Sunday, June 3, 2018

Draft 2018: Pitchers of Note

Casey Mize - RHP
Auburn University
6-3; 190 lbs

Casey Mize is the better pitching prospect in this draft class and is an extreme long shot to be available at pick 1.5. He checks all the boxes: stuff, production, mechanics, and size.

Here's a look at him courtesy of 20-80 Baseball on YouTube:

Frankly, it'll be a surprise if he isn't taken at pick 1.1. There's a whole lot to like about Casey Mize and if it's a pitching prospect you want, then he's your guy.

I'll just leave this final note here: In 102.2 innings this year, Mize has walked 10 and struck out 140!

Brady Singer - RHP
University of Florida
6-5; 180 lbs

Overall, I'm not seeing Singer as a viable option at pick 1.5. The combination of stuff, mechanics, and delivery tempo just don't have me seeing impact starting pitcher at the MLB level.

He features a 3-pitch mix, including fastball that sits 91/92/93 with some arm-side run and sink, a solid slider that can flash plus, and a work-in-progress changeup.

Here's a look at Singer in action, courtesy of 20-80 Baseball on YouTube:

Overall, he has clean mechanics with no obvious red flags. However, he could more effectively tap into the kinetic chain in generating force, which would reduce stress on the arm and make the generation of force more efficient.

Further, the low three-quarter arm slot is potentially problematic for a starting pitcher. Starting pitchers can work successfully from that slot, but I'm not convinced that Singer is the one to bet on. This is a pass for me at pick 1.5.

Carter Stewart - RHP
Eau Gallie High School; Melbourne, Florida
6-6; 200 lbs

Keith Law has Stewart as the number 2 player on his top 100, while slots him in at number 5.

He features a fastball, curveball, and changeup, with the first two grading out as true plus pitches. His fastball sits, depending on the day, 92-94, but has touched the upper 90s and there is obviously significant physical projection left to his game. His curveball has massive spin rate, among the highest ever recorded. So, we're talking about two potential plus pitches with a still developing changeup. Obviously, the upside is considerable, but the risk is substantial. Stewart provides a much wider range of possible career outcomes than many of the other prospects in the mix for the Reds. He could go boom, he could go bust.

Here's a look at him in action, courtesy of JT Baseball Scouting on YouTube:

The initial impression of Stewart's mechanics is one of looseness. He has long levers, his arm action is free-and-easy, and there is some overall inconsistency in his mechanics. He's just loose. On the plus side, he has a clean arm action and generates a lot of force with a very high leg kick and a long stride towards the plate. He could certainly benefit from greater differential between the rotation of the hips and the rotation of the shoulders. Overall, he seems like a live-armed youngster who could use some real development and refinement to reach his ceiling, but there's a significant amount of risk to that profile and the Reds have a poor track record of developing starting pitchers. So, are they the organization to draft and develop Carter Stewart?

Stewart has a very wide range between his floor and ceiling. Even given the risk, it would be rather interesting to have both Carter Stewart and Hunter Greene in the same organization.

Matthew Liberatore - LHP
Mountain Ridge (Ariz.) High School
6-5;  200 lbs

Liberatore is a pitcher in a draft loaded with throwers. He doesn't have the overwhelming velocity, but he has a 4-pitch mix. His fastball sits 90-92, but there's room for velocity gains as he fills out physically. He also features a curveball, slider, and changeup. In addition, he has good command and control and an understanding of how to pitch.

As for his pitching mechanics, he has very clean, fundamentally sound mechanics. Here's a look at Liberatore, courtesy of FanGraphs on YouTube:

Overall, Liberatore has a nice blend of stuff and polish. His combination of ceiling and floor should make him a top 10, if not top 5 pick.

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