Sun Devils loaded with hitters
March, 24, 2008
Notes from the last three days, ranging from high school to college to pro prospects: • Jaff Decker, a center fielder and left-handed pitcher at Sunrise Mountain High School in Peoria, Arizona, threw in relief on Friday in a regional tournament. On the mound, he was 89-92 mph with two curves: a big breaker at 69-70 and a shorter one at 75, both with tight rotation. His arm action could be shorter, as he separates his hands high but drops the ball down to make a full circle with his arm, which isn't beneficial. His delivery has a little bit of violence to it, with a slight headwhack and a hard fall-off to the third base side, but for a high school kid, it was a relatively clean. At the plate, Decker didn't get much of a chance to show his stuff, walking once intentionally and once semi-intentionally. He has good bat speed and accelerates his wrists well but wastes some of this by wrapping the bat behind his head when he starts his swing. He's strong already, without much projection on either side of the ball. • Moving on, the Arizona State Sun Devils are stacked with high-draft hitters. They've got a chance to have three of them go in the top 40-50 picks. The group is led by third baseman Brett Wallace, perhaps the best pure hitter in this year's draft. Wallace, a left-handed hitter, brings a great swing, a good eye and above-average power to the table. He keeps his weight back and whips the bat through the zone, squaring up balls everywhere in the zone, showing only a weakness for the high pitch. He shows plus raw power in BP, though in the game he's more apt to drive balls middle-out to the left-center gap. If there's a knock on Wallace, it's his unusual body type. Although I've heard him referred to as "fat," that's completely inaccurate. Wallace has very muscular thighs and a strong lower half in general, which is an unusual shape for a baseball player but doesn't inhibit his game in any way. He's an average runner, moves very well at third base and has a plus arm. Wallace was drafted by the Blue Jays in 2005 but didn't sign over a difference of about $200,000.