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Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Draft Prospect Watch: Strong Outings From Three Top Prep Pitchers

Usually on Saturday morning, we recap the best Friday night starters in college, but we are switching it up because there is a lot of news from the high school ranks. Tomorrow we will take a look at the best college pitchers, while today we concentrate on some of the best prep pitchers in the country. You can read more on the top prep pitchers in our preview from last month. The high school season is just beginning for many teams, so the news has been light up until now. The draft begins on June 8th and the Pittsburgh Pirates have the 19th and 32nd overall picks. The Pirates will have the 11th highest draft bonus pool.

I split this up into a few recaps and then Links and Notes after the video.

Right-hander Donny Everett has a workhorse frame and good stamina, as shown by his performance on Wednesday. Prep Baseball Report had him sitting 94-96 MPH in the first inning and finishing off his day with 94 and 95 MPH fastballs in the seventh inning. He allowed a run on two hits over seven innings, with 12 strikeouts. Everett has the makings of a plus slider to go along with that fastball. There is some concern over high effort in his delivery.

Austin Smith, a right-handed pitcher out of Florida, had a strong outing on Thursday. According to Hudson Belinsky of Baseball America, he threw eight scoreless innings, with no walks and seven strikeouts. Smith had his fastball up to 95 MPH. He is 6’4″ and throws easy heat, with little effort to his delivery. You can read more on Smith and Everett in the preview up top.

Prep Baseball has reports on two kids from Florida. Right-hander Triston McKenzie went on Friday night and threw a complete game shutout. According to the report, he was sitting 89-93 MPH. That is added velocity for McKenzie, who was said to touch 92 MPH in his preseason reports. He is 6’5″, with tons of room to fill out(he is listed at 160 pounds). Reports from MLB.com say that he has the makings of three pitches that will be average or better, with good command of all three offerings. I’ve included a video below courtesy of Big League Futures.

The second Florida pitcher that went on Friday was lefty Juan Hillman, who was hitting 93 MPH. He had a shaky start, giving up four first inning runs, but lasted five innings for the win and only allowed four hits. His scouting report is a lot like McKenzie, three solid pitchers with good control. Both of them throw a fastball, curve and change and they both have plenty of projection. Hillman is a little more filled out at 6’2″, 180 pounds. Both of them will likely go in the first two rounds and they could be first round picks.

Links and Notes

**Check out this article about lefty Justin Hooper, one of the top pitchers in the prep pitching draft class this year. He didn’t do so well in his debut last weekend, running into command issues that ended his day after two innings.

**Here is an interesting article on Demi Orimoloye, the top prospect in this draft from Canada. His junior national team is down in Florida, about to play 12 Spring Training games, including one against the Toronto Blue Jays. The other 11 will be minor league games.

**If you have time to kill, Dave Rawnsley has a ton of notes from the first day of the Perfect Game High School Showdown. I won’t give the lead story away, but you’ll want to read about right-handed pitcher Cole Kragel

**If you missed it from Thursday, Joe Demers started his season with a perfect game. Early rankings had him around the same area as Triston McKenzie and Juan Hillman.

**We do have a college link to hold you over until tomorrow. Dan Kirby from Through The Fence Baseball put out his weekly ten college players on the rise. Worth checking out, because he covers some names that might be 2nd-3rd round possibilities.

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John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.

When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.


Pirates Prospects has been independently owned and operated since 2009, entirely due to the support of our readers. The site is now completely free, funded entirely by user support. By supporting the site, you are supporting independent writers, one of the best Pittsburgh Pirates communities online, and our mission for the most complete Pirates coverage available.

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