Sunday, June 6, 2010

2010 Draft: Arms of Note

It's a difficult draft to forecast for the Reds, as after the top 3 picks it's pretty wide open. You have Bryce Harper, Jameson Taillon, and Manny Machado widely regarded as the top tier, but after that there's a lot of dispute and uncertainty. So, determining who will be there when the Reds select at #12 is a bit of a challenge, because it could be any number of players. But, I'll assume that those top three are off the table, so I won't spend time on those guys. As a result, I'll just cover a few arms of note in this post.

A.J. Cole - RHP, Oviedo High School

Cole is a Florida high school student and one of the top pitching prospects in the draft. He stands 6-5 and weighs in at 190 lbs. He bats right and throws right.

Cole features a fastball that sits in the low 90s and reaches 94. He also has a good curve/slurve, which sits in high 70s. He also works on a change-up, but doesn't rely on it much.

The defining characteristics of Cole are his long, lanky build. He has good size and physical projection, but his arm action is lengthy and while his build allows for additional physical projection, it also may not be sufficient to handle the rigors of pitching every 5th day.

Here is Cole in action:

Deck McGuire - RHP, Georgie Tech

McGuire stands 6-6 and weighs in at 218 lbs. He has a 90-92 mph fastball that he commands rather well. He throws a slider, curveball, and changeup. McGuire is a strike thrower, but his upside is somewhat limited. He projects as more of a middle of the rotation pitcher than an elite starter.

McGuire strikes me as being similar to Tampa Bay Ray Jeff Niemann. A solid starter, but short on the stuff needed to be an elite pitcher.

Here he is in action:

Stetson Allie - RHP, St. Edward High School

Allie possesses one of the most electric arms in the draft. He runs his fastball up to 98-99 mph and throws a slider that sits in the high 80s. You simply don't see many sliders that reach almost 90 mph, which makes it a very electric pitch. He also toys with a change-up that sits in the 85-87 mph range, but it's got a long way to go.

He also has a very good frame for a pitcher. He stands 6-4 and tips the scales at a solid 225 lbs. Despite the electric arm, Allie's value is dragged down by control problems. His mechanics are fairly clean, but there is some effort and inconsistency in his delivery.

Allie has the type of upside that could make him a top of the rotation pitcher, but he also has the rawness that could land him in the bullpen. So, he brings both high risk and high reward to the table.

Here's a look at Allie in action:

Karsten Whitson - RHP, Chipley High School

Whitson hails from Florida and is notable largely for his low 80s slider, which grades out as one of the best offspeed pitches in the draft.

He stands 6-4 and weighs in at 190 lbs. He bats and throws from the right-side. His height enables him to work on a downward plane and his fastball runs up to 95, but sits in the 91-94 range. In addition to his slider, he also features an 80-82 mph change-up.

As for his mechanics, he is somewhat stiff and throws from a rather upright position. Additionally, he has a somewhat unusual arm swing, as he drops it straight down after breaking his hands, which gives him a somewhat herky-jerky look to his arm action. That said, he also has a good arm slot and a fairly clean arm action. He takes a big, strong leg kick, but doesn't seem to efficiently utilize the potential energy he generates. He also uses a shorter stride, which limits the leg drive and cuts off some of the momentum to the plate. As a result, there is a bit of effort to his delivery and potentially a bit more stress on the arm.

Here's a look at him in action:

Whitson has good athleticism, solid/average control of his pitches, and significant upside. Overall, he's an intriguing prospect and should come off the board quickly.

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