Area Code Games Notebook: Day 6

See Also: Area Code Games Day 1

See Also: Area Code Games Day 2

See Also: Area Code Games Day 3

See Also: Area Code Games Day 4

See Also: Area Code Games Day 5

LONG BEACH, Calif.—The longstanding hoops culture in Indiana has made the Hoosier State a basketball-dominated state throughout its history. But this year Indiana offers a plethora of big, athletic pitchers who could (and do) stand out on the basketball court with Ashe Russell (6-foot-4), Bryan Hoeing (6-foot-6 and one of the best basketball players in the state), and Noah Burkholder (6-foot-6).

After making his national showcase debut at the Area Code Games, righthander Fitz Stadler (Glenbrook South High, Glenview, Ill.) is the tallest of the group at 6-foot-8, 215 pounds, and adds to a crop of prep pitchers in Indiana that is the best in recent memory.

Scouts who had seen Stadler previously said his three-inning stint in Long Beach was the best he has been this summer. He struck out three of the 11 hitters he faced and garnered six swinging strikes against zero walks against the Northern California lineup (Athletics).

Stadler’s velocity sat at 88-89, touching 90 from the windup in his first two innings, and he was 86-87 from the stretch in those two frames before dropping into that same range in the third inning. Stalder generated considerable downhill plane from a high three-quarters arm slot that generated sink at the bottom of the strike zone, portending groundball tendencies.

Although Stadler has an extra-large frame with long extremities and is on the younger side for the class (he will be 18 and two months at the draft), he showed impressive coordination and considerable feel for repeating his delivery that worked fairly easily, hid the ball well and drove the ball into the lower half of the strike zone. Stadler had one of the best fastball extensions of any player in Long Beach, allowing his fastball to play up beyond its pure velocity.

Stadler puts it in simpler terms.

“I guess people like to say I am pretty tall, so I have downward plane,” Stadler said.

He pitched off his fastball that he threw more than 85 percent of the time and all six of his swinging strikes came off his fastball.

Stalder showed a breaking ball with 11-5 tilt at 76-78 mph in the first two innings before flashing a 73 mph curveball with more vertical tilt.

“It wasn't working that well for me today,” Stadler said. “I try to make it look 12-6 but it usually ends up sliding on me a little bit.”

His changeup was seldom used in game action.

“I just started throwing a changeup last winter,” Stadler said. “I have been working on that a lot in the bullpen so I can prepare for using it in the game.”

Stadler showed his athleticism and quick feet when bouncing off the mound after a groundball and when he picked a runner off at first base.

Although Stadler no longer plays basketball, he is a quarterback who has drawn interest from Division I colleges. Stadler committed to Arizona State for baseball within the last two weeks. Both of his brothers played at Indiana under the coaching staff that moved to Arizona State earlier this summer. Sullivan Stadler is a 6-foot-4 lefthander who completed his sophomore campaign in Bloomington. His brothers played together at Indiana the last two seasons when Walker, a 6-foot-4 righthander, was a junior in 2013 and received a redshirt in 2014. His only sister also attends Indiana.

Stadler will likely be only the second player drafted from his high school and the first since 1994.

• Righthander Mason Thompson of Round Rock (Texas) High is one of four underclassmen on the Texas Rangers roster and showed promise for next year.

The 6-foot-6, 180-pound Thompson has a frame that evaluators look for with a tall, loose and lanky build that is very projectable.

Thompson, who pitched earlier in the week and was into the low-90s, threw three innings and struck out three against the Royals. He walked the first two hitters he faced before settling in to throw more strikes and seeing his velocity increase.

Although his fastball occasionally popped a 85 or 86, his velocity largely sat 87-88, touching 89 from a high three-quarters arm slot. Thompson hid the ball well and his fastball showed riding life through the zone, as the ball comes out of his hand well and his arm works well.

Thompson showed a three-pitch mix, offering feel for a changeup with fade that he threw to both right and lefthanded hitters. The Texas committed demonstrated feel for spinning a low-70s curveball with depth and finish that is a projectable offering that engendered swings and misses, showing at least average potential.

He hails from a powerhouse program at Round Rock High that has produced five big leaguers since the 1997 draft, including the Danks brothers.

• Outfielder Garrett Whitley, who was profiled yesterday, had a tremendous game to finish the event. Whitley continued to drive the ball hard as he did the day before, but this time the results followed a day after the best 0-4 of any player this summer when he hit the ball hard three times and posted an above-average run time in his other trip to the plate. In his second plate appearance on Saturday, Whitley stayed back on a curveball and drove it into the right-center field gap for a double. He scalded a double to left field his next time up that registered an exit velocity of 108.9 mph, the second best of the event. The Wake Forest commit hit a triple to dead center field that one-hopped the center field fence in his fourth trip to the plate. Whitley finished the event on a high note, creating loud contact in six of his final eight plate appearances in the final two days. Summer time performance holds extra import for position players from the North like Whitley, who will not see the same caliber of pitching next spring playing at Niskayuna (N.Y.) High.