College Player Report Database
College Reports: April 30
Players Covered: Matt Mikulski (Fordham), Jack Leiter (Vanderbilt), Hunter Owen (Vanderbilt), Hugh Fisher (Vanderbilt), Tommy Mace (Florida), Jack Leftwich (Florida), Brandon Deskins (Rice), Guy Garibay (Rice), Jason Ruffcorn (Oklahoma)
Matt Mikulski, LHP, Fordham
Like other players rather high on the latest Perfect Game Top 400 Draft list, whether it be Florida’s Tommy Mace or Florida State’s Matheu Nelson, Fordham left-hander Matt Mikulski has scouts wishing they pulled the trigger last spring when he was first eligible as he’s putting together a season to remember in 2021. Physically built at a strong and durable, broad shouldered 6-foot-4, 205-pounds, Mikulski didn’t have his best out of the spring Saturday afternoon against Massachusetts, and statistically speaking it may have been his “worst” of the spring, but his numbers are still otherworldly at this point in the year. Working 5 2/3 innings for the Rams in the first game of their double header, Mikulski was dominant into the sixth inning when the majority of the damage came as he surrendered all three of his earned runs and walked two of the four on the day in his final frame of work.
All that said, Mikulski has been a revelation of sorts this spring as everything is seeming to click, in part to the noticeable adjustment he made to his arm stroke through the back side as he’s now ultra-compact and tight prior to an extended three-quarters release. The overall operation has some moving parts from a full hands over the head pump to a higher leg lift and slight hip turn at top, but for the most part he comes down the mound on time and on line, showing a fast arm albeit with some effort and intent. Reports this spring have had the fastball working comfortably in the mid-90s while bumping 98s and 99s, and though we didn’t see that in his latest outing, he did carry his velocity extremely well both out of the windup and stretch but it was the overall pitchability that helped rack up double digit strikeouts once again in 2021.
Known for his hard, late biting slider, Mikulski worked primarily off of his other three pitches in his fastball, curveball, changeup and it was the heater/breaker combo that he went to most frequently. The fastball itself worked comfortably in the 90-94 mph range throughout the span of his outing, wrapping up the first inning with a 95 mph bolt, flashing short running life when locating to his arm side and some severe angle at times when going glove. Throughout the course of the game he racked up 13 swing and misses with the fastball and of his 11 strikeouts (6 swinging and 5 looking), 4 of the swinging and 2 of the looking came on heaters. Despite the effort in his delivery Mikulski carried his stuff well from pitch 1 to 115, something he’s become known for, still showing 94s in the 6th inning deep in his pitch count, seemingly able to find the bigger velocity whenever he wanted it while moving the ball to both sides of the plate with intent.
Mentioned above, the pitchability is a big reason for the 102 strikeouts in just 54 1/3 innings of work this spring and while he could attack and find success working heavily off of his fastball, Mikulski showed his full array of pitches Saturday afternoon. He quickly found the feel for his curveball, landing the pitch at will while missing 8 bats along the way, utilizing the breaker for the rest of his strikeouts on the day (2 swinging, 3 looking). Thrown with a tick less arm speed, the 73-76 mph pitch showed 1-7 shape and solid depth, going to it in a variety of situations; first pitch of the at-bat, up in the count, down in the count, in a 3-2 count and he even tripled up on the pitch for a strikeout looking.
He didn’t have a consistent feel for the changeup and he worked against a stiffer front plant leg, often burying it at the plate in the 80-84 mph though that didn’t deter him from throwing it, collecting a whiff while throwing to batters of either handedness. The slider acted more like a cutter with subtle life to it in the mid-80s and he showed it just enough to keep it in the back of hitter’s heads.
Throughout the start Mikulski showed the ability to battle when behind in the count, coming back from down 3-0 in a couple at-bats in the 4th, and still put together a quality start despite not necessarily having his best stuff. He improved to 7-0 on the year with a 1.33 ERA, .121 batting average against, and a ridiculous 102 strikeouts to 23 walks. He checks in at No. 40 in the latest Perfect Game Top 400 and will almost certainly hear his name called early come July’s draft.
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