College : : Story
Saturday, March 03, 2018

Big talent on display in Frisco

Britt Smith        
Photo: Cal Bears Athletics

Weekend PreviewPerfect 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.

Jared Horn, RHP, California

Jared Horn has the classic build of a power starting pitcher and the arm strength to match. An imposing figure on the mound, standing 6-foot-3 and 225-pounds, he shows poise beyond his years. Looking for his third win of the season, Horn turned in a quality start on Friday at the Frisco College Classic. With an easy, low-effort delivery, that maintains direction to the plate, Horn was able to maintain a velocity range of 91-95 mph for five-innings of work. Although he began to labor slightly in his final inning, he had more than enough stuff to keep the Baylor offense stymied. Pitching primarily with, at times, an extremely heavy sinking fastball that showed arm-side run, Horn would mix in a curveball with depth in the 77-79 mph range from his high three-quarters arm-slot. He used the breaking ball just enough to keep it in the minds of the Baylor hitters, as well as being able to elevate the four-seamer into the same vision tunnel to create swings and misses, as well as soft contact.

With a strong lower-half, that he used well, Horn was able to reach a fairly-high level of extension through release. Showing a solid level of feel for the strike zone, he needed only 77 pitches to complete five innings of work. Helping himself with a couple of plays in the field and showing the ability to manage the running game, Horn is showing that he is turning into a well-rounded pitching prospect as a sophomore. Adding flexibility in his hips and creating more separation between his hips and shoulders could be pivotal in his development as a true power pitcher. The projection of Horn’s velocity can easily be seen, certainly if he is able to achieve these physical tasks. As for now, he is certainly on the radar for the 2019 Draft and has improved since he was highly thought of in the 2016 draft out of high school.

Cody Bradford, LHP, Baylor

Standing 6-foot-3 and 195-pounds, Cody Bradford is in Texas terms, a tall drink of water. His long limbs and tall and lean stature can be somewhat intimidating at first glance for opposing hitters. With an easy and effortless delivery, from a high three-quarters arm slot, he is not as menacing a presence after first glance. More of a command pitcher, with a fastball that sits between 89-91 mph, Bradford entered Friday’s opening game of the Frisco College Classic with a 3-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. However, after a clean first inning, the wheels fell off for Bradford and the Baylor Bears.

The leadoff batter in the second inning hit a ball through the middle that Bradford instinctively tried to make a play on with his bare hand. After the play and a visit from head coach Steve Rodriguez and he then continued the inning. What started harmlessly turned into a nightmare for the Bears. The University of California would bat around in the inning and plate five runs in the process. There was no apparent change in Bradford’s stuff after the incident, just his command of it. His fastball maintained its velocity, as did his 81-83 mph slider that showed 1-to-7 shape. His changeup, with slight arm-side fade, stayed in the low-80s but the command of all of these offerings was uncharacteristically off. After battling through the second inning, Bradford only allowed one additional run, which chased him from the game in the top of the fifth-inning.

For a pitcher, that entered the game without having allowed a run on the season, who walked more batters (six) in 4 2/3 innings than he had all season, Bradford showed some mental strength. Although the outing did not go the way he or Baylor wanted, he stayed in the game and logged some important innings in the first of three games on the weekend. Did the bare-handed attempt play a role in this? Was it just a bad day at the ballpark? Or, do the Cal hitters deserve more of the credit for making things extremely hard on the Baylor lefthander? Only time will tell as Bradford moves on to his next start. He has the stuff and command to compete as a game one starter, but to do so he will need to get back to the effectiveness that he displayed in his first two starts of the season.

Stephen Kolek, RHP, Texas A&M

With a big and physical build at 6-foot-3 and 220-pounds, Stephen Kolek opened up the Frisco College Classic for Texas A&M on Friday night. Primarily using a fastball and slider combination from a high thre-quarters arm slot, he showed two other pitches that are in his arsenal. The last two years at A&M have been useful in Kolek’s development by polishing his delivery and creating more of a complete pitching prospect. His arm strength has never been in question and any doubts of his ability to consistently compete within the strike zone have been erased.

With a fastball that maintained 90-92 mph into the sixth inning he also was efficient in the strike zone with 60 percent of his pitches registering as strikes. Kolek creates tilt with his fastball and complements it well with a hard slider at 84-85 mph. With quality depth, his slider gets later 11-to-5 action and can reach the back foot of lefthanded hitters. He also flashed a true power curveball with 12-to-6 shape when he found his release point with it. Although the curveball is not currently thrown with the same consistency as his slider, it shows that it potentially can become an above average pitch. Kolek managed to work in a changeup in between innings at 83 mph, although it is not a pitch that he utilized on Friday in game action. Showing slight arm-side run and solid hand speed, it too flashes as potentially above average.

The amount of work that has been put in to refine his delivery, that now has regular rhythm and better tempo, is obvious to anyone that has followed Kolek since his prep days at Shepherd High School. Even though he allowed only four hits in his outing, he was charged with two runs and was saddled with his first loss of the season. The amount of development he continues to show in his abilities as a pitcher will go down as a win after Friday’s outing and will lead to many more actual wins on the field moving forward if he maintains the course he is presently on.

Matt Miller, RHP, Louisiana Tech

Talking with Louisiana Tech head coach Lane Burroughs before the game he described his starter as a guy that may not look the part but he gives us a great chance to win when he is one the mound. He was referring to Matt Miller, the 5-foot-10, 180-pound ace of the Bulldogs pitching staff. Miller more than turned Burroughs’ comments into prophecy on Friday night at the Frisco College Classic, as the undersized righthander was masterful in handing Texas A&M their first loss of the season. Over seven innings of work, Miller allowed five hits while punching out six, without issuing a walk and only allowing one unearned run.

With a solid three-pitch mix he routinely threw a darting fastball with plenty of arm-side run and occasionally hard sink anywhere he wanted in the zone. Holding his velocity between 89-91 mph for a complete seven innings, it was really the command of all three of his offerings that kept the Aggies from any real offensive uprisings. With 69 of his 99 total pitches thrown for strikes, Miller kept the A&M hitters in swing mode all night and did nothing to help them out. This allowed him to use a hard slider to collect six strikeouts and his 82-84 mph changeup to give his defense plenty of opportunities to make plays.

By using an up-tempo delivery with clean and online direction to the plate, Miller controlled the strike zone and stayed in attack mode from the mound. There were a few balls that were hit hard in the barrel, but he did not allow any of them to turn into runs. Although he is not the size that scouts are generally looking for in a starting pitcher, Miller can certainly pitch. It would not be surprising to hear his name called in June when the MLB Draft comes around but the monetary value will probably not match the value he brings to Louisiana Tech as their ace.

Copyright 1994-2018 by Perfect Game. All rights reserved. No portion of this information may be reprinted or reproduced without the written consent of Perfect Game.