College : : Story
Sunday, February 25, 2018

McKendry, Canes salvage series

Vincent Cervino        
Photo: Miami Athletics



Arms carry Gators to series win | Singer, Gators bite backPerfect Game College Player Database

During the season Perfect Game scouts will be traveling to some of the top series to watch the very best players in college baseball. Those observations, captured with both written notes and video, will be shared in the College Player Database as linked above, notes that can also be accessed on the players' individual PG profile pages. Throughout the season select reports will be shared in feature format to promote the players, the teams and college baseball as a whole.


Evan McKendry, RHP, Miami



Evan McKendry received the start against the Florida Gators on Sunday looking to salvage a win in the series, and the sophomore did more than that against the Gators. McKendry was simply masterful as over six innings of shutout baseball as he struck out eight batters and was baffling hitters all day long. 

McKendry's delivery was pretty simple and low effort, with a smooth arm swing that gets offline and high behind the back of his head, however, he repeats it well and gets it through on time consistently. The arm action also allows the arm to be up at foot strike which helps him to repeat. McKendry was pretty easy in terms of release and was able to generate good velocity while holding it well throughout the game. The sinking life and arm-side run helped the pitch to play up a little bit which he helped create from an extended, lower arm slot. 

The righthander worked his fastball up to 93 mph early and settled in the 89-92 range throughout the duration of his start. McKendry's release point and angle allows the fastball to have good run to the arm side especially when locating to the arm side of the plate. The fastball was allowed to play up thanks to the effectiveness of his changeup, which might have been the best pitch on the field all game. That offering was a mean, mean pitch for the Canes sophomore, working in the 78-80 mph range with just tremendous sinking life and fade out to the arm side. It got a number of ugly swings all afternoon long and McKendry showed enough confidence in the pitch to not only throw it right-on-right, but to triple up on the pitch on a number of occasions. He racked up an insane 15 swings-and-misses on the pitch alone.

The slider was a fair pitch for McKendry, showing typical shape and break of a 11-to-4 breaking ball and was best when running away from righties. Given the effectiveness of his changeup, McKendry rarely needed the slider. It had to have been some combination of both the effectiveness of the changeup and the Gators' reluctance to adjust as the pitch was a weapon from the first inning to the last. McKendry throws the changeup with similar arm speed to the fastball and comes out of almost an identical arm slot. 

McKendry showed some impressive stuff during his six innings of shutout baseball, and he is a name to know for next year's draft, as well as a name to know for the 2018 Canes. The righthander had the best start of the weekend for Miami and should continue to provide valuable innings going forward this spring.


Andrew Cabezas, RHP, Miami



Andrew Cabezas, the all-world swiss army knife out of the bullpen last season for coach Jim Morris and the Canes, returned for his junior season after totaling 80 strikeouts in 62 2/3 innings pitched as a sophomore. He was often used with the game on the line and for extended periods of time, no different than how he was used in the final game of the series against the Florida Gators, and it's worth mentioning that Cabezas saw an inning on Friday as well but that appeared to be just to get some work in. 

Cabezas is a physical righthander featuring a long arm action around the backside resulting in a power T – think of it as what Madison Bumgarner looks like at the height of his leg lift – as he rotates through extension and releases from a lower three-quarters arm slot that even approaches sidearm territory at times. The fastball worked in the 88-92 mph range with significant run and life, largely resulting from a funky arm slot.  His heater was at its best when worked in the lower third of the strike zone, however the righthander did have some issues controlling the ball as he walked three batters, mostly in his first inning of work where he had to work out of a jam. The life on the pitch allows the velocity to play up and showed significant running life to the arm side.

The slider, however, is what Cabezas is known for and is his go-to pitch. He worked the pitch in the upper-70s for most of the afternoon and it had tremendous break. It just kept running and running, and was at its best when it finished out of the strike zone against righties. The pitch could stand to be tightened up, not to mention with consistent quality. Cabezas rattled off a few tight sliders that were very impressive, but the release wasn't there early. He did pick it up over the final few innings to earn the save and the slider improved near the end of the game, leading to five strikeouts in three innings.


Tyler Dyson, RHP, Florida



When you have the two-headed monster of Brady Singer and Jackson Kowar at the top of the rotation, the Sunday starter can go a bit under the radar. That is not the case with Florida righthander Tyler Dyson as he is regarded as one of the top sophomores and overall prospects for the 2019 draft in the country. 

Dyson, a righthander, is an extremely physical 6-foot-4, 225-pounds with plenty of strength and physicality thrgouhout the frame. The delivery itself is very fast-paced with an up-tempo delivery, like the rest of the Gators pitching staff. Dyson stays in attack mode while on the mound, working very quickly as he will start his delivery almost as soon as a batter enters the box and he did nothing but fill up the strike zone all afternoon. Dyson drives well off the back leg to generate momentum down the mound, a bit of a drop-and-drive delivery, which allows him to not only repeat but use his lower half well. 

He did not work to a single three-ball count all afternoon but he did give up a couple of hits and gave up a run off an RBI single later in the game. The fastball was a power pitch and worked in the 92-95 mph range while touching 96 multiple times, especially early in the game. The pitch was either straight or a two-seam, and the movement on the two-seam was devastating and ran away from lefties. That movement was so deceptive that the fastball would look like a changeup in terms of movement despite being 95 mph. 

An above-average slider is also a part of his power repertoire, a pitch that he used frequently during his start. It worked in the 80-84 mph range with good biting life and was thrown for strikes as well. Dyson's arm action was loose and fast, and while the back elbow is a bit high upon landing, he had no issues with strikes on Sunday and utilized his lower half and hips well through release. Dyson also flashed a changeup, a hard change in the 87-88 mph range, however he lowered his arm slot significantly on the pitch and really didn't use it all too often. He ran into little trouble in this game, save for a run early in the contest, as the fastball/slider combination is deadly and gives the pitching-rich Gators an ace on Sundays and a potential first-round arm again next year. 


Hunter McMullen, RHP, Florida



In a weekend where Florida's arms stood out, the final freshman of the 'Big 3' for the Gators, which includes Tommy Mace and Jack Leftwich, Hunter McMullen got what amounted to about an inning of work in against the Canes and showed off his quality arsenal on the bump. The righthander has a pretty lean frame with projection remaining at 6-foot-2, 200-pounds with long legs and a high waist. The arm swing is clean, compact, and online through the back which he repeats well to get on top of the fastball which helps to create pretty good life on the fastball. The pitch worked in the 92-95 mph range and was best when locating it to the arm side of the plate. 

McMullen only tossed 23 pitches during the afternoon but showed all three of his pitches. The righthander used a slider in the 80-82 mph range that he only showed off a few times and a 79-81 mph changeup with pretty good sinking life and fade off to the arm side. Despite being an abbreviated look at McMullen his performance re-affirmed his status as one of coach Kevin O'Sullivan's go-to arms out of the bullpen and also as one of the top freshmen in the country.

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