2021 MLB Draft Stock Watch: Bearing Down On First Round College Pitchers
Welcome to Baseball America’s 2021 Draft Stock Watch. A recurring feature throughout draft season, we’ll use this space to explore rising and falling prospects in the 2021 draft class and also dive into different themes and topics at greater length. In today’s edition, we look at notable college performances around the country from opening weekend, including details on every college arm currently ranked in the first-round range. You can see previous Stock Watch installments below:
- First Round Arms (Vanderbilt's Jack Leiter is lights-out)
- Stock Watch (A swing & a miss for Jud Fabian on opening weekend)
- Underclass Activity (Can anyone score on Alabama lefty Connor Prielipp?)
Welcome to the BA Draft Stock Watch.
After kicking this series off with coverage of a few big high school events last week, this week is solely dedicated to the college game. It was opening weekend after all, so it only makes sense to feature the notable prospects who performed all around the country.
This week began with what might feel like a sprint for big league clubs to figure out the 2021 collegiate class. As we have written previously, this year's college class is one of the most uncertain groups ever for major league scouting departments, thanks to the shortened 2020 season and the lack of high-priority summer evaluation events like the Cape Cod League and the Collegiate National Team.
Every inning, at-bat and game matters more than ever before, as each additional datapoint and video clip will represent a greater share of a prospect's overall body of work.
Another wrinkle to the process is the fact that so many players who would have typically signed in the 6-40 round range a year ago are back on campus. That means more pro-caliber players need to be seen by area scouts, crosscheckers and directors who are all still dealing with in-person scouting restrictions—both by MLB and individual college conferences and programs.
"College evaluations could be way off as of now," said one scouting director prior to the season. "We lost so much time on this class due to Covid that it is hard to say right now how this class will shake out. Right now it feels like the high school class is better than college, especially position plays, but I am sure that will shake out differently by July."
There should be significant movement on the board throughout the season as players finally get a chance to show their ability. We'll be following the movement and tracking the players all season.
Let's dive into it:
First Round Arms
Kumar Rocker, RHP, Vanderbilt (No. 1)
4 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 8 K (67 pitches)
Rocker’s debut start of the 2021 season got delayed repeatedly last weekend due to inclement weather. Eventually, Rocker and the Vandy Boys got their series going against Wright State on Monday afternoon, with the No. 1 prospect in the 2021 class showing all the stuff that has had scouts intrigued since his prep days.
Rocker showcased a mid-90s fastball and a biting slider that generated whiffs throughout his four-inning outing and the two-pitch combination is loud enough to get whiffs inside and outside of the strike zone. He got six whiffs on his fastball and five on his slider in this outing, and also added whiffs with a newly developed cutter and a changeup that dove out of his hand with solid tumbling action.
Precision was not in Rocker’s arsenal in this outing, as he was scattered with his control throughout the start and at times lost his release point. His most frequent misses were up in the zone—particularly later in the outing and in the fifth inning when he walked back-to-back hitters—with both his fastball and his breaking ball.
Rocker works with an up-tempo, over-the-head windup and it seemed like at times in this outing his lower and upper half got out of sync. After walking his first batter of the game, Rocker re-found his release point and the zone while working out of a more simple delivery from the stretch.
While the command was far from pinpoint, Rocker showed top-of-the-class pure stuff and was around the zone enough to rack up plenty of whiffs, while allowing just one hit (to second baseman Tyler Black, who hammered a double to right field). Nitpicking the command and his ability to repeat his delivery will be something scouts bear down on throughout the season.
Jack Leiter, RHP, Vanderbilt (No. 5)
Line: 5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 8 K (69 pitches)
Leiter had a sublime outing in the second game of a doubleheader against Wright State. His domination of the Raiders was one of the more impressive outings of college baseball’s opening weekend.
He generated plenty of interest on social media after Vanderbilt’s broadcast had him touching 100 mph multiple times—but it turns out the scoreboard gun was hot and multiple scouts confirmed that Leiter was only up to 98 mph in the first. Leiter pitched mostly in the 91-96 mph range during the game, hitting the upper 90s regularly in the first inning but settling into a low-to-mid-90s heater for most of the way.
The velocity wasn’t the most important aspect of his fastball; rather the consistency in which he located the pitch up, down, left and right. In his last two innings of work, he lost his heater up and to his arm side on a few pitches, but for the most part he spotted the pitch with impressive accuracy, which helped him set up a deep arsenal of secondaries. At times he showed running life on the heater, but for the most part it came out of his hand with riding action out of his three-quarter arm slot and drop-and-drive delivery. The pitch generated 10 whiffs—most coming at the top of the zone.
His curveball was the go-to secondary in this game, a 12-to-6 downer in the upper 70s that has tremendous depth and movement. The pitch was more of a “lock you up” than a swing-and-miss offering in this outing, though he was more than comfortable pitching backwards and landing it in the zone for called strikes.
In the fifth inning, Leiter broke out two additional secondaries: a slider in the low 80s with 10-to-4 shape that generated one whiff on his first use and a changeup that came across the plate in a similar velocity to his curveball. The gap between his fastball and changeup velocity is significant, but Leiter did appear to slow his arm speed down a noticeable amount in the limited times he used it.
Leiter didn’t allow a baserunner until the fourth inning, when he hit a batter with a spiked curveball. He allowed hard contact once on a sharp ground out in the fourth inning and his sole hit allowed was a single in the fifth. Seeing Leiter and Rocker back to back will be challenging for opposing teams to figure out this season—and perhaps equally challenging for MLB evaluators to line up on draft boards.
Jaden Hill, RHP, Louisiana State (No. 6)
Line: 4 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K (62 pitches)
Hill’s first collegiate start was a good one, as the righthander took the ball for four shutout innings with five strikeouts and no free passes against Air Force.
With a large and muscular, filled-out frame and a clean arm action and fluid stroke, Hill certainly looks the part of a pro starter—and he pitched like it on Saturday. Hill opened up with a fastball that touched 97-98 mph in the first inning, before settling into the 94-95 mph range throughout the next three innings. He was able to reach back for 96 mph in the later innings when he needed it, and the pitch featured solid carry through the zone.
He spotted his fastball and an 81-84 mph changeup more effectively than his slider for the most part, but the breaking ball showed flashes of a wipeout pitch at the next level. His change features good fading life and Hill threw it with fastball arm-speed, while his slider was thrown in a similar velocity band (81-84 mph) with solid two-plane break and the bite and power you want to see when he hit on a good one. Other times the pitch would back up on him to his arm side, or he would leave the pitch up in the zone where it would flatten out.
After looking extremely sharp in the early innings, Hill’s command wavered a bit in the third and fourth, when he found himself behind in the count more regularly, but he was able to lock in with runners on base and make pitches—including inducing a double-play on a 96 mph fastball and freezing a batter for a looking strikeout with the slider—to avoid damage.
Look for Hill to slowly ramp his pitch count up and work deeper into games throughout the season.
Ty Madden, RHP, Texas (No. 12)
4 IP, 4 H, 4 R (3 ER), 3 BB, 5 K (79 pitches)
Madden showed flashes of dominance and innings where he fought his control against Mississippi State on Saturday. After striking out the side in the first inning with an explosive fastball/slider combination, it looked like he was going to cruise through the Bulldog lineup.
However, in the second inning he started to lose his release point and the control of his fastball backed up. He made an adjustment in the third and managed first-pitch strikes to each batter to work another 1-2-3 inning, but again starting missing his spots in the fourth after giving up a home run to designated hitter Luke Hancock.
Madden’s fastball was up to 96-97 mph in the first inning, with plenty of run and riding action up in the zone. The pitch generated several ugly swings up above the zone and paired well with a hard and tight, 83-86 mph slider that showed good biting action below the zone as a chase pitch.
However, Madden frequently got into trouble when he would start his fastball to his glove-side on the inner half of the plate against lefthanders, only to watch the pitch run back across the middle of the plate where hitters were able to put the barrel on the ball. This was the exact scenario on his allowed homer and he either needs to be more precise in his pitch location or use his changeup/cutter more frequently to keep hitters from sitting on the fastball—or perhaps ideally, both of those things.
In this outing, Madden was mostly working fastball/slider, but both his cutter (in the 89-90 mph range) and changeup (slight fading life that could mirror the movement of his fastball nicely) looked solid when he showed them.
Richard Fitts, RHP, Auburn (No. 15)
Line: 5 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K (66 pitches)
Fitts was one of the biggest risers last fall and showed an overpowering fastball against Presbyterian through five innings on Saturday.
Fitts was up to 97 with his heater and the pitch plays up thanks to a large frame and long levers that allow him to attack out of a difficult downhill plane. That angle, combined with a pitch that showed impressive carry and ride through the zone led to plenty of ugly swings and whiffs up in the zone.
Fitts faced the minimum through four innings but started to miss his spots more in the fifth, when he issued his second walk of the game and allowed a solo home run to Eric Toth.
Gunnar Hoglund, RHP, Mississippi (No. 23)
Line: 5.1 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 11 K (95 pitches)
Hoglund is arguably the best strike thrower in the class and for the first time in his collegiate career, he walked three batters in one game on Sunday against Texas Tech. Should we be concerned? Not really.
Hoglund showed the same advanced command that evaluators have become used to this weekend, but allowed a few walks mostly by nibbling around the zone and just missing the edges. He was hitting his spots with most of his pitches and doing a good job spotting his fastball at the bottom of the zone.
However, that nibbling did lead to an elevated pitch count earlier in the game, and he wound up with 95 pitches total—around 18 per inning. This is just the third time Hoglund has struck out double-digit batters in a game and scouts are looking to see more whiffs from him this season.
Hoglund’s stuff was solid in this outing. He pitched in the 93-95 mph range and touched 96 early before settling into the 92-94 range in the middle innings, with some running action at times on the fastball.
He threw a firm slider in the 84-87 mph range that flashed power and solid horizontal movement at times, but looked more solid-average than plus in this outing. Like his fastball, Hoglund did a nice job keeping the pitch down. He also threw a changeup in the low-80s.
Everything about Hoglund looks like a starter at the next level. He has a great frame at 6-foot-4, 220 pounds, with more room for additional weight in the future, and throws with a clean and easy delivery. His arm action is loose in the back without any glaring mechanical issues to note, and he’s consistently in-sync and repeating his arm slot. Hoglund pitches from the third base side of the rubber—and spins slightly to the first base side in his finish—and potentially adds some deception thanks to the angle that creates.
Jordan Wicks, LHP, Kansas State (No. 27)
Line: 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 10 K (102 pitches)
Wicks matched up against Oregon State and righthander Kevin Abel on Friday and tossed a gem, striking out 10 batters (tying his career high) and walking just two over seven shutout innings.
Wicks showed a solid three-pitch mix including a fastball that averaged around 93 mph in the early frames, his standout changeup and a reliable breaking ball.
The velocity will be something to track with Wicks moving forward this spring, as he’s typically been in the 89-91 mph range in the past. Scouts would like to see him tick that up and if he can hold a fastball around 93 throughout his outings throughout the season, while maintaining his best-in-class changeup and strike throwing, it’ll be hard to see him not going in the first.
2022 MLB Draft Day One Storylines
Carlos Collazo breaks down three of the most notable storylines of the first day of the 2022 MLB Draft.
Adrian Del Castillo, C, Miami (No. 2)
3-for-13, 1 2B, 1 BB, 2 K
It was a bit of a slow start for Del Castillo offensively. The top-ranked college hitter in the country went 1-for-10 during the first two games of a three-game series against Florida, with two strikeouts and a walk. The Gators attacked the lefthanded catcher with plenty of front door curveballs early on, and he swung through two such offerings in game one—one for a strikeout. He had a bit of a bounce back in the Sunday game, going 2-for-3, including his first extra-base hit of the season—a double to right-center against Gators lefthander Hunter Barco.
Jud Fabian, OF, Florida (No. 11)
1-for-13, 3 BB, 7 K
Fabian got off to a slow start to the 2021 season, tallying just one hit over the three-game series against Miami. One of the questions MLB scouts had for Fabian this year was in regards to the amount of swing-and-miss in his game—particularly against breaking pitches. While he has plenty of time to adjust, Fabian frequently swung and missed against secondary pitches this weekend. His first four at-bats featured four whiffs—three against breaking pitches and one on a changeup he swung over the top of. Fabian showed a patient, almost passive, approach at times, but that also yielded a walk in every game of the series.
Ryan Cusick, RHP, Wake Forest (No. 33)
6 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 9 K
Cusick had a solid opening game against Northeastern, striking out nine batters and walking just two over six innings of work. The big, physical righthander pitched in the 94-98 mph range and pumped 97 mph bullets without much effort at all fairly deep into the game. His go-to secondary was a 78-82 mph breaking ball that looked slurvy in this outing and was inconsistent. The pitch occasionally showed good power and late bite, but it would just as frequently hump out of his hand and look like more of a change-of-pace offering than a true out-pitch. A majority of the whiffs he generated came via the fastball, which is hard enough that the curveball likely plays up in tandem with it. Cusick broke out a firm, 91 mph changeup in the sixth inning against a lefthanded hitter and got a swing & miss with the pitch, but it was used rarely. In terms of control and command, Cusick was efficient through three innings and didn’t get to a three-ball count until the fourth inning. He issued his first walk in the fifth. At times he would overthrow and he likely benefited by getting plenty of whiffs out of the zone as well.
Tommy Mace, RHP, Florida (No. 38)
5 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 8 K (90 pitches)
Mace had a strong debut as the Friday night arm for Florida. He showed a five-pitch repertoire that included a fastball in the low-to-mid 90s, a curveball in the upper 70s, a slider in the low 80s, a firm changeup in the upper 80s and a cutter in the same velocity band as the changeup. In this start, Mace seemed to have better feel to land his curve and cutter for strikes than the fastball and changeup. After a 1-2-3 first inning, Mace’s fastball command backed up a tick and he got into trouble at times leaving his fastball too much over the heart of the plate. He did a solid job working around the edges of the zone to avoid that at times, but that would lead to longer counts and getting behind in at-bats. Mace averaged 18 pitches per inning, so becoming more efficient and avoiding so many deep counts could be a point of emphasis for him moving forward.
Christian Macleod, LHP, Mississippi State (No. 49)
4 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 7 K (73 pitches)
MacLeod out-pitched Texas righthander Ty Madden in a highly anticipated matchup between the two, although the big-bodied lefthander took an inning to settle in. His fastball command out of the gate was a bit scattered, with MacLeod missing to his glove side with the pitch, but he made an adjustment in the second and from then on showed good feel to land a three-pitch mix. His fastball mostly hovered in the 89-91 mph range, but the pitch plays up significantly from that velocity. He generated eight whiffs with the pitch through the first three innings. He also threw a loopy curveball in the upper 70s that was a distinct third pitch and a low-80s changeup with solid fade and tumbling action to his arm side. The changeup got whiffs from hitters on both sides and MacLeod spotted the pitch down in the zone consistently.
Brant Hurter, LHP, Georgia Tech (Current Rank: No. 93)
4.2 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 3 K (80 pitches)
Hurter made his first start for the Yellow Jackets since March 17, 2019. After recovering from Tommy John surgery, Hurter has a chance now to pitch a complete season for Georgia Tech. He was far from his best in the opener, but managed to limit Eastern Kentucky to just one run over 4.2 innings, with three strikeouts and three walks. Hurter has a large, tall frame that’s filled out and doesn’t offer a ton of future projection, but a crossbody delivery and a lower, three-quarter arm slot adds deception to his operation. Hurter threw a sinking fastball that got a few whiffs when the pitch was out of the zone and running away from righties, but was mostly a ground ball pitch. He mixed in a sweepy slider that he spotted well and a changeup that mirrors his fastball, but with more tumbling action. The changeup looked better than the slider in this look. While Hurter didn’t show overpowering stuff, scouts believe he has more in the tank. He was scattered with his command and missed frequently to his arm side early in the outing.
Andrew Abbott, LHP, Virginia (No. 119)
5.2 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 9 K (93 pitches)
Abbott is transitioning to a full-time starting role for the Cavaliers after being a reliable bullpen arm from 2018-2020. His first start went well, as the slight-framed lefthander whiffed nine batters and worked around two hits and a walk to shutout a resilient Connecticut offense over 5.2 innings. The outing marked career highs for Abbott in innings, strikeouts and pitches. His fastball was his best pitch in this outing. While it didn’t have a ton of movement, there’s sneaky zip on his heater, and it played well above the zone—where he got a good number of whiffs. He paired the fastball with a 1-to-7 curveball that occasionally showed two-plane biting action, but also hung up and looked like more of a show-me pitch. Abbott did show good feel to land both of his offerings for strikes, but it was more of a control-over-command performance. It will be interesting to see if Abbott develops feel for a changeup that he flashed but didn’t use frequently in this outing.
Mike Vasil, RHP, Virginia (No. 138)
6 IP, 3 H, 1 R (0 ER), 0 BB, 6 K (86 pitches)
Vasil's prospect status has tumbled since his prep days when there was some thought he would be a potential top-10 pick in the 2018 draft. However, he took a step in re-establishing himself on Sunday against Connecticut, showing a polished three-pitch mix and striking out six batters over six shutout frames. Vasil has a very quick arm and throws from a three-quarter slot, and managed to spot his fastball, slider and changeup consistently—frequently getting ahead in the count. His fastball is hittable when he leaves it over the heart of the plate, but he did a solid job spotting the pitch and landing a slider and changeup enough to keep hitters off of it. The slider showed both horizontal and vertical movement, with swing-and-miss qualities when he started it on the outer half and let it dive away from righties, but the pitch also got loopy at times when left up. His changeup was his most consistent secondary—the pitch has solid arm-side life and Vasil threw it with both conviction and location.
Nathan Hickey, C, Florida (No. 184)
7-for-13, 2 HR, 1 2B, 3 BB, 3 K
Hickey is draft-eligible in his second year at Florida and opened the season with a bang in front of a large swath of scouts in Gainesville. He’ll forever be the player who hit the first home run at Florida’s new $65 million stadium and tallied multi-hit performances in all three games, while adding a second home run and walking as many times as he struck out. Hickey sets up with an even stance, slightly crouched with a bit of bat waggle in his load and his hands set at chin height. The swing is massively leveraged and steep—with a clear fly ball trajectory that fits well with his standout raw power. That bat path could open up some holes and it did get a bit long at times. Hickey will need to refine and improve his defensive work behind the plate this season for scouts to feel confident about his profile at the next level—in particular he could shorten up his exchange and arm on throws to second base. Either way, the bat is loud and he showed that repeatedly.
Alex Toral, 1B, Miami (No. 147)
4-for-7, 6 BB, 1 K
Toral proved to be an on-base machine against Florida, which was a function of both poor strike throwing from the Gators pitch staff and also a solid approach from Toral himself. He walked three times during the opener after not getting much to hit in most of his at-bats. He then added three more over the next two games to finish with six walks to just one strikeout. When Toral was able to swing, he showed a pull-heavy approach that has hurt him in the past. Toral has plus-plus raw power out of a large frame, but didn’t showcase much in this series. It’s hard to see him offering much defensive or baserunning value at the next level—which adds pressure to his bat and power—and he made two errors in the field and also got thrown out trying to go first to third on a single.
Connor Prielipp, LHP, Alabama (2022 Rank: No. 11)
Line: 5 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 8 K (74 pitches)
Can anyone score against second-year Alabama lefthander Connor Prielipp?
Through 26 collegiate innings the answer to that question is a resounding “No.” Prielipp threw 21 scoreless innings over four starts in 2020 and is off to more of the same this season, blanking McNeese State over five innings, while striking out eight and walking none.
Prielipp wasn’t flawless in this outing, as he allowed a double and a single in the first inning with one out, but he struck out the next two batters to avoid any damage and then proceeded to retire 10 of the next 12 hitters he faced.
Prielipp threw a fastball in the mid 90s and used a firm, 85-87 mph slider to induce several particularly ugly swings—especially against same-side hitters.
It’s hard to start your collegiate career better than Prielipp has—well, outside of Caleb Pendleton that is—and after striking out at least seven batters in every start of his career, he is sitting with an outstanding 43-to-6 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Of the 92 batters he’s faced, 46.7% of them have struck out.
Dominance. Look for Prielipp to move up in our next updated 2022 college ranking.
Yohandy Morales, SS/3B, Miami (2023 Rank: No. 9)
5-for-16, 1 3B, 1 2B, 2 K
Outside of an 0-for-7 game against Florida, Morales was impressive for the Hurricanes in his first taste of college ball. Morales played both third base and shortstop for Miami this weekend, and made plays at both positions, while showing good ability to make adjustments at the plate. He barreled fastballs and sat back to drive breaking balls this weekend with an aggressive approach at the plate. There’s a bit of swing and miss in the game now, but he showed an ability to use the entire field and has a lot of room to still fill out a 6-foot-3 frame.
Joshua Rivera, SS, Florida (2022 Rank: No. 27)
6-for-14, 1 3B, 2 2B, 1 HBP, 2 K
Morales’ counterpart on Florida’s roster, shortstop Josh Rivera, was equally electric for the Gators and tallied hits in each game of the series—including multi-hit games on Friday and Saturday. Going back to high school, Rivera’s swing has been tailored for the opposite field, right-center gap and he continued to show a natural ability to drive the ball with authority into that gap against college pitching. He used the opposite field multiple times to drive 90+ fastball velocity and showed solid running ability underway, with a pair of doubles and a triple. Rivera showed defensive aptitude at shortstop as well, with a quick exchange on the double-play turn and a nice play up the middle where he ranged to his left and made a tricky off-balance throw to the bag at first base.
Alejandro Rosario, RHP, Miami (2023 Rank: No. 4)
Line: 4 IP, 6 H, 5 R (2 ER), 2 BB, 4 K (75 pitches)
Rosario had a rough welcome to college ball, allowing six hits and five runs (two earned) over four innings to the (then) No. 1 team in the country. Rosario faced all nine Gators hitters in his first inning before settling in a bit the rest of the way. While he wasn’t helped by a pristine defensive work behind him, Rosario’s fastball wasn’t missing many bats and got hit around hard frequently. He touched 96 mph but hitters saw the ball well out of his hand. Deception was a question for Rosario back in high school. He throws with a longer arm action in the back and gets extended before throwing out of a lower, three-quarter arm slot.
Dylan Crews, OF, Louisiana State (2023 Rank: No. 2)
7-for-12, 2 HR, 4 BB
After Crews opted out of the 2020 draft at the last minute, Louisiana State got their hands on a hitter who was seen throughout the draft process in high school as a first-round caliber talent. That’s exactly what Crews looked like in the leadoff spot of LSU’s lineup, tallying multiple hits in each of the Tigers’ first three games—including two home runs and four walks with no strikeouts. Crews has a well-developed, muscular frame and a quiet setup at the plate, with simple pre-pitch movements and quiet actions in his load. His swing is pure and powerful when he’s synced up and letting the ball travel. On his first home run of the season, he managed a loud 111.2 mph exit velocity according to LSU’s analytics department. See his second homer below:
Landon Sims, RHP, Mississippi State (2022 Rank: No. 35)
Line: 4 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 10 K (58 pitches)
Sims was a flamethrowing prep righthander out of Georgia in high school and that power fastball has translated just fine to the college game. After entering with the bases loaded and no outs in relief of Christian Macleod, Sims used a 93-96 mph heater to strike out three straight batters and get out of the jam. He proceeded to blank Texas over the next three innings, striking out seven more without issuing a walk or allowing a hit.
Hunter Barco, LHP, Florida (2022 Rank: No. 2)
Line: 3.1 IP, 6 H, 8 R (6 ER), 3 BB, 3 K (89 pitches)
Barco was hit around by Miami in his 2021 debut. He worked just 3.1 innings and needed 89 pitches to do it, as the Hurricanes jumped all over a fastball that was in the 87-92 mph range. Barco used mostly a two-pitch mix with his fastball and a slider in the low 80s, and he left too many pitches over the middle of the plate.
Victor Mederos, RHP, Miami (2022 Rank: No. 8)
Line: 4.2 IP, 7 H, 2 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 5 K (81 pitches)
Like his teammate Rosario, Mederos made his first college appearance this weekend against Florida, but had a bit more success. Mederos showed some of the best pure stuff and secondary offerings out of high school, but had a tendency to get erratic and overthrow. That was largely the pitcher Mederos was on Sunday, as he touched 97 mph with his fastball and showed a devastating 86-88 mph changeup with significant fading life that generated plenty of whiffs—including same-side swings and misses. Mederos lost his release point significantly at points in the game—and perhaps a plunging arm action in the back of his arm stroke leads to this—but walked just one batter over his 4.2 innings.