Kodi Medeiros Draws A Crowd At Jupiter

JUPITER, Fla.—Heading into Jupiter, few, if any, outings were as highly awaited as that by lefthander Kodi Medeiros. Part of the excitement stemmed from Medeiros’ strong summer when he emerged with a potential plus-three-pitch mix, ranking fifth on Baseball America’s Top 10 Area Code Games prospect list.

But another piece of the anticipation built because Medeiros hails from Hilo, Hawaii. Thus his outing with the Ohio Warhawks on Friday served as one of the final opportunities for scouts to gauge his stuff on the mainland.

In front of the largest fleet of scouts so far (and perhaps all weekend), Medeiros didn’t disappoint, tossing three scoreless innings against one of the deepest lineups in Jupiter, Chandler Baseball. The 6-foot, 185-pounder sat between 90-92 mph in his first two innings, reaching 93 with plus-arm side run and sink, before settling in at 88-89 during his last frame.

Medeiros worked with all fastballs in his first inning, shattering a lefthanded bat in the process for a line drive double play. In the second, he added an 80-82 mph changeup with arm-side fade with two strikes to whiff the first two hitters of the inning . After a double to the wall by third baseman Blake Wiggins (Pulaski Academy, Little Rock, Ark.)—the lone home run hitter at the 2013 Area Code Games—Medeiros surrendered a walk, only to escape the first-and-third jam with a routine groundout.

The southpaw’s slider came into full effect in the third, ranging from 77-79 mph, showing plus bite at times with two-plane depth. His command of the pitch came and went, but it served as a swing-and-miss, back-foot offering when best.

As has been noted in the past, Medeiros is an interesting arm not just for his premium offerings and Hawaiian address, but because he is undersized with a deep arm action and low three-quarter slot, atypical for a starter. Yet his stuff jumps out of his hand with little to no effort, giving him a chance to do just that. Scouts have a hard time coming up with a major league starter to compare him to.

• The Warhawks-Chandler matchup wasn’t just notable for Medeiros’ performance. Taking the ball his opposite was 6-foot-3, 215-pound Reagan Todd, another lefthander (Regis Jesuit HS, Centennial, Colo.). Todd used an easy, athletic delivery and clean, on-line arm action to register 85-87 mph fastballs with late arm side life. He also showed advanced feel for a 78 mph changeup, his go-to secondary, and added a show-me 73-74 curveball that helped disrupt hitters’ timing. Todd is committed to Arizona State.

• In relief of Medeiros and Todd were Jonathan Teaney (Quartz Hill HS, Palmdale, Calif.) and Shane Benes (Westminster Christian Academy, Town and Country, Mo.), respectively. Teaney, a 6-foot-2, 175-pound righthander, worked from 90-91 in his two-inning stint with a herky- jerky, deceptive arm action that allowed his heater to play up. He featured an up-tempo delivery and quick arm with depth and stabbing action by his waist before unleashing from a high three-quarter slot.

Teaney also threw a potentially plus slider, his lone secondary, from 81-82. Though he was missing high-and-in to righthanders consistently in his first inning, he made a mechanical adjustment and was in the zone better the second trip. He is committed to San Diego.

Benes also intrigued with his 87-89 fastball, clean mechanics, and projectable 6-foot-3, 200-pound frame. The son of Andy Benes, the No. 1 pick in the 1988 draft and 14-year big league veteran, Shane Benes threw just one inning and will likely pitch again this weekend. On Friday he struck out two, both swinging, one on a changeup with splitter-tumble, and another climbing the ladder with his fastball. He is committed to Missouri.

• Prior to the Medeiros attraction, scouts flocked to see righthander Brandon Murray (Hobart, Ind. HS) with the Evoshield Canes. The long-legged, projectable 6-foot-4, 200-pounder started strong, getting ahead of all four hitters he faced in the first inning. But, aside from his steady 89-92 mph velocity, he looked like a different pitcher in a choppy second inning.  Although he didn’t surrender a run, the South Carolina commit lost control of the strike zone, and was up in the zone when he did find it. Eventually he relied more on a below-average 73-75 slurve. Murray has a loose arm, though there is some effort to his delivery.

• Righthander Clarke Schmidt (Allatoona HS, Acworth, Ga.) threw for Team Elite, sitting between 88-91 mph with run. He threw 3.2 innings, showing a 10-5 shaped curveball at 78, changeup with arm side fade at 79, and slider at 84. The 6-foot-1, 180-pounder has an athletic delivery and some depth to his arm action. He is committed to South Carolina, where he’ll rival older brother, Clate, a current sophomore at Clemson and potential early-round pick for 2015.

• In the early slate, lefthander Sam Hentges (Mounds View HS, Shoreview, Minn.) threw for the Reds Midwest Scout Team. Though his fastball only sat at 82-84, his 6-foot-6, 240-pound frame and simple mechanics still attract attention. He threw a 10-5 curveball from 68-71, a slider with cutter-like action from 75-76, and changeup from 73-74.

• Among hitters, the Houston Banditos featured five fearsome hitters at the front of their lineup in one of the day’s four nightcaps, their second game of a doubleheader. The Banditos muscled out nine runs, due in large part to undersized, righthanded-hitting catalysts Connor Wong (Pearland HS, Texas; Houston commit), Justin Twine (Hemphill HS, Texas; TCU), and Jake Jarvis (Klein Collins HS, Spring, Texas; Texas A&M). The trio of infielders all showed quick, wristy swings and average-to-plus bat speed, resulting in loud, hard contact to the left side.

• Righthanded-hitting outfielder Stone Garrett (George Ranch HS, Sugar Land, Texas) hit fourth and stood out more physically with a lean, athletic 6-foot-2, 195 pound frame. The Rice commit showed some thump with his bat as well, though there was general stiffness to his swing path and his bat head was in and out of the zone quickly. In the five-hole was lefthanded hitting Patrick Mathis, who featured a wristy swing while smacking a triple off a same-sided pitcher. He is committed to Texas.