2008 MLB Draft Preview: Pitchers

4 06 2008

We looked at some of the potential bats taken by Milwaukee in the first round of the MLB Draft. Now, we’ll move on to the pitchers. There are more pitchers to analyze, so this will be a little longer…not that you’ll complain, I’m sure.

I apologize that I didn’t have time to write a recap of the game tonight. The Brewers had a great win, and Seth McClung look pretty good on the mound. The sluggers are starting to come out to play as well. That’s all the analysis you get though, as I spent my time tonight researching some pitching prospects for the MLB Draft. Enjoy.

High School Prospects

RHP Tim Melville (Wentzville High School, Mo.) – Tim is widely regarded as one of, if not the, best HS prospect in the 2008 Draft. The young man has a big frame on the mound, which projects well in the big leagues. His fastball sits around 92 mph. When he fills into his frame, however, his fastball should gain some velocity and movement. The right-hander also has a type of knuckle-curve. It is inconsistent. One pitch, it is below-average. The next pitch, he has a plus-plus curve. He will definitely need to develop that more to be successful in the minor leagues.

Strengths: Melville has a fairly good fastball, but it projects to be a plus pitch after he gains some strength. His frame is a big plus for Tim. He’s a young man and has not filled into his body quite yet. Once he does, you can expect a fastball in the 94-96 mph range. Scouts love his poise on the mound. He doesn’t get rattled and makes adjustments pitch-to-pitch.

Weaknesses: A lack of a premium off-speed pitch. His knuckle-curve has gotten better throughout the year, but it is certainly not a plus pitch at this point. A change-up would be a nice addition to his arsenal, but he is not quite comfortable throwing that pitch.

RHP Gerrit Cole (Orange Lutheran HS, Cali.) – If scouts are look at pure “stuff,” Gerrit takes the cake as far as high schoolers are concerned. The fastball clocks in around 97-98 mph, and it generally has a fair amount of sink to it. It is a bit inconsistent throughout the game, however, normally sitting around the 93-94 mph. That obviously projects well to the big leagues as Cole is able to grow into his body a bit more. He has a pretty good slider, and a fairly good change-up. Both project to be plus pitches in a few years.

Strengths: Gerrit has three potentially plus pitches, which is very rare for a high school pitcher. His control is very good, as well. The young man has all the tools to be the ace of a big league pitching staff in a few years. He will go fairly high in the draft, but he could drop to Milwaukee.

Weaknesses: Scouts have been very concerned about Cole’s mound presence. He gets in altercations with his fellow players and the umps behind the plate. Needless to say…there are character/poise issues with Gerrit. Some are also worried about his mechanics. Teams do not want an injury waiting to happen. Finally, signability is a concern. Cole is a Scott Boras client, so the price tag will be high. That hasn’t stopped the Brewers before though.

RHP Jake Odorizzi (Highland HS, Ill.) – Jake has been connected to Milwaukee in the Supplemental Round, but he has had some “helium” lately. He’s been rising up draft boards in a hurry, and his stuff suggests he deserves the hype. The young man has four average to above-average pitches, and his command is solid. His four-seam fastball sits at about 91-93 mph, while his two-seamer is about 4 mph slower with much more movement. The curveball can be a plus pitch for Odorizzi at times, and he controls it pretty well. His slider is a project at the moment, but it has a late, sharp break. It projects to be at least average in the big leagues.

Strengths: Odorizzi is a relatively polished high school prospect. He possesses four pitches that project to be at least average, with his curveball projecting to be a plus hammer. The command is only an issue with his four-seamer, but his two-seamer is nasty. It can hit 91 mph on the gun right now and moves both ways on the plate. His frame gives him plenty of room to gain some strength and potentially some velocity in a couple years. I like this kid.

Weaknesses: Even though Jake has some good stuff, he doesn’t make hitters miss as much as you would think. His competitiveness and killer instinct has been questioned, but I think he’s proven that to be incorrect this season. The real issue is convincing him not to go to Louisville next season. I believe that will be difficult to do.

LHP Brett DeVall (Niceville HS, Fla.) – This left-hander has been overlooked in the past couple weeks because he does not light up the radar gun. Brett only hits about 90-91 mph on his fastball, but it has decent life to it. Scouts are not too excited about his power pitching abilities, but the young man has pretty good off-speed pitches. His curveball is more of a slurve, but it is developing quickly. Brett’s best pitch is his change-up. If he can develop his curveball a bit and gain a mph or to on his fastball, he could be a stud. That’s a lot of “ifs” though.

Strengths: Brett has great command on both the inside and outside of the plate. His delivery is easy on the arm and very consistent. Command should never be an issue for Brett. The southpaw projects to have three above-average pitches, with the change-up being the best. His poise on the mound is wonderful too.

Weaknesses: His fastball tends to get a little flat up in the zone, and it is not as fast as the scouts would like. The curveball is not a plus pitch at this point. If he can get some help with the pitch in the minors, however, the young man could be a very valuable pitcher to some organization.

Collegiate Prospects

LHP Christian Friedrich (Eastern Kentucky Univ.) – Christian is the “safest” collegiate pitcher in the draft. He’s being projected to go around the #10-12 slot, but he could fall down to Milwaukee’s pick at #16. If the young man is there for Milwaukee in the first round, I suspect Jack Z would not be able to pass him up. His fastball projects to be a plus pitch. He puts it over the plate around 92-93 mph, and it has pretty good movement to it. Friedrich also has a slider that has a short break. Scouts see it more as a cutter. His curveball is an above-average pitch currently, and it projects to get a little better in the future. His pitching motion is fairly easy on his body and repeatable.

Strengths: His fastball and curveball project to be above-average, and his slider still has some room for improvement. A lefty that has three average or above pitches gets scouts pretty excited. His frame is very good too. He’s a big strong lefty that has a minimal injury risk, as far as pitchers go at least.

Weaknesses: Scouts only see Friedrich being a number 3 starter in the big leagues. That may turn off some teams early in the draft. His command is also an issue, but his pitching motion suggests he’ll be able to fix that with some seasoning in the minors.

RHP Joshua Fields (Univ. of Georgia) – Milwaukee has been connected with Josh for several weeks now. The closer is extremely polished and projects to have an impact in the big leagues in the near future. He’s someone the Brewers could really push through the system. His fastball sits in the mid-90’s, but his curveball is his out-pitch. It is a plus-plus curve that falls off the table. His versatility is virtually naught, as Josh only projects as a closer. Melvin has said that Milwaukee does not want to take someone like Josh in the first round because he’s limited in what he can do, but reports have been flying that Fields could be the answer to the bullpen woes in the coming years.

Strengths: His command is average to above-average, but his real strength is his killer curveball. He makes hitters look completely lost with that pitch. The young man has a killer instinct on the mound, a true closer’s mentality. Scouts say that he’ll be in the big leagues in 2009…at the latest.

Weaknesses: The fastball is a bit straight, but the movement becomes average when it is down in the zone. The real weakness stems from the fact that Josh is a reliever. Only a reliever. Teams believe they can find effective relievers elsewhere and don’t need to waste a first-round pick on one.

RHP Shooter Hunt (Tulane Univ.) – Shooter relies on his two-seam fastball a little more than most pitchers. It sits in the low-90s, but it has some very good run to it. His four-seamer can hit 95 mph. It is much flatter, but he really only uses it as a strikeout pitch up in the zone. Even though he’s a junior in college, he has some room to grow into his body. Hunt is very tall and stands to gain some muscle. Much like Fields, Shooter has a curveball that falls off the table. It is a power curve that is already a plus pitch. Shooter has consistently been projected to be selected around the #16 pick, but I have not seen any mock draft that has Milwaukee selecting Shooter. That doesn’t mean anything, however.

Strengths: His fastball is already an above-average pitch, and his curveball is an extreme plus pitch. Hunt also has shown the feel for a change-up. He doesn’t throw it too much in game action, however. The poise on the mound has been very good.

Weaknesses: The command has been an issue for Shooter. The walk total has been very high for the young man, but scouts believe it can be fixed. His pitches are good, his poise on the mound is good, but teams are concerned about the walks.

RHP Tanner Scheppers (Fresno State Univ.) – Tanner is a Junior at Fresno, but scouts are talking about his potential to grow into a fine pitcher. His fastball is above-average, clocking in at about 92-95 mph with above-average movement. Scouts believe that his fastball will get better as he matures, however. The slider is a plus pitch. It falls in the mid-80s and has a sharp, late break. Scheppers was recruited as a shortstop, so he has a big, athletic body. It projects to fill out a bit, which has scouts believing Tanner can be a stud on the mound. Scouts also love his poise on the mound. He doesn’t get rattled.

Strengths: Tanner has an above-average fastball and a plus slider, but scouts are all about the potential he has to improve. There is room to fill his body out, which should produce some velocity on his fastball. The command is usually pretty good, but can be a little inconsistent with the slider. Overall, however, his command is average.

Weaknesses: He is new to pitching, as he was recruited as a shortstop, so his mechanics are a little stiff. He doesn’t hold runners on well at all either. That will come with experience, however. His arm is quite young, so teams will have to be cautious with how they push him through the season in the minors. That type of cautiousness is usually reserved for high school pitchers, but Scheppers is so new to pitching that he cannot be pushed too hard.



One response

3 06 2008

Get a great idea from this who is out there… I will be back to check out the mock draft and after the draft to see if any of the profiles are the guys the Brewers picked

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