Diamond Notes: Three Days in Paradise


By: Austin Alexander – March 14, 2009

Here at Diamond Prospects, we take great pride in the fact that we beat the bushes and do a ton of hunting for that next diamond in the rough or local phenom that is not known outside his area. Since starting in January of 2006, I believe we have done a good job of that, thus making the task of college coaches and professional scouts a little bit easier.

But while fishing for players, we often have to sit through games with little talent on the field, that you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy and are just a notch better than a little league game. We certainly see and hear our share of craziness, enough to write a book!

However, every once in a while, we have to treat ourselves to quality games and clear our eyes by indulging in pitching match-ups that were sent to us from heaven. This past week I had a three day string of games that would make most evaluators extremely jealous!

On Tuesday, I mosied up to Gaffney to see the Indians host #1 Dorman. During the contest I saw four different pitchers run it up to 88 MPH, with junior Tyler Wilson sitting in the low-90’s. I cannot recall the last time, if ever, that I saw something like that in the same game. An added bonus was that several seniors had committed to play in college and also graced the lineup card.

guns_up_again1.jpgWednesday was a day I will never forget. More than 75 professional scouts (left) were at Mauldin High School to see the showdown between Mavericks’ senior Madison Younginer and TL Hanna senior Brooks Hall. Both are likely to go very high in the June draft and both made the radar gun dance! Hall touched 95 several times and Younginer sat in the mid-90’s, even flashing a 97 on the Stalker beside me. Once again, a first for me, two prep guys hitting magic numbers in the same ballgame!

While the above mentioned games were pleasing from a scouting standpoint, a little was left to be desired in terms of the final score as both ended at 10-0 and in 6 innings…

Thursday would prove to be a little more engaging from every angle.

Byrnes sophomore Daniel Gossett toed the rubber on a very cool night and Spartanburg countered with another sophomore, RHP Ben Kyle. Kyle matched the Clemson signee zero for zero until handing the ball over to another tenth grader, Brandon Landrie in the fourth. Ranked #1 and #2 by DP in the 2011 class, both arms worked around defensive woes and impressed on the field while blowing up the gun too. Both pitchers flashed more than a few 88’s with quality breaking stuff, meanwhile 3 unearned runs led to a 2-1 Spartanburg win.

Several DP scouts are now rocking the Stalker Sport 2 and what a way to christen the new and improved, pint-sized version! When readings started chiming in on the website, several texts and emails questioned our accuracy. But I went to see velocity, and velocity I saw!

Even though my entire adult life has been spent tracking baseball talent and watching high school games, I cannot recall that I have ever seen four different 88’s in one game or two 95’s in one game or two sophomores up to 88 in one game, national tournaments and showcases not included. But to sit in on these feats in consecutive nights was, indeed, a sight for sore eyes!

The viewing of pure talent is always a shot in the arm for evaluators, I had mine last week and cannot wait for the poor weather to clear out so DP can uncover some more unknown names!

And to the young men whose arms prompted the above words, thank you for creating a little bounce in my step!