Jupiter, FL - The pitching definitely took a step down on day two as most of the primary pitchers threw on Saturday. Still there were a number of “secondary” pitchers who showed potential, and who knows? Maybe some will end up pitchers in the end.
I was having that very conversation with a Cardinals coach in the morning, about how many big league pitchers, especially relievers, had little or no pitching experience as amateurs.
One such secondary pitcher is third baseman Jose Brizuela, who plays at Archbishop McCarthy HS. The 5’11”, 180 lb Brizuela is very athletic and as good a defensive high school third baseman as I’ve seen in this class. He has a quick lefthanded bat and a chance to hit, but it will take time and his power potential is uncertain.
I believe Brizuela might have even more upside on the mound. He was mostly 85-86 MPH today, peaking at 89 MPH, and didn’t bother much with off-speed. His athleticism is quite evident in his delivery and in his quick loose arm. With a natural low three-quarter slot, Brizuela has the potential for plus movement on his fastball. A number of scouts are following him as an infielder, I don’t know of any personally who are thinking of Brizuela on the mound because he is more of a project there. But I would keep the possibility open.
Brizuela hasn’t officially committed to a school yet.
I still think Patrick Kulick is a hitter first, he showed one of the event’s best lefthanded swings. Still uncommitted as a Stoneman Douglas senior, the 6’2”, 210 lb Kulick had an easy arm-action that threw in the mid-80s with tailing movement. Being that it’s October, it isn’t hard for me to imagine him throwing harder and a more varied arsenal when he’s conditioned and perhaps more experienced as a pitcher. Being lefthanded is certainly an asset.
Another “sleeper” two-way guy has a familiar name, Alex Fernandez. He’s the son of the longtime big league pitcher and a senior at the same school as Brizuela, Archbishop McCarthy. His delivery is very good, quite reminiscent of Alex Senior’s, and he just showed a lot of poise on the hill. Fernandez is no more than 5’10” and he was throwing in the 83-85 MPH range, but it was easy and quite polished for a primary infielder. Fernandez showed good feel for a mid-70s change-up, too. I don’t rule out that he goes to college, wins some games on the mound, and ends up getting enough velocity and power to his stuff to become a prospect there down the road.
As far as the top hitters, most returned on Sunday. Outfielder Tanner Pollack (IMG Academy) continued to swing a strong lefthanded bat. He also showed a 40-45 arm (projecting to average) and power out of his 6’0”, 205 lb frame. Uncommitted to a school thus far, he’s a solid follow for pro scouts and should end up at a strong D1 somewhere.
Though he lacks sheer height, Pollack has a real strong frame that I think can still project another 20 lbs of muscle by the time he’s 23-24.
Miami-bound Carlos Garmendia looked very fluid at shortstop again and he’s got quite a pesky right bat. Garmendia is a small-framed 5’11” or so, but has the athleticism and pop to play at a high level despite the lack of raw strength.
Jack Lopez, a shortstop from Deltona HS, continued to impress scouts, several of whom had followed him prior to the event. Lopez’s defensive skills were apparent on day one and on Sunday, he ripped an 85 MPH (with wood) hard off the left field wall for a double before getting thrown out at third. It’s not hard to see that bat-speed and power picking up considerably as he physically matures.
Check back in a few days as we’ll make out a Top Prospects List for the Prospect Wire All-Florida Showcase.