Five Takeaways from Preseason All-State

By Chris Valentine
Executive Director
PBR Ohio

While PBR Ohio has been in existence several years, we have never run a Preseason All-State event until 2017.

On Sunday, just over 50 of the state's top prospects gathered at the brand new Bo Dome in Columbus.

With several Major League Scouts on hand, players went through a showcase style workout, including electronically timed 60 yard dashes.

In the coming days, we will be posting articles on the event as well as updating profiles with stats, analysis, and video.

Soon, we will release the full stats as well as two articles that more comprehensively highlight top performers (because there are more than just listed below).

For now, here are my five immediate takeaways from the event ...

1. Michael Kirian is back.

The Northwest Ohio product verballed to Louisville during his sophomore season. And, in between now and then, he has floated below the radar after suffering an ACL injury.

But, that is not the case any longer for Kirian.

The 6-foot-6, 240-pounder looks the part of a big leaguer and his stuff isn’t far behind. On Sunday, he showed command of 90-93 mph fastball complemented by a sharp 76-77 mph breaking ball and an 82-83 mph changeup.

With a strong spring, he could position himself for an early round draft selection in June.

2. Justin McConnell is a physical specimen.

The 6-foot-1, 180-pound middle infielder had MLB scouts asking: “Who is that?”

The Wright State recruit has as good of tools as any high school position player in the state.

McConnell clocked an electronically timed 6.7 60-yard dash and then followed it up with one of the best BP rounds of the day, including 92 mph exit velocity off the tee with a wood bat. And, lastly, he finished the day showing plenty of range and fluid actions in the field along with 90 mph arm strength across the infield.

3. It was only an early February bullpen, but …

Area scouts may want to add Gahanna Lincoln LHP Jackson Wolf (West Virginia recruit) to their follow list this spring.

In the spring of 2016, Wolf was a gangly 6-foot-4, 180-pound lefty sitting in the low-80s.

Fast forward to February of 2017. Wolf now stands 6-foot-7 and his frame is starting to fill out as he weighs 205-pounds. The lanky southpaw was up to 89 on Sunday, mostly sitting 86-88 mph. He throws across his body from a ¾ arm slot, generating serious run to his fastball. He also showed the makings of an effective out pitch with a 70 mph breaking ball that showed excellent movement across the zone.

4. The ball sounds different coming off the bat of …

‘17 Brock Mathis (Louisville recruit), ‘18 Nicholas Northcut (Vanderbilt recruit) and ‘19 Joey Velazquez (Ohio State recruit).

It was only a round of BP, but it was impressive.

All three can really swing the bat.

And, their exit velocity off the tee (with a wood bat) shows the power behind it.

Northcut registered a record high 105 mph. Mathis wasn’t too far behind at 102 mph.

Velazquez, the youngest of the three, already has the body of a big leaguer (with the exception of his baby face). He registered 92 mph off the tee.



5. The rich are getting richer …

I can’t wait to see where Peyton Deats is a few years from now after working with Coach Birkbeck at Kent State.

The 6-foot-1, 170-pound lefty looked like he was playing toss as he sat 85-88 mph with his fastball. His off-speed pitches still need some work, but a fall with Coach Birkbeck will get him straightened out.