Hunter Dietz never thought he would be in the position he is in today just two years ago as an underclassman. Over the last two years, he has increased his fastball velocity and improved his secondary pitches. He has also dedicated himself to the weight room and improved his diet, helping him lose 50 pounds.
His commitment to his craft has allowed him to improve his skills and gain national notoriety. The senior left-handed pitcher at Calvary Christian (Fla.) High School is now one of the top pitchers in the country. He also is receiving interest for July’s MLB draft, with scouts projecting him as a likely early-round pick.
“It means more than some people realize,” Dietz said. “I try not to focus on it. When I do think about how far I have come from a year or two ago to now and how much I have improved is insane. It feels surreal. Sometimes I don’t even realize it. It’s really cool to compare myself to some of the other guys up there.”
Dietz is a 6-foot-6, 225-pound left-hander who throws a four-seam fastball, slider, changeup, curveball and sinker from a high three-quarters arm slot and a smooth and repeatable delivery.
He primarily relies on his fastball and slider. His fastball is a low-90s offering that touches 94 mph. He has solid command of his fastball, which generates plenty of swings and misses. The velocity will likely increase as he continues to mature.
Dietz’s slider is his second-best pitch and is his go-to strikeout offering. He has feel for his changeup, and it flashes the potential to serve as a reliable third pitch in the future.
Dietz uses his curveball early in counts to change the eye level of a hitter. He wants to continue refining the pitch so it can serve as another strikeout pitch. The lefty occasionally mixes in his sinker. If he throws two straight fastballs and wants to throw another fastball, he will use his sinker due to its movement.
Dietz has a calm demeanor on the mound and attacks the strike zone. Scouts rave about Dietz’s size, quality pitch mix and control, believing he can start long-term.
“When you watch me pitch, you won’t know if the bases are loaded or if no one is on,” Dietz said. “If I’m doing really good or if I’m doing bad, you won’t know because I am the same person through the whole game. That plays a big role in how I pitch because I don’t let anything get to me.”
Over the last two years, Dietz has improved his secondary pitches. He wants to continue refining his curveball and changeup, hoping to have four quality pitches moving forward.
“I hope to see growth in my curveball,” Dietz said. “Once my curveball and changeup really develop and incorporate them more into my arsenal, I feel like I’ll be a really good all-around pitcher.”
Dietz has made impressive strides over the last two years. His work ethic has allowed him to garner draft interest and receive an opportunity to play at Arkansas, a premier college baseball program.
He committed to South Florida to play college baseball as a high school freshman. His brother, Tyler, was already committed to South Florida and is now a sophomore pitcher at USF.
But as time went on, Dietz wasn’t confident in his decision. He reopened his commitment and considered Arkansas and Ole Miss before committing to Arkansas in December.
Arkansas is one of the top programs in college baseball and has a track record of developing players for the pro ranks.
“Arkansas has an atmosphere that’s hard not to get better in,” Dietz said. “I really enjoyed and liked pitching coach (Matt) Hobbs. Coach (Dave) Van Horn also is great. The facilities are top-notch. I’m really excited to go there next year.”
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Dan Zielinski III has covered the MLB draft for eight years. He has interviewed 433 of the top draft prospects in that period, including four No. 1 overall picks. Multiple publications, including Baseball America, USA Today, MLB.com, The Arizona Republic and The Dallas Morning News, have quoted his work, while he has appeared on radio stations as a “MLB draft expert.” Follow him on Twitter @DanZielinski3.