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Norcal ProCase Spotlight: RHP Kyle Bender


Blaine Clemmens
Northern CA Director of Scouting

LINCOLN, CA. - Bender, presently our 73rd ranked 2021 in California (19th among RHP), came into the event as somewhat of an enigma among the scouting community. He had shown, numerous times, the type of raw stuff that along with his body type had him appropriately on the scouting radar. However, the body of work at the HS level just hasn't been there quite yet, for one reason or another.

Clearly the 2020 spring season could have provided him the platform to firm up his status as not only a talent, but as a prospect. Obviously that didn't happen. I went out to see him in a game about a week prior to the ProCase and he looked good, even coming off a recent bout of some illness. He showed up at the ProCase and put up strong numbers both in traditional metrics, but maybe even more important in 2020, in the metrics gathered via TrackMan.

THE REPORT:

Body: 6-foot-3, 185-pounds. Angular build, frame appears to be the type that will allow for considerably more size and strength gains in the coming years. Wide shoulders, sturdy legs.

Delivery: Simple mechanics, small rocker step parallel to the rubber, post foot in good position at the rubber. High knee lift then gathers well over the rubber, separating on time and then sinking just a bit into his backside before starting down the slope. Lands w/online stride, stable strike foot, creates leverage for his arm to come through. Some depth on backside of arm action w/controlled arm swing. Gets to high-3/4 slot and finishes well, w/extension. 

FB: Average FB 90.2 mph, peak of 90.8. Release height of FB is a bit higher than that of his CB and CHG, which is something he can work on in order to get all three pitches to come out of the same window/tunnel. High spin rate of 2543 (avg 2465) on the FB is well above MLB average, ranking in the 79th percentile (high range). Horizontal break also rates very well, with a high of 20" and average of 16" (rating as extreme run). Induced vertical break also had strong metrics, 17.8 (extreme ride) as a high and average of 13.8 (rating in avg range). There is a lot to chew on here with his FB and no doubt MLB clubs will value much of this as they consider what type of FB they value in their pitchers.

CB: As with the FB, his CB has strong numbers in the metrics and from how the hitters reacted, the stuff plays just as well as the numbers indicate. 75-77 mph w/high spin of 2587 (near MLB average) and average spin of 2253. He struck out 3 of the 4 batters he faced and got each of them with the CB. As much action as he gets on this strikeout quality pitch now, it can and will be better down the road, rating as a future above average pitch at a minimum.

CHG: Another quality offering, 80-83 mph, lots of run/fade (avg 16") and the spin, while high when comes to the CHG (avg 2062), is hundreds less than his FB and the movement pattern is similar, which can and will get soft contact and some swings/misses. Again, he'd do well to adjust the FB release height (5.2) closer to his CHG and CB (4.9-5.0 avg). He gets inside his change-up w/his index finger and thumb and works to turn it over and create a lot of spin.

Summary: With a desirable body type and size, three quality present pitches that all of positive metrics, as well as stuff that plays well vs hitters in the present, there is a lot to like here with Bender. Put it all together and we are talking about the ceiling of a future 3-4 starter in a MLB rotation. That is all assuming future velocity gains, getting the FB to around 93-94 and having the CB velocity come along with the FB gains. His understanding of how to use his stuff is solid and will only improve as he develops, whether in college or immediately out of HS.

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