Wed October 2, 2013
By Nathan Rode and PBR Staff
There’s an adage in baseball that speaks to left-handed pitching being a commodity, basically saying, if you’re left-handed and have a pulse, you have a job. Southpaws are highly sought because how right-handed society is so they get extra looks and chances. Below are 16 lefties from the 2015 class. Just two are verbally committed to a college, but all rank as the top southpaws in their respective states.
Michael Bruhin, LHP, MO
The 6-foot-1, 185-pound left-hander entered the Midwest Future Games somewhat unknown to the masses—partially because he currently isn’t affiliated with a high school—but Bruhin certainly made a big name for himself. He pounded the strike zone with three pitches, including one of—if not the best—curveball at the event, a 68-73 mph hammer with 12-to-6 action. He works fast and got stronger during his three-inning stint. In his first two innings, Bruhin pitched in the 81-84 range, then in the third inning, he pitched at 86-87 mph. Moreover, his 68-69 mph curveball was being thrown at 71-73 mph. Bruhin struck out five in his three-inning outing. He is currently ranked No. 9 in Missouri and 77 overall.
Zane Collins, LHP, Benjamin Logan HS, OH
A 5-foot-11, 170-pound southpaw, Collins committed himself to pitching just a year ago, but with an athletic frame and a quick arm, he turned the heads of recruiters this summer with a tailing fastball that has been in the high 80s and a sharp 69-70 mph breaking ball. This fall, he played with the Midwest Redbirds and reports have indicated up and down performances due to command issues. He is currently ranked 16th in Ohio.
Dylan Cyphert, LHP, Cranberry HS, PA
The No. 9 prospect in Pennsylvania, Cyphert had one of the top bullpen sessions of any pitcher at the Preseason All-State Showcase last February. The 6-foot, 170-pound lefty sat 85-87 with excellent arm speed out of a high three-quarter arm slot. His fastball lacked significant movement but did show late life. Cyphert also commanded a 66-mph curveball and a 79-mph changeup. Cyphert has worked hard over the summer and fall months on his complementary pitches and has just recently begun to touch 90 mph with regularity.
Ryan Falls, LHP, Notre Dame Cathedral-Latin School, OH
The 6-foot-5, 190-pound southpaw has been one of the most intriguing prospects in Northeast Ohio. At the East Coast Pro Showcase tryouts in June, he sat 82-85 mph and showed better feel for his changeup than his breaking ball. Last year, he participated on the Midwest Redbirds, but this fall he has opted to shut it down. With his size and projectability, he is currently Ohio's top-rated southpaw at No. 9 in the state.
Collin Goslin, LHP, Divine Child HS, MI
Ranked third in the state, Goslin is a strong-bodied lefty with a projectable 6-foot-2, 200-pound frame. He sat 86-88 at the Midwest Future Games and featured a mid-70s curveball that has swing-and-miss potential. He also mixes in a changeup at 78-79. He’s a good athlete with some effort to his delivery and pitches from a high three-quarter slot.
Connor Higgins, LHP, Parkland HS, PA
The No. 7 prospect in Pennsylvania, Higgins shined at the Midwest Future Games in August. The 6-foot-3, 200-pound lefty sat 84-86 while touching 87 mph. He commanded the strike zone and mixed a 78-mph changeup with a 71 mph curveball to keep hitters off balance. Higgins struck out six in his 3 2/3 innings of work over the course of two days, allowing just two hits. His projectable frame and repeatable mechanics indicate additional velocity is likely to come in the future.
Jacob Kelly, LHP, North Bullitt HS, KY
At 6-foot-4, 185-pounds, Kelly has a frame that projects well on the mound. He showed a different arm slot at the Midwest Future Games than previously seen, dropping down to a low three-quarter slot that produced good run on his 81-82 mph fastball. Kelly should have more velocity in the tank and is continuing to develop his breaking ball to go along with a solid changeup. He is the No. 20 prospect in Kentucky.
Nick Lackney, Whitefish Bay HS, WI
Lackney is a lanky, athletic 6-foot-4, 165-pound left-hander with a high ceiling. Lackney has shown arm strength up to 87 mph from the outfield, but he looks to be more of a pitcher at the next level, which speaks to the type of potential velocity that he could bring to the mound. At the Midwest Future Games, Lackney pitched comfortably at 82-83. He also showed excellent command, working down in the zone in his two innings of work. He is currently ranked No. 9 in Wisconsin and 100th overall.
Braun Miller, LHP, Perkins HS, OH
As previously noted, the 6-foot-4, 170-pound southpaw emerged as one of Ohio's hottest prospects after a strong campaign in the Fall Prospect Program. He has a tall, lanky frame just waiting to put on weight coupled with a deceptive delivery. He generates an 83-85 mph fastball with good run from a three-quarter arm slot. With better use of his lower half and additional strength, one can assume that Miller could easily sit 85-88 by next summer. He features a 72-74 mph curveball complemented by a 75-78 mph slider. While Miller's current abilities don't necessarily match up to Eric Lauer's (2013 Kent State recruit) at this stage, the two share many similarities in their size and mechanics. Miller is ranked 36th in Ohio.
Brett Newberg, LHP, Moline HS, IL
Newberg has a physical, durable frame at 6-foot-1, 220 pounds with a developed lower half. He has good pitchability with command of three pitches. His arm is free and easy and he works with good rhythm and tempo throughout his delivery, which he repeats well. His fastball ranges from 83-86 mph, which features arm-side run and some sink. His changeup looks to be a plus pitch, sitting 74-76 mph with arm-side sink down in the zone. He also mixes in a 70-73 slider. Newberg is currently ranked 13th in Illinois and 65th overall.
Kyle Ostrowski, Lincoln-Way North HS, IL
Ostrowski has a high ceiling with the potential to be a draftable prospect. He has an athletic frame with long limbs at 6-foot-4, 180 pounds. His delivery is athletic and repeatable and he shows good direction to his target. His arm is loose and quick, with advanced speed from a high three-quarter slot. His fastball has been up to 89 mph, but sits in the mid 80s now. Ostrowski shows excellent mound presence and controls the game well. His projectable frame and quick arm will likely lend to added velocity down the road. The No. 5 prospect in Illinois, he is verbally committed to Purdue.
Jordan Poore, LHP, Muncie Central HS, IN
Ranked No. 11 in Indiana and 78th overall, Poore was a member of Team Indiana at this year's Midwest Future Games. He is extremely athletic and an intense competitor on the field. He pitched anywhere from 82-85 mph in August and does well to keep the ball down in the zone. He pitches from a high three-quarter arm slot and throws a ton of strikes. His curveball shows good depth in the high 60s. He is also a legitimate prospect as an outfielder with his bat speed and ability to handle velocity.
Shoaff, who stands at 6-foot-1, 225 pounds, recently gave his verbal commitment to Missouri. His stock increased after a strong performance at the Midwest Futures Games where he sat 84-86 mph with movement while locating to both sides of the plate. He relies on a 73-74 mph changeup with good fade. Because of his arm action, his breaking ball tends to lack consistency, but it shows potential at 71-73 mph. He is currently ranked 21st in the state.
Josh Smith, LHP, Saline HS, MI
Michigan has a strong group of southpaws in the 2015 class and it’s led by Smith, who is currently ranked No. 1 in the state and 12th in the overall rankings. He has a big frame at 6-foot-3, 210 pounds and is already verbally committed to Kentucky. His arm works well and he can sit 83-86 with his fastball. He also works in a solid breaking ball at 67-69. When his fastball is down, it has good life. He has a smooth, inline delivery.
Zach Spears, LHP, Mt. Vernon HS, IN
Spears, the No. 18 prospect in Indiana, has a very projectable frame at 6-foot-6, 210 pounds. He possesses good athleticism for his size and plays basketball as well. He sits 84-85 with his fastball, touching 86. His game is still raw, but he should be an elite arm if he can put it all together. Spears' offspeed stuff still needs development as the breaking ball is a continued work-in-progress.
Zach Wielgus, LHP, Penn Charter HS, PA
The No. 10 prospect in Pennsylvania, Wielgus sat 83-86, while touching 87 from a high three-quarter arm slot with a high leg kick at the Midwest Future Games in August. The 6-foot-3, 200-pound lefty has a heavy fastball that he mixed with a 71 mph curveball. Wielgus commanded the zone with his fastball that showed good, late life. He hides the baseball well with his delivery making it difficult for hitters to pick it up out of his hand.