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College  | Story  | 2/23/2020

College Notebook: February 22

Vincent Cervino      Steve Fiorindo     
Photo: Jack Leftwich (Kaila Jones)

College Notebooks: Feb. 21
 | Alabama/UNLVCollege Player Database | College Player Rankings

Players covered: Jack Leftwich (Florida), Ben Specht (Florida), Chris McMahon (Miami), Tyler Keysor (Miami).

Jack Leftwich, RHP, Florida
The second head of the Gators’ two-headed monster atop the rotation is local product Jack Leftwich. The big righthander stands at a physical 6-foot-4, 220-pounds and matched Miami’s Chris McMahon inning-for-inning in what was another classic pitcher’s duel between these two rivals.

Leftwich came out firing in the first inning, sitting 92-94 mph with his fastball and attacking the zone with both the heater and his breaking ball. Leftwich is an uber-physical prospect with a long, whippy arm action and plus arm speed down the mound. His operation is athletic, though the arm has a long path to go to the release point which can lead to some overall command issues. Leftwich continued to have command issues on Saturday as the righthander seemed to have better control of his breaking ball and tallied five walks through six innings.

The fastball was best when Leftwich was able to extend and fully execute his arm stroke to get on top of the pitch and create some sinking life to the bottom of the zone. He held 92-93 mph for the majority of the start, showing good durability in the fact that his pitch quality doesn’t fade as the outing goes on. His biggest pitch was his final pitch when he gassed up 95 mph on the gun to strike out a pinch hitter with bases loaded and the score still tied.

The breaking ball blended between curveball and slider shape and graded out mostly as solid average on the evening. The pitch flashed better at times but the consistency and shape of the offering varied at times during the middle innings. The curveball is his go-to pitch and he would use it routinely to get ahead 0-1 on the first pitch of an at-bat. Leftwich showed a changeup a handful of times and the pitch still looks to be in developmental stages. He would leave the pitch up at times, but it sat around 79-80 mph and threw it against lefthanded hitters to show that he has it in his arsenal.

Leftwich is one of the many college arms in a draft that is perhaps deepest in college pitching. He’s been a name on scouts' radars since his days as a prep arm and has always shown premium velocity with a pretty good breaking ball. The command and consistency of the third pitch lead to some question marks about whether he can start at the next level, especially when the overall stuff has been better out of relief for the Gators, but his competitiveness and two-pitch mix make him a high follow for this year’s draft and should see him go early on day two if not higher with a strong performance this spring.

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