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PEORIA, ARIZ.—One of the hardest throwers at the Area Code Games followed up his performance in Long Beach as one of the harder throwers at the Arizona Senior Fall Classic in Peoria.
Righthander Jiovanni Orozco (Salpointe Catholic, Tucson, Ariz.) nearly topped the 93 mph at the ACGs (92.8), which was the 10th-best peak velocity in Long Beach.
Orozco has a quick, loose arm that sat 90-92 in his first two innings before sitting 88-91 in his third frame. His fastball has riding life through the zone from a high three-quarters arm slot and his fastball spin rate (2,340) was the eighth-best of any pitcher at the ACG. After striking out five in four innings at the ACG, Orozco continued to get swings and misses at a high rate, striking out seven of the 12 hitters he faced on 10 swinging strikes, allowing one hit and one walk.
His most-used secondary offering was his curveball with depth that he threw from a higher arm slot than his fastball. His curveball has shape and flashed at least average but the offering fell to 67-70 mph in the later part of his outing as he threw the pitch without the same hand speed as his fastball. The command of his curveball was inconsistent as he threw six straight for balls between the second and third innings.
“I had a good fastball but my curveball and changeup weren’t really there,” Orozco said. “It didn’t have really tight break. I was trying to get the spin right but couldn’t snap it off. One of the kids told me today that when I was throwing my curveball and my changeup that it was a little bit slower than the fastball action. So I have to work on that before Jupiter.”
The Arizona State commit flashed a changeup with potential and significant tumble, though he tended to leave the pitch elevated.
“It is my second-best pitch, especially to lefthanded hitters,” Orozco said. “I was throwing it a lot to lefthanded hitters at the ACG and they were really out in front.”
Orozco showed some strike-throwing qualities, though his control is currently ahead of his command, as the length of his arm stroke in the back was inconsistent. He often missed up with his fastball and only missed down once in the first two innings.
“My goals are to keep my fastball lower in the zone and keep my velocity up in the later innings,” Orozco said.
The 6-foot, 195-pound Orozco has a strong, physical build with a thick lower half and rear end. Age is on his side as Orozco is one of the younger prep pitchers in the class and won’t turn 18 until more than two months after the draft.
• One of the top prep righthanders in the Pacific Northwest, Justin Marsden of Auburn Mountainview (Wash.) High, showed well at the Arizona Senior Fall Classic in striking out seven in three innings against two walks and one hit.
Marsden, who throws four-seamers exclusively, had one of the quicker arms at the event and sat 90-92 mph in the first inning of his outing before sitting 88-90 in his next two frames. His fastball had some plane and life-side run when locating to his glove side.
Working from the first base side of the rubber, the Seattle commit throws across his body and spins towards first base after release. His loose arm includes an elbow lift and high elbow in the back. His arm slot largely wandered around three-quarters.
His high-energy delivery jumps at the hitters.
“I try to start fast and then when I go back down with my leg I push off so I get out farther and try to reach out further with the ball,” Marsden said.
Marsden showed feel for spinning a low-70s breaking ball with some shape. The offering was inconsistent because of his wandering arm slot that got on the side of the ball at times, varying from 11-5 tilt to three-quarters. His best breaking ball flashed late three-quarters tilt low and to his glove side at 75 mph.
“When I started I taught it myself,” Marsden said. “(Former major leaguer) Jim Parque has been helping me out a lot on it. It has come a long way. I am trying to keep it at one slot but sometimes it changes because I throw down farther.”
Marsden’s breaking ball produced not only the highest spin rate (3,055 RPM at 75 mph according to TrackMan) at the Area Code Games this summer, but also the highest spin rate of any breaking ball in the four years that TrackMan has gathered data at the premier summer showcase.
He first learned to throw a changeup earlier this year and did not throw it in game action.
The 6-foot-3, 175-pound Marsden has a loose, lean and projectable build that will likely gain significant strength over the offseason.
“I threw the ball pretty well,” Marsden said. “I didn’t get a chance to throw the changeup. So that was bad. But the fastball was working well and the curveball was working well. I felt pretty good. It was great to be in the warm weather although I got kind of got tired towards the end because of the heat.
• Uncommitted righthander Brett Conine (El Modena HS, Orange, Calif.) had a superlative outing, showcasing his three-pitch mix, feel for pitching and strike-throwing ability.
The 6-foot-3, 215-pound Conine has a large frame and a strong build with a muscular, physical lower half built to handle innings. Conine’s delivery works easily and the ball comes out of his hand well with extension out front from a high three-quarters arm slot. He demonstrated the ability to aggressively pitch off of his fastball in the strike zone, which garnered lots of swings and misses. His heater sat 88-90, touching 91 in his first few frames before dropping to the mid-80s later.
His fastball had plane and showed riding life when working to his glove side as well as sink and heaviness when working in the bottom of the zone, portending groundball tendencies. Conine’s low-70s curveball showed shape and depth, though he wrapped on the pitch, which was inconsistent. His low-80s changeup flashed average with significant tumble and bottom.