The last time Villanova produced single-digit draft picks in back-to-back years was 1971-1972. But, after outfielder Matt Szczur went in the fifth round to the Cubs last year, the Wildcats could do it again this year thanks to righthander Kyle McMyne.
On Feb. 25, McMyne toed the rubber against Duke with 12 scouts in attendance, including at least one crosschecker.
McMyne, who opened the season with a win against Norfolk State, came out firing against Duke, setting the Blue Devils down in order.
The second inning was another story, however. McMyne gave up three hits, walked two guys and hit another, giving up six runs in the inning.
"I got behind in the count on the guy, threw a couple balls and walked a guy and it basically just unravelled from there," McMyne said. "You can't get behind batters and put them on base. We go over that in our meetings about walking or hitting guys. They stood right on the plate. When I hit that little lefty kid, he was right on the plate, you know? It could have went either way—it could have been a strike. I felt like they were just doing the right thing and they were just on the plate, squeezing the zone a little bit and I kind of got out of my game for a little bit with a couple walks and they got a couple timely hits."
Overall, though, that was all McMyne allowed and his stuff generally looked very good on the day. Over his six innings of work, he gave up six runs on six hits with four walks and six strikeouts.
His fastball sat in the 93-95 mph range and he touched 96 several times. He threw a 12-6 curveball in the 75-78 mph range, a slider between 82-84 mph and mixed in a couple changeups.
"I throw my slider for an out pitch, when I have two strikes on the batter," McMyne said. "The curveball is a get-me-over curveball, usually, just in the beginning of counts and stuff to get ahead of batters. The fastball is my number one pitch, so I try to spot that up and throw hard."
Sometimes when pitchers throw both a curveball and a slider, the two pitches can blend together. For McMyne, however, the pitches are definitely two distinct offerings. He said he worked hard on developing them this offseason and is more comfortable with them this year and can throw both for strikes.
"The breaking balls were pretty good," one of the scouts in attendance said. "There were flashes that were above-average and then there's a few that kind of hung up there a little bit. You're looking for some consistency, but the flashes are there. I think they're both separators and they both have value. One or the other, on any given day, could be better than the other. His curveball seemed to be a pitch he had a lot of confidence in throwing. And that's going to help him keep hitters a little more off balance."
While the breaking balls show promise, McMyne will need to work on his changeup if he wants to avoid being labeled a reliever.
"That's why we're out watching him right now, trying to figure him out," the scout said. "After one look, it's hard to really label him one way or another. But you have to respect his arm strength. He's a power pitcher-type guy. He only threw a couple changeups, but he does show that he has one. That's a pitch he needs to continue to develop."
Despite getting the loss, McMyne impressed the scout with his arm strength, as well as the poise he showed after Duke's big second inning. He also said it's important to realize this was just one outing and that it's still early in the season.
"That's the thing about the kids up in the Northeast—they have been indoors, throwing off plastic mounds, throwing to their own teammates," the scout said. "So, to get out there when it all counts, he did a good job. Six innings and he had that one bad inning, but other than that he really competed."
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