Bobby Wahl: Prospect Profile for Oakland Athletics' 5th-Round Pick
Player: Bobby Wahl
Drafted by: Oakland Athletics (No. 161 overall)
DOB: 3/21/1992 (Age: 21)
Height/Weight: 6'3"/210 lbs
Previously Drafted: 2010, 39th round by Indians
Wahl has come a long way since being selected in the 39th round three years ago. Spurned an offer from Cleveland and another from his hometown Virginia Cavaliers in order to attend Ole Miss. Named the top player in the state as a high school senior. Like most heralded freshman, Wahl began his journey in the bullpen before moving to the rotation as a sophomore. Won seven games and established himself as the Rebels' most reliable starter.
Entered 2013 as the staff ace of a very talented Ole Miss squad and has looked the part. Has yet to lose a game and has one of the lowest ERAs in the entire country, although he's failed to make it through the sixth inning in several starts due to escalating pitch counts.
Full Scouting Report
Note: Numerical scores are on the conventional 80-point scouting scale, with the current score first and projected score second.
Wahl is solidly built at 6'3'', 210 pounds and fits the mold of pure power pitcher; has a smooth delivery, but he puts a lot of effort into it and sometimes, as in the video below, it shows; most of his strength comes from his lower half; not the best athlete and therefore won't be an asset defensively.
Dating back to his high school days, Wahl has thrived off his fastball; reached as high as 96 mph this season; sits more comfortably in the 92-95 mph range; heavy fastball with a ton of sink; excellent arm speed makes the pitch look even faster than it is; holds velocity deep into his starts; shows flashes of arm-side run; at his best when pitching off his fastball; sinking action should allow him to be a ground-ball machine at the professional level.
Slider is Wahl's best secondary offering; sits in the low 80s; a real feast-or-famine pitch for him; when his command is on and he's able to repeat his delivery, the offering can be devastating; when he's overthrowing and his delivery is out of whack, he has absolutely no control over the pitch; has potential to be a solid big league offering and Wahl's out-pitch.
Changeup gives Wahl a solid three-pitch combo; pitch sits consistently in the 77-81 mph range; tons of late sink; needs more polishing and usage in game action; doesn't appear to be as comfortable throwing it; lacks true command of the pitch and often has trouble throwing it for strikes.
Solid feel for three-pitch mix; often has trouble throwing strikes when his delivery gets out of whack; has a tendency to overthrow, causing major damage to his secondary offerings; could thrive off of being a sinking fastball-only reliever, but will need to sharpen control to have a chance to succeed as a starter; walked way too many batters in college as a result of getting behind in the count.
Command issues in college often worsen with a jump to professional ranks, meaning Wahl could be in for a harsh awakening; fastball command is slightly above-average; slider and changeup command needs tons of work; if he doesn't improve overall command, he'll get lit up in the majors; if he does, he could be a strikeout machine.
MLB Player Comparison: Jim Johnson
Projection: No. 4 starter on first-division team; All-Star-caliber closer.
MLB ETA: 2016
Chances of Signing: 90%
There's little Wahl could do to improve his odds if he comes back for his senior season, and he doesn't figure to have outrageous bonus demands.
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