The early indications from the 2015 class are that there are interesting big-bodied prep righthanders from Northern states with Mike Nikorak (Pa.) up to 96 and Ashe Russell (Indiana) up to 95.
Another Northerner, Ohio’s Chandler Day, showed well in the second day of game action at the Tournament Of Stars in Cary, N.C.
While some of the Tournament of Stars pitchers who attended Perfect Game National last week have not had the same velocity, Day was better at maintaining his velocity in Cary, primarily sitting 90-91 while touching 93 on a day when some pitchers struggled to get through three effective innings in the mid-90s heat.
Working from the far third base side of the rubber with a long, loose arm action, Day throws his fastballs from a high three-quarters arm slot, generating downhill plane and sink at the bottom of the zone. In his three innings of work, Day’s batted-ball profile leaned towards groundballs, generating five groundballs against zero flyballs and two line drives.
At Perfect Game National last week, Day generated above-average fastball spin rates.
Day was throwing easier on Thursday with less head movement.
“I talked to my coach and he said that I was using my head too much,” Day said. “It was better here, although I still have to work out some little kinks.”
Day showed natural feel for pitching while mixing three pitches. His most used secondary offering was a high-70s breaking ball that showed average potential, flashing better at its best. The righthander demonstrated feel for a low-80s changeup with tumble and intriguing potential.
“I threw the curveball a little bit too much, but the changeup felt good when I threw it,” Day said. “My changeup usually went for a strike when I threw it.”
Day throws both secondary offerings from a lower arm slot closer to three-quarters. The Watkins Memorial High (Pataskala, Ohio) product said one of his goals for the summer is further integrating his changeup into game action.
“I have better feel for the changeup but most of the guys I play against in Ohio don’t see pitchers that are in the low-90s with their fastballs, so I usually stick with the slurve against that competition,” Day said.
He was a workhorse for his team this spring, throwing nearly one-third (31.8 percent) of all innings while tossing six complete games. The Vanderbilt commit has feel for throwing strikes and can work down in the zone, though he gave up two hits when working up in the zone, particularly a hard line drive back up the box by Nick Madrigal of Elk Grove (Calif.) High.
“I was up in the zone a little bit and some kids took advantage of that,” Day said. “That ball up the middle I thought was going to hit me in the face. I am glad I got out of the way of that one.”
Day gave up one unearned run in his three innings of work, issuing one walk while striking out three of the 12 hitters he faced.
Although he is narrow through his hips, the 6-foot-4 Day is extremely projectable with a long, lean build and elongated extremities.
“I played basketball up until last year when I quit to focus on baseball and try to gain some pounds,” Day said. “I gained eight pounds even though it doesn’t look like it. My college coaches said that they would like me around 210 when I graduate. I would like to be 190 by the winter time and 195 next spring. But I will really have to pack on the pounds because I am 167 pounds right now. I am pushing to gain strength in my lower half.”
Day will next attend the East Coast Pro Showcase, which he did last year as an underclassman, and will likely play travel ball with the Midwest Redskins.
“I might shut it down in the fall, which I did last year and that seemed to help me out a lot, especially for gaining strength,” Day said.
His high school (Watkins Memorial) has never had a player sign out of high school and has only had one player drafted, Stephen Bricker in the 26th round in 1978. He is young for the class and won’t turn 18 until less than two weeks before the draft.