SAN DIEGO -- The last month has been one of the best of Tyler Gough’s life. He helped JSerra Catholic (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.) win its first-ever state Southern Section Division I title in late May, graduated from high school eight days later and headed to the Draft Combine this week to give scouts one more look at his skill set.
Gough couldn’t have been more impressive Thursday afternoon at Petco Park, when he opened a controlled scrimmage by striking out all five batters he faced, catching four of them looking.
"It was a crazy experience," said Gough, a 6-foot-2, 205-pound right-hander. "I went up there and I was confident and attacked guys, and it ended up going really well for me. ... I’ve kind of been doing my thing under the radar, and I came out today and I was hoping to show guys what I’m all about."
Unranked on MLB Pipeline's Draft Top 200, Gough notched two of his whiffs on his four-seam fastball -- which sat at 92-94 mph with spin rates in the 2500s -- and three with his curveball, which parked at 78-79 mph. The Oregon State recruit said he actually considers his curve his fourth-best pitch, but it was particularly effective Thursday.
"I have the power fastball, but I like my changeup a lot," Gough said. "I like my slider a lot. It gets a lot of swing and misses. The curveball I like to sneak in there, 0-0 or 0-2, it’s really sharp and it catches guys off-guard. I used all of my pitches multiple times, so I was able to showcase everything."
Bainbridge HS (Bainbridge Island, Wash.) right-hander J.R. Ritchie also acquitted himself well. The highest-rated pitcher (No. 46 on the Top 200) to take the mound in the scrimmages Wednesday and Thursday, he fanned four of five hitters in his inning of work. He parked at 94-96 mph with his four-seamer and at 83-84 mph with his slider, posting formidable spin rates with both offerings.
Providence HS (Charlotte, N.C.) right-hander Michael Forret also struck out four batters -- two on changeups -- while topping out at 94 mph with his fastball.
National Baseball Academy (Gurabo, P.R.) shortstop Jankel Ortiz was the offensive star, providing the only home run in two days of scrimmage play. He turned on a 74 mph curveball from Collierville (Tenn.) HS right-hander Grayson Saunier and launched it 371 feet to left field with an exit velocity of 96 mph. Ortiz also drilled a double earlier in the day.
Lake Brantley HS (Altamonte Springs. Fla.) catcher Luke Heyman also had two hits and had the highest exit velocity with a 102 mph double to straightaway center.
Earlier on Thursday, several players participated in athletic performance testing. Tomball (Texas) Memorial outfielder Jeric Curtis ran the two fastest 30-yard dashes at 3.545 and 3.555 seconds, beating out Rolesville (N.C.) HS outfielder Michael Gupton, who posted a 3.569. Gupton had the longest swinging-arms broad jump at 10 feet and 3.75 inches, while Holly Springs (N.C.) HS shortstop Brock Wills recorded the longest hands-on-hip broad jump at 8 feet and 3.25 inches.