Player: Kevin Ziomek
Drafted by: Detroit Tigers (No. 58 Overall)
DOB: 3/21/1992 (Age: 21)
Height/Weight: 6’3”/200 lbs
Previously Drafted: 2010, 13th round by Diamondbacks
Ziomek is the next in a long line of Vanderbilt star pitchers, following in the footsteps of David Price, Mike Minor and Sonny Gray. After a stellar high school career in Massachusetts, Ziomek spurned a 13th-round offer from Arizona out of high school to fulfill his commitment to the Commodores and head coach Tim Corbin.
After spending one season in the bullpen and another growing into his role as staff ace, the left-hander jumped to the front of a loaded rotation and has guided Vanderbilt to one of the best records in college baseball this season. Individually, Ziomek has been awarded the SEC's top pitcher award in back-to-back weeks, becoming the first to do so since Price.
Full Scouting Report
Note: Numerical scores are on the conventional 80-point scouting scale, with the current score first and projected score second.
Ziomek is one of the more athletic pitchers from the college class, despite checking in at 6'3'', 200 pounds. His delivery isn't complex, but he goes through stretches where he has trouble repeating his motions and scouts worry about his arm. As a result, his fastball velocity dips and his breaking stuff loses it's effectiveness. Not much more growth is expected from Ziomek, meaning he'll have to rein in his delivery to maximize his average fastball.
As good as Ziomek has been this year, he hasn't flashed an above-average fastball. At least not in terms of pure velocity. When he's repeating his delivery, he can hit 93 mph, although he sits more comfortably in the 88-91 mph range. When he has trouble repeating his motion, he dips into the 85-88 mph range. Not surprisingly, he struggles most when that happens. On a positive note, Ziomek does a great job of throwing strikes with his fastball, which allows the pitch to play up, despite not having elite velocity.
Once upon a time slider was his go-to breaking ball; flashed a 50/55 slider coming out of high school, but the pitch hasn't developed much since setting foot on campus; has actually become more of a slurve; nowadays it's his third-best offering, sitting in the 73-78 mph range; like his fastball, he has no problem throwing his slider for strikes, and when his command is on, it's a slightly above-average major league offering; displayed effectiveness by getting eight strikeouts on slider in 15-strikeout performance early this season.
Changeup has slowly evolved from a weak third offering to his best pitch; throws it with a little more velocity than one would expect, ranging from 81-88 mph, but does an incredible job of pinpointing the pitch; used the changeup to devastating effects in the 2012 Cape Cod League, and there's no doubt it will be his best pitch at the big league level; pitch plays even better when he has command of his fastball.
Great feel of three-pitch mix; throws strikes with the best of this year's class; has no problem getting ahead of hitters and rarely pitches from behind in the count; now it's just about pinpointing his pitches within the zone.
Command has played up in college, especially considering the lack of an elite fastball; has no problems attacking hitters; needs to execute pitches with more consistency; command of changeup and fastball is above-average; long way to go to recapture what made his slider so special coming out of high school.
MLB Player Comparison: Wei-Yin Chen
Projection: No. 4 starter on a first-division team.
MLB ETA: 2015
Chances of Signing: 85%
Given the level of commitment that Vanderbilt engenders, there's always a chance that Ziomek chooses to return for his senior year, but after a season in which he's gone 10-2 with a 2.00 ERA, there should be little incentive for him to come back. Take into account that next year's class is widely expected to be stronger than this year's, and he's practically a lock to sign.