SEE ALSO: High School Top 100 Prospects
Delsea (N.J.) High righthander Brad Dobzanski—No. 43 on our Preseason High School Top 100 Draft Prospects—made his season debut on Wednesday.
Dobzanski, a Kentucky commit, was on a 60-pitch limit, but ended up throwing 63 pitches (45 strikes) in four innings. He has been throwing indoor bullpens, but Wednesday’s start marked just the second time this year that he had thrown outside.
Dobzanski struck out seven batters—five swinging and two looking—and walked none. The opposing team put 10 balls in play against Dobzanski, six ground balls and four fly balls. Delsea’s defense struggled, converting just four ground balls into outs and allowing runners to reach on a bunt and a soft ground ball up the right side of the infield. None of the fly balls were converted into outs. One of them carried over the fence in center field, traveling approximately 300 feet.
Dobzanski said that “poor location early in the game and leaving some breaking balls over the middle” were to blame for his struggles. “If you leave a breaking ball over the middle, it doesn’t matter who they are, they’re going to hit it.”
The righthander showed a loose arm and sound athleticism on the mound. He repeated his delivery well and threw most of his breaking balls with the same his release that he threw his fastball. At times, he threw his breaking ball from a slightly higher arm slot.
In the first inning, Dobzanski’s fastball ranged from 87-91 mph and his breaking ball sat at 81-84, showing short and late vertical break. He was around the zone but lacked pinpoint command. Dobzanksi purposefully threw his fastball above the zone to get the last batter of the first to chase.
After a righthanded batter hit an 84-mph breaking ball to shallow left for a soft fly ball that became a double on a misplay by the outfielder, Dobzanski began to manipulate the pitch as his outing progressed. He said that he sometimes tucked the ball deeper into his palm in an effort to change speeds with his breaking ball and disrupt hitters’ timing. Dobzanski had feel for his breaking ball throughout the outing, showing the ability to lengthen it and spot it inside to righties, or his it as a chase pitch low and away. It projects as an above-average to plus pitch given its tight rotation, fastball look out of the hand, late vertical shape and Dobzanski’s feel for throwing the pitch for strikes.
Dobzanski’s fastball worked mostly at 87-91 throughout the outing, touching 92. He threw some flat fastballs up in the strike zone, but was able to work the bottom part of the zone and to both sides of the plate as he settled in.
After pitching at the WWBA Championships last fall, Dobzanski took two months off from throwing. A gifted high school wrestler, Dobzanski hung up his singlet this season so that he could devote more time and energy to training for this baseball season. He worked on his body in the gym and resumed throwing in January. He said that he is hoping to be a little more consistent as the season progresses, but felt good physically after Wednesday’s start.