Arizona Senior Fall Classic: Day 2 Notes

PHOENIX—Day 2 of the Arizona Senior Fall Classic was loaded with talent as some of the scout teams made their event debut. Some of the happenings from arguably the biggest showcase in the West after Area Code Games:

• LVBA Cardinals Scout Team righthander Gabriel Gonzalez created excitement among scouts with a strong outing. Gonzalez sat in the low 90s and touched 94 mph, sustaining that velocity over three innings. He attended the Area Code Games and sat 85-88 and touched 89 in Long Beach, Calif. Gonzalez said that Friday was the hardest he has ever thrown.

Gonzalez stayed on line to the plate better Friday then at Area Code Games. He has length to his arm action, which caused him to miss high and arm side at the Area Code Games, but he showed the arm strength power through that length Friday. This can gave his fastball above-average life at times when it is down in the zone with lots of armside run and sink.

“I have a two-seamer and four-seamer but I usually stick to my four-seam; it really runs a lot of because of my arm slot,” Gonzalez said. “I love my arm slot because of how much movement I get.”

Gonzalez showed feel for a hard mid-80s changeup and mid-to-high-70s breaking ball on which he could vary the shape. The pitch also showed 11-5 tilt at times and more vertical tilt others.

“Usually I go to my curveball, I can use it as a strikeout pitch in the zone or a chase pitch out of it,” Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez (Arbor View HS, Las Vegas) worked in the upper half of the zone at times and has a slight head snap.

“The biggest thing I am working on is just throwing strikes, and I want to get my control to be the best it can,” Gonzalez said.

The 6-foot-3, 206-pound UNLV commit has a strong, durable body with a large frame, sloped shoulders and strong lower half.

• Alex Jackson (Rancho Bernardo HS, Escondido, Calif.), one of the top position players in the country, was an offensive force Friday. Jackson went 2 for 4 but hit everything hard with good exit velocity up the middle.

Jackson hit a shot deep to dead center field close to the base of the wall 410 feet from home plate that the defender made an error on in his first plate appearance. In his third trip to the plate, Jackson roped a triple that one-hopped the center field fence. He sent a screaming liner back up the box that nearly killed the pitcher in his next plate appearance. Jackson walked and struck out looking in his other two plate appearances.

“I have been working on compacting my swing because this summer. I didn't have time to sit there and load against big velocity, I have been working on firing quickly,” Jackson said. “It’s definitely something I have worked on and it has been feeling great.”

Jackson, who has seen most of his time behind the plate and some time in the right field, played third base for the Yankees Scout Team Friday.

“I grew up playing short and have probably played about five games at third since freshman year but I take ground balls every once in a while to keep my hands going,” Jackson said.

Maverick Buffo

Maverick Buffo (Photo by Andrew Drennen/Area Code Baseball)

• WYCO Braves righthander Maverick Buffo (Spanish Fork HS, Salem, Utah) retired all six hitters he faced while striking out two. Buffo sat 88-91 mph with his fastball, which is a grade higher than his previous showcase appearances at the Area Code Games and Perfect Game National. Buffo hides the ball with a high glove extension and the ball jumps out of his hand. He gets downhill plane from a high three-quarters arm slot.

He showed a big-breaking 71-75 mph breaking ball with two-plane break and mostly slurvy shape that could be an average pitch.

The 6-foot-1, 190-pound Brigham Young commit has an athletic, evenly-proportioned build with natural strength.