BLUF: Strong two-way player with far more potential on the mound.
The Player: Trey Ball (LHP, New Castle (IN) High School) – A known commodity on the showcase circuit for the last two years, Ball is one of the top two-way players in this year’s draft. He finished his final high school season with a 0.76 ERA and 93 strikeouts, along with a .329 batting average as one of his team’s best hitters. He is committed to Texas.
Basis of Report: Compilation – Industry Contacts
Body (6-6, 185): High-end athlete. Very tall, thin frame. Plenty of room for added mass and associated strength. Extremely projectable body. Long levers. Good coordination at a young age. Epitome of projectable.
Delivery/Mechanics: Simple and repeatable windup that is controlled and rhythmic. Consistent arm sweep and slot, leading to consistent release point. Repeats everything very well thanks to athleticism and advanced coordination. Excellent extension out front. Everything looks easy with seemingly no effort throughout.
Fastball (FB) Velocity (Wind-up): High – 95, Low – 87, Average 91-92, Grade – 50/60
Fastball (FB) Velocity (Stretch): High – 94, Low 87, Average 91-92, Grade – 50/60
Fastball (FB) Movement: Nothing explosive but some arm-side life that gets in on LHH and can swing back off the glove-side corner. Good angle to the plate generates good plane on the fastball and compensates for lack of big life. Grade – 50/50
Overall Fastball: Solid overall pitch right now. Can go side-to-side with fastball but almost always works low and hasn’t demonstrated ability to elevate consistently. Velocity is not overwhelming but projection comes easy with frame, athleticism and the way the arm works. Could reach plus velocity registers without much trouble and that spike could come early in developmental cycle. Has just enough movement to keep him from getting squared. Overall grade heavily dependent on velocity. Grade – 50/60
Curveball (CB): Lacks experience with pitch. Rarely threw it prior to junior season. Still developing feel for spinning the ball. When its working, CB shows tight spin, good shape and some sharpness to the 1-7 break. Still struggles with consistently snapping pitch; getting around it too often and creating a loopy pitch that can be taken advantage of. Below-average pitch at present but still raw and has room to be potential above-average pitch down the line. Grade – 40/50+
Change-up (CH): Most developed pitch of secondary arsenal. Good feel for his age and plus potential overall. Maintains arm speed and slot well, adding to pitch deceptiveness. At best, arm-side fade is evident, giving it more fastball-like appearance. Shows willingness to throw it in any count to any hitter. Very confident in pitch. Can move it side-to-side, similar to FB. Fringe-average pitch at present with plus projection that is not difficult to see. Grade – 40+/60
Control: Throws surprising amount of strikes given long levers at his age. Very well coordinated and a top-flight athlete. Pounds the zone with FB and CH. Has little trouble working low consistently and is a strike thrower on most days. Control of CB lags behind due to inexperience and lack of feel. Should come along well. Has easy plus control projection and could grade higher as he adjusts to likely continued physical development. Grade – 50/60+
Command: Has ingredients for command projection but doesn’t have command at present. Well below-average now. Early indications of ability to move ball to both sides of the plate is a positive and he should continue developing this ability. Needs to consistently locate CH better. Ability to elevate with FB will be key to long-term success. CB command is non-existent at present. Repeatable, smooth delivery and excellent athleticism. Above-average command profile down the line. Grade – 30/50+
Summation: Excellent athlete. Could be drafted on both sides of the ball. Clearly a pitcher with far more projection and high-end potential on the mound. Graceful, well-coordinated kid with tons of physical projection in thin 6-6 frame. FB and CH could both be plus pitches in short order. CB has potential to result in three above-average or better pitches. Has control/command profile. All the ingredients are there for a front half of the rotation pitcher. Quality makeup guy with good intelligence on the mound. Understands pitching and isn’t just a thrower. Potential for solid nuance with excellent raw stuff as well. Potential #2 or #3 starter if it all comes together.
Relative Risk: High. Northern high school pitcher that must continue development of breaking ball to reach ceiling.
Draft Projection: In the conversation as the top prep pitcher in the draft. Very projectable young arm with a good ceiling. Should go off the board in the top ten picks and could go a little higher to a team that really believes in his future. Could be a top three round pick as an outfielder but has far more potential on the mound; drafting him as an outfielder would be a mistake.