Saturday, May 10, 2014

Scouting the Draft: Tommy John Haunts the First Round, Kyle Freeland on the Rise

The first round of the upcoming Baseball Free Agent Draft took a couple of huge hits as not just one, but two college pitchers, Jeff Hoffman and Erick Fedde have suffered UCL tears and will be undergoing Tommy John Surgery.  Hoffman was projected as a top 5 pick and Fedde was being looked at in the 15-25 range.  These developments will almost surely drop both pitchers in the draft, but it is unclear how far.  Return to full performance after Tommy John surgery is common, but not a given, and TJ redos seem to be on the rise.  There may be teams that think highly enough of these guys to still draft them, but probably not before later in the first round and more likely somewhere out of the first round.  

One player who may benefit greatly from all this is Evansville(college) LHP Kyle Freeland.  Freeland's stock was already on the rise due to dominant performances this season, that this clears out the field a bit in the top 15.  Freeland's record so far this season is 8-1, 1.90, 80.2 IP, 7 BB, 106 K's.  While he certainly has as much pitchability as anyone in the draft with that kind of evidence of command, he is not just another polished, soft tossing college lefty.  BA had a first hand scouting report on him from a recent game in which his FB velocity sat 91-93 MPH and touched 95.  He throws both a two-seamer and 4-seam FB to both sides of the plate with plus movement on both pitches but in different directions.  He backs that up with solid offerings of a slider, curveball and change.  He held his velocity to the end of a 97 pitch start.  He got 22 swinging strikes and 11 groundball outs in the reported start.

On video, he has a low 3/4's release point similar to Madison Bumgarner.  He doesn't have the sweeping backswing and motion that Bummy has showing more elbow and more effort in his delivery. He's listed at 6'3", 170 lbs, but BA is reporting that he has grown to 6'4", 190-195 lbs on his most recent measurement.  He may be gone by the time the Giants draft at #14, especially with Hoffman's stock likely to drop, but I could see the Giants loving that K/BB and the ability to command the FB on both sides of the plate like that.

In the comments section of BA's Mock Draft, a guy who says he works at USF said the Giants top scouting brass, including Brian Sabean, came over to have a first hand look at Bradley Zimmer who BA has going at #16.

So, who does BA have the Giants picking?  RHP Tyler Beede from Vanderbilt who has had serious command problems in the second half of this season.


  1. Zimmer sounds like a good pick at #14. A BA of 370 with 7 hrs 30 rbi is nothing to sneeze at during college baseball's dead bat era. Not sure if Sabean personally scouting him means anything. In Baggs book, Tidrow told Sabean not to come when he was scouting Timmy because he didn't want other teams to know the Giants were interested in Timmy.


    1. I think Timmy is the only one where that scenario has played out. Generally, Sabes personally scouts the first round draft pick.

  2. Thanks for posting a scouting report on Kyle Freeland. I see that he struck out 15 in a game against Wichita St including Casey Gillespie twice. Freeland sounds like good pick.