times, with effort at release and a medium head whack to accompany it.

In his Saturday afternoon start against Coastal Carolina, Lee worked up to 92 mph early in the outing before settling into the upper-80s, with most of those fastballs appearing to be two-seamers with good life down in the zone. Lee's four-seamer was often a pitch that hurt him, as it tended to stay up in the strike zone. He also threw a full variety of secondary pitches, including an 85 mph cutter, a 79-81 mph slider that flashed solid but tended to be yanked off the plate glove side, and an 83 mph changeup that had very nice life and deception at times.

With lefty Gunner Leger having an All-American-type year as the team's Friday starter and a deep and veteran bullpen, getting Lee back to his 2016 form with be key for Louisiana in the second half.

Other Louisiana players added to College Player Database:

• Ishmael Edwards
• Gunner Leger
• Wyatt Marks
• Dylan Moore


Alex Cunningham, RHP, Coastal Carolina

Cunningham is a fifth-year senior who will turn 23 years old the week after the draft.  He's also a 6-foot righthander.  Despite that, a smart team should spend a decent pick on one of the stars of Coastal Carolina's improbable 2016 College World Series run and they might get a future big league pitcher.  Think Mike Fiers as a comp.

Coming off of two consecutive complete game shutouts, Cunningham worked at 89-94 for eight innings this outing, a pitcher's duel that Louisiana won 1-0, and was still touching 94 mph in the seventh inning.  He throws from an over-the-top release point but it's a natural arm slot for him and he does it without much upper body lean and good direction to the plate.  His horizontal command this outing was outstanding due to that direction and he pitched to spots with his fastball.  Cunningham's curveball was a very good pitch at 76 mph, with big depth and similar command and the ability to manipulate the depth and shape of the pitch.  He threw a couple of 80 mph changeups but didn't feature the pitch.

At his age, it would be waste of time for Cunningham to go out this summer and pitch in rookie ball or even Low A.  He's one of those older pitchers who already has the stuff and ability to use it.  Whoever drafts him might as well send him straight to High A and see what they have.

Other Coastal Carolina players added to College Player Database:

• Jason Bilous
• Dalton Ewing
• Bobby Holmes
• Austin Kitchen
• Cory Wood




Jackson Lamb, RHP, Michigan

Having come into Michigan as a two-way prospect with tremendous upside due to his extreme athleticism, Jackson Lamb has had a bit of a rough go of it up until this point. After a solid freshman season that saw him play both ways, Lamb had Tommy John surgery only a few weeks into his sophomore season in 2015; ending that season almost before it began. He came back well in 2016, pitching important innings out of the Michigan bullpen before another injury (though not as serious as Tommy John surgery) ended his junior year early. 

Flash forward to 2017, where Lamb has been simply outstanding as Michigan's closer, having allowed zero runs to date in 17 1/3 innings, with a WHIP under 1.00 and 14 strikeouts in those innings. 

Having touched 95 MPH for me last season, explosive arm speed and impressive velocity readings are not altogether unexpected for Lamb; though he's spent most of this season working in the 90-93 mph range. Against Illinois this past Sunday, however, Lamb worked consistently in the 92-95 mph range and touched 96 mph once on my gun; and he did it with some of the easier mechanics you'll see. 

Lamb's plus athleticism allows him to control his body on the mound with much more grace and ease than a typical long-limbed, 6-foot-6 inch pitcher can; and he harnesses that body control into a relatively simplistic, repeatable delivery. The arm action; while having some wrap through the back, is especially effortless--so much so, in fact, that the fastball exploding out of his hand in the mid-90's made me question my own radar gun's accuracy for a few pitches. 

He hardly throws his breaking ball, a nascent offering in the upper 70's that flashes depth, but in this setting he doesn't really need to considering how dominating he's been with his fastball. 

The total package of athleticism, physical projection, arm speed, and obvious arm strength is nonetheless extremely enticing to professional teams; and it'll be extremely interesting to see where he ends up during the draft.


Other Michigan players added to College Player Database:

• Michael Hendrickson




Cyrillo Watson, RHP, Illinois

The strong-armed freshman righthander has moved his way into the weekend rotation for Illinois after starting his career in the bullpen; and while he's taken his lumps so far to the tune of a 5.61 ERA, he's showing some things on the mound that should equate to very good success as his Big Ten career continues. 

At 6-foot-1, 185-pounds; Watson has solid size and athleticism with quality projection remaining on the body. The arm action starts with a relatively deep hook through the back and the arm is pretty flat at foot strike, but he does a good job of accelerating cleanly to his three quarters slot release and is able to create good angle to the plate. The delivery, while highlighted by a pretty closed off front foot at landing, is for the most part efficient and repeatable; generating good drive off the rubber in his lower half and not depending too much on various tilts to get the arm into good position. 

His fastball touched 92 MPH a few times early on, settling into the 87-90 mph range as the game wore on. His side-to-side command was solid, able to get to both sides of the plate, but the up/down command needs refinement, as he often left the fastball up in the zone where it was more susceptible to being hit. 

He complemented the fastball primarily with a slider in the low 80's; and ideal pitch given his arm slot and release, and he showed the ability to spin it correctly and produce sharp, diving action on the pitch, with the capability to throw it to hitters of either handedness. 

Watson is still a relatively raw freshman pitcher getting thrown to the wolves a bit in conference play, but the potential sum of his parts at the end of the day might end up being something pretty good for the Illini. He seems to have the durability and delivery to maintain a role as a starting pitcher, and both his fastball and slider show the ability to miss bats. Illinois has a very good track record of developing pitchers (Tyler Jay, Kevin Duchene, Cody Sedlock in the past few years, to name a few); so Watson is certainly in capable hands. He'll be an interesting one to follow moving forward.





Tim Cate, LHP, Connecticut

If you’re looking for an arm who you can peg as a potential first rounder over a year away, Connecticut’s Tim Cate is a good starting point. He may not be overly physical at 6-foot, 187-pounds, but Cate’s size in no way inhibits what he’s capable of doing on the mound as he picks up strikeouts by the handful and delivers a masterful start more often than not.

A weekend piece last spring as a true freshman before joining the USA Collegiate National team in the summer, Cate has assumed the role of Friday night ace for the Huskies with the departure of Anthony Kay in last June’s draft. Aside from his size Cate very quickly checks most boxes on scout’s cards and the fact that he’s lefthanded is just a bonus and another solidifying factor. 

From one pitch to the next Cate does an extraordinary job of repeating his delivery, showing plenty of balance and rhythm, which in turn leads to a high percentage of strikes and limits the number of walks. His arm action is very fluid and quick while working to a higher three-quarters slot, a release point where he’s able to generate rather consistent plane and angle on his fastball and maintained very well on his two off-speed pitches. 

Along with the plane he’s able to generate from his release point Cate lived in the lower third with his fastball for the most part and generated nice extension out front, helping the velocity play up a tick from what the gun read with some late hop through the zone. And it’s not like his fastball was lacking as he sat very comfortably in the 90-92 mph range, bumping a couple 93s early in the first, and should continue add some ticks with his next gain in physicality. Mostly true in life, Cate was able to command either side of the plate and wasn’t afraid to challenge hitters in though he would occasionally miss up in the zone and the Memphis hitters didn’t miss. 

The real difference maker for Cate, and what helps set him apart on the national scene, is his consistent feel to go to his plus curveball and the confidence with which he throws it. A plus offering more often than not, Cate spun the pitch in the 80-82 mph range and showed nasty, late biting action with 12-to-6 shape to the back foot of righthanded hitters. It’s a pitch he isn’t afraid to throw back-to-back and often did as he racked up 14 swings and misses with the pitch. Regardless of the count Cate had the confidence to go to the breaker, whether it was the first pitch of an at-bat or in a 3-2 count. Both the depth and shape were there come his final inning of work, and though he’d occasionally get around the pitch, it was a steady plus pitch and one of the best curveballs in the country even as a sophomore. 

Early in the contest we saw Cate work almost exclusively off his fastball and curveball, and though he yielded noteworthy results, we saw the complete Tim Cate once he began throwing his changeup in the back half of his start. An 83-86 mph pitch, just as he did on his curveball he maintained his arm speed and release point very well which added deception and gave him a legitimate three pitch arsenal. He located the pitch down in the zone very well with subtle, but late, fading life and it was an offering he went to more than once to begin an at-bat. 

Cate’s ability to throw three pitches for strikes with little to no effort at release while still projecting for more on what’s already a quality arsenal will certainly fill the seats whenever he takes the ball next spring. But for now, Head Coach Jim Penders will continue to enjoy having the sophomore lefthander lead his weekend rotation as Cate continues to prove he’s one of the most consistent arms in the country.

Other Michigan players added to College Player Database:

• Anthony Prato
• Zach Susi





Alec Trela, SS, Memphis

One of just three players to play in all 32 games for Memphis this spring, freshman shortstop Alec Trela appears to be a corner stone type player for Head Coach Daron Schoenrock and the program. Trela jumps out immediately standing in a uniform as he’s listed at 6-foot-3, 218-pounds and though he’ll likely slide over to third base at the next level, it’s most certainly a middle of the order, power type righthanded swing. 

After a couple of swings in pregame batting practice the balance and power are evident as he was consistently on time with his leg lift and weight transfer, incorporating his physical strength well at the point of contact. His swing path is full and he’s able to keep the barrel in the zone for a while, showing leverage out front with quick hands, quality bat speed, and nice extension. He continued to show the same swing with an aggressive approach in game, jumping out front on a couple of Tim Cate’s plus curveball, but we also saw his approach change in game as he began to take boarder line pitches down in the zone as opposed to chasing. 

Though he was held hitless in my one game look against Connecticut you can’t help but be impressed with the way the ball comes off Trela’s barrel and the potential for double digit home runs is very real as he continues to adjust to in the college environment. Already hitting in the three-hole for Schoenrock, Trela is now batting .282 on the year with four home runs and 11 doubles (best on the team) and will only improve with maturity.

Currently the team’s starting shortstop, Trela is likely move over to the hot corner given his physical build but he’s still a solid athlete who should be a solid asset defensively. His hands are soft and play well, as does his arm strength as he shows nice carry across the diamond and the comfort to throw accurately from multiple slots.




Bryce Montes De Oca, RHP, Missouri

The first thing that stands out about Montes De Oca is the sheer size and his presence on the mound. Listed at a perhaps generous 6-foot-7 and 261-pounds, Montes De Oca is physically imposing and his frame alone allows him to get on top of balls consistently.

The arm action is quick and almost whip-like, with a soft stab in the back of the arm circle. The delivery has violence to it and Montes De Oca throws with effort and slight head whack. The approach on the mound is that of a power pitcher, with a strong combination of fastball and curveball that he is looking to blow by hitters. 

While reports have him touching at or near 100 mph in the past, Montes De Oca did not reach that plateau in his outing against the Georgia Bulldogs but still showed off a strong fastball. The pitch sat from 92-95 mph, topping out at 96 mph multiple times, and his frame and delivery allowed him to maintain the velocity on his fastball throughout the outing, hitting near the top of his range multiple times in his final inning. 

The curveball was the other pitch he went to often and it was the pitch that garnered Montes De Oca the most swings and misses on the afternoon. The pitch has sharp break to it, and he varied times that he used the pitch. Early on in the outing, he went to the curveball primarily on two-strike counts as a chase pitch with two-strikes. As the outing went on, he would go to the curveball more often, sometimes even starting at-bats out with it. The issue he ran into was that early on he struggled with getting on top of it adequately. The two curveballs he hung were two hard hit liners. 

Overall, Montes De Oca has a lot of arm talent with two pitches that could potentially be plus one day at the Major League level, the glaring issue that he must overcome is his inconsistent strike-throwing ability. Montes De Oca walked four batters and hit another which gave him five extra base runners. He fell behind in counts early in the game and allowed hitters to get to 2-0, 2-1, and 3-1 counts often.


Ryan Avidano, LHP, Georgia

Coming into the game for a relief appearance on Sunday was redshirt sophomore Ryan Avidano. The lefthander has a very tall frame, listed at 6-foot-6 and 138-pounds, and came into the game to help stop the bleeding for the Bulldogs. 

The delivery stood out immediately for it's funkiness with a long close at the top and exaggerated hip coil. It resembled Aroldis Chapman's delivery a bit for it's closedness late in the delivery near the top. The arm itself was pretty loose and moved through a full, extended arm circle. 

He reaches very far back upon delivery and he created a good angle upon release of his pitches with a difficult arm slot on the mound. Avidano primarily worked with a fastball, curveball combination and the curveball was his go-to pitch. 

The breaking ball showed occasional sharp break, but the most appealing aspect of the pitch was that he could throw it for strikes and for chases as well. The pitch was a bit slower, almost that of the get-me-over variety, when it was thrown for strikes, but if he was looking for the strikeout he would bury the pitch low in the zone.

Avidano's fastball sat in the 90-92 mph range for most of the game, touching 93 mph a few times on the radar gun. The pitch was effective, but the moving parts of the delivery combined with the long arm action caused some difficulty throwing strikes later in the outing. 

Avidano was looking for strikeouts all afternoon and, for the most part, he got them. The majority of his outs were recorded via the strikeout as he punched out five of 12 batters faced. The curveball looked to be a legitimate weapon and he in the case of a draft-eligible sophomore, he could be appealing to teams from the left side.




Tony Dibrell, RHP, Kennesaw State

Dibrell is a well-reported name among this year's collegiate pitchers, and in front of a sizable crowd of professional scouts he turned in what might have been his best start this season. He spun a complete game shutout while striking out three batters and allowing only two hits. 

The delivery is a bit violent, with some extra moving parts and effort, but Dibrell displays athleticism allowing him to repeat his delivery effectively. The arm action itself is not as loose as one would like but Dibrell has very good arm speed with his arm traveling through the arm circle extremely quick.  The Georgia native has a strong pitcher's frame, listed at 6-foot-3 and 205-pounds, with wiry strength throughout. Dibrell started off slowly, with his fastball and in general, only working in the 89-91 mph range for the first two innings while allowing four baserunners total. 

Dibrell showed a starter's arsenal with four pitches that he would go to. For the first couple of innings, Dibrell primarily used his fastball and struggled a bit with command of the pitch. As the outing went on he did a better job of mixing speeds and going to his slider often. The pitch sat in the 81-83 mph range and had hard biting action. The pitch was used primarily to generate swings and misses to righthanded batters down and away from the hitter. 

The changeup was arguably his best secondary offering of the evening although he did not throw it as often as the slider. The pitch was similar in velocity to the slider and was very effective when down in the zone where it was show down action and occasional tumble to the arm side. Dibrell also showed a softer curveball that showed depth and was primarily used as a pitch to throw in the strike zone to keep hitters off balance.

Dibrell's combination of stuff, command, and overall swagger came to fruition for the final three innings of the game. He maintained a velocity range of 90-93 mph from the third inning on and the command of secondaries was impressive even as the game wore on. He didn't allow a hit from the third inning through the eighth, and in the eighth inning Dibrell pitched an immaculate inning.

He showed incredible toughness on the mound and competed through early command issues to spin a gem. After allowing two base runners with two outs in the ninth, Dibrell finished off the last hitter of the game with a fastball that blew by the hitter at 91 mph. He finished the game with a complete shutout in a 4-0 win over USC Upstate allowing just three hits and three walks while striking out 13 batters.


Tyler Jackson, RHP, Clemson

Every highly ranked team needs a mid-week starter they can depend on and Clemson has got that this year from graduated fifth-year senior Tyler Jackson, who is 5-1, 3.46 as of mid-April and has allowed one run or less in four of his last six starts.

Jackson is 23 years old and well traveled, having spent time at South Carolina (2013), South Carolina-Lancaster (2014) and South Carolina-Upstate (2015-16) before joining Clemson this season. The 6-foot-6, 210-pound righthander is a physically mature athlete with an easy delivery and very good command, a trait that he has shown thoughout his college days. He throws consistently in the 88-92 mph range with his fastball, which is relatively straight with occasional running action. Jackson's slider is a primary weapon for him, with consistent good side-to-side action in the low-80s. If anything, Jackson throws too many pitches to the middle of the plate that with his mature delivery he could spot better to the corners or just out of the strike zone.

With his age and leveled-off raw stuff, scouts won't be too excited about Jackson come June. But there is no doubt that with some adjustments in pitch location he'll have no problem getting hitters out at the lower levels of the minor leagues and provide the same stabilizing influence on a young pitching staff that he provides for Clemson.


John Aiello, 3B, Wake Forest

Aiello was a 2014 Perfect Game All-American, a switch-hitting shortstop with lots of power and athleticism, but missed much of his senior high school season after Tommy John surgery. Since then he's given up switch-hitting to hit exclusively righthanded and added good strength to his body, which now measures out at a well proportioned 6-foot-2, 210-pounds. He's physically mature, with a full beard, and his tools are pretty well set.

Aiello's defensive ability at third base is very solid.  He has first step quickness and sure hands and a 50 grade throwing arm. And there is certainly no lack of power in his swing, as he has 10 home runs after 31 games. The major concern is his swing-and-miss tendencies (42 strikeouts in those 31 games) and his ability to catch up to high velocity fastballs. In a midweek outing against Coastal Carolina, Aiello swung through numerous upper-80s fastballs before finally catching up to one and launching a long home run.



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