Great pitcher's body with present strength in an athletic frame; lower body shows good muscle definition; slow-paced delivery; reaches balance point using a high leg kick with his toes pointed downward and strides down the mound deliberately with below-average momentum, landing on his heel; long arm action with a wide arm circle/long arm swing in the back; shows ball to left-handed hitters; lands on staunch front leg, limiting extension and release-point depth; struggles with keeping his front side closed and will land slightly open, increasing visibility of the ball; spins off wildly toward first base with head movement, displaying poor balance; arm slot varies from three-quarters to a shade below; 1.3 seconds to the plate. Overall, player's mechanics are inefficient with potential avenues for exploitation.
Mississippi Braves (AA, Braves)
50; late-innings setup role
Velocity: plus; pitch consistently sits 92-94 and will touch as high as 95. Command: fringe-average presently, but shows the ability to work the lower quadrants of the zone; pitch missed up in the zone with surprising frequency in latest viewing. Movement: plus arm-side sink and run; limited downhill plane due to lower slot; pitch loses its intensity when left up in the zone and straightens out considerably, leading to hard contact. Comments: Hursh's fastball (two-seam) has plus or better life and velocity, but the overall command of the pitch is currently fringe. When the pitch is up and catches too much of the plate, it's a very hittable offering, and given the visibility of the ball inherent within the delivery, hitters can track the ball for a long time and deposit the pitch accordingly. At its best, the pitch is a barrel-missing offering that will generate tons of groundouts. Further command improvements are needed in order for this pitch to reach its projection.
Command: fringe-average; struggles to spot the pitch and will often leave it up in the zone for hitters to feast upon; flashes ability to drop it in early to steal a strike. Movement: fringe-average; pitch will display visible hump out of his hand and slurvy, sweeping break; break varies between 10/4 and 11/5; struggles to stay on top of the ball and will slip under it, leading to inconsistent and poor movement. Comments: At its best, this is a get-me-over offering at the major-league level with slurvy break and an inability to spot the pitch, two areas of concern that are directly related to release point inconsistency. This pitch does not elicit swings-and-misses within the zone and very rarely forces hitters to chase out of the zone. There's very little projection with this pitch.
Command: fringe-average; flashes ability to locate pitch on the corners but chokes it in the dirt far too often; pitcher is still developing feel for the pitch; will throw the pitch to lefties and righties alike. Movement: flashes above-average arm-side fade with good vertical action when all is right with the pitch; offering shows a tendency to straighten out when hung up in the zone. Comments: The changeup is the better of the two secondaries going forward. The pitch plays well off of the fastball, mimicking the pitch's movement with good velocity separation. The approach with the offering is obvious, as the pitcher aims to get hitters on their front foot and pound the pitch into the ground. The above-average movement on the pitch will also allow the pitcher to generate swings and misses, particularly against left-handed hitters. Accumulating touch and feel with the offering will be the key to unlock the pitch's potential going forward.
Without a consistent swing-and-miss secondary offering, Hursh projects as a back-end starter almost solely due to his lively, heavy fastball that is sure to induce a bevy of ground-balls. The curveball will not be a weapon at the highest level and will be used as a pitch to steal a quick strike early in counts. The changeup flashes above-average funneling action to the arm side and can be used as both a swing-and-miss offering and one that elicits weak contact, but further repetitions are needed in order to develop better feel for the pitch.
Hursh will continue to be developed as a starter, but should that fail, he has the ability to pitch in the back-end of a bullpen in a setup role as a pitcher who can get both lefties and righties out by generating easy ground-ball outs. Without a ton of projection left in the arsenal, Hursh should be ready to contribute in some capacity during the 2015 season.