Saturday, October 29, 2016

Scouting the 2017 Draft: JB Bakauskas

JB Bakauskas is a college RHP for North Carolina.  You may remember him from the 2014 draft when he was considered a first round taken out of HS, but wrote a letter to all MLB teams asking them not to draft him and stating his intentions of honoring his commitment to UNC.  JB was small for a RHP at 5'11", 170 lbs out of HS but hit the weights and put on 25 lbs of muscle and grew an inch or two depending on what scouting report you read.  His FB velocity jumped from a peak of 93 to 93-97 MPH.

On video, Bakauskas has a simple, upright delivery with a "step-over" stride.  I do not see any wasted motion or movement to divert momentum to home plate.  I would rate the effort as average.  He pairs the FB, which he commands to both sides of the plate with a hard downward biting slider and an occasional fading changeup.

Here are his stat lines from 2 seasons with UNC and 1 summer in the Cape Cod League:

2015:  5-3, 4.09, 72.2 IP, 30 BB, 67 K.
2016:  7-2, 3.10, 78/1 IP, 29 BB, 111 K.
2016 CCL:  0-1, 3.72, 9.2 IP, 2 BB, 17 K's.

Although he lacks ideal size for a high ceiling pitching prospect which limits his upside, the present is more than enough.  I'll take a point off for the lack of height and say he has a ceiling of a #2 SP.  Although all pitching prospects are risks, I see him as having a very high floor with a high probability of reaching his ceiling and doing so quickly as he already has near elite velocity with elite pitchability.  If I am the GM holding the first overall pick, I have to seriously consider JB Bakauskas as he will make the MLB team better within 2 seasons and likely give you at least 6 seasons of solid production.

Bonus:  JB is a Giants fan, but alas, he'll be long gone in the draft by the time the Giants pick.

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