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College | Story | 4/12/2019

College Notes: April 11

Vincent Cervino        
Photo: Tommy Mace (Tim Casey)

Contributing: J.A. Cordts

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Players covered: Tommy Mace (Florida), Will Brennan (Kansas State), Jordan Wicks (Kansas State), Dylan Phillips (Kansas State), Zach Kokoska (Kansas State), Drew Millas (Missouri State).




Tommy Mace, Florida
The Florida Gators pitching staff has had their fair share of ups and downs, as has the team over the course of 2019, but one of the bright spots has been the emergence of sophomore Tommy Mace. The 6-foot-6, 200-pound still-projectable righthander has thrust himself to the Friday night role and against South Carolina he delivered a strong performance to help the Gators get a much needed win. 

Mace offers a large, physical presence on the mound with long limbs, a fluid delivery and room for added strength to the frame. He gets good extension on the delivery and hides the ball well and though the strikes weren't always there for the righthander the stuff itself was very good, particularly the development of the slider which has made tremendous strides over the past year. 

He worked mostly 91-93 mph with his fastball and he really didn't struggle too badly with getting strike one, but there were some issues in putting guys away once he got ahead. The fastball didn't miss too many bats and at times it felt like he was going to the slider a bit too often, which is fair because the slider was his best pitch on Thursday night. The pitch worked in the 85-88 mph range with sharp darting life and worked plus for the majority of the outing, even flashing better a time or two. 

Mace's sequencing and feel for pitching is excellent and it can be summed up nicely in an example where he dissected leadoff man Noah Campbell. Mace got strike one looking on an 87 mph changeup, went back to the changeup for a foul ball, changed the eye level with an elevated 93 mph fastball and then dropped in an 88 mph slider on the back foot of the lefthanded hitter for the strikeout. Examples like this provide flashes of the front-of-the-line potential that Mace possesses, and when he's using all four pitches for strikes he's truly deadly. 

The curveball worked mostly 77-81 mph and showed some break to it at times but otherwise was mostly used to steal a strike on first pitches whereas the changeup was a legitimately effective offering to lefthanded hitters. The pitch worked at a firm 86-88 mph with good sinking action and arm-side life and he showed good feel for it, landing it for strikes and not spiking the pitch. 

Overall, Mace looks on track to be another first round arm for the Gators in 2020, but for 2019 he's been tasked with getting the ball every Friday and putting the Gators ahead in series'. There are some issues to work out, particularly with the fastball and consistency of strikes, but with a real slider and a strong four-pitch mix, there aren't many better arms for the 2020 class in the country right now.


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