Author Archives: Alex Kielar

Dominant Closers: The Kirby Yates Edition

Alex Kielar | June 22, 2019

If someone would have told me before the season that Kirby Yates would have converted 26 of 26 save opportunities to this point in the year, I would have called them crazy. And by the way, 26 saves are tied for the most in Padres history, prior to the All-Star break and was accomplished by Heath Bell in 2011. Yates also has a streak of converting 33 straight saves dating back to last season and has been nearly un-hittable this year. Yates was tabbed the closer last season after the Padres dealt Brad Hand to the Indians. Continue reading

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MLB Draft Review: Round One Grades

Alex Kielar | June 14th, 2019

Now that the MLB Draft is over, let’s take a look back at the first round, grading every pick. Note that these are rough grades, as most, if not all, of these guys, won’t see the Majors for at least two-three years, if at all. It is hard to judge what they will do and things can always change.

Our writers giving grades: Alex Kielar (AK), Gio Damico (GD), Joey Ricotta (JR), and Jamie Gatlin (JG). Continue reading

Team History: Florida/Miami Marlins

Alex Kielar | June 6th, 2019

Every week we will take a look at the history of one team. You will get some background, iconic players and moments, and postseason results. For this week, let’s take a look at the Miami “Formally Known as Florida” Marlins who have a short but fairly historic history. Continue reading

MLB Draft Preview: Zack Thompson

Alex Kielar | June 3rd, 2019

Zack Thompson, LHP (Kentucky)

Height: 6’3”

Weight: 225 lb

Age: 21

Bats: Left

Throws: Left

2017 Stats: 3.45 ERA, 8-3, 96 SO, 38 BB, .187 BAA, 75.2 IP

2018 Stats: 4.94 ERA, 2-1, 42 SO, 20 BB, .212 BAA, 31.0 IP

2019 Stats: 2.40 ERA, 6-1, 130 SO, 34 BB, .184 BAA, 90.0 IP

Scouting Grades: Fastball: 55 Slider: 55 Curveball: 55 Changeup: 50 Control: 50

Zack Thompson, the junior lefty from Kentucky, was born October 28, 1997, in Anderson, Indiana. He attended Wapahani High School in Selma, Indiana where he completely dominated the competition. He went a combined 19-0 his sophomore and junior seasons while pitching to a combined 0.59 ERA, while also going 4-2 with a 1.88 ERA and 119 strikeouts in 56 innings his senior season. Following this phenomenal high school career, he was selected in the 11th round of the 2016 draft by the Tampa Bay Rays, but elected not to sign, and enrolled at Kentucky. As a freshman with the Wildcats, he started 13 games, while appearing in seven more, going 8-3 with a 3.45 ERA. Thompson, unfortunately, missed almost two months his sophomore season with an elbow injury, appearing in nine games, seven as a starter, and later played for the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team that summer. Before the 2019 season, he was named to the Preseason All-SEC First Team after appearing in three games for the National Team, pitching in 8.2 innings while allowing three hits, five walks, no runs, and striking out seven. Thompson pitched a complete game shutout against the Georgia Bulldogs in which he struck out 13, helping him earn SEC Player of the Week on April 1. He was named to the All-SEC Second Team after posting a 6-1 record with a 2.40 ERA in 14 starts while striking out 130 batters.

Strengths

Thompson has a very strong four-pitch arsenal with a strong frame and build, having a plus fastball and slider, with a curveball that is also plus at its best, all graded at 55/90, which are excellent grades. His fastball tops out at 95-96 at times and usually sits low-90s, and with some run can be very deceptive. His slider and curveball have some very good spin rates, and his curveball isn’t too powerful, but it has depth and can be deceptive. He has found more control with his pitches this season after struggling a bit in his first two college seasons, as he has really pounded the strike zone and has a high strikeout rate. His changeup is his weakest link, but can still be improved with work, and is still graded at 50, which is good. His solid frame and arsenal slot him as a solid mid-rotation starter in the majors.

Weaknesses

The real bug concern for Thompson is injuries and ability (inability) to stay healthy and pitch full seasons. Following high school and going into the 2016 Draft, there were concerns with his shoulder that caused him to slid from a possible Fifth-rounder to the eleventh round, along with his commitment to Kentucky. If it weren’t for his injury concerns, he may have been selected sooner, and maybe he would’ve elected to go to whatever team picked him. That wasn’t the case though, and teams who were concerned with his injury history may have been right when he missed time with an elbow injury his sophomore year. However, he didn’t miss one start this season and pitched deeper into games than he had been throughout his college career. This has helped him rise up draft boards and he is a projected top 15 pick prior to the first round. Teams may shy away from him still, with his injury history, but if he stays healthy like he has this year, he will be a solid selection for any team.

Overview

Thompson has an overall solid makeup and arsenal, with four pretty solid pitches in his plus fastball, slider, and curveball, with a changeup that can become plus with work. He is a very exciting draft prospect with loads of potential and a high ceiling. He very may be the first pitcher taken in the draft and will certainly be one of the first for sure. He will also most likely become the new highest Kentucky Wildcat taken in the draft after Alex Meyer was selected 23rd overall in the 2011 Draft. His injury history is really his only major weakness or concern, and if he can stay healthy like he has his junior season, he will be a solid arm in any teams’ rotation.

Draft Projection: Round 1 Pick 12 New York Mets

The Mets seem to be leaning more towards a college arm than anything, and with other top college arms like Alek Manoah of West Virginia probably already off the board, Thompson is definitely a solid pick here for the Mets at 12. With free agency or arbitration coming up for several of their starters, they certainly need to stack up on more pitchers who are proven and ready soon.

Check out our other draft profiles: Andrew Vaughn | Will Wilson | Jackson Rutledge | Hunter Bishop | JJ Bleday | Kameron Misner | Logan DavidsonSeth 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|George Kirby

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MLB Draft Preview: Jack Leiter

Alex Kielar | June 3rd, 2019

Jack Leiter, RHP (Delbarton High School)

Height: 6’1”

Weight: 195 lbs

Age: 19

Bats: Right

Throws: Right

2018 Stats: 6-3, 0.64 ERA, 77 SO, 18 BB, 23 Hits, 54.1 IP

2019 Stats: 8-1, 0.54 ERA, 88 SO, 19 BB, 23 Hits, 52.1 IP

Scouting Grades: Fastball: 55 Curveball: 55 Slider: 50 Changeup: 50 Control: 55

Continue reading

MLB Draft Preview: Braden Shewmake

Alex Kielar | June 3rd, 2019

Braden Shewmake, SS (Texas A&M)

Height: 6’4”

Weight: 190 lbs

Age: 21

Bats: Left

Throws: Right

2017 Stats: .328/.374/.529, 11 HR, 69 RBI, 31 SO, 15 BB, 11 SB

2018 Stats: .327/.395/.453, 5 HR, 45 RBI, 22 SO, 21 BB, 12 SB

2019 Stats (as of June 1, 2019): .315/.373/.481, 6 HR, 47 RBI, 27 SO, 23 BB, 9 SB

Scouting Grades: Hit: 55 Power: 50 Run: 50 Arm: 55 Field: 50

Continue reading

MLB Draft Preview: Logan Davidson

Alex Kielar | May 25th, 2019

Logan Davidson, SS (Clemson)

Height: 6’3”

Weight: 185

Age: 21

Bats: Switch

Throws: Right

2018 Stats: .292/.408/.544, 15 HR, 46 RBI, 68 SO, 43 BB

2019 Stats: .296/.414/.588, 15 HR, 55 RBI, 55 SO, 43 BB

Logan Davidson was born December 26, 1997, in Charlotte, North Carolina. His father Mark played at Clemson in 1982 and played six years in the majors for the Twins and Astros. Mark earned a World Series ring with the Twins in 1987. Logan lettered all four years at a Providence High School while being an excellent two-way star. He led Providence to a state title his junior year while being great at the plate and on the mound, and was selected as an All-American and won the North Carolina Gatorade Player of the Year his senior season. During this season, Davidson batted .456 with eight home runs, 16 doubles, 42 runs scored, and 47 RBI, while also boasting a 10-0 record with two saves, a 1.28 ERA, and 75 strikeouts in 61 innings on the mound. Following this season, Davidson signed with Clemson and was also drafted in the 30th round by the Philadelphia Phillies, but elected to go to Clemson. Continue reading