The Scouting Trail: Week FiveProspects
David Seifert spent the last decade working as an area scout and crosschecker with the Philadelphia Phillies. Now he’s beating the bushes on the scouting trail for D1Baseball and Prep Baseball Report. This weekend’s stop was Oxford, Miss. for an SEC Opening Weekend matchup between Mississippi and Tennessee.
The threat of rain and spring break for the students in Oxford kept Swayze Field from filling to capacity on Friday evening, but all of those who attended were rewarded with a great SEC opener. A pitcher’s duel for six innings and a 2-2 tie turned into a slugfest in the seventh inning as the two teams combined to score 10 runs. When the dust had settled, the Volunteers walked away 8-6 winners. Saturday’s game saw the Rebels jump out to an early lead with six runs in the first four innings and then coast to a 7-1 victory. The wireless communication between the pitching coach and catcher was impressive; an NCAA-approved experiment in the SEC this season, it kept the game flowing without the usual dead time between pitches. It trimmed minutes each inning from the length of the game. On the other hand, several instant replay reviews negated whatever time savings were generated by the wireless communication. Once perfected, this experiment with advanced technology should greatly enhance the product on the field, but college baseball needs to figure out how to streamline the replay process.
In an interesting bit of irony, the Volunteers best freshman pitching prospect is a 6-foot-5 lefty from Mississippi, while the Rebels best freshman pitching prospect is a 6-foot-3 lefty from Tennessee.
With all of the top prospects for both teams seen during the first two games of the series, I decided to follow-up on some scouting buzz I had been hearing for a couple weeks regarding a junior college pitcher from Jefferson College, Mo. So there I went for a Noon game on Sunday instead of the rubber game between Tennessee and Mississippi.
As for tools and talent, this is what I saw:
TENNESSEE: The Volunteers are young with athletes all over the diamond. In both Friday and Saturday’s games, they started seven underclassmen in the lineup, as well as the starting pitchers for each day. It’s an aggressive group with a lot of swing and miss, evidenced by their 21 percent strikeout rate this season. It’s also a lineup that features more speed than power, but with physical maturity and more experience they will be real good, and soon. How could they not be? Have you seen their baseball staff?
Pre-season Top 100 Prospects
#72 Zach Linginfelter, 6’5/225, Sophomore-eligible, RHP – Tall, athletic righty with good arm speed and extension out front. Arm path gets off-line in back, then swings up to a H ¾ slot. Fastball topped at 96 mph, pitched at 93-95 with sink during his Friday night 2.1 innings of relief.