Giolito, Fried shine at Compton showcase
This was the fourth time I've attended the Southern California Invitational at the MLB Urban Youth Academy in Compton, Calif., and the talent was strong this year, especially on the mound, with probably a half-dozen first rounders in the event. It's a showcase rather than a game, where each pitcher faces exactly four batters and each team throws two pitchers before switching sides. The hitters went through a full BP and infield practice before the game, so it's geared toward scouts who show up in droves.
Just to change it up a little, I'll start with four pitchers who stood out because of a particular pitch in their repertoires before mentioning some other names.
Best fastball: Luc Giolito (Harvard-Westlake HS) hit 98 mph in a scrimmage two weeks ago but was "only" 93-95 in Compton, creeping up to hit 95 more often as his stint went on. The right-hander had good arm speed on a 79-82 mph changeup but less consistency on the low-80s slider. He's 6-6, 230 pounds, so we're not waiting on projection, but he has struggled with command and control most of the times I've seen him, falling behind hitters on Saturday as well. Right now, though, he's the best high school arm in the class, and just has to get more aggressive on the mound to ensure he's the first one taken in June.
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