|Report Date:||February 20th, 2018|
The Tallahassee native took the ball in his hometown for the Seminoles on Saturday, and after allowing two early runs in his season debut, Sands turned it up a notch and dominated the rest of the way. He retired 15 of his last 16 hitters faced, and struck out nine Xavier hitters across five innings, throwing 52 of 80 pitches (65%) for strikes. Most enthusing to scouts was Sands’ uptick in velocity to start the season, as the righty sat in the 92-to-94 mph range more consistently this weekend and touched as high as 96 mph.
Sands has a unique full-windup with a hand-break above his head, and while there’s some effort in his finish (moderate head snap, heavy recoil after release), he repeats it well and can work around the strike zone with numerous pitches as a starter. His increased velocity gave another grade of movement to the fastball, as he showed consistently above-average darting action and ride in to right-handed hitters. A mainstay in the Seminoles’ rotation since his freshman year, Sands has always showed the ability to mix pitches and throw off-speed for strikes. He throws a firm curveball in the 78-to-82 range that tunnels very well off his fastball when he’s on, as well as a polished circle-change that can cut down lefties when he finishes it with arm speed. Sands had all three pitches working on Saturday, showing a few terrific sequences where he established his fastball and then put hitters away with both off-speed pitches. A dominating performance to start the season—paired with the 94s, 95s, and 96s he’s hitting more frequently on the gun—have Sands’ stock on the rise as spring gets underway.