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College  | Story  | 3/10/2018

Wildcats claim statement series

Photo: Tim Warner

Weekend PreviewPerfect Game College Player Database
Quick Takes: Houston
| Vanderbilt | Sam Houston State
Friday Recap: Linginfelter slams door for Vols

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.

Zack Thompson, lhp, Kentucky

Zack Thompson didn't have his best outing in the cold of an early spring Lexington day, but still flashed the stuff that has him very high on the lists of top prospects for the 2019 draft. He only worked three innings, giving up three earned runs while walking four and striking out five against a powerful Texas Tech lineup.

He's a well-built and physical lefthanded pitcher with good strength throughout and enough athleticism to project him to stick as a starter. The delivery and arm action are both solid, and while he didn't have his command on this day, one can chalk that up to more of the exception than the rule given how good he has been. The velocity was down a bit, working more 89-93 mph than the 91-95 mph he showed last week at the Shriners College Classic, still showing the ability to get the pitch inside to righthanded hitters with good angle and plane. He couldn't quite find the command of his slider, still thrown firmly in the mid-80s with sharp tilt but often buried, and the curveball, while projecting well, is still a bit soft to be a plus pitch at this point in the 70-72 mph range. 

There is a ton to like about Thompson's profile, even with the poor results in this start, as he still looks like a very high draft choice in the 2019 draft class.

Zach Haake, rhp, Kentucky

Kentucky's secret weapon, Zach Haake has some of the best stuff on the staff of an Omaha-potential team, but pitches in a bit of a fireman role out of the bullpen for the Wildcats. He came into a big spot for UK in their Saturday game vs. Texas Tech, and, to harken back to what was written a week ago at the Shriners College Classic, put out the fire, so to speak. 

He's a long, lean prospect with excellent length throughout his body and good athleticism, which helps him repeat his already low effort delivery and consistently stay in solid command of his arsenal. He worked 93-95 mph in the cold, with such easy gas that it's almost impossible to not project more velocity from him, though if he were to move to a starting role it's unclear just how much velocity he'd have. The curveball is also dynamic, thrown in the low- to mid-80s, with hammer depth and bite, giving him two present plus pitches that he can operate with. He'll show you a changeup in the mid- to upper-80s as well, a pitch one could project to average. 

The ease of operation along with the physicality and present stuff give Haake a tremendous ceiling from the perspective of the draft, and it's well within reason that he hears his name called at some point on Day 1.

John McMillon, rhp, Texas Tech

Texas Tech's Saturday starter, McMillon has the kind of power stuff that will easily miss bats for the Red Raiders this year, and the stuff is so good that he's likely to be a higher draft choice next year. He is a big, physical righthander with excellent strength throughout his body and the type of physicality that looks like it would be durable over the course of multiple innings, which obviously is necessary for him to be a starter long term. His mechanical profile is that of a reliever, with some effort to the delivery along with a head whack and some command concerns, but the stuff is extremely live. 

In the cold of an early midwestern spring in Lexington, McMillon was still pumping heat throughout the course of his five-inning start against a surging Kentucky squad. He worked up to 97 mph on at least one gun, consistently firing bullets in the 93-95 mph range, creating good plane downhill and for the most part doing a fair job of throwing strikes with the fastball. The curveball, thrown in the low-80s, is a hammer. It has 11-to-5 shape and power depth, a pitch that projects to plus and will be a consistent bat-misser for him throughout his career. He showed a changeup but it wasn't a real weapon yet, thrown firmly in the 86-87 mph range with slight fade, but he struggled to command the pitch in the few instances he threw it. 

While still 15 months from his draft, McMillon looks like he may be one of the better arms in the 2019 class from the perspective of pure stuff, with two pitches that show plus at present and a fair ability to throw strikes. While the reliever concerns are apparent, the stuff is even more apparent, and as such he'll be followed extremely closely over the next year-plus.