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Tei Vanderford Scouting Report

Right-Handed Pitcher
Cal State Northridge

Tool (PV/FV)
Notes & Comments
Four-Seam Fastball (40/50)
Very straight four-seam fastball coming out straight over the top; moderate downward life thanks to natural plane from decently tall frame, but little else here to give the pitch any deception or life out of his hand. Must be well-commanded to survive, and even then, could use a few more ticks of velo. According to a scout I spoke with, Tei Vanderford sat 90-94 at points late last year, but he wasn’t doing that for me in early looks this season; low 90s would improve the profile considerably. Velocity: 85-90.

Two-Seam Fastball (30/35)
Similar to four-seam fastball, but with a modest amount of arm-side tail; not much sink beyond some downward plane from overhand release. Modest run makes for a different wrinkle from the four-seamer, but there’s not a ton of life here. Uses it on arm-side half to LHH, sometimes will run it in on that same spot to bust RHH hard, but lacks velocity to really get in there against better hitters. Command must cooperate for pitch to be really effective; not much margin for error here. Velocity: 84-87.

Cut Fastball (35/40)
Sort of an equal-and-opposite pitch to the two-seamer; less velocity with more pronounced life, but to glove-side. Not much depth on the pitch, but rather a few inches of horizontal movement remaining on one plane as it kicks out to glove-side. Will throw it against LHH to get in on their hands, but just as with two-seamer, not enough velocity to really bust inside against hitters with good bat speed. Likes to throw it a lot; will play it off his slider; makes for two distinct pitches even with similar tunnels/paths. Velocity: 79-84.

Changeup (30/35)
More of a show-me pitch right now, but has consistent ability to throw it for a strike. Looks like a circle variety out of his hand; modest tumble and some fade to arm-side, but as with most everything in his repertoire, not a ton of life here. Velo differential more than anything is what makes this pitch work; can get hitters out in front with some regularity and draw weak contact, particularly against LHH. Longer ways to go here without much natural life, though; as with rest of repertoire, should remain a below-average pitch even at ceiling. Velocity: 73-77.

Curveball (30/35)
Used more sparingly out of his two breaking balls; true 12-to-6 break here, but even the curveball lacks big bite and shows a smaller, more subtle hump. Feel for spin and some ability to command it side to side, but lacks true wipeout characteristics and struggles to consistently miss bats with it. Underwhelming pitch, particularly for his overhand release; tight spinner with feel, but no hard break that can play at higher levels. Velocity: 70-73.

Slider (40/45)
Tighter breaking ball here and used more often than the curveball; distinct from both the curve and the cutter, sitting in between each, though some tendency to blend pitches together at times with difficulty distinguishing. 11-to-5 break with some depth; used as his strikeout pitch in my looks. Spinner with some feel side to side; can float and hang on occasion, but relatively consistent downward break. Not afraid to play the slider off the cutter, and vice versa, despite them being similar pitches with near similar breaks. Velocity: 75-78.

Command (55/60)
Stellar command profile; well above-average ability to fill up the zone with all of his pitches, and advanced ability to repeat his delivery and release points deep into games. Lots of credit here for really throwing strikes with his entire repertoire, even if pitch life is lacking; will challenge hitters and work efficiently; also comfortable pitching to spots with runners on base and in high-traffic and high-leverage situations. As middling as his stuff may be, there’s something to be said for his consistency in pounding the zone to pitcher’s spots on the corners.

Very deliberate, methodical, slow-paced worker. Nearly over the top/overhead arm angle; drop and drive to the plate that betrays some downhill plane, but high arm angle works here. Slow to the plate with runners on base, as deliberate pace comes back to bite him; timed him 1.38 - 1.45 to the plate with runners on first. Will hold/rush/double clutch balance points in a bid to throw off hitters’ timing; alternatively, will sometimes rush to plate to disrupt timing; doing every little thing he can to get an edge without real raw ability to miss bats with his stuff.

Listed at 6’2”, 215 lbs., but looks a bit smaller. Inevitable durability questions will arise considering significant injury history and missing multiple seasons at the University of Tennessee. That said, held up well through nearly 100 innings last spring and was throwing as hard as he’s ever thrown by the end of the year. Admittedly, I was very skeptical when I watched him flash six pitches, but damn it if he doesn’t have six pitches; all below-average, but all distinct with ability to fill up the strike zone. Far more a pitcher than a thrower; tries to carve people up with a very deep arsenal. Sort of a ‘jack of all trades’ scenario here though; is it better to have six below-average pitches, or cut down to three average/above-average ones? Got hit harder second time through in my look; struggles to make adjustments/stay off the barrel with less than ideal stuff/velocity, and good hitters who are aggressive in the strike zone will adjust to him quickly. He has little in the repertoire that can miss bats, and hitters know that; easy to sit on him and barrel up fastball/cutter/slider tunneled in the zone.

MLB Draft
Low priority follow for the 2018 MLB Draft as a senior sign, and perhaps more likely as an undrafted free agent; will be old entering pro ball, considering he’s spent six years to get through college baseball (two each at Glendale Community College, Tennessee, and Cal State Northridge). Some attractiveness here with his stellar command profile and mature, advanced approach on the mound; definite pitcher in a world of throwers, but needs more velocity and life if he’s to really be taken seriously. If that brief 90-94 flash from last year comes back, that’ll change his MLB Draft profile considerably.

OFP (45 FV)
Already closer to final form than most/all college prospects considering age and experience; can’t imagine a very high ceiling for Tei Vanderford in pro ball beyond a back-end/swingman role, or low-leverage long relief as organizational depth. Lower risk arm considering command profile of such a deep repertoire, but there’s just not a ton of big league value or upside here. Will work as an org arm with the potential one day for an occasional call-up as bullpen/spot start depth. Again, bumping velo to that 90-94 mirage changes profile a bit, but even then, he’s a back-end rotation arm at ceiling and far more likely a long reliever. MLB ETA: 2021.

Tei Vanderford Scouting Report, Cal State Northridge — Game Video

In addition to our Tei Vanderford scouting report, we have game video below. You can get more Cal State Northridge prospect videos when you click here and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

More from our Tei Vanderford scouting report and other Cal State Northridge prospects:

Albee Weiss, DH | Alvaro Rubalcaba, SS

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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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  1. […] Tei Vanderford, RHP | Trevor Casanova, C | Alvaro Rubalcaba, INF | Albee Weiss, DH […]

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