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College  | Story  | 2/22/2020

College Notebook: February 21

Vincent Cervino      Steve Fiorindo      Jered Goodwin     
Photo: Tommy Mace (Mario Houben)

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Players covered: Tommy Mace (Florida), Christian Scott (Florida), Brian Van Belle (Miami), Daniel Federman (Miami), Trenton Denholm (UC Irvine), Billy Corcoran (Pittsburgh).

Tommy Mace, RHP, Florida
In what was unquestionably a pitcher’s duel between Miami and Florida, Gators starting pitcher Tommy Mace put forth one of the best starts of his career to date as the 6-foot-6 righthander was masterful on the bump. Mace struck out eight batters while allowing just one earned run over seven innings on two hits and only a handful of hard hit contact all night.

Mace has seen significant innings since he arrived on campus a couple of years ago and it’s been fun to track his progress as he’s developed into what should be a fairly high draft pick. The delivery is very athletic and his slender build coupled with his arm speed portends velocity gains once he gets into a professional system and can focus full-time on baseball. There’s some length to the arm stroke but it’s very loose and he whips the arm through very quickly and consistently. He’ll wrap his wrist occasionally on the breaking ball, but for the most part he did an excellent job replicating not only his arm action but his slot on all of his pitches.

You could tell the history between Miami and Florida had Mace amped in the first inning as the righthander came out firing pellets in the 94-96 mph range, a tick up from his usual fastball velocity. He worked quickly and efficiently as he’s one of the premier strike throwers in college baseball and needed just 85 pitches to get through seven innings on Friday; his command showed out well too. The command and strikes coupled with his track record and four pitches project exceptionally well to stay in a starting rotation at the next level.

After the first, Mace settled around the 91-94 mph range for the entirety of the outing, reaching back for 95s in his back pocket whenever he needed it, especially in the fifth inning. His slider has added more velocity and now sits in the 87-90 mph range with late biting action. Mace’s best sliders came around 88 mph showing plus relatively often and they were deadly with late biting life against both righthanded and lefthanded hitters – the velocity and sharp bite was reminiscent of the cutters that Casey Mize threw while at Auburn. The curveball has bigger shape and more traditional 11-to-5 shape with depth and functioned as an effective third pitch while the changeup lagged behind in terms of consistency, though he landed one or two in the 84-86 mph range.

Bouncing back from a so-so performance on opening weekend, Mace showed some of his best stuff and there’s reason to believe he turned a corner. In front of a packed scouting section that included numerous high level decision makers, Mace shoved against a very good Miami offense. It was easily a day one look and with some consistency it wouldn’t at all be a surprise to see Mace’s name called in the first round, adding to a lengthy resume of Florida Gator starting pitchers to be drafted so highly.

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