New Jersey does not perennially produce blue chip MLB Draft prospects. That is not the case in 2021 as Anthony Solometo of Bishop Eustace High School and Chase Petty of Mainland Regional High School both look like possible first-round picks. Although Solometo does not have one aspect of his game graded a 60/80 by scouts, he received all 50s and 55s, and has natural added deception to his delivery. The overall quality of his skill set and repertoire land him 17th on MLB.com’s prospect list.
Solometo stands at 6’5 and weighs 215 pounds. If he opts not to sign with the team that drafts him, he will honor his commitment to the University of North Carolina. He pitched his way onto scouts’ radars at events such as the Area Code Games, and solid performances in New Jersey during his senior season has seen him climb up draft boards.
Anthony Solometo does not blow hitters away with tremendous velocity, but he can sit 90-94 mph, and his fastball has good power and life. One of the best aspects of his game is his ability to command that fastball, and that helps him get batters out despite the lower velocity.
Additionally, his slider helps him generate swings and misses. The pitch is a solid offering for Solometo so long as the break does not get too big. The bigger it gets, the more of a slurve it becomes. The tighter the break, the more of a true slider it is, and the more effective it is as an out pitch.
His delivery is funky, resulting in the aforementioned natural deception to his delivery. He pitches are good on their own, but this deception helps it play even more as batters try to pick up the ball through legs and arms flying everywhere. His athleticism allows him to repeat the delivery well, which, coupled with his knowledge of how to use his pitches, keeps hitters off balanced.
The weakest pitch in Solometo’s three-pitch mix is his changeup. It is an average pitch, as evident by its 50/80 scouting grade. However, scouts feel it can develop into a solid third pitch, giving him three good options. Given his knowledge of how to pitch, that will make his repertoire even stronger.
It is also worth paying attention to how Solometo holds up in the long term. He is a good pitcher who is worthy of the high profile he is receiving, but it is recent performances that have put him on scouts’ radars. Therefore, there is not a long track record of him flashing first round capabilities.
The 2020 summer season gave him a firm jump on the map and moved him way up on draft boards. Therefore, while it is possible, he will continue to pitch like this and develop into a quality MLB starting pitcher, it is also possible that he has caught lightning in a bottle.
Scouts see a lot of Arizona Diamondbacks‘ pitcher Madison Bumgarner and San Diego Padres prospect MacKenzie Gore in Solometo. It’s hard not to watch Solometo pitch and think of those two. His high leg kick evokes thoughts of the one Gore uses to start his delivery. Additionally, his arm action and the path he takes with his hands while delivering the baseball, as well as his three-quarter release point, are on par with Bumgarner.
In terms of size, he compares favorably to Bumgarner who is 6’4 weighing 258 pounds. Bumgarner averages 91 mph on his fastball, according to Baseball Savant, and they both see success with a low-velocity fastball that has good life.
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