For all 2016 Prospect Ranking Scouting Reports – click here (these will come out one a day over the offseason).
When the 2015 season began, right handed pitcher Ian Kahaloa was still pitching for Campbell High School in Ewa Beach, Hawaii. The Reds would draft the then 17-year-old with their 5th round pick and would eventually sign him after having to re-work his initially agreed to contract due to elbow concerns that were raised when he had his physical.
While he signed in the final week of June, Kahaloa would make his professional debut three-and-a-half weeks later for the Arizona League Reds on July 17th. He would allow one run in an inning of work out of the bullpen and strike out two batters. On the 21st he would return to the mound, allowing a run in 1.1 innings with two walks and two strikeouts against the White Sox. In the final appearance of the month the Hawaiian teenager would allow a run over 3.0 innings, easily his longest of the season to that point, with two strikeouts. In limited action he would post a 5.06 ERA in 5.1 innings with two walks and six strikeouts.
August would get out to an excellent start. On the first day of the month he would toss 4.0 shutout innings, allowing just one hit without a walk and he struck out seven batters. A week later Kahaloa would follow that up with 4.0 more shutout frames, this time allowing just two hits and he would strike out four. The Cubs would put an end to his streak of strong outings on the 14th as they would put up three earned runs in 2.2 innings with three walks and two strikeouts against him. The right hander would rebound well the next time out. Hitting the road against the Mariners he would toss 4.0 hitless innings, allowing just one walk and he would strike out nine batters. In the final start of the season he tossed 4.0 shutout innings without a walk and with three strikeouts. Over 18.2 innings in August he would post a 1.45 ERA with four walks and 25 strikeouts to go along with a 0.70 WHIP.
The season was a short one for Ian Kahaloa, but once he took the mound it would be hard to be much more impressive. He was dominant in his time on the mound, posting a 2.25 ERA with a 0.92 WHIP, showing control and striking out a high rate of batters. He was also able to put the elbow concerns behind him as once he took the mound they didn’t seem to have any effect on his results.
Fastball | From a velocity standpoint things were a bit all over the map for Kahaloa in 2015. At times before he was drafted he was sitting in the 89-92 MPH range and other times at 93-94. Once he was signed and in the Reds organization he sat in the 90-92 range with the pitch. In high school he topped out at 97 with the pitch. The pitch shows good movement on both planes with some sinking action and armside run.
Slider | The more consistent of his offspeed offerings, his slider could be an average big league pitch in the future and is already showing itself as one at times.
Change Up | The third offering from Kahaloa also has a chance to be an average pitch in the future. It’s not as consistent as his slider, but will show itself as an average offering every so often, working in the low 80’s.
The numbers from Ian Kahaloa were outstanding in his debut. His ability to pound the strikezone at a young age is a good sign, but he will need to improve his ability to locate within the strikezone in the future. There’s more polish than upside with Kahaloa, but he’s not without upside as a guy who has touched 97 in the past. There are concerns beyond what his physical showed with his elbow. Mechanically, while he tends to repeat well, his arm action isn’t the smoothest around. Without improvements in his mechanics he seems more likely destined for the bullpen, though stranger things have happened than if he were to remain a starter, but the mechanics do cause you to pause when thinking about him handling 180+ innings with them.