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Norcal ProCase Spotlight: SS Zander Darby


Blaine Clemmens
Northern CA Director of Scouting



    

LINCOLN, CA. - Darby, presently ranked #108 in California (30th among SS), was obviously well-regarded by us, by virtue of being ranked in what is arguably the most talent-laden state in the nation. However, if I said I had a full appreciation of his full set of tools and how he projects beyond HS, I'd be lying. When it comes to the five tools presently possessed, he's a prospect. With a deeper dive into metrics from Blast Motion and TrackMan, he's a much stronger prospect than the traditional stats show.

THE REPORT:

Body: 6-foot-2, 190-pounds. Strong and lean, rangy frame that projects to be able to develop more size, muscularity and strength in his adult years.

Hit: LH - The 90% on plane efficiency in his BP rounds (courtesy of Blast Motion) is a ridiculously high number. The ideal range, published by Blast, shows 70% or higher, with a range of 65%-85%. He's 5% above the desired range. That was over two rounds, with over 50 sets of eyes of MLB personnel on him. Impressive. 33.3% line drive % (TrackMan). Average rotational acceleration of 18.01 (g) (max 20.2). All of those numbers support what the eyes see. Flat efficient swing, lots of barrel contact. The swing happens easily and fluidly. He's going to hit.

Power: 100 EV (avg 91 mph) in live BP (courtesy of TrackMan) using a wood bat. Further numbers to support his power potential are average bat speed (Blast) of 69 mph (high of 71.4) (ideal range 66-78 mph for the pro level) and max hand speed of 22.6. The hand speed number is interesting in that he doesn't attempt to swing hard and he still produces hard and consistent contact. As he gains strength and CHOOSES to swing harder, that hand speed number will go up significantly. I think of how easily a player like Robinson Cano swings when considering that great hitters generally don't swing as hard as they can.

Field: One thing I'd been repeatedly told by those who have seen Darby the most, is that he may not stick at SS and likely would move to 3B. That's basically the line given about about just about ALL bigger shortstops and sort of a CYA statement. There are big shortstops, there always have been. Darby showed soft hands, he got rid of the ball quickly and efficiently when the play called for it, he has little wasted movements, worked around the bag well and has more range than the eyes might suggest. At 6-foot-2 w/6.88 speed, he's covering large chunks of ground with each step. Will he be a gold glover like Brandon Crawford? Who knows. Will he be a fielder comparable to Corey Seager? All remains to be seen. I'm not ready to shove him to 3B just yet.

Arm: SS mph - 82 - Now, this number is one that can be picked at a bit because generally speaking, professional shortstops throw harder across the diamond. Among the SS we had at the event, Darby's 82 mph was the low end of the range. The average of the other five SS in attendance was 87.2 mph. Efficiency and angles and range and accuracy all help an arm play up, but the raw velocity number will stick in scout's minds. I'd be willing to bet that he's going to increase his raw arm strength and give himself every shot to stay at SS in college and then beyond. Of course, that remains to be seen.

Run: 6.88 in the 60 yard on a turf surface. He runs easy with graceful strides and good body control.

Summary: The profile of a LHH with above average speed, power potential, present hit tools, physical size and strength, all show that Darby should be considered an elite high school prospect and in the mix for the 2021 draft. It can't be overstated how valued LHH with his size and his athleticism are. Ultimately what is valued more than anything at the pro level, is what a player can do with the bat. Positions can be changed, defensive tools and skills can be developed. The hit tool? It's the hardest to come by and Darby looks to have it.

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UPCOMING EVENTS

There will be additional events in Northern CA scheduled for October 10 & 11, stay tuned!

SHOWCASE STATE DATE LOCATION
SoCal Uncommitted Senior Games CA 09/13 Amerige Park
Norcal Uncommitted Senior Games CA 09/26 Islanders Field
SoCal Underclass I.D. Camp CA 10/10 Great Park
SoCal Upperclass I.D. Camp CA 10/10 Great Park
SoCal Underclass I.D. Camp II CA 10/11 Great Park
SoCal Upperclass I.D. Camp II CA 10/11 Great Park

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