If Tanner Scheppers was going to give scouts a reason to draft him high in the first round, he made a pretty convincing closing argument.
In his final start for the St. Paul Saints (independent American Association), Scheppers worked five innings, allowing three hits, one run and three walks while striking out five . Extra fresh after a nine-day layoff, Scheppers was sititng at 96-97 mph for much of the game and he touched 101 mph on the Saints’ radar gun. Scouts told manager George Tsamis after the game that they had him touching 98 and 99 mph."He was outstanding yesterday. He was great," Tsamis said. "He was throwing hard with good command of his fourt pitches. You don’t see too many guys even at the major league level who throw 96-99 mph. Just to see a kid like that is amazing.
"It was great the way he went out. He got in a little trouble in the fourth inning so he reached back and was blowing the ball past everybody to strike out the side."
Scheppers’ success came against a Sioux City lineup that included former prospects Anthony Webster, Lou Palmisano and Walter Young. He had a nine-day layoff because his previous start against Lincoln on the road on Monday was rained out. The Saints thought about pushing the former Fresno State righty back to start on Tuesday, June 2, but if they did, there was a good chance that it would be his last outing with the Saints. Instead the team decided to make sure his finale came in St. Paul. It was then scheduled for Saturday night, but another rainout forced it back another day to Sunday.
While that was Scheppers’ last outing, the Saints are not done with paying attention to the righthander. The MLB draft will begin at 5 p.m. local time, so the Saints plan to have the draft broadcast on the team’s scoreboard during batting practice.
"Tomorrow is going to be an exciting day," Tsamis said. "He couldn’t have picked a better place to come. It was a great fit for both of us."
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