Author: Shaun P Kernahan

2021 Draft Prospect: Luke Albright – RHP – Kent State

Player: Luke Albright                                       Scout Date: 2/21/2021 vs. Virginia Tech
Organization: Kent State                                                                                     Position(s): RHP
Height: 6’4”                     Weight: 215 lbs.                     Bats: Right                    Throws: Right
Fastball: Sits low 90s, touches 95. Some downhill plane with limited arm-side run. Can miss high arm-side too often. Ball flattens and becomes hittable when overthrown reaching back for extra velo. Most effective 91-93.
Change: Good arm speed, falls late. Best pitch on the day. Long been considered a distant fourth offering, made real strides and showing better command of pitch.
Slider: Two versions, cutting and breaking. Breaker in low-80s, cut action mid-80s. Shape gets slurvy at times but still sharp rather than loopy just with two-plane break. Cut action at higher velo is single plane break with late run that draws soft contact rather than a swing and miss offering.
Curve: 12-6 typically that occasionally moves over to a 1-7 break. Big looper. Arm speed doesn’t vary keeping hitters off balance. Break goes from shoulder to knees. Potential plus offering.
Delivery/Mechanics: Traditional 3/4 slot with good extension. Gets good leg drive. High leg kick in stretch leaves him susceptible to quality base runners. Missed zone with first five offerings on the day. Has body and delivery of a starter. Mild late effort. Command inconsistent and needs to be ironed out to make it although it improved throughout the game.
Summary: Not going to wow anyone, but four to five quality offerings (if you want to consider the cut action slider a pitch of its own) that can keep hitters off balance. Body and delivery suggest longevity as an innings eater. Limited ceiling but floor is rather high. Don’t see him becoming anything more than a number four starter, but could be a fast moving arm that should be a safe bet to be a mainstay at the back end of a rotation.

Prospect Call Up: Ian Anderson, RHP, Atlanta Braves

The Atlanta Braves are leading their division but have not nearly lived up to their potential this season, and the biggest issue has been their starting rotation. Insert Ian Anderson, the Braves top pitching prospect, who will make his debut on Tuesday.

Anderson was selected third overall out of high school just outside New York’s capital city, and he has faired well since. His fastball runs up to 96 with a good amount of run and even some sink to it. This combination of velocity and movement gives it plus potential while sitting just above-average currently.

The best offering for Anderson may be his big 12-6 curve that is a true swing and miss pitch. It sits high 70s and he is not afraid to double up on the pitch to help keep hitters off-balance. His change is much better than you often see from a 22-year old righty, and could flirt with plus in the future, but definitely be an above-average pitch.

All three are at least big league average offerings currently, although the command is a bit of a concern. The arm slot is very high, and the front leg can be stiff at times, causing him to miss up in the zone, which resulted in an uptick in long balls a season ago. If he can manage the north-south command and utilize his advanced off-speed offering well, he should stick in the rotation for the rest of the season and be a quality number three in future seasons.

Three Big Name Prospects Called Up

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Jo Adell at the 2019 AFL Fall Stars Game. Courtesy: Aaron Whelan

Tuesday has turned into a rather significant day in terms of prospect promotions, as Jo Adell, James Kaprielian, and Luis Patino all learn they will be experiencing their first day of big league ball on this day.

The biggest hype of the three is easily Jo Adell with the Los Angeles Angels. The 10th overall pick in 2017 is as much fun to watch as any prospect in all of baseball. He is incredibly athletic with a strong yet agile frame. Truly a five-tool talent, he has plus power, plus speed, to go with above average glove and arm. He has struck out more than 25% in his minor league career, so the hit tool is easily his weakest, but has hit just two points under .300 in his three minor league seasons. When he made his pro debut in the AZL in 2017, he was on a very talented Angels club, but there was no doubt he was the best player on the field, and has continued to be nearly every game since. Adell is probably going to be a right fielder long term next to Mike Trout, making the outfield in Orange County one of the best in all of baseball regardless of who plays left.

Kapreilian is joining an incredibly talented and young staff with the Oakland Athletics. He impressed with his elite at UCLA, and has only improved since getting to pro ball, going from walking just 5.3 per nine his freshman year, to 3.0 his sophomore, and 2.8 in his junior season, and walking merely 2.1/9 since entering the minors. Originally selected by the New York Yankees, Kapreilian looked to be on the fast track to the bigs when he flashed high quality innings in the AFL in 2016 after missing a good chunk of the season. He wound up with injuries that saw him miss all of 2017 and 2018, traded away to Oakland in the Sonny Gray deal, and only logging 68 innings a season ago. Assuming health, which is far from a sure thing, he could be a very good fourth or fifth starter with the upside of a three, but that will all be determined by how long he can stay healthy.

Patino may be the biggest surprise call up of the three as he has less than eight innings logged in the upper minors and none at AAA. That said, he is widely considered the best pitching prospect in the San Diego Padres organization not named Mackenzie Gore. The 20-year old righty has an electric fastball that will surely be in full display this season as I expect him to be a reliever before being stretched out to join the rotation next season. He also has a plus slider that has been a major contributing factor in him striking out well better than a batter an inning. If he works out of the pen all season, I expect those to be the two pitches he throws the vast majority of the time, but he can snap off a solid curve to change the eye levels of a hitter and a changeup I have seen flash above-average at times.

Since two of these are pitchers, time will tell if all three debut on the same day, but if they do, Tuesday night could be a night of baseball to remember!

Prospect Call Up – David Peterson – LHP – New York Mets

The New York Mets have called up prized lefty David Peterson to start Tuesday against the Boston Red Sox a team that drafted him out of high school, but he opted to go to the University of Oregon instead. That moved proved to be the right call, as he jumped from the 28th round in 2014 to the 20th overall selection in 2017.

Since joining the Mets, Peterseon has put together an ERA of 3.63 in 49 starts, and has stuck out better than 3.5x the number of batters he has granted free passes. He made four appearances in the Arizona Fall League where he struggled some, but held his own for the most part.

The fastball is not the power pitch so many members of the Mets rotation possess, sitting low-90s with the occasional offering starting with an 8, but he pounds the zone. His best pitch is the power slider that allows him to induce a lot of soft contact and grounders. His sinking change is a distant third offering, but it helps keep right-handed hitters honest and continues the grounder them.

He has a clear starter’s body, standing 6’6” and weighing in at 240 lbs., the 24-year old doesn’t have any projection to grow more, so the velo is likely at its peak, but he gets good extension despite the slight arm bend in a lower 3/4  slot delivery.

His future role is most likely at the back end of a rotation, but should put up consistent “quality starts” no matter how flawed that stat may be.