This was my first scouting trip of the year. I was excited for the chance to see a potential top three round choice in Zac Lowther. The weather, though, made it a less than stellar experience and affected both the pitchers and the hitters. The temperature was under 40 and it went from some snow to a hard, cold rain. It limited my ability to get a full picture of the abilities of the players I wanted to see. It was not a fun game in which to hit or pitch. As someone who grew up in Ohio, I remember how awful it was to hit with metal bats in sub
There were two players on each team that I was most intrigued to see.
Zac Lowther, LHP
This marked the second year in a row a small school lefty from Ohio lead the Cape in strike outs. Lowther is not the athlete that Lauer is, and that's not a knock on Lowther as much as a comment on what type of athlete Lauer happens to be. Last year was Lowther’s first extended chance to start, and he was good, but not great. I would not have predicted he would lead the Cape in strikeouts. So far this year, his strikeout rate is up nearly five strikeouts per nine. The concern for me is that his walk rate is also up quite a bit, nearly two walks per nine; more on this in a bit.
On Saturday, Lowther was throwing his fastball a majority of the time. He was relying on it, in part, I assume, because of the bad weather and, in part, because Ohio State could not touch it. He allowed just one hit over six innings. Ohio State was able to get two runs across, though, through a walk, error, back to back sacrifices and then a hit. The game ended up going 13 innings, but it should not have happened. The error was on Lowther, fielding a sac bunt. Lowther walked three batters, but it felt like more while watching. He did strike out 11 batters, including five of the first six outs, via the strikeout.
He was mostly 88-90 throughout the game and held this velocity through the fifth inning. I had
I have Lowther as a second round arm and among the top 50 or so guys in this draft. He could slide into the early third but, his performance on the Cape, along with his ability to fill up the zone from the
Rylan Bannon, 3B, Xavier
Bannon was a player who stood out from a numbers point of view. He was leading Xavier in home runs and has posted strong walk totals the last two years. His
I got to see three
Bannon is a former high school second baseman and is still built like one, at a listed size of 5’10” and 180 pounds. His fielding percentages have not been strong for Xavier, which makes me wonder what his future position might be. The hope might be that he could move back to second, where his
I was a bigger fan of Daniel
Tre’ Gantt, OF
Last year, I saw Ohio State a few times. It was a team that was loaded, in terms of draft prospects. Ohio State had six players who were drafted and signed, which was second best in school history. Ronnie Dawson was one of the top 100 players in the class, and he went 61st overall, which made Ohio State even more interesting to watch.
When I am trying to see a team that had this much depth, it can be hard for a non-draft eligible player to catch my eye, but Tre’ Gantt managed to do that. He started just one game I saw late in the year, vs Iowa. He played right field for what was a loaded Ohio State outfield that ended up having three players drafted.
Gantt didn’t have a great game, but the tools and athleticism were easy to see. He just seemed to glide as he played. The first game I saw this year, again, was not his best, as he was 0 for 2 against Zac Lowther. In fairness, no one played well against Lowther.
Gantt is playing centerfield this year for the Buckeyes. It is a rough year for Ohio State. After so many players departed a year ago, they have struggled to a 9-14 record. I should note they have been swept in their last two weekend series, which has had a big effect on how the season has looked, record wise. They had just three players returning who had 100
Gantt came out of the gate hotter than expected, which has helped him on the draft radar. Gantt is a natural athlete who had a limited track record the previous two years due, in part, to being part of a veteran squad. This was his first year as an everyday starter and he has made the most of it. Gantt has as many
Jalen Washington, ?????
Jalen Washington is the only player on Ohio State who was an everyday starter a year ago. I wrote about him as a draft possibility, because of how great he looked behind the plate. He
Washington didn’t play
Washington has hit as many