Updated: Mar 7, 2021
Editor’s note: College Baseball Nation is joined by guest writer, Owen Surett. Owen Surett is a college student who resides in North Carolina. Owen covers College Baseball for his media outlet, College Baseball USA (@ColBaseUSA on Twitter), which was founded in Fall of 2019. He is passionate about various aspects of the game, including analytics, player development, and player evaluation.
Below are scouting reports for two 2021 MLB Draft prospects, both of whom are college pitchers. Evaluations are both from in-person looks on March 5th, 2021. UConn RHP Ben Casparius was seen facing Miami (OH) and Cincinnati LHP Evan Shawver faced UNC Wilmington.
RHP Ben Casparius, Connecticut, 6’0” 208 lbs
HS: Staples (CT)
Background: Casparius spent his freshman year as a two-way player at UNC, having success on both sides of the ball. He transferred to UConn the next year, having to sit out the 2020 season due to eligibility rules. UConn seems to have turned him into exclusively a starting pitcher.
Scouting: Casparius has advanced pitchability, especially for a player that just recently started focusing exclusively on pitching. He has great feel for his sharp-breaking slider that misses plenty of bats. He also has a serviceable changeup that he will look to continue improving. Casparius may have success in college with his fastball, generating swings and misses at 90-92 mph and 2300 RPM (approximately ML average), but maintaining these results with his heater as he heads up the ladder will be a more difficult task.
Summary: Casparius has a starter profile and that is what is going to carry his draft stock for the most part. He has athleticism and command, along with a go-to out pitch. That usually works. Can his fastball avoid enough barrels? That remains to be seen. If it can, he has a chance to be a back-end of the rotation major league starter. If it can’t he won’t be a major league starter. It is also worth noting that Casparius will be almost 22.5 years old when the draft comes around, so teams may favor younger pitchers if viewed as comparable talent-wise.
Projection: 4th-5th round, Up-And-Down guy with a chance for #5 SP
LHP Evan Shawver, Cincinnati, 6’0” 175 lbs
HS: Amherst Steele (OH)
Background: A two-sport athlete in high school, Shawver played football as well for Amherst Steele. He struggled statistically in his freshman year on the mound, before dramatically turning it around in the shortened 2020 campaign, carrying his 1.59 ERA and 35 strikeouts in 22.2 innings into his draft year.
Scouting: Shawver is a great athlete with two potential above average pitches in his fastball, which sits 91-93 touching 94, and a breaking ball at 82-84, that he calls a curveball, but certainly has some slider traits in its spin profile. Shawver has a gifted arm and can also locate his arsenal with regularity. What he doesn’t have is an established third pitch. It will be interesting to watch the future development of his changeup.
Summary: One of the most talented college left-handers in this class, Shawver seems to have plenty of money coming his way. His range looks to be rounds 2-6. Where in that range will depend on if teams think he can start. He has a nasty FB/CB combo but he is going to need to develop that changeup to use against right-handed hitters if he wants to start, and he looks to have the athleticism to potentially do that.
Projection: 3rd round, #4-5 SP