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Area Code Games - Day Four

If the long days and heat of July are considered the Dog Days of summer, than Friday and Saturday at the Area Code Games are the events' equivalent. With most position players having had upwards of 10-15 at bats, most scouts feel there is a large enough sample size to have a fair evaluation on a hitters ability.

Friday usually means some pitchers begin to make their second appearances in the games, but sometimes it means there's an arm everyone is waiting to see and that was the case Friday at the Area Code Games. Right handed pitcher Riley Pint (Lenexa, KS) is widely considered to be a very high first round pick in the 2016 MLB Draft and he didn't do anything to change that in his appearance at Blair Field in Long Beach, CA. 

Below are some notes on players who stood out on Day Four of the Area Code Games.

RHP Riley Pint (Lenexa, KS) was all that he is cracked up to be in his three inning outing. The 6'5" 195 LSU commits first pitch came in at 98 mph followed by another 98, 97, 97, 97, 96 and you begin to see the theme. Before long, Pint decided to throw offspeed pitches which included an 86 mph change up, an 82 mph curveball, and an 84 mph slider. The LSU commit uses a high 3/4 delivery, with clean and repeatable mechanics in his free and easy delivery. His landing point doesn't vary and uses a moderate back turn to hide the ball from hitters. One scout said to me, "it's too early for anyone to have to face this guy." Simply put, Pint was on another level from just about every pitcher we've seen this week.

MIF Bo Bichette (Tierra Verde, FL) has been tearing the cover off the ball all week as demonstrated by having three of the top four exit velocities off the bat per TrackMan. Bichette has proven to be a great mistake pitch hitter all week routinely going to right center field with them. He shown the ability to pull the ball but he's more a gap-to-gap, line drive hitter. A slighty below average runner (4.39 to first), Bichette is quicker than he is fast.

RHP Robbie Peto (Monroe Township, NJ) is another in a long line of northeast pitcher headed to North Carolina that fits the power pitcher mold at 6'3" 195. Peto was impressive in his outing using an 89-91 mph fastball that he works to both sides of the plate and shows late life with arm side run. His 77 -79 mph power curveball is a present above average pitch and has plus potential if he's able to improve the command a bit. Peto's mechanics are some of the best we've seen this week. There is no variance in his upper body and maintains a high 3/4 arm angle on every pitch. Using a high leg kick and slight back turn, Peto keeps the ball hidden from the hitters eye before it explodes out of his hand.

RHP Drake Fellows (Plainfield, IL) stood out because of his ability to pound the zone with multiple pitches while working quickly. His fastball is very good at 91-92 mph with late life in on right-handed hitters. It was his slider that was most impressive. Sitting 81-83 the pitch was unhittable for righties and ran in so hard on lefties they couldn't do much more than roll over on it. His changeup at 80-82 mph is a solid change-of-pace pitch that had hitters guessing throughout his outing. An exaggerated back turn along with a low 3/4 arm angle adds to the deception of his pitches. The Vanderbilt commit has the present ability and future upside to be the next in a long line of Commodores to be high draft picks should he decide to go the collegiate route.

OF/1B Christian Jones (Federal Way, WA) continues to impress his ability to absolute destroy whatever pitching he's seeing. Jones does not get cheated at the plate with his aggressive approach that has resulted in some of the top exit speeds off the bat per TrackMan including 106.8 on an RBI triple to the right center field gap. Jones, a 6'2" 205 University of Washington commit, has average speed but maximizes it by being a heady baserunner.

SS Brady Whalen (Vancouver, WA) has been one of the several steady shortstops at the event and is doing it in a very quiet manner given his under-the-radar reputation. The uncommitted middle infielder has been consistent with the glove all week, but it's the bat that has gotten the attention of collegiate and pro scouts. Whalen routinely squares pitches up and shows a knack for driving them the other way giving him an opportunity to show of his speed (4.29 to first). The 6'4" 180 Whalen has plenty of arm strength to play the left side of the infield and will almost certainly be committing to a school in short order.

3B Chad McLanahan (Scottsdale, AZ) is having a very solid week offensively and defensively. The uncommitted left handed hitting third baseman is a hitting machine that has flashed some power potential. He routinely gets the barrel on the ball using a slightly open stance with high, close hands which generate above average bat speed. An average runner, McLanahan does have the agility and footwork to stay at third base where he has more than enough arm strength.

OF Brandon McIlwain (Newton, PA) is going to the University of South Carolina on a football scholarship as a quarterback and will also play baseball. If this week is any indication, we may be seeing a whole lot more of him on the diamond and at the very least he's going to have to make a difficult decision come next June. Built more like a safety than an SEC quarterback, McIlwain has hit everything that's been thrown at him this week, and he's hit it hard with incredible fast hands and some of the best bat speed at the event. Add to those skills his speed (4.12 to first) and his arm strength and you could be looking at a very high draft pick next summer.

OF Jordan McFarland (Waterloo, IL) has also been opened some eyes this week for scouts out of his area. The Arkansas commit is big (6'4" 220), fast (4.21 to first), and strong (line drives all over the field). McFarland covers a ton of ground in the outfield and has the arm strength to make all the throws from any position out there too.

Notes: Scary moment in the Brewers/Nationals game when a Will Proctor (Manhattan Beach, CA) was charging a ball at second base and got run over by a Nationals player. It appeared Proctor took a knee to the head and he was down for a minute or two before getting up and walking off unassisted...Ben Baird (Agoura Hills, CA) suffered a broken knuckle while swinging a bat yesterday and will miss the rest of the event...Jeremy Ydens (Campbell, CA) hit the second home run of the event when he took an 85 mph fastball and put it over the left field wall, no small feat at Blair Field....Chris Lincoln (Moreno Valley, CA) is an impressive prospect on the mound. The UCSB commit is raw, but very effective and has plenty of upside.

--Les Lukach
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