Scouts have flocked to the Kansas City area this spring, targeting two high school arms in particular: right-hander Riley Pint, profiled here, and left-hander Joey Wentz. Everyone knew about Pint pre-season but Wentz was a bit more obscure. Not any more.
Wentz is not a total unknown: he was on the showcase circuit last summer, but playing as a power-hitting first baseman due to arm fatigue. He was a solid enough prospect as a hitter, showing a nice power stroke from the left side, but with some contact problems that needed to be ironed out. He was viewed as a potential middle-round pick, say fifth round territory, but likely to honor his commitment to the University of Virginia without an overlslot bonus.
All that has changed this spring.
A winter strengthening program and physical maturity have not only restored his arm strength but have boosted it: his previous 85-88 MPH fastball is now up to 92-94 MPH with reported peaks at 95. The fastball has life to go with the velocity. Both his curveball and change-up are advanced for a cold-weather high school pitcher. His frame is athletic and projectable so more velocity may come, and he already throws strikes with relatively low-effort mechanics. He also draws praise for his intelligence and confident nature.
Barring a late injury or ridiculous bonus demands, Wentz will not get to Virginia. He is now viewed as a mid-first round pick with a chance to go in the top ten under certain circumstances.
From the Shawnee Mission Post
He is a prospect as a hitter, too, per Baseball Factory.