Oklahoma University Scouting Notes
In honor of the College World Series beginning today, here are some quick scouting notes on three athletes from our resident OU student, Cameron Honaker, who attended numerous games this season, with additional notes provided by local scouting connoisseur, John Sanchez Jr.
All notes/videos provided are courtesy of Cameron unless otherwise noted.
Peyton Graham, 3B/SS - R/R, 6’4” 171 lbs.
2021 Stats: .288/.400/.502, 62 hits, 11 2B, 1 3B, 11 HR, 28 RBI, 30 BB to 58 K’s, .911 Fielding %
2022 Stats: .335/.414/.658, 87 Hits, 16 2B, 4 3B, 20 HR, 70 RBI, 24 BB to K’s, .947 Fielding %
Played 3rd Base first two years at OU, moved to SS in 2022
Started all 53 games last season
61 GS in 2022 - all at SS
2021 2nd Team All-Big 12
3rd ranked prospect in the Big 12 for the 2022 MLB draft according to D1 Baseball
2022 First Team All-Big 12
Pure hitter that puts the bat on the ball with plus raw strength
Projectable frame - if he puts on muscle, his power will drastically increase
Good barrel control
Above average runner - gets good jumps on steals and balls in play. He stole 30 bases this season.
Versatile Fielder - played 3rd last two years, and LF, CF, SS, 3B in the prestigious Cape Cod summer league
Good arm strength
Sits on fastballs and smashes them
Plus bat speed
Sprays the field
Current thin frame
Tendency to over swing
High whiff rate
Can struggle with off-speed
Sometimes tends to have a lengthy swing, barrel gets there, but needs to be consistent
Peyton has a chance to be a 1st round draft pick in 2022. He played third base the past two years, but the move to short will be helpful for him. He is a player that can do it all. His range in the field is great, he can steal bases, hit for power, hit for contact and can really do it all.
Graham is a well-rounded athlete with a high floor that is sure to get him attention in the first round of the upcoming MLB draft. His move to SS this year was an excellent way to prove to teams that he can play higher on the defensive spectrum, thus raising his ceiling, but he is much more average there than he is at 3B, where reports range anywhere from solid to outstanding.
Where Peyton really excels is with his bat speed. Plus bat speed is a key indicator of hitters who will or will not be able to adjust to higher velo in pro ball, and Peyton is able to utilize a very relaxed stance & leg kick combination and just let his hands do the work for him. This approach enables him to spray fastballs all over the field, but can leave him susceptible to breaking balls if he's not looking for them. You can see an example of this below where he can catch himself out front far too often.
The upside of Graham though? He's so athletic that he can correct this issue mid-swing and look like this at the point of contact on a base-hit:
Overall, this is a safe selection for teams in the back half of the first round looking for a solid utility guy who may not be a star, but has value to every organization.
Jake Bennett, LHP - 6’6” 234 lbs.
2021 Stats: 4-3, 6.34 ERA, 16 G - 13 GS, 55.1 IP, 60 K's to 13 BB, .302 OPP AVG
2022 Stats: 9-3, 3.53 ERA, 18 G - 17 GS, 104.2 IP, 120 K’s to 22 BB, .235 OPP AVG
16th ranked prospect in the Big 12 for 2022 MLB Draft (D1 Baseball)
Solidified the Ace role in OU's rotation this season
First year draft eligible
2022 First Team All-Big 12
Good fastball with strong secondary pitches
Can’t stop the bleeding when things don’t go his way. When it rains, it pours.
Gives up a lot of hits. WHIP is 1.47
Another Sooner who has the potential to be a high draft pick in the upcoming draft, the southpaw has come a long way since his time at Bixby High School and was off to a great start in 2020 before the season shut down. Big frame and even bigger arm who can get his fastball up to 96 mph and usually sits 91-93 and has a good slider to go along with his FB. If Bennett can command the ball and use the tools that he has, the upside is unlimited. Look for him to be drafted on Day 2 of the Draft.
A big bodied 6 ft 6, 234 lbs, Bennett can be intimidating to hitters. Typically sitting low-to-mid-90's fastballs (has flashed 98) with an excellent changeup to right handers, Bennett has taken advantage of college hitters this year, posting 120 strikeouts in 104.2 innings pitched. Bennett is at his best when working that FB up in the zone and tunneling his CH off of that. The slider is nothing special and is thrown at a similar speed as his CH, but is nonetheless effective enough to be a swing-and-miss pitch against lefties. While his frame doesn't leave much room for projection, Bennett is already built like a workhorse that teams can mold into a legitimate mid-rotation starter.
Jimmy Crooks, Catcher - L/R 6’0” 218 lbs
2021 Stats: .287/.385/.502, 53 GS, 64 Hits, 18 2B, 10 HR, 39 RBI, 31 BB to 48 K’s
2022 Stats: .311/ .444/.500, 63 GS, 71 Hits, 20 2B, 1 3B, 7 HR, 45 RBI, 43 BB to 55 K's
Transfer from McLennan Community College after 2020 season
2022 draft eligible
OU starting catcher the past two years
Pull side power
Big contact hitter
Good barrel control
Strong arm from behind the plate
Big pull side hitter, gets shifted a lot
Inconsistency behind the plate catching pitches this year. Might be from a minor injury.
16 past balls this year compared to only 1 in all of 2021
Jimmy is a catcher with a lot of potential. He needs to maybe try to find another position like first base or 3rd to make himself more valuable to teams. Great hitter with a lot of upside at the plate, just needs to learn how to use all sides of the field to help increase his average. He knows how to take his walks and doesn’t strike out a lot. Compact swing helps him put the ball in play.
A solid but unspectacular defensive catcher, Crooks possesses a good arm, but struggled mightily this year with past balls. As Gary Sanchez has proven, you have to have tremendous power to make a package like that work behind the plate, and Crooks just doesn't have quite that raw strength. However, Crooks does have plus feel for contact, and has a short levered compact swing that enables him to make hard contact with pitches he isn't fully prepared for. His power is all pull side, and he knows it, but so does the defense. At times, he can be a victim of pulling everything which will definitely be exploited at the pro level, assuming shifts are still legal next year (yes, we hate it too). Catchers are risky business in general, and Crooks is no exception to that. However, his feel for contact and short levers create a unique skillset that if he can ever figure out how to hit to all fields for power, he will unlock another level. Until then, he is likely nothing more than org filler.