Today begins the last position we will be looking at for the Cincinnati Reds potential options for their #35 and #43 overall picks in the upcoming draft, which begins on Thursday. If you are interested in checking out the articles that focus on the infielders, outfielders, and part 1 of the pitcher series you can read all about them here, along with all of the other draft coverage we’ve had.
To get the information on which players to look at, I sampled the players ranked between #25 and #50 on the draft boards by Baseball America, MLB Pipeline and Keith Law at ESPN (insider required). That led to a list of 45 players between the three lists that we will be looking at between now and the draft. Some of these players are ranked in the Top 25 at some places, and beyond 100 in others, so there is plenty of variance in the lists.
With the pure volume of pitchers in this area, this article is going to be broken down over two days to cover the 21 pitchers that make up the list. The breakdown will be simple – I’m just going to look at things in alphabetical order, but will be breaking down the players in the two groupings to high schoolers and college pitchers.
The High School Pitchers
Jesus Luzardo | LHP Douglas High School (FL)
Coming into the season Jesus Luzardo was high on the radar of teams around Major League Baseball. Unfortunately he suffered an injury early in the year and had to undergo Tommy John surgery. Before the injury though, he was showing an uptick in velocity, sitting in the 92-94 MPH range and touching higher from the left side. The lefty also has an above-average slider at times, though it’s been average far more often than it’s been above-average. He brings a below-average curveball and a change up that he doesn’t show often but when he does it’s an above-average offering. The injury leaves open a lot of questions, but when healthy this spring he showed easy 1st round stuff.
Kyle Muller | LHP Dallas Jesuit Prep (TX)
A two-way player if he makes it to college, Kyle Muller’s future as a professional likely resides on the mound. At 6′ 5″ and 230 lbs, he’s got a big pitchers frame to work with. His fastball is sitting in the low 90’s and touching 95 at times this spring and could have some room for growth. His curveball projects to be average, though it’s an inconsistent pitch now. His change up is a well below-average pitch right now, but could be an average offering in the future.
Ryan Rolison | LHP University School of Jackson (TN)
Increased velocity has pushed Ryan Rolison up draft boards this spring. He’s gone from the upper 80’s into the low 90’s this year. His curveball is an above-average offering when it is at it’s best. He also shows a solid change up that shows good late sinking action at times. There’s not a ton of upside with Rolison, but he’s viewed as one of the more polished pitchers in the high school group this year.
Alex Speas | RHP McEachern High School (GA)
Power stuff is what puts Alex Speas in the conversation among the high school group this year. The 6′ 4″ and 190 lb right hander is already sitting 92-95 MPH and touches 97 and many believe he’s going to find more in the future. His slider is also an above-average offering that works in the mid 80’s. The change up is a below-average offering now but has shown itself enough that it could be a fringy-average offering in the future. Consistency has been a problem for Speas though, particularly when it comes to his control. He’s had some problems repeating his mechanics and that’s led to problems finding the strikezone at times.
The College Pitchers
Anthony Kay | LHP Connecticut
The left handed Anthony Kay has been quite dominant for Connecticut in 2016, posting a 2.65 ERA in 119.0 innings where he walked 37 batters and had 111 strikeouts. He did allow 12 home runs on the season, which is far more than he’d allowed in the previous two seasons combined in 167.0 innings. He throws his fastball in the low 90’s and can reach back and touch 95 at times. His bread-and-butter pitch is his change up, which has plus movement to it. The issue is that he throws the pitch from a slightly different arm slot that tips the pitch. He also shows a slider, but it’s a slightly below-average offering.
Eric Lauer | LHP Kent State
The Ohio high schooler was selected in the 17th round by the Blue Jays in 2013 but chose to go to college at Kent State instead of sign. It seems like the move will have paid off. In 2015 he posted a 1.98 ERA in 13 starts and two relief appearances, but the 2016 season has been even better. He’s dominated the MAC, posting a 0.69 ERA in 104.0 innings, allowing just 49 hits and 28 walks. The lefty has also struck out 125 batters. He works with his fastball in the 90-92 MPH range that he controls well. His slider in the low-to-mid 80’s is an above-average pitch and he mixes in a curveball in the low-to-mid 70’s that’s below-average most of the time but does show up as an average offering at times. Lauer also shows a change up every so often that shows nice sinking action to it.
Cal Quantrill | RHP Stanford
It’s been nearly two years since we’ve had a good look at Cal Quantrill. He made three starts in 2015 for Stanford before undergoing Tommy John surgery in March of the same year. As a freshman he posted a 2.68 ERA in 110.2 innings with 34 walks and 98 strikeouts. In three starts in 2015 he posted a 1.93 ERA in 18.2 innings with eight walks and 20 strikeouts. He hasn’t pitched in 2016. When he was healthy he threw in the low 90’s and would touch the mid 90’s at times. His change up projects as a potential plus offering and both his curveball and slider project to be at least Major League average. The lack of much performance in the last two years make him a real wild card, but when he’s healthy, he’s resembled a strong 1st round caliber pick.
Cody Sedlock | RHP Illinois
Illinois starter Cody Sedlock has dominated the Big 10 this year, posting a 2.49 ERA in 101.1 innings with 31 walks and 116 strikeouts. He also performed well in the Cape Cod League last summer where he had seven walks and 26 strikeouts in 29.0 innings. His fastball works in the low-to-mid 90’s with some sinking action. His slider is perhaps his best secondary offering that works in the low 80’s and is an above-average pitch. He also mixes in a solid curveball and solid change up. One concern with Sedlock is that he was ridden pretty hard in more than a few games this season, throwing 132 pitches over 10 innings in one game against Ohio State.
Logan Shore | RHP Florida
Logan Shore isn’t the top prospect in the Florida rotation, but he’s been the best pitcher in the Florida rotation for three years running now. He’s posted a 2.46 ERA in his career for the Gators and it’s sitting at 2.44 this season in 92.1 innings with 15 walks and 80 strikeouts. He works in the low 90’s with his fastball. His change up rates out as a potential plus pitch, but his breaking ball is a below-average slider. He pounds the strikezone and seems like a safe bet to be a big leaguer, but the questions with him are more about whether he can start in the long run or will have to move into the bullpen.
Robert Tyler | RHP Georgia
Georgia’s Robert Tyler brings one of the better fastballs from the starters in this draft, working in the mid-90’s and touching 100 when he’s at his best. He also throws an above-average to plus change up with good fading action. Those are the good signs, but they come along with some concerns as well. His breaking ball has been a real issue throughout his career. He’s picked up a knuckle curve, which is better than any breaking ball he’s shown in the past, but it is still a well below-average offering most of the time. He also struggles to repeat his mechanics, which has led to problems throwing strikes. He’s posted a 4.10 ERA this season with 46 walks and 89 strikeouts in 74.2 innings pitched. He’s more likely a reliever than a starter, but you can dream on him as a starter if you think he can clean up his mechanics some and repeat them better.
TJ Zeuch | RHP Pittsburgh
The Mason, Ohio product was drafted in the 31st round in 2013 coming out of high school but chose to head to Pittsburgh where he’s started each of his three seasons. He missed the early part of 2016 with a groin injury, but has pitched well since returning. Zeuch has posted a 3.10 ERA in 10 starts, walking 19 batters with 74 strikeouts in 69.2 innings pitched. at 6′ 7″ and 225 lbs, he’s physically imposing and works on a downhill plane. His fastball works in the 92-94 MPH range and can touch 97, with some scouts thinking there’s more velocity in the tank. His offspeed pitches are all fringy though. His slider, curveball and change up are all below-average right now, but his curveball may have a chance to be a slightly above-average pitch in the future.