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Norcal ProCase Spotlight: LHP Mason Oakley


Blaine Clemmens
Northern CA Director of Scouting



    

LINCOLN, CA. - Oakley, presently our 61st ranked 2021 in California (4th among LHP), is a pitcher who on his best days looks like a TERRIBLY uncomfortable at-bat. His stuff, on a radar gun, doesn't blow a scout away, but the way it all plays at home plate and hitters' reactions tell us that he's got good stuff. Like it is with many/most young players (and remember, ALL high school players are young players), Oakley can be hit and miss. He's been working on developing his third pitch (change-up) and ultimately the development of that offering will dictate whether he's in the college rotation or the bullpen.

THE REPORT:

Body: 6-foot-0, 175-pounds. He's strong, wide shoulders, chiseled body type, certainly looks more physical than his listed size would indicate.

Delivery: All from the stretch in this outing, simple lift, does decent job working over the rubber, hands stay tucked tight to body at waist prior to separation, circular backside without hiccups, gets to overhand slot, opens front hip a bit early getting to the plant foot which lands slightly open. There are some adjustments to make which would presumably allow for more consistent control. Consistent release height among his three offerings (5.0-5.1).

FB: Sat 86-88 mph, have on occasion seen a little higher (89), feels heavy when he's down in the zone with the type of late break that can blow up LHH bats. The TrackMan numbers also show a high induced vertical break of 18.7, which is very good. His average was 14.3. Average horizontal break was -10" (TM measures LHPs in negative numbers and RHPs in positive numbers), with a max of -13. Average spin rate of 1885 and max of 2071 and it's those lower spin rates that align with the heavy action the eyes see.

CB: At 75-79 mph his CB can be one of the harder thrown ones in the area, certainly among LHPs. From his overhand slot this pitch can be a downer CB, though the break is smaller than traditional overhand CBs. Average spin rate of 1665 is obviously on the low range and that can account for the lack of depth and/or size of the break. With his delivery and arm action it can at times be a challenge for his fingers to get to the front of the CB and impart the spin necessary for more break and bite (spin). 

CHG: This pitch was better in this outing than I'd previously seen. Only threw two of them (80-82 mph) but both were solid. Average spin of 1925, which is basically the same as his FB spin. That will create more run than depth on this pitch. The horizontal break of his CHG was -13, which is more than his FB and reflects the run that can be expected given his spin rate.

Summary: As stated in the opening paragraph, there is a lot to like and also enough to pick at with Oakley to acknowledge that he's a work in progress. There will be ample development at the college level in an outstanding pitching development environment. The ability to throw consistent strikes with the FB and then the development of the CHG will dictate whether he's a rotation piece or a bullpen weapon. I'd expect to see him almost entirely in the pen as a freshman as he develops and tinkers. From there, we shall see. For those into comps, I suppose with the overhand slot and potential to develop a downer breaking ball, Ted Lilly would be an apt comp.

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