Scout to Cook: Pick either slider or slurve

Scouts liked what they saw from Pepperdine right-hander Cole Cook against unbeaten and No. 1 LSU, but there are still big questions about him. A sophomore-eligible, Cook went seven strong innings, yielding three earned runs on seven hits and a walk. The 6-foot-6, 200-pound Los Angeles native racked up nine strikeouts along the way.

"He was aggressive," an NL club's area scout said. "This was a nice test and he didn't back down. I had him in the low-90s for much of the game, and by my count his last fastball there (in the seventh inning) was 92. But the key for him was the split, it was very effective. And he was much better at avoid the middle of the plate, and for the most part kept the ball in the lower half of the zone."

Cole touched 94 mph Thursday and his final fastball came in at 92. But the righty has had problems in the past sustaining velocity into the later innings, often dipping down into the high-80s, according to another scout in attendance.

"Better, I'd say, and maybe that's a matter of how early in the season it was for him," the scout said.
"And the slider hints at being a good pitch for him down the road, but the few I saw tonight weren't major league pitches."

Cook has been known to mix in two breaking balls: a true slider that sits in the upper-70s, and a bigger, slower slurve-like offering. "Pick one and go with it -- and I'd prefer he transitions (into throwing) the curveball," the NL scout said, pointing out that if he's going to throw a split-finger rather than a traditional changeup, the curveball is a better complement.

LSU's top prospects, Micah Gibbs and Leon Landry, reached base three times and scored three runs, with Gibbs going 2-for-4 to raise his season line to .400/.455/.667 for the season.

Cook is 0-2 on the season, but has allowed just seven earned runs in 21 frames, and has posted a solid 18-5 K/BB ratio. Of the 19 hits he has allowed, only two have gone for extra bases.

Elsewhere ...

  • UC-Riverside catcher Rob Brantly went 1-for-3 and Oregon State first baseman Stefen Romero went 1-for-4 in the Beavers 10-3 win at home Thursday. Romero has gotten some attention early this season, partly due to his strong start. The right-handed hitting junior enters play this weekend hitting .333/.459/.733 with three doubles, three homers and a 5-5 K/BB ratio. Brantly is now hitting .364/.436/.667 and is showing scouts he's a legit backstop, too. Keith Law has a report on him here.

  • San Diego State right-hander Addison Reed out-dueled Kentucky's Alex Meyer, a prospect to keep an eye on for 2011, striking out six in six innings, surrendering two runs on six hits and a walk. Reed continued to keep the ball down, yielding eight groundball outs to just two fly ball outs. Again, Reed isn't going to wow with velocity, so his command, pitch mix and consistency will carry him.

  • Reed's teammate, centerfielder Corey Vaughn, went 2-for-5 with a double and two strikeouts, and now boasts a concerning 1/13 BB/K ratio. He has just three extra-base hits in 40 official at-bats.

  • Jameson Taillon fanned 10 and touched 97 mph on the radar gun Thursday, allowing just three hits in a 2-0 loss to Moody High School. The consensus among three of the several scouts in attendance was that Taillon was "good, again, but he'll be better."

  • Right-hander Dylan Covey and his Maranatha HS (Pasadena, Calif.) teammates get under way tonight against Newbury Park. Covey is considered a near-lock as a first-round pick, and could push for the Top 10.

  • Archbishop McCarthy (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) star Nick Castellanos had two hits in a 16-2 win Thursday. The 6-foot-4, 190-pound third baseman has hits in each of the Mavericks first six games, including three doubles and a home run.

  • If you're looking for some matchups to check out Friday night, it's a full slate of games all weekend, with several solid faceoffs, Florida State vs. Georgia and Texas vs. Rice. In these two games tonight, we'll see Bulldogs RHP Justin Grimm against FSU CF Tyler Holt, and Rice's Rick Hague and 2011 prospect Anthony Rendon will see Texas' own top prospect for next spring, Taylor Jungmann.

  • Texas Tech RHP Chad Bettis will face TCU and South Carolina's Sam Dyson faces Kyle Parker and Clemson. Arkansas takes their three prospects to Berkely to face RHP Dixon Anderson and California. If Anderson throws well, he could become more than just an arm in the first-day conversation.

  • If he's focused, Ohio State RHP Alex Wimmers could put up a fun line versus Duquesne Friday. It won't mean much in terms of his stock and status necessarily, but it might be fun to look at tomorrow morning.