TAMPA — Headlining Tyler Danish’s resume are numbers that rank him among the nation’s top five high school pitchers: 94 innings on the mound, 156 strikeouts, and an ERA of 0.00.
And that’s still not good enough for a number of major-league clubs.
“I’ve done everything I could to possibly change their minds,” said Danish, who just completed his dominant senior year at Durant.
Well, almost everything.
His perplexing sidearm delivery remains the most notable blemish on his record as the MLB draft approaches Thursday.
The fiery right-hander faces uncertain draft prospects in large part because many clubs won’t even take a chance on a pitcher with that sort of delivery. His less-than-optimal height — he’s listed at 6 feet — also could work against him.
“The opinions are wildly divergent on him,” said Kiley McDaniel, a Tampa-based analyst for Scout.com. “His arm action and delivery is pretty terrible. And I know one team that will not take a pitcher under 6-2.
“Probably half of the teams don’t even have him listed in the first four to five rounds.”
Nonetheless, McDaniel said, Danish still figures to be chosen before the end of the third round. Washington and Toronto are thought to be high on him.
The UF signee is adamant that his delivery can continue to be effective at the next level. But he’s open to making some tweaks, pointing to a recent workout for the Miami Marlins.
“I’m still a firm believer in how I throw,” Danish said. “But when I changed the arm angle there, the ball moved the same as it had before.”
Baptist firm on Ole Miss
Corey Baptist’s name may pop up on the second or third day of the draft, but the Seminole first baseman said he is firmly committed to the University of Mississippi.
“Even if I do go somewhere in the draft, it’s not going to be enough to get me off of Mississippi,” Baptist said. “I think teams know that. The (signing) bonus right now isn’t going to be worth me skipping college. The best decision for me is to go to college, spend three years getting better, and then hopefully get back in the draft.”
Baptist has the build (6-foot-3, about 200 pounds) and the stats (.455, six home runs) to draw the attention of scouts. He successfully made the jump from Class 3A St. Petersburg Catholic to Class 7A Seminole this season.
Baptist also showed some speed. He stole 19 of 21 bases after having no steals with St. Petersburg Catholic last season.
But stats don’t matter when it comes to his future. Baptist says he’s not ready to be a professional.
“I’ve still got to get bigger, faster, stronger,” he said. “I guess I could go play pro ball now, but that’s not best for me. For some other guys that’s what they want to do, go play baseball right away. I want to go to college and hopefully come out a much better player.”
Staff writer Rodney Page contributed to this report.