Givanni Damico | June 3rd, 2019
George Kirby, RHP (Elon University)
Weight: 210 LBs
MLB Pipeline Grades: Fastball: 60|Curveball: 55|Slider: 55|Changeup: 50|Control: 60|Overall: 50 (I don’t understand their math on this one.)
2018 Stats: 10-3, 2.89 ERA, 9.6 K/9, 2.7 BB/9, 8.8 H/9
2019 Stats: 8-2, 2.75 ERA, 10.9 K/9, 0.6 BB/9, 7.5 H/9
If I was picking in the 14-22 range, this would be my guy. He throws with better control than any other pitcher in this draft. Kirby has been drafted once before, in 2016 by the New York Mets in round 32. Despite being taken by his hometown team, he decided to refine his craft by attending Elon University. This was a very smart decision. Kirby has shown great improvement from the 2018 season in pretty much every department. He doesn’t jump off the page like someone who throws 101 miles per hour or someone that strikes out 15 batters per nine innings, but he is a lock to be the only first-round pick in Elon University history.
Kirby paints the strike zone perfectly. If you want someone that can maintain control in high-pressure situations and not hand out free passes, he’s your guy. He has four quality pitches in his repertoire. His fastball can reach 98 miles per hour, but it usually sits in the low-mid-90s range. He will be able to throw harder once he continues his development. His fastball and curveball are deceptive and can definitely be great secondary and tertiary pitches. His changeup is a work in progress, but it has a nice sinking movement that makes it hard to hit. Everything points to him being at least a solid number two or three starter.
Despite having great control, Kirby needs to work on his curveball and slider command. He throws them well, but not consistently. For those who don’t know, a pitcher having control means that he can put his pitches where he wants them to go. Command is a matter of his pitches doing what he wants them to do, such as a curveball dropping out of the strike zone. His curveball and slider tend to hang around in the strike zone at times, so this is something that needs refining.
George Kirby has the best control is this draft class. Despite some command issues with his breaking pitches, he should be able to be one of the more reliable pitchers in Major League Baseball if his development goes as planned. Because of how successful he’s been with his fastball, he hasn’t had to rely on the offspeed too much. This might be a concern to some, but with good coaching, his offspeed should be as good as his fastball.
Draft Prediction: Round 1, Pick 14 to the Philadelphia Phillies
I’ve seen reports that Philadelphia is interested in Kirby, so that’s the main reason that I am predicting this. With all of the disappointing high school kids that the Phillies have drafted, such as Mickey Moniak, I’m sure the fans would love a college pitcher who can throw strikes. Their rotation hasn’t been above-average in a while, and Kirby could provide a nice boost to that group in a couple years.
Check out our other draft profiles: Andrew Vaughn | Will Wilson | Jackson Rutledge | Hunter Bishop | JJ Bleday | Kameron Misner | Logan Davidson| Seth Johnson | Bobby Witt Jr. | Josh Jung|Adley Rutschman |Daniel Espino|Nick Lodolo|Kody Hoese| Matthew Allan|C.J. Abrams| Riley Greene|Corbin Carroll|Bryson Stott| Shea Langeliers|Brett Baty| Alek Manoah|Braden Shewmake|Brennan Malone|Jack Leiter
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