So you say it’s Game 6 in Phoenix? So what! The real action last Saturday night was occurring about 15 miles north of Phoenix as ’02 polished Canadian lefty, Adam Loewen squared off against Palos Verdes ’03 raw lefty, Case Dahlen at the Arizona Baseball Academy Senior Fall Classic.
After all the hype surrounding Loewen, the decision to bag the start of World Series Game 6 in order to attend his showcase in Peoria was a no-brainer and 40+ scouts couldn’t go wrong. Well, maybe 5 or 6 scouts couldn’t go wrong because after Loewen’s first three innings, the place cleared out. Why? Well maybe it was that the 35 scouts that left are attached to picks #5-30 in the ’02 Draft? Or maybe it’s that everyone had gotten a good enough look at the Surrey Southpaw? Or maybe it’s that those 35 scouts wanted to watch the rest of Game 6? We’ll probably never know for sure but I’d like to think it was the former. That’s the theory I’m going with because after seeing 30 minutes of the Adam Loewen show, it’d be almost unfathomable to envision him lasting beyond pick 5 on draft day.
But first, let’s get to Loewen’s Saturday night counterpart, Case Dahlen. Hailing from Palos Verdes, CA, the 6’5 Dahlen doesn’t have the most projectable frame but he does have an excellent foundation and arm stroke from which to build. Coming from a ¾ slot, Dahlen’s arm mechanics are relatively loose despite some mild shoulder torque action upon release. Dahlen works quickly with a fastball that currently sits at 86-87 and a knee buckling slider. Thrown at 80-81, his slider is a nasty, darting, thing of beauty that results in some equally nasty swings. The ¾ arm slot makes Dahlen’s release all the more potent and as he adds velocity to both his fastball and slider, his arm slot should prove even nastier to opposing hitters. It’s easy to envision him as showing a potential 90+ fastball and 82-83 slider, both with plus action. He seemed to relish going heads up with Loewen and certainly didn’t do anything to diminish his rising stock.
In the spring of ’03, scouts will no doubt be in the Palos Verdes area to get last looks at Dahlen while also getting an early view of ’04 RH Andrew Beal. But for the spring of 2002, scouts will be trekking across the U.S./Canadian border to see both Loewen and fellow lefty Jeff Francis.
In Peoria, Loewen did nothing but re-affirm his status as a potential first pick. 6’6, 220lbs.and projectable (it looks like he could grow another inch and he’ll definitely fill out up top), Loewen is already about as polished a high school lefty as you’ll find. Check that, he’s about as polished an amateur lefty as you’ll find.
When projecting where Loewen’s game may wind up it’s almost a case of ‘use your imagination’. He’s simply that good. Loose, easy, and natural are all words that sum up Loewen’s silky mechanics, arm stroke and delivery finish. He comes straight over the top with a 90+ fastball with life, a nasty 12-6 deuce and a devilish change, all of which are currently above average. The B.C. native has logged in plenty of highly competitive international innings and it shows as one of the most impressive facets of Loewen’s game is his mound presence. He commands it, simply because he plays several years older than he is. He’s the real deal and then some.
Best get ready, British Columbia. Your province is about to see an influx of duty-free shoppers, radar guns and Scouting Directors. It is, as they say, “on”.