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June 5, 2014

Eyewitness Accounts

June 5, 2014

by Ron Shah


Brady Aiken

Born: 08/16/1996 (Age: 17)
Bats: Left Throws: Left
Height: 6' 4" Weight: 210
Mechanics
High three-quarters slot; starts from the middle of the rubber; works through all quadrants of the zone; creates angle and downhill plane; perfect pitcher's body; 15 pounds to add on; plus athlete; plus command profile; plus makeup; athletic delivery; high leg kick; long stride; drives off of the rubber; stays balanced; incorporates entire body into the delivery; compact arm action; loose, strong arm; hides the ball well; doesn't rush; difficult to nitpick anything.
Evaluator Ron Shah
Report Date 03/18/2014
Affiliate Unaffiliated
Dates Seen 03/18/14
OFP/Risk 75/High
Realistic No. 2 Starter
MLB ETA 2017
Video Yes
Pitch Type Present Grade Future Grade Sitting Velocity Peak Velocity Report
Fastball 60 70 92 96 Four-seam fastball with late run; hides the ball well; lefties cannot pick it up; creates angle and downhill plane; plus fastball command; doesn't miss spots; precise; capable of elevating, running it on the hands, or dropping it on the black; lost some velocity toward the end of his outing; continued maturation and arm strength building should allow for consistent plus-plus velocity.
Curveball 60 70 82 83 Curveball; at least a present plus offering; flashed double-plus more than occasionally; tight spin; strong depth; vicious break; increased velocity allows for the jump; arm slot creates angle on it; pitcher can easily drop it in down-and-in on opposite-sided batters; great feel for it; plus command; will double down and work backward; thrown for called strikes, quality strikes, and chase swings; added strength will create for a harder hammer; only nitpick is offering starts outside the zone at times.
Changeup 50 60 82 83 Changeup; present fringe-average offering; flashes plus; consistent arm speed; possesses fade; plays up due to deception in delivery and great arm speed; strong feel for it; commands it east-west; isn't lagging in given developmental path; works it into sequencing; not afraid to throw it regardless of competition.
Cutter 30 50 85 86 Cutter; brand new offering the player unveiled for the first time; only threw it four times; first two were flat, leaving me unsure of what he was experimenting with; next two were much better; late, short cutting action; betting on the player's makeup and feel for pitching at just 17 years old combined with repetitions for its jump in future grade.
Overall

With a plethora of highly ranked team officials in attendance, the 17-year-old UCLA commit wowed the audience with strong command of his lethal four-pitch arsenal and pitchability beyond his years. The outing had me blown away and left me believing he is the most talented player in this year's draft class.

He began this outing as a two-pitch pitcher, using his vicious fastball and curveball combination before mixing in a changeup and cutter, ultimately working backward before exiting in the midst of a no-hitter (passed ball on a strikeout) once he hit his low pitch count limit. He can get over any of his secondary offerings for quality strikes, and double down on them, then freeze hitters by running a mid-90s fastball in on their hands. This kind of aptitude and understanding of pitching is an excellent quality for anyone to have, but it makes hitting against him a daunting task.

He won't struggle against the high school hitters he is currently facing, but he would be getting out minor-league hitters right now. In regards to the arsenal, it consists of a potential plus-plus fastball-curveball combination, 60-grade changeup, and a cutter to mix in. All of this is coming out of the left hand of an player with a 6-foot-4 body to dream on and a clean delivery that will allow for at least plus command in the future. To round it off, the player's shown great makeup and mound presence throughout his time in the spotlight.






Jordan Brink

Born: 03/18/1993 (Age: 21)
Bats: Left Throws: Right
Height: 6' 1" Weight: 180
Mechanics
Over-the-top arm slot; throws down into the zone; works from the middle of the rubber; rushes windup; high leg kick; does well staying closed early, but upper body will leak open; off-balance finish; falls off toward first base; head tilt toward first base; loose arm with plus arm speed; fluid athlete; small stature; minimum room to add useful weight due to small frame; competitor on the mound.
Evaluator Ron Shah
Report Date 06/02/2014
Affiliate Unaffiliated
Dates Seen 03/28/14
OFP/Risk 45/High
Realistic Middle Reliever
MLB ETA 2017
Video No
Pitch Type Present Grade Future Grade Sitting Velocity Peak Velocity Report
Fastabll 50 60 90 93 Four-seam fastball; some late-arm side run; appears faster due to arm acceleration; struggled to throw strikes; could add a tick or two of velocity; betting on the loose arm; velocity will play up in short bursts; however, questionable command profile at any velocity band.
Slider 40 50 84 86 Slider; mid-80s offering; possesses tilt; keeps it down in the zone; below average to fringe-average in this outing; snapped a few plus sliders late in the outing; very inconsistent; couldn't throw it for strikes; fights his arm slot when going to this offering; presently only works as a chase pitch.
Changeup 30 40 81 83 Changeup; low-80s offering; some feel; good arm speed creates deception; chase pitch only; drives it down into the zone; lacks action; too many didn't reach the plate; struggles to turn it over.
Overall

The player is a small right-handed pitcher without an arsenal strong enough to overcome his physical limitations and below-average command profile. In this outing, he struggled to throw strikes, walking eight batters in total. The arm works well and is quick, but is more arm acceleration than arm strength.

To get to his best offering, a mid-80s breaking ball, he needs to fight his over-the-top arm slot in order to get around the ball and create the tilt he wants on the offering. Combine that with his inability to throw the fastball for strikes, and this is a reliever profile.

But even as a reliever, there is risk. I am betting on the fastball velocity going up in short bursts where he can let loose and have his arm speed take over. Also, that means I'm dreaming on his ability to be able to throw a mid-90s fastball for strikes. However, his fluid athleticism and inexperience on the mound allow for some projection in the control department given the time.







Ben Wetzler

Born: 09/12/1991 (Age: 22)
Bats: Left Throws: Left
Height: 6' 1" Weight: 210
Mechanics
Standard three-quarters arm slot; arm comes lower at times; works from the first base side of the rubber; repeats mechanics well; hides the ball well behind a high leg kick; shortened leg kick out of the stretch; slow arm; compact arm action; gets behind the baseball; lacks explosion; stays tall and balanced until back leg comes through on finish; glove leads; stays closed; throwing hand can float out at front.
Evaluator Ron Shah
Report Date 06/02/2014
Affiliate Unaffiliated
Dates Seen 05/24/14
OFP/Risk 40/High
Realistic Spot Starter
MLB ETA 2017
Video Yes
Pitch Type Present Grade Future Grade Sitting Velocity Peak Velocity Report
Fastball 35 45 86 88 Four-seam fastball; features sink; natural lefty run; spots it well to either side of the plate; lack of velocity; good deception; hitters struggle to pick it up; aforementioned factors allow for a bump in grade.
Slider 40 45 80 81 Slider; inconsistent offering; some are flat and left over the plate; decent command; early break; lacks two-plane break or bite; creates some tilt;
Changeup 40 45 81 81 Changeup; some late sink; deceptive offering; small velocity cap compared to the fastball; spots it east-west; keeps it down; deterred by lack of fastball velocity.
Overall

The player is a quick-working finesse southpaw with a great track record of performance as a college pitcher in a major conference. His strengths are his ability to keep hitters off balance due to his pitchability, his three-pitch arsenal and his ability to consistently throw strikes.

However, this player is a fringe major-league pitcher. The arsenal will not play in the bullpen and won't be able to turn over a lineup multiple times to profile in the starting rotation. The fastball plays up due to his control and command, but the changeup plays down as a result. His slider lacks bite or explosion when it crosses the plate. I fail to see any projection or true weapon in the arsenal that will allow this player to carve out a niche in the major leagues.




Jace Fry

Born: 07/09/1993 (Age: 20)
Bats: Left Throws: Left
Height: 6' 1" Weight: 195
Mechanics
Slightly lower than the standard three-quarters slot; works from the extreme third base side of the rubber; live arm; ball explodes out of his hand; arm can be late getting through; lot of pressure on his throwing arm; arm slot and release point can be altered on the slider; little stiff and upright; could use better extension; some athleticism to improve delivery.
Evaluator Ron Shah
Report Date 06/02/2014
Affiliate Unaffiliated
Dates Seen 05/23/14
OFP/Risk 50/High
Realistic Swingman
MLB ETA 2017
Video Yes
Pitch Type Present Grade Future Grade Sitting Velocity Peak Velocity Report
Fastball 55 60 92 94 Four-seam fastball; natural lefty run and sink; some cutting action; more control than command; two-seam fastball features heavy arm-side life; misses arm side; adds and subtracts velocity.
Slider 50 60 81 84 Slider; solid-average offering that flashes plus; inconsistent two-plane break; mostly horizontal action; tilt and late sweep; tipped with earlier release point; go-to offering against same and opposite-sided batters; called for heavily.
Changeup 40 45 82 82 Changeup; low-80s offering; rarely used; some feel for it; needs better extension; below-average command; needs to improve ability to keep it down; some fade.
Curveball 30 30 72 78 Curveball; show-me offering; low 70s; rarely used; 1-4 break; slow arm; lacks feel; struggles to get on top of the baseball.
Overall

Southpaw with three useable pitches, two of which could be plus, with a mature and durable frame to take the ball every time through the rotation.

He currently relies heavily on his slider, which creates foolish swings from the opponents, but it plays up due to its complementing action off of his fastball. There is some feel for the changeup, but he didn't throw many of them, so it's unclear whether he can develop that into an average offering. The curveball could be pocketed for the time being, as it is just a show-me offering at this stage.

The player needs to improve his strength and conditioning, as he lost some velocity toward the end of this outing. A player development team will need to work with him on consistently finding his arm slot. He has enough athleticism and feel for his delivery to do so.

There is enough here to work with that I could see a potential No. 4 starter, but there is obvious risk. The fallback could be swingman pitcher who can be used in a variety of situations.











Michael Cederoth

Born: 11/25/1992 (Age: 21)
Bats: Right Throws: Right
Height: 6' 6" Weight: 195
Mechanics
High three-quarters slot; max-effort delivery; keeps hands high; exaggerated leg kick; medium length stride; very long arm action; elite arm strength; shows ball at backside; violent head tilt; extends out in front in finish; stays on top of the ball and drives it down into the zone; needs to improve consistency; limited command profile due to long levers and complicated delivery.
Evaluator Ron Shah
Report Date 06/03/2014
Affiliate Unaffiliated
Dates Seen 11/08/13; 03/28/14; 05/10/14
OFP/Risk 55/High
Realistic High Leverage Reliever
MLB ETA 2016
Video Yes
Pitch Type Present Grade Future Grade Sitting Velocity Peak Velocity Report
Fastball 70 70 95-96 98 Four-seam fastball; some late life; cutting action at times when kept down; size and arm slot create for excellent downhill plane; can hold mid-90s velocity for multiple innings, so there is more in the tank; command concerns keep fastball from reaching its fullest potential.
Slider 55 60 85 86 Slider; mid-80s mph offering; late horizontal action; some dive; tight, darting action; keeps arm slot high; doesn't tip it.
Overall

The player has started before, but I believe he is a reliever now and in the long term. As a starter, the arsenal also consisted of a curveball and split-changeup, but neither of the two offerings would earn an average or better grade. As a reliever, he is strictly using his fastball and slider.

The player's fastball command out of a high-maintenance delivery could be what keeps him from reaching his ceiling. If he can continue to squeeze every ounce out of his limited command profile, the player can become a high-leverage reliever.

To his credit, the command was as good as I have seen it. His elite combination of size and arm strength create for a heavy fastball that enters the zone on a steep downhill pane, making it difficult for opposing hitters to square up and lift rather than batter into the ground. He just needs to throw enough strikes for his fastball and potential plus slider to matter.


















Ron Shah is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
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