MLB Draft Primer: The 2016 College Pitchers

Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /
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MLB Draft: Stanford Product
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player. 32. . Right-Handed Starting Pitcher. University of Stanford. Cal Quantrill. 1

In almost any mock draft you look out you will see Quantrill going in the ranged of 17-24.  However, when you read the scouting report on him you may be confused as to why. Just 20 years of age, the Stanford pitcher has the makings of a top of the rotation candidate.  His physical build is what you want in a prospect.  He is six-foot-three and 190 pounds. Scouts love to see that size.  He has the height of a front line guy and the weight that shows that he has not 100 percent physically filled out yet.  What does that mean?  He has room to put on more muscle and build up core strength, which in turn, will allow him to add to his fastball and eat up more innings.

Speaking of Quantrills fastball it already sits consistently at a speed of 93-95 miles per hour.  On the 80 scale it ranks out to be his best pitch at a 60/80.  He has a four pitch mix already which is a positive.  His best secondary pitch might just be his change-up.  He has good arms speed with it and it has a late fade deep in the zone.  This is a big positive.  The Pirates harp on their young pitchers about learning to throw a consistent change-up.  With Quantrill already comfortably throwing one it would allow for the Pirates to get him through the lower minors quicker.

So far in his college career he has made 20 starts and one relief appearance.  In those games he has 129 innings pitched, compiled a 9-5 record with a career 2.58 ERA and a solid 2.8 K/BB ratio.  These are definitely strong numbers especially considering that he has pitched in the Pac-12.

So what are the negatives that will cause him to be available at number 22? everything above makes it sound like he could be a solid top 15 pick. Well there is a few reasons.  First, he does have a four pitch mix, but that does not mean they all work.  His slider is considered below averages, and is more used for show.  This is a pitch that will need work.  Second, although he has a smooth windup, he tends to extend his arm fully during his delivery which puts a lot of stress on it.  This leads to the last negative about Quantrill.

Early in the 2015 season after just making 3 starts, Standford announced that Quantrill would miss the remainder of the season.  What was wrong?  Well of course the right-handed pitcher needed Tommy-John surgery.  Because of this he missed mostly all of 2015 and has not pitched yet in 2016.  Disappointing for the young prospect.  Many scouts have noted that if no injury ever occurred he would have been the top college pitcher off the board.

This happened last year too.  Duke’s ace Michael Matuella was projected to be one of the top players off the board, but received Tommy-John a few weeks before the draft.  Because of it Matuella fell to the 2nd round.  With that being said Quantrill is in a different spot. He had his surgery last March, which means he will be ready to start pitching again by the time the draft roles around.  This will not cause him to slip the whole way into the 2nd round like Matuella.  However, many teams will still shy away just because he has had elbow issues already.  They will not want to take a player who has had his elbow worked on.

One could also compare this to Brady Aiken.  Aiken was the number one overall pick in 2014.  However, he received Tommy-John surgery and because of many issues did not sign.  After recovering from Tommy-John, Aiken saw his stock plummet to number 17 in the 2015 draft.

If Quantrill is available at number 22 it would be a great pick up for the Pirates.  Although there is risk in taking a pitcher who has had an arm injury, it is hard to find his kinda of talent at number 22.  The Pirates could potentially get a top of the rotation arm while picking deep in the first round which is normally where you see college relievers and raw prep players go.

Next: A Power Arm from Georgia