High school hitters have garnered most of the attention in California this draft season, and the best high school pitchers in the state reside north of the L.A. area, where most of the top hitters are concentrated. Righty Kyle Blair, a University of San Diego signee, has established himself as the top pitcher in the state because of his combination of an above-average curveball, a fastball that sits in the average range and hits a tick or so above, and solid athleticism.
The consensus pick for second place appears to be lefthander Danny Duffy of Cabrillo High in Lompoc. Lompoc is a little more than two hours north of Los Angeles, yet more than 20 scouts found their way there Tuesday to see Duffy againstLompoc (Calif.) High , and Duffy didn’t disappoint the crowd, which included at least one scouting director and several crosscheckers. Duffy put on a show, striking out 17 using a combination of two- and four-seam fastballs, sliders and curveballs. His fastball touched 95 according to our sources, sitting at 91-93 with his four-seamer. His two-seamer had good life in the upper 80s, with tailing action away from righthanded hitters.
Duffy’s mechanics aren’t clean, but his arm works well, which encourages scouts that his mechanical flaws can be remedied in the future. That would improve his greatest weakness, his command. His changeup is nothing but a show-me pitch at this point, but he’s a high school lefty throwing in the low-90s, so throwing a changeup would be doing hitters a favor.
He’s not a finished product, but he’s a power lefty with upside. At 6-foot-3 and close to 200 pounds, Duffy has to get in better shape or his rather mature frame will get away from him, but if he tones up his body, he’ll be able to get even better with his power repertoire. His stuff may be too good for him to keep his commitment, as Duffy could get popped in the first three rounds.