|Report Date:||April 10th, 2019|
Though he was already regarded as one of the top prep arms in this draft class, Malone transferred from Porter Ridge (NC) to IMG Academy ahead of his senior year which only bolstered his visibility. While he flashed front line stuff on the showcase circuit, the North Carolina commit didn’t consistently harness his potential over the summer. In front of a deluge of scouting brass at the USA Baseball National High School Invitational, Malone absolutely shoved against La Mirada (CA), racking up eight strikeouts in a three-hit shutout, looking like a potential top 10 pick in the process.
At 6-foot-5 and 220 pounds, Malone has a prototypical pitchers body, with present strength and athletic flexibility. Working from a 3/4 arm slot, he gets downhill with his fastball that ranges from 93-to-96 mph. He does well to incorporate his lower half, driving off the mound to create easy velocity when his upper and lower halves are in sync. While he filled the zone with strikes in this showing, his arm would periodically drag, causing him to fall off the mound to the 1st base side, detrimentally impacting his fastball command. In this outing, as with prior viewings, he’s shown a propensity for generating swinging strikes with his fastball. Malone utilizes three secondary offerings, the best of which is a plus low-80’s slider, a true put-away pitch with bite and tilt. The 74-to-76 mph curveball was consistently average and flashed better, with moderate depth and 11-to-5 movement. His changeup has shown marked improvement from prior viewings, with increased separation off the fastball and significantly more arm side run, looking like an average pitch and another neutralizing weapon in the arsenal.
With a strong showing at a heavily scouted event, Malone may have separated himself as the top high school in the class.