MLB Draft: Looking at some 2nd Round college RHPs

MLB Draft: Looking at some 2nd Round college RHPs

Even though both pitchers struggled with their command last time out, it's down to Mark Appel and Jonathan Gray for the top pick, barring an unforeseen event.  With that being the case, we're going to start looking more at the second round.

It's going to be an interesting pick in that the college pitching crop is very deep this year and the Cubs will have a higher 2nd pick than the one they used to pick top starting pitching prospect Pierce Johnson last year.

We'll take a look first at some college RHPs that I like and we'll look at LHPs later this week.  Personally, I like the RHPs better as there is some upside and a few formerly top draft picks who have dropped off since the start of the season.

Andrew Mitchell, TCU

Mitchell is a hard throwing pitcher, sitting at 90-94 with his fastball and peaking at 98.  He has a second swing and miss pitch in his curveball, a pitch that some consider the best in draft among college arms.  Despite opening the season as a closer, Mitchell has the solid frame for starting.

However, there's a reason why Mitchell was chosen for the bullpen besides his live fastball.  Some think his delivery is better suited to hold up in relief and his change-up is behind his other pitches.  Mitchell did end up starting when TCU struggled and needed him in the rotation.  He's had moderate success there and has struggled with his comand.  He has walked 27 batters in 41.1 innings while striking out 52.  His ERA is at 3.98

There are two plus pitches to work here and if he can improve his command and change-up, he could be a #3 starter.  If not, he can fallback as a closer.

Aaron Blair, Marshall

Blair has big, big frame at 6'5", 220 and he's a tough competitor who works aggresssively on the mound.  He can reach 95 mph but pitches more often in low 90s.  He may project for more.  The pitch has good movement and Blair has the height to drive it down in the zone with good plane.   He has a very good change-up for a college arm but his breaking pitches are average.  He  needs to choose one and refine it once he reaches the big leagues.  If he can develop that, he's a candidate to be a mid rotation starter.   Blair is 5-4 with a 2.28 ERA with 31 walks and 83 strikeouts in 79 innings.

Andrew Thurman, UC Irvine

Thurman is more of a 4 pitch  pitcher and starts with a 90 -93 mph fastball. His best pitch, however, is his change-up, which projects to be an above average to plus offering in the majors.

He has good stuff, but he is a pitcher who relies on command and feel --which is often good and projects to improve to plus as he matures and learns to repeat his delivery.  Right now he can pitch up in the zone a bit too much and will get hurt at times.

His other two pitches are a curveball and a slider, both of which project to be average pitches.  His curveball can get loopy at times and becomes hittable when it does. He started working on a slider in the offseason.  Both need work but by all accounts he has the makeup and work ethic to improve.

Probably more of a mid-rotation ceiling but a good chance to get there. Thurman is 5-3 with a 2.98 ERA and 14 walks with 72 strikeouts in 84.2 innings.

Jason Hursh, Oklahoma State

The first thing that stands out about Hursh is how he generates such easy velocity out of smallish 6'2", 197 lbs. frame.  His fastball can reach 98 mph and has great movement at lower velocities, showing some tail and sink.  It is one of the best fastballs in this draft.   He has a clean, fluid, repeatable delivery so there's a chance to have good command as he gains experience.

Hursh's fastball and delivery is a good place to start but there are big risks here.  His secondaries are average at best right now and Cubs fans will be wary of the fact that he missed the 2012 season because of Tommy John surgery.  Optimists will look at it as getting a mid-first round type arm in the second round.  Hursh is 5-4 with a 2.67 ERA and 23 walks with 74 strikeouts in 91 innings.

Alex Balog, USF

Another pitcher with a big, strong frame.  Balog stands at 6'5", 210 lbs. and possesses a fastball that sits 92-94 but can reach 96.   Moreover, his fastball has good hard, sink.

He also has both a power curveball and a good slider with both pitches having plus potential.  His change-up is  behind his other three pitches but he hasn't needed it in college.  What I like about Balog is that he is a great athlete, one of the best on this list and it gives him a shot at having good command with 3 above average pitches --which gives him a pretty nice ceiling.

Balog was highly regarded to start the season but started slowly, which makes him a potential steal.  He has recovered to put a 3-3 record with a 3.29 ERA with 26 walks and 61 strikeouts in 79.1 innings.

Alex Gonzalez, Oral Roberts

Gonzalez is an under the radar prospect with a low 90s fastball that peaks at 94 and shows excellent movement, including some good sink and cutting action.  His second pitch is a hard, mid 80s slider that can be a swing and miss pitch when he commands it.  He does show good control, keeping the ball low in the strike zone and the kind of clean, repeatable delivery that should give him good command as he develops.  Like most college pitchers, his change-up needs work but he has worked hard to improve it and should improve with good coaching.  Although he has had a lesser level of competiton than the other pitchers on this list, Gonzalez has put up impressive numbers.  He is 7-5 with a 1.90 ERA and 22 walks with 112 strikeouts in 99.1 innings for the season.


  • Ryan Eades, LSU
  • Jonathan Crawford, Florida
  • Bobby Wahl, Mississippi
  • Trevor Williams, ASU


Filed under: MLB Draft


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  • I have watched Ryan Eades pitch a few times. I would love for him to still be on the board for the 2nd round pick. I saw Trevor Williams pitch against Appel. He got hit pretty hard but looked like he had some + pitches. Do you think either will still be on the board?

  • In reply to Tide23:

    Agreed. The only reason I didn't include Eades in the main portion of the article is that I don't think he'll be there.

    I think Williams has a better chance and your assessment is spot on. Plus stuff but somehow gets hit anyway. Have seen some think not enough movement on FB and others criticize his pitch selection (or ASU's really) and say he's not mixing things up enough.

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    Hursh sounds like a Theo pick if he's there. Given that Theo appears to be trying to handle pitching issues with overwhelming numbers, he seems like a decent bet.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Yep. Keep taking chances with top arms and all you have to do is hit on a couple here and there to be a success.

  • Some of those pitcher still have some serious ceiling. Gonzalez, Blair, Hursh and Balog still have some room to improve.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    I think a lot of these guys on this list -- maybe all of them, can be #3 starters realistically. I think some of these guys can be Pierce Johnson level prospects.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I think that maybe more for Blair and Hursh. If you put them in a better system they may have hit their potential. There is more in both of those pitchers.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    Kevin, I've been looking at BLF a little lately and I have to tell you how much I like it. Being one of those people who like some information but are not willing to work at it makes it a great resource.

  • In reply to carolinacub:

    Thanks a lot we do what we can. We were thinking about doing a chat room the day before the Draft and maybe one draft day too.

  • Thanks John! Another bookmark for June 6.

    Im hoping if there is a trade by the Cubs in the next month, a comp balance pick is involved. Id sure like to have 2 of these guys.

  • In reply to Cub Fan Dan:

    You're welcome. These were guys I liked. I left out quite a few possibilities but we'll try and cover as many guys as we can.

  • I saw a list of draft tendencies online and Houston hasn't taken any college arms in the first round for the last five years at least. Maybe cost? They break out even three ways HS pitching, HS bat, and college bat. I'm thinking they want to go cheaper - Kohl Stewart could be their guy, but he could still be expensive. Maybe Frazier?

  • In reply to Bilbo161:

    Hard to say since the Astros have a new front office. They did prefer high school talent last year, though. They're 4 biggest picks (Correa, McCullers, Ruiz, Fontana) were all high school players.

    Another tendency is that no HS RHP has ever been taken first overall, so that would make Stewart unlikely. Houston may be hoping teams pass on him because of his football commitment and that he slips for their 2nd pick. I doubt it, but that would be their ideal scenario. Maybe Frazier or Meadows -- but seems hard to believe they'll pass up on college arms -- but nobody thought they'd pick Correa last year when most people thought that Buxton and Appel were the clear one-two.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I agree completely but I have heard they have some serious interest in Bryant.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    I wonder how much Bryant signing with Boras will affect them. Boras isn't the kind of guy to sign quickly and if Astros want to sign their overslots, that will make it difficult.

    I think Bryant could have been a sleeper pick to save money for them, but not so sure with Boras there now.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Is there any chance one of the high school bats is that sleeper, or is that just too much of a drop in talent? SI suggested Reese McGuire in their mock on Friday (Gray was their official pick, to save money on signing bonus, with McGuire as a sleeper if they couldn't get Gray). I think I would have a heart attack if the Cubs took an ace college pitcher with the second slot after the first team in the draft took a high school catcher to save money.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Apparently I needed to read a few comments up. My bad.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I've heard talk that the Twins may take McGuire with their first pick at #4 but haven't heard it with the Astros. I think it's quite a step down and while I love McGuire's athleticism and defense -- and that he is already being very close to being a big league catcher defensively, the bat is a question mark.

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    Great piece John, and I can't wait to see the one one the left-handers.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    College LHPs are next they don't have the same ceiling as some of these college RHPs or the high school lefties that will be available to them at that point. Not sure if Kevin feels the same way, but I think college RHPs and HS LHPs will be the best talent available at the 41st pick.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I Don't think the LHP college talent isn't at the same level. I think some of the HS RHP is though.

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    Interesting comments on Hursh.

  • Hursh sounds like an interesting prospect with a very high ceiling.

  • In reply to fsufrenzy911:

    Very interesting, especially if you think he's healthy and that certainly appears to be the case.

  • One of my favorites could still be available in the 2nd or 3th round. He kind of dropped off because of some of the players that have ballooned. He still has some excellent tools. He is one of those players that could make an impact once he gets into a system.

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