Prep Baseball Report

Shooter's Spotlight: 10 Pitchers (Super 60)

Shooter Hunt
Vice President, Scouting

The 20th annual Prep Baseball Report, 
Super 60, once again brought together some of the top draft-eligible talent in the country serving as a kick-off event for the MLB Draft’s calendar year. With more than 100 scouts in attendance, the players were treated to an intimate setting on the biggest of stages. Pen met paper as notes were feverishly scribbled down with circles and stars denoting future follows as spring travel plans quickly came into view. Beyond the timeless note taking tradition, PBR’s commitment to keep pace with MLB’s technological revolution held an equally impressive prominence. Trackman, Blast Motion, Vizual Edge, PitchAI, and SWIFT Technology all provided a more complete description of the talented players to aid in what the eyes could see.

But more than the technology and the fraternal “first day of school” feel within the scouting community, the event was, is, and always will be about the players…and they did not disappoint.

In the first of a series of aftermath articles from the Super 60, a look at 10 pitchers who made an impact on MY look at the event. Every single player who put on the fresh Mizuno uniforms performed at a high level and is a draft prospect. Each of them put on a show in their own rights, and is destined for a stellar spring (and beyond). This is not a top prospect list, as that is covered on PBR’s 2022 Overall Rankings, but rather a gut reaction and immediate feel at and leaving the event.

Jackson Humphries LHP / Fuquay-Varina, NC / 2022

To say that the Campbell recruit stole the show at the Super 60 would be an understatement. He flat out hijacked it. Taking the mound early on in the rotation, the southpaw touched 95 mph with his fastball while sitting mostly 93-94. His 6-foot-1, 208-pound frame features some thickness in the trunk and lower-half, and he gets adequate use of the lower-half in maintaining efficient movement patterns down the mound which allows a loose arm stroke to play quickly out front from a high ¾ slot. Pounding the zone with an electric fastball that featured late arm side life was just the start of a stellar bullpen as Humphries, who was well known internally for his aptitude for spin, demonstrated feel for both a horizontal slider and curveball that exhibited multi-tier break. Demonstrating some feel for separating the two, the 2971 RPM max stood out as elite, and promised potential bigger advancements in the future. Capping off his arsenal, Humphries demonstrated command of an 85-86 changeup that profiled well off the fastball with similar horizontal characteristics. Looking back on his ascent from an uncommitted “pick to click” prior to the PBR Future Games in 2020, to the electricity that he showcased at the Super 60, Humphries upward trajectory is sure to excite all MLB scouts, and should he delivery consistent outings throughout the spring, he could continue a growing trend of Carolina arms that catch immense helium leading up to the draft each year.

Aiden Moffett RHP / Taylorsville, MS / 2022

Moffett’s late addition to the event came on the heels of a stellar showing at the PBR Mississippi Preseason All-State event, and he clearly made the most of the opportunity being in front of nearly 100 MLB scouts. Big and burly at 6-foot-3, 245-pounds, the LSU recruit carries the weight exceptionally well, and was one of the cleanest, most efficient movers, getting quality use of the lower-half throughout an exciting bullpen. Wowing on-lookers, Moffett ran his fastball up to 97 mph (2461 RPM max) including an event leading 6.7 ft. extension average, and the pitch appeared to get on the plate even faster than the Trackman reading. Showcasing some aptitude for spin, Moffett tunneled the fastball at the top of the zone with a multi-tier curveball (76-80) that featured upwards of 2592 RPM. However, it was a firm cutter (88-90) that drew the most interest from scouts in attendance as the late life combined with the velocity flashed as a plus offering. Moffett’s frame and athleticism combined with powerful arm strength makes him an ultra intriguing follow this spring, especially given the big upside that his stuff presents.

Gage Stanifer RHP / Westfield, IN / 2022

Stanifer, one of my favorite arms coming out of the fall season, continued an upward trend with an elite performance at the Super 60. The Cincinnati recruit pounded the zone with a 93-95 fastball that included some ride and run through the zone along with a 1931 RPM avg. Uber-athletic down the mound, the naturally strong, 6-foot-3, 208-pound right-hander works longer down the mound in producing effortless velocity with quickness to hand out front. Though his slider (called a curveball) was not quite as sharp as I have seen in the past, it was still thrown firmly, with intent, at 84-85 with upwards of 2473 RPM. There is aptitude in the fact that he can throw the pitch for a strike, and given the firm speed and future tunneling ability, there are ingredients present to produce an above average offering sooner rather than later. Also featuring a power-changeup at 88-90, Stanifor killed spin on the pitch (1748 RPM avg), and exhibited feel for the pitch in the zone. Most captivating, to me, was what appeared to be minimal hip/shoulder separation from Stanifer in what was an otherwise flawless delivery, and especially the fact that he pumped out mid 90s fastballs in spite of it. My hypothesis walking away from the bullpen was that Stanifer’s athleticism might be even greater than that of which I initially thought, and that his upside is potentially equally as high. There will be plenty more on Stanifer in upcoming articles as we dive even deeper into advanced metrics and biomechanics which will likely shine brightly on him.

Ben Brutti RHP / South Kingstown, RI / 2022

Brutti, a sleeper standout from 2019’s PBR Future Games, presented an outlier look at the Super 60 that included three pitches for strikes and a fastball that ran up to 96 mph. Square-shouldered at 6-foot-3, 200-pounds with a durable frame that still shows signs of future advancements, Brutti demonstrated an impressive arsenal, and even more impressive ability to find a consistent low ¾ slot. That slot, combined with a later rip out of the glove, provided for what is likely a very tough look for hitters with the fastball seeing considerable horizontal movement (more on this in future Trackman articles), and a changeup that pairs as a mirror image at 83-84. Along with the changeup, Brutti’s slider was thrown for strikes and took more sweeping shape at 81-82 (2416 RPM max). While he demonstrated clear intent and aptitude for the slider, I never felt like he got his best one off during the bullpen, although he maintained an ability to throw it for strikes. That thought should bring more area eyes to Rhode Island this spring as the South Florida recruit has a real chance to continue as starter, even in spite of any knocks that the effort in the upper-half might present. Overall, Brutti’s ability to distance himself from the norm while still producing elite stuff made him one of the most intriguing arms at the Super 60.

Zachary Johnston LHP / Greely, ME / 2022

Johnston, a Wake Forest recruit, was easily one of my favorite arms at the event as his loose arm and arsenal presented a starter’s profile, even without the reassuring big velocity. The Maine native comfortably worked 87-88 (2421 RPM max, 2332 avg.) from a ¾ slot with a fluid, effortless delivery. There was clearly much more in the tank from the long-limbed, 6-foot-5, 185-pound southpaw, which was even more impressive as he didn’t alone the grand scale of the event to speed him up or disrupt the plan. He comfortably peppered the zone with the fastball before showcasing a quality slider (74-76) that was landed for strikes along with a changeup (80-81) that he was able to kill spin on to the tune of 1765 RPM avg. The day’s biggest reinforcement of the fact that future potential is paramount to present production for such young prospects, Johnston also held one of the lowest release height averages despite being one of the tallest players at the event. Give the whippiness of the arm and elasticity of the delivery, combined with feel for three pitches, the southpaw has clear starter potential that should increase his value in the eyes of MLB clubs.

Austin Henry RHP / Dell Rapids (SD), SD / 2022

Henry, the highest profile pitcher at the event, battled a blister in his bullpen, but still managed to flash the highest upside due much in part to plus-plus ability to spin the breaking ball. Though fastball command was elusive, the workhorse-framed, 6-foot-6, 225-pounder showcased his usual pure arm talent with velocity that sat 91-93 and touched 94 mph (2469 RPM) with those numbers likely rising throughout the spring. The arm works loose and free to a higher ¾ slot, and while the adrenaline had the fastball scattering in this look, the curveball served as calming presence, albeit an explosive one. Thrown firmly at 76-80, the Wichita State recruit’s innate ability to topspin the ball was well quantified at upwards of -21.6 IVB and up to 3411 RPM on a pitch that falls like an anvil from its crescendo. That pitch, in itself, likely sets Henry’s “draft floor” even higher than his peers as its value is of the greatest commodity. Nevertheless, Henry’s ceiling, and how closely and quickly he reaches it is likely to be tied to the fastball command. Being a South Dakota product with a massive frame and electric arsenal, my instincts lack concern for the hiccup in fastball command in this look (also the blister…), and my gut says that Henry will find much more consistency later in the spring in driving helium to his draft stock.

Zach Crotchfelt LHP / Jackson Memorial, NJ / 2022

The moxie and mound presence that exuded from Crotchfelt’s performance at the Super 60 is much of what the New Jersey native has shown for years back in the Garden State. However, for those unfamiliar with the durably-built, 6-foot-3, 208-pound southpaw, his bullpen was a solid glimpse into what to expect throughout the spring. Up to 94 mph (94.3 per Trackman) with his final pitch, the charismatic left-hander repeated an athletic delivery that included strong use of the lower-half in driving linear down the mound with a near ¾ slot. The fastball featured some natural arm side life, and he controlled it in the zone with normal effort, and the potential that there is still a bit more in the tank. The Auburn recruit’s changeup stood out as his best secondary offering, exhibiting similar characteristics to the fastball at 84-85, and was thrown for strikes. Crotchfelt’s breaking ball is likely to dictate his draft status moving forward. Having struggled with the pitch in the past, I was looking for more of a glimpse of upside/aptitude that player development departments would be able to work with. Early ones in the bullpen appeared to tumble, but there were a couple late at 76-79 that flashed depth and more sweeping action. Those two were most intriguing as to his future potential, although he also flashed cutters at 86-88 in recognition of needing something to get hitters off the fastball. Regardless, Crotchfelt’s quick, strong arm, and especially the makeup and athleticism, lend well to the potential of making adjustments in the future which could elevate his status as one of the top prep left-handers in the class.

Ben Bybee RHP / Blue Valley Southwest, KS / 2022

Bybee, an Arkansas recruit, was the arm that I was most excited to see coming into the event, and he did not disappoint. As impressive as they come with regards to an athletic, 6-foot-6, 225-pound frame, the big right-hander boasts a barrel chest and wide shoulders along with thick lower-half. And he puts the frame to good use, getting quality, athletic movement patterns throughout an uptempo delivery before a quick, whippy arm delivers out of a high ¾ slot. Working 89-92 throughout with a considerable jump likely, even as early as the spring, Bybee showcased feel for four quality pitches including a shorter slider (81-83), a curveball with depth (78-80), and a faded changeup (84-85). The arsenal combined with the delivery provided a strong case for Bybee’s upside as continuing as a starter at future levels, and thus will likely make him a close follow, especially later on in the spring. Bybee appeared to have a plan for each pitch while portraying a powerful mound presence, and with limited game action over the past year, there is a strong chance that quick advancements will come. He will have a chance to pitch his way up draft boards this spring, but should he make it Fayetteville, it is easy to envision Bybee blossoming into a power-armed weekend arm in the SEC.

Ethan Patera RHP / Downers Grove South, IL / 2022

Patera’s bullpen might end up being a microcosm for what to expect in coming years for the fact that it steadily got better the longer he was on the mound, culminating in plenty to take away and like about the future. At 6-foot-4, 230-pounds, the big right-hander has an elite, workhorse frame with the power stuff to match. He worked 92-93, touching 95 mph, flashing a power-changeup (86-88) with significant arm side life and sink (1859 RPM avg.) along with a short, true-slider (82-83) that was thrown for strikes. But beyond the three-pitch mix, Patera’s mound presence stood out. With tunnel vision throughout, the Louisville recruit gained confidence with each pitch, and was at his best towards the end. The upside that he presents is obvious, and should those final pitches be a glimpse at what is to come with regards to consistency this spring, Patera could find himself rising up some draft boards.

Gavin Jones RHP / North Royalton, OH / 2022

If you blinked during the Alabama recruit’s bullpen, it is likely that he was done before your eyes opened again. That is how quick and efficient that Jones worked through a mature and impressive look at the Super 60. The frame immediately stands out on the mound for its thick, yet athletic, 6-foot-4, 210-pound stature, and Jones powered 91-93 fastballs to the bottom of the zone while presenting the look of a starter with three pitches for strikes. Shorter through the arm stroke with effort out front, the ball appears to come from the ear with some life to the arm side on the fastball. Each pitch grades out closer to being future average with the athleticism, mound presence, and pitchability potentially boosting them. That, along with the fact that he pounds the strike zone, could ultimately help lift Jones’ draft profile should he maintain his status as a performer moving forward.


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