Then & Now: Luke Little


David Seifert & Brandon Hall
Prep Baseball Report

THEN 2016: Little stood 6-foot-7, 225 pounds as a Junior at East Mecklenburg HS in Charlotte, NC.  During the fall of his Junior year we saw a "baby dear" fighting to find rhythm in his mechanical base, but flashing arm strength. Up to 86, the fastball would fluctuate, peaking early in outings and then sitting 81-83. As he progressed through high school and into his Senior year, Little continued to grow, working to 6-foot-8, 230 pounds. The fastball grew to 87-89, touching 90 in bullpen situations, creating a buzz heading to the spring season. During that spring, the fastball, and overall stuff was erratic, dipping to 80-84 in some outings, as Little continued to work to define his structure and direction in the large frame. The secondary stuff ticked up significantly in his Senior year with a soft, rolling curveball becoming a sharp slider with late break, up to 80 mph. The change-up was the 3rd pitch, but showed potential with occasional feel and fade at 76-78. Shortly after the draft in 2018, Little appeared with a club team after a short layoff. The body was in better shape and his direction had improved from the mid-spring. In a short outing, Little was electric with the fastball sitting 90-92 in the 1st and 85-90 in the 2nd. The slider created a lot of discomfort sweeping hard across the zone, with depth at 79. Shortly after this July outing, Little committed to San Jacinto JC, allowing him to remain a draft-able player over the next two seasons.

 

NOW 2020A South Carolina recruit, Little is an imposing 6-foot-8, 245 pound lefty who can run his live-actioned fastball up to 100 mph and will sit 96-98 with improving control. He also mixes in a tilted low-80s slider with some depth, but projection remains for it to become a consistent average ML pitch. He pitches with an athletic tempo to his delivery through hand break, slightly stabbing his arm behind before driving violently down the mound. There are some moving parts and long limbs for him to sync up, but he creates a tough at-bat for anyone in the box and has plenty of projection remaining. Little battled back problems during his sophomore season at San Jacinto, but there aren’t too many left-handed arms with his size and stuff. Look for him to be considered in the top three rounds, but his signability will ultimately determine if/when he is selected this summer.

 

HOW THE JUMP WAS MADE: "Luke’s biggest contributing factor coming to San Jac and improving velocity was improving his physique. He was a bit soft bodied with a lot of room to grow, it was always in there. In high school, he was a two way guy. Loves to hit and is pretty good with the bat, surprisingly enough. But the true focus of learning how to stay in line and finishing out front made a huge difference. He was never a weighted ball guy, never touched one in his life. When we recruited him, he sat 91-94 through four innings in Georgia at Lakepoint. He gassed out in the fourth. Like he took a shower on the mound. Woody (Williams) did a tremendous job teaching him how to pitch and use his lower half down the slope. He was all arm. Once he became repetitious in that, his velo jumped. On the back end, 96-98+. However, as a starter, he will pitch 93-94 and use his power as needed. He has started tinkering with weighted balls and more advanced body movements. He’s no where near being done developing."

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