The big lefty from New Jersey has climbed up draft boards this year. Anthony Solometo will be a name you will hear on July 11. Who takes him is anybody’s guess, but be assured that the talent is there, as he is among the top three prep starters in this year’s class. Let’s take a look at the ace of the Crusaders.
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Anthony Solometo, LHP, Bishop Eustace HS (Pennsauken, NJ)
Weight: 215 lbs.
High School: 6 G (5 starts) 0.28 ERA, 32.2 IP, 5 hits, 5 walks, 64 Ks
As you can see from the stats above, Solometo is too good for High School ball. He has absolutely dominated and with good reason. At 18 years old, the kid from Jersey has an impressive mix and a good feel for the strike zone, albeit with an unusual delivery.
The complete pitch mix and his command of those pitches are probably Solometo’s best attributes. His fastball sits 90-93 mph and he has no problem throwing it inside to right-handed hitters. It has riding life and he can command it up in the zone. He throws his slider as more of an offspeed pitch right now in the low 80s, but it works well when he can bury it at the righties back foot.
His changeup has a chance to be a weapon if he can command it, especially to righties. It has some fade and he can drop it in the 70s which will play well off of his fastball. Solometo is advanced as far as his understanding of the game and his baseball IQ which is something scouts rave about. His delivery is deceptive and while it is a little quirky, he does a good job of repeating it.
While he has two very good pitches, he will need to command his changeup to get right-handed hitters out. Solometo will not be able to get away with strictly harder stuff inside to righties at the major-league level. Even with an improved changeup, he doesn’t have a fourth pitch. To develop into a true top-of-the-rotation arm, the New Jersey prepster will need to either work on a serviceable curveball or change grips a bit to morph his fastball into a cutter.
Pro Comparison: Blake Snell
The Padres’ lefty has turned more to his slider this season and employs that pitch along with his heater nearly 70 percent of the time. Both pitchers are big southpaws and while their deliveries are distinctively different, their pitch mix is similar. Solometo has a chance to be even better than Snell if he can improve on his secondary offerings. There is plenty of time for the 18-year-old.
Draft Projection: Round 1, Pick 22, Chicago White Sox
The White Sox are obviously an up-and-coming team. They have the luxury right now of drafting a High School pitcher who could use some development. The upside is clearly there and just like when the Sox traded with the other Sox for Michael Kopech, they have a plan in mind. That is to have a couple of aces to anchor their staff for years to come.
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Main Image Credit: https://www.courierpostonline.com/story/sports/high-school/baseball/2021/04/23/anthony-solometo-pitches-bishop-eustace-past-ocean-city-coaches-cancer-classic/7205720002/