- I just recently binge watched a Netflix show called “Losers”. The series profiles athletes who have turned the agony of defeat into human triumph. Presbyterian College (SC) left-hander Hayden Deal possibly could have been the focus of an episode, though he really hasn’t experienced the actual “agony of defeat” as depicted in the series. In his senior year at PC, the 6′ 4″ 210 lb southpaw just completed a decent season and thought he had a shot of being drafted by a MLB team, but knowingly in the later rounds. The 2017 draft came to a close, and Deal didn’t receive the call. Disheartened, Deal confided with his high school pitching coach, who got him a tryout with Braves area scout Billy Best. And after a short workout, Hayden Deal became a Brave, as an undrafted free agent. The Braves may have landed a enigma, so good, that the 24-year old may someday shake the unheralded label and step into the prospect limelight. He took that first step last night during his HiA debut with the Florida Fire Frogs, hurling six shutout innings. In his first full season with LoA Rome in 2018, Deal quietly became the Braves LoA Pitcher of the Year. He posted a 9-1 record with a 2.17 ERA (2.68 FIP) pitching mostly from the Pen (27 appearances with 5 starts) and leading the organization with a 1.00 WHIP. His ceiling, without doubt, has him working from the bullpen with his 88 mph fastball, that’s capable of jamming right-handed hitters (.200 BA vs. RHP over 212 PA in 2018). His best offering comes way of the changeup, which induces weak contact and generated a 61% groundball rate last season. If there was ever an “Under” Under the Radar guy, Hayden would be the Deal.
TOP AL UTR PITCHING PERFORMANCERHP Bailey Ober (HiA Fort Myers – Minnesota) 23 years old 6 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 11 K
- The American League MiLB pitchers have provided plenty of excitement to start the 2019 season. Ober brings it down a notch, but his 2019 debut begins just like his 2018 ended….strong! Another product from a South Carolina college (College of Charleston), Ober was taken in the 12th round in 2017. The bulky 6 ‘ 9 ” 260 lb righty struckout 11 over 6 innings last night, his 4th double-digit strikeout outing in his last 5 starts. The 23 year-old was my Twins UTRMinors #1 Organizational All-Star and was in the conversation as the “One to Watch” for 2019. A 20-year old Kai-Wei Teng rose from the low minors to edge Ober from that OTW crown. Ober creates a downhill plane with his 93 mph fastball. He also flashes outstanding command with a plus change-up, a curve, and slider. With only 28 innings of work in the Appy League, Ober saw his first full season at LoA Cedar Rapids in 2018 and posted a 7-1 record, 3.84 ERA, 1.067 WHIP, and a remarkable 9.78 K/BB rate (88 K / 9 BB over 75 IP).
LoA Mentions – Starters RHP Gabe Mosser (LoA Fort Wayne – San Diego) 23 years old 7 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 K RHP Francys Peguero (LoA Hagerstown – Washington) 23 years old 5 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 4 K RHP Peyton Culbertson (LoA Clinton – Miami) 22 years old 5.2 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K LHP Konnor Pilkington (LoA Kannapolis – Chicago White Sox) 21 years old 5.2 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, Win 1-0
HiA Mentions – Starters RHP Jesus Rodriguez (HiA Lakeland – Detroit) 21 years old 5 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K RHP Jackson Kowar (HiA Wilmington – Kansas City) 22 years old 5 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 6 K RHP Eli Morgan (HiA Lynchburg – Cleveland) 23 years old 6 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, Win 1-0
National League – Relief RHP Raffi Vizcaino (HiA San Jose – San Francisco) 23 years old 2 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K American League – Relief RHP Calvin Faucher (HiA Fort Myers – Minnesota) 23 years old 2 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K