Ventura, California —— At the top of this post, watch one of our scouting videos of Taft College left-handed pitching prospect Nick O’Connor, taken from his work at an April 14, 2017 game against Ventura College in California junior college non-conference baseball action.

O’Connor’s final line in this game: 7.0 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 7 K (30 batters faced).

To read our feature interview with Taft College lefty Nick O’Connor that was also published today, please click here.

Nick O’Connor scouting report notes

On Friday afternoon, Nick O’Connor and Taft College faced off against a very tough Ventura College team, and the left-handed freshman from Las Vegas kept the Pirates quiet for seven memorable innings. I’ve sat on Ventura a few times now this year, and by and large they’re a veteran lineup that takes good at-bats and actually comes to the plate with a plan, so it ought not be lost on you that O’Connor was able to completely shut them down for seven innings. Below, we’ve got five (five!) different videos breaking down how he did it and giving you a look into every single at-bat he had during that game. If you’re into pitch sequencing and crafty lefties with good stuff, the videos at the bottom of this post are worth a look.

O’Connor is about what you’d expect from a left-handed starter in junior college ball: he sits 80-85 mph with his fastball and shows solid arm-side run with good sink at times. It’s a heavy fastball that can bore in on lefties with run, and he’s also shown enough feel for it to start it glove-side in off the plate to righties and let it run right back over the corner. Coupled with the fastball, O’Connor throws a good changeup with above-average tumbling action. That pitch is a ground ball machine for him; he likes to throw it, he’s not afraid of using it to get contact, and he has enough feel for it to command it well and tunnel it where it needs to go in the bottom third of the zone.

In addition to the fastball/changeup combo, O’Connor has a promising curveball. It was working extremely well in his start against Ventura, and while there are things to improve with it like you’d expect from a young pitcher (general consistency, command to both sides of the plate), it comes out of his hand tight and spins really, really well. That’s a sign of good wrist and arm strength and a hint that the pitch could turn into a true hammer with legitimate drop-off-the-table break if he keeps at it. The curve is something of a strikeout pitch, and O’Connor sells it well with phenomenal arm action and extension. He can throw it for a strike as well as spike it, which is critical for his success to this point. Next, he’ll need to learn how to drop it in for a strike to each side of the plate and show more nuanced command of the pitch to truly make it a wipeout offering and really start pitching hitters backwards.

Whether it’s with the curve, or improving his fastball velocity, though, O’Connor is right where he needs to be at this point in his career. He’s a freshman at Taft and would do well to return for another year of development. He’s already light years ahead of where he was when I first saw him six weeks ago, which is a testament to Cougars head coach Vince Maiocco and his staff at Taft, as well as a testament to O’Connor’s coachability and hard work in making adjustments. Another year of strengthening his arm, solidifying his release points, and ironing out his mechanics will leave O’Connor throwing even harder with an even better feel for his already good off-speed stuff. If all goes well, it wouldn’t shock me to see O’Connor twelve months from now sitting 85-88 mph with an even stronger curveball and a deeper understanding of how to set up hitters.


To read our feature interview with Taft College lefty Nick O’Connor that was also published today, please click here.

To visit Nick O’Connor’s player page, please click here.


Nick O’Connor scouting report: 140 characters or less

A crafty lefty with feel for three pitches, Nick O’Connor has the foundation to become a good left-handed starter at a four-year school.


Nick O’Connor video

We’ve got a ton of Nick O’Connor video from his last start on the road at Ventura College for the Taft College Cougars, and it’s worth a look if you are into pitch sequencing and seeing how a college lefty works at-bats against his opponent. All of that Nick O’Connor video is broken down into a couple different clips below:

Nick O’Connor scouting report GIFs

Here are just a few of the GIFs we’ve got for Taft College lefty Nick O’Connor; for more GIFs (of all prospects and baseball players in our purview), follow us on GIPHY.



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In this Taft College / Nick O’Connor scouting report:

Taft College | Ventura College | Central Valley Conference | Western State Conference | Nick O’Connor

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Bobby DeMuro

Bobby DeMuro is the founder of Baseball Census. A former college and independent league baseball player, he now watches more than 200 games a year working full time for the site. You can follow him on Twitter @BobbyDeMuro for more.

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