Lakeland, Fla. – With the other two potential Florida first-round high school pitchers not throwing at the Florida Diamond Club, righthander Sean Reid-Foley’s outing was priority viewing on day two of the event.
In the first inning, the northern squad’s defense faltered behind Reid-Foley (Sandalwood High, Jacksonville) with two infield errors. Reid-Foley issued a walk and his slider was inconsistent.
“I try to get more on top of it and try to bury it more, and I can usually place it where I want it, but earlier in the game it didn't work out like that,” Reid-Foley said. “I was pushing my slider, so I knew I had to get on top of it and wanted to start throwing it low and in the dirt.”
Reid-Foley threw his 83-85 mph slider with above-average potential and late-breaking movement as hard as he had at any showcase this summer, after sitting in the high 70s or low 80s at other events.
The righthander then struck out four of the next seven hitters he faced to finish with six strikeouts against one walk and one hit in three innings. His fastball sat 91-95 mph and was consistently 93-95 in the first inning. He has above-average fastball movement, primarily to tail to his glove side and some sink when down in the zone.
“I think my movement comes from the way I hold the ball,” Reid-Foley said. “I don't hold it with my fingers apart. I hold the ball with my fingers together, so that way I can get more movement.”
Reid-Foley’s fastball plays up even more because the ball jumps out of his hand with ease from a delivery that offers deception and tough angles to hitters because the Florida State commit throws across his body. He also gets extension out front from a long stride, which he said is a byproduct of working on his stride length with his coach this summer. Reid-Foley, 18, repeats his delivery well and threw strikes on more than 70 percent of his pitches in Lakeland.
Reid-Foley’s mid-80s changeup, which could be an average pitch, was his third offering. He did not use his curveball, which flashed average this summer, against the western squad.
“I kept leaving my curveball up in a lot of situations and everybody was getting hits off it, so I just threw that one out,” Reid-Foley said.
The 6-foot-1, 218-pound righthander has a strong, durable build with a large frame, broad shoulders and physical lower half. He will play for the FTB Chandler/Cardinals at the World Wood Bat Championship in Jupiter, Fla. next week.
— Nick Gordon, one of the top shortstops in the class, pitched for the first time at a showcase since East Coast Pro in the first week of August, and he hadn't thrown much off the mound in the last month. Yet Gordon was 91-93 mph during his lone inning of the event with an out pitch of a 77-81 mph curveball.
Although he gave up back-to-back doubles to Kirvin Moesquit and Pavin Smith, Gordon struck out two.
The loose, athletic Gordon has a quick arm and good balance in his delivery from a three-quarters arm slot. He has a lean, wiry build with long arms at 6-foot-2, 175 pounds.
–Outfielder Matthew Railey was the offensive star of the day. One of the few participants who attended the event last year as a junior, the lefthanded-hitting Railey hit a triple to left-center field in his first plate appearance and a home run to right-center field in his fourth. He walked and grounded out in his other trips to the plate.
Railey has quick hands, bat speed and an easy line-drive stroke. He showed pull-side power and could develop average power. He posts run times in the 4.2 second range from the left side and ran the 60-yard dash in 6.68 seconds, just as he did at Tournament of Stars. Railey, who has an unusual throwing motion where he essentially sits down during his throws with his front leg nearly parallel to the ground and upper body tilted heavily to his glove side, has a fringe-average arm from the outfield. Railey missed his entire sophomore year with a torn labrum on his non-throwing shoulder.
He attends North Florida Christian, Tallahassee, Fla., where he is teammates with two other Florida Diamond Club participants, senior lefthander Carson Sands and junior righthander Cole Sands. Railey, who will be 19 on draft day as one of the older members of the class, is committed to home-town Florida State, where his father attended.
— Infielder Tate Blackman, a righthanded hitter, went 1 for 4 but hit a home run to left-center field. The 6-foot, 190-pound Blackman has a quick stroke and creates consistent hard contact. Blackman can play multiple infield spots and has an average arm. He attends Lake Brantley High, in Altamonte Springs, Fla., along with fellow Diamond Club participant Carl Chester, a speedy outfielder. Blackman, who is already 19, is one of the older members of the class and will play for the Orlando Scorpions in Jupiter.
— Junior shortstop Brendan Rodgers impressed with his bat. With surprising strength to his 6-foot, 180-pound build, Rodgers has an easy stroke with the ability to drive the ball over the fence in batting practice. Rodgers has a simple setup at the plate and the ball carries of his bat, as it did when Rodgers hit an opposite-field ground-rule double. He has intriguing defensive potential as a fluid athlete with graceful actions, soft hands and an average arm with the ability to throw from different angles. Rodgers posted an average run time in the 60-yard dash. The Florida State commit attends Lake Mary High (Fla.) High and will also play for the Orlando Scorpions.
–Righthander Evan Mendoza had a quick and efficient outing, retiring all six of the hitters he faced, four via strikeouts. Mendoza showed an upper-80s fastball from a three-quarters arm slot that touched 90 mph with downhill plane. He stood out because of his ability to throw strikes and command of his offspeed stuff, routinely working on the outer thirds of the plate. His 74-77 mph breaking was sharp in the first inning, flashing average, but lacked consistency in his second inning. The North Carolina State commit showed the ability to spot his high-70s changeup versus lefthanded hitters, tripling up against one opposite-handed hitter. The 6-foot-2, 190-pound Mendoza attends Sarasota (Fla.) High. Mendoza, who will be 17 on draft day, spent time at shortstop and will also play for FTB Chandler/Cardinals.