The Draft Philes: Post 1st Round Prep Arms

We are now a week away from the draft and I have almost covered all the bases on Phillies potential 1st round options. So it’s time to take a look at some potential options between rounds two through five. Today, I take a look at three high school arms who could be intriguing projects, if the Phillies can find enough cash to sign them away from their college commitments.

Jake Eder, LHP, Calvary Christian Academy (FL)

6’4″, 210 lb

Bats/Throws: L/L

Commitment: Vanderbilt

Rankings (as of 6/4): MLB.com #66, Baseball America #65

Strengths

Strong build, broad shouldered. High 3/4 arm action; loose, smooth and effortless release. Fastball sits in low 90s, touches 94 mph. Curveball has good 2-8 break, tight spin when he has a feel for it.

Weaknesses

Repeating mechanics an issue. Collapses on his back side too early, makes him lose balance; can mess with command and make him lose extra velocity because he’s not driving off back leg properly. Curveball can lose control, get loopy at times. Change-up is below average at this point, looks soft instead of coming out of same arm action speed as fastball.

Overall Assessment

Eder has the project-ability of a starter with his build, smooth arm action and his fastball has a chance to be closer to the mid-90s. But an organization that is going to draft him, will have to get him to be more consistent with his mechanics and get his curveball on point for him to at least be an a left-handed option out of the bullpen. Even if these things are corrected, his best chance to being a back-end starter in the majors is to get his change-up to play average and look more like it could be his fastball coming out of his hand.

 

Alex Scherff, RHP, Colleyville Heritage HS (TX)

6’2″, 209 lb

B/T: S/R

Commitment: Texas A&M

Rankings: MLB.com #52, Baseball America #53

Strengths

Lost 40 lbs before his junior year of high school; closer to major league body at his size. Fastball has good cut and sink coming out of 3/4 arm slot; sits at 93-95 mph, touches 98. Mid-80s change-up has good fade, really good deception because of arm speed (similar to his fastball); exceptional command of the pitch. Gameplan is usually to tend to work hitters away.

Weaknesses

Breaking ball is a bit too slurvy, not a consistent third pitch yet. Fastball control is sporadic, comes and goes game to game.

Overall Assessment

Scherff’s change-up is exceptional and is already a major-league ready out pitch that will generate plenty of swings and misses. The combination of his change-up/fastball along with the deception and easy arm action have him graded out as a future reliever. Scherff’s ceiling is that of a mid-rotation starter, if he can define his breaking ball more as either a slider or curveball and continue to improve his fastball control/command.

 

Sam Keating, RHP, Canterbury HS (FL)

6’3, 190 lb

B/T: R/R

Commitment: Clemson

Rankings: Baseball America #70

Strengths

Arm is loose, almost a quick whip action Fastball has good arm-side run at 88-91 mph; some had him touching 94 mph in the spring. Low-80s change-up has good fade, tumbling action. Slider has hard, late vertical break, a potential plus swing and miss pitch. Curveball has good tilt, tight spin.

Weaknesses

Sometimes his breaking balls can get slurvy, not great command of either pitch.. Fastball can get flat at times. Sometimes lands upright.

Overall Assessment

Keating has the makings of a long-term back-end starter, with a chance to add a tick or two more on his velocity with continued growth. If he can’t get that consistency out of his breaking balls, he could be more of a guy who bounces in and out of AAA or be labeled more as a swingman in the majors.

Author: Jeff Israel