Mace is the best pitcher on the best college baseball team in the nation. If I was to describe him in just one paragraph, I would say Mace exhibits some swag with a solid strikeout strut and shows positive emotion when he makes a big pitch or a big play is made behind him. He has a big arm, gets quick outs with his cutter, and holds his velo deep into games. Mace is economical with his pitches and is a legitimate first round talent. Mace will be a solid addition to any team’s minor league pitching pool.
That’s the quick rundown. I really like Mace and he has really grown on me. I would expect him to be there at 32 and possibly 41. We have a track record with Florida pitchers so this would be another one in the system. The Gators also have Jack Leftwich who I like as well. Adding Mace would really benefit the top end of our pitching prospects. He is probably a good comparison to Kowar in terms of draft position. Mace, like Kowar, is better than where I think he’ll be selected, but not quite a Top-20 guy. I’m not comparing their stuff because they are very different in terms of what secondaries makes them really good. I’m just saying that’s where we should expect him to get taken.
Mace has a big fastball throwing routinely throwing 94 to 96. He has bumped upper-90’s in the past and can really bring it when he is in a jam. Despite his 6’6” height, Mace makes it a point to throw his fastball downhill in the bottom of the zone. It looks like he throws a 4-seam as well as a 2-seam that runs into right-handed hitters. Because of this, he seems to get a lot of ground balls with his fastball.
Mace compliments his fastball with a cutter that he works on the left side of the plate. The pitch usually works 89 to 91 and moves away from right-handed hitters. The cutter seems to move more when he doesn’t throw it as hard but seems to jump late with less movement when he really gases it up. Being able to manipulate the pitch with those two movement patterns is a plus if he can figure it out and do it intentionally. The cutter isn’t a swing and miss pitch, but it gets a lot of bad contact and easy ground ball outs.
The big thing the cutter has done is cut down on Mace’s total number of pitches in an outing. Mace started four games in the 2020 season going 6.0 innings once and 7.0 innings three times. In two of those starts he had a pitch count in the high-80’s and in the other two he had a pitch count in the low-90’s. This will translate extremely well to pro ball because you know exactly what you are getting from him every time he takes the mound. That is a huge bonus to a manager. I’ve had life-long coaches tell me that all a manager wants is to know he can get 5.0 innings of three runs or less from his starter because that means your team always has a chance to win. It would seem that Mace has a chance to throw a quality start almost every time he takes the mound.
Mace also throws a curve that works between 75 and 80. The pitch has 11-5 movement from the catcher’s perspective and moves quickly. The pitch is thrown for strikes or as a chase pitch and gets quality results.
The change up is also a good pitch for Mace. He throws it between 86 and 88 which is a solid gap from his fastballs. Mace does a good job throwing this pitch downhill as well and it looks exactly like his fastball coming out of his hand. Mace turns this pitch over in his release which causes arm side run and sink. When he throws it with conviction, it is a one of the best change ups in the SEC.
One of the knocks on Mace from the past is he tries to overthrow when he gets in trouble. When he tries to muscle the ball, Mace loses the movement and sharpness of his off speed pitches as well as his ability to throw consistent strikes. The cutter may have fixed some of this issue. Maturity and experience have also helped.
Mace works from a hybrid stance on the third base side of the rubber. He uses a smooth leg lift with a quick tempo through his windup. If you think of Brady Singer, that is the extreme tempo. He is not as fast, but quicker than the average pitcher. When he gets in the stretch, Mace uses a full leg lift most of the time but is still quick to the plate giving his catchers a good chance to throw out runners. Mace does have a solid spin move to second base that keeps runners close.
There are a lot of top arms that I like who could go somewhere from 31 to 42. This draft is really deep on pitching. I like Mace because he is so economical and just gets outs. He has the swag you want from a guy and could really turn out to be a very good pitcher in someone’s rotation.
Image from Gator Country and taken by David Bowie.