LONG BEACH—Simeon Woods-Richardson throws with a 103-mph attitude.
In reality, his fastball sits about 10 mph lower, but whenever the 6-foot-3, 210-pound righthander from Kempner High in Houston takes the mound, he tries to channel closer Aroldis Chapman. Woods-Richardson loves the way Chapman goes after hitters, daring them to hit his power stuff. At the 2017 Area Code Games, that Chapman-like approach has yielded Chapman-like results.
Woods-Richardson was one of the initial standouts at the games, pitching in relief in the showcase's very first game with the Texas Rangers. The righthander worked at a frenetic pace, pumping 91-92 mph fastballs into the zone and mixing in two different breaking balls—an 11-to-5 curveball and a sweeping slider. Both pitches clocked in the mid- to upper-70s.
Woods-Richardson worked so quickly and attacked so aggressively that he struck out the side on just 10 pitches. He wasn't done. He needed just three pitches to strike out the first batter of his next frame.
"That's me—I love energy," Woods-Richardson said with the same kind of energy and tempo he brings to the mound. "I love intensity. I'm very competitive natured. I love fast-tempo games. I love to sweat when I get out there and get a workout."
On Wednesday afternoon, Woods-Richardson had a second chance to make an impression on the horde of scouts in the stands, throwing the last two innings of the Rangers' game against the Reds.
Working at his same breakneck pace, Woods-Richardson showcased even better stuff in his second look. He sat 91-94, touched 95, and commanded both breaking balls in two dominant frames. Though he's used to working as a starter in high school, his mentality befits a closer, as he visibly exudes confidence through his presence on the mound.
"Hitters get uncomfortable when pitchers get in a rhythm," he said. "And that's what I try to do—get hitters uncomfortable.”
Woods-Richardson showed little fear in pitching batters inside, brushing a few back with firm fastballs in on the hands. That was by design; he said he was hoping to break a few bats.
A Texas commit, Woods-Richardson has played baseball since he was 3 years old. No other sports.
"Just baseball," he said. "One love."
Whether he pitches for his hometown Longhorns or lands in pro ball out of high school, Woods-Richardson is approaching his big league aspirations with the sort of ferocity he brings to the field.
"It's a dream of mine, and I want to complete it by getting drafted," he said. "That's my whole goal."