As Spring comes to a close and the 2016 draft looms larger than ever, scouts are finishing up evaluations on players and trying to get one last look. One of the most difficult things for them to do is line up their pref list. The pref list is where they rank each player in order of how they would select them in a vacuum. It mainly follows an OFP (Overall Future Potential) number but sometimes a player will be ranked higher on the list because of intangibles or an area scout’s feel on a player. Most clubs take it a step further at the cross-checker level and have them rank their players by position as well. When all's said and done, there will be a master pref list, or big board, and several smaller lists by position. The team will use this list as the draft unfolds and it allows them to keep track of priority guys and trends that are happening within the draft.
The debates between scouts on particular player positioning can be intense, especially when two area scouts or cross-checkers are pit against each other, but eventually the scouting director will make a decision based on his evaluations of the particular players. This time, we take a look at two fireballers in Riley Pint and Forrest Whitley.
Other entries in the series include:
Zack Collins vs. Matt Thaiss
Drew Mendoza vs. Gavin Lux
Corey Ray vs.Kyle Lewis
Keegan Akin vs. Eric Lauer
Cal Quantrill vs. Dakota Hudson
Cody Sedlock vs. Justin Dunn
Riley Pint – RHS – St. Thomas Aquinas HS (KS)
Standing 6-foot-4, 195 pounds, the athletic Pint is committed to LSU but will never make it there due to a special combination of arm strength and velocity. Pint is well built with broad shoulders, long legs and more room to fill out. His frame is ideal and should only get better as he puts on weight. Throwing from a three-quarters arm slot, Pint can get a little short in the back with an elbow that can get high at times. Out front, his line to home can end up crossfiring, and he features some hip block that limits his command at present. Both issues can be ironed out in pro ball.
The fastball is the main attraction, with reports running rampant on Twitter of Pint hitting 102 mph. In my viewing it was 93-97 and touched 98, which is still double-plus. It jumps out of his hand and explodes on hitters late in the zone. Most players in Kansas high school baseball stood no chance. Velocity aside, the pitch features arm-side run, especially when down in the zone, and flashes the ability to locate.
Pint also shows the ability to spin a quality curveball, but the shape of the pitch changes from 11/5 to 10/4 and is at its best when he stays on top of the ball. The curveball was inconsistent this spring but Pint was able to pitch without it at times because the fastball is so explosive. The changeup is still a work in progress at this point, mainly because he just doesn’t get to throw it enough in games. It features late fade with proper arm speed and has a chance to be an average pitch in the future.
Forrest Whitley – RHS – Alamo Heights HS (TX)
Stop me if you’ve heard this story before: We have a big-framed, strong, right-handed starter from the state of Texas who throws hard, and flashes a solid breaking ball. It seems like every year Texas is sending out another fireballer who has a chance to go high in the draft. This year’s version, Forrest Whitley, stands 6-foot-7, 225 pounds, with broad shoulders and some thickness in his lower half. He will continue to fill out once he hits pro ball. Throwing from a high-three-quarters slot with a full arm circle in the back, Whitley’s delivery features a small pause but he gets through it fine and lands on a flexed front leg. He does fall off toward first base at times.
The fastball in my viewing was 92-96 mph and touched 97, with downward plane and light arm-side run at times. The ball comes out of Whitley’s hand well, and while he does show the ability to locate at times, it can get away from him when he tries to overthrow. Whitley’s breaking ball can get slurvy. He has some feel for the pitch, but it’s at its best when he stays on top and goes with the power curveball variety, with 11/5 shape and downer spin. The changeup is very much a work in progress but he shows some feel for the pitch, and it shows fade when his arms-peed is right.
This is a no-doubter for me. Give me Riley Pint, and at this point the difference between the two is larger than many expected it would be at the beginning of the year.
Thank you for reading
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