Player: Braden Shipley
Drafted by: Arizona Diamondbacks (No. 15 Overall)
DOB: 2/22/1992 (Age: 21)
Height/Weight: 6’3”/190 lbs
Previously Drafted: N/A
Few prospects have had their draft stock rise as quickly as Nevada right-hander Braden Shipley over the last year.
Undrafted out of high school, Shipley—the cousin of former NFL wide receiver Jordan Shipley—attended the University of Nevada where he spent the first two seasons as a two-way player, manning shortstop while making the occasional appearance on the mound. Despite his success on the infield (2011 second-team All-WAC), Shipley’s potential as a pitcher was both undeniable and overwhelming. As a result, the right-hander was converted to a full-time pitcher and moved into the rotation for the 2012 season.
The decision paid immediate dividends for the Wolf Pack, as Shipley enjoyed a breakout campaign in which he registered a 2.20 ERA and fanned 88 batters in 98.1 innings. However, it wasn’t until the summer that he emerged as a potential first-round draft pick. Playing for the Anchorage Bucs in the Alaska League, Shipley absolutely dominated out of the bullpen with 29 strikeouts in 17 innings and was hands-down the top prospect on the circuit.
This spring the right-hander has continued to build upon his hugely successful 2012 season, as he currently owns a 2.77 ERA and .218 BAA with 102/34 K/BB through 107.3 innings.
He may not come with the hype and track record of the other top collegiate arms in the 2013 draft class, but there’s a legitimate chance he’ll be just as good once everything comes together.
Full Scouting Report
Note: Numerical scores are on the conventional 20-80 scouting scale, where 50 is average, with the current score first and projected score second.
Outstanding athlete with shortstop background and little mileage on his arm; extremely projectable 6’3", 190-pound frame with room to fill out; repeats delivery well considering lack of experience; currently looks more like a thrower than a pitcher, as expected; some effort to delivery that will be cleaned up by drafting organization; doesn’t consistently finish his delivery; a lot to love in his lightning-quick arm; clean arm swing and smooth on the backside; some natural deception in delivery; ball really jumps out of his hand—it just looks good.
Athletic delivery and fast arm produce an electric, plus fastball in 91-95 mph range; topped out at 97-98 mph a few times this spring; makes up for lack of movement with late life; throws pitch aggressively to both sides of the plate; uses it to pound the strike zone and get ahead in the count; should be able to hold velocity deeper into games as he gets strong and gains experience.
Weakest of his three offerings but flashes plus potential; relatively undeveloped due to effectiveness of fastball-changeup mix; shows a feel for generating tight spin, but shape will vary due to inconsistent release point; each variation has depth but hinders his ability to command the pitch.
Arguably the best off-speed pitch in the 2013 draft class; plus-plus offering thrown in the low-80s with fastball-like arm speed; turns it over perfectly to generate devastating fading action; effective against both right- and left-handed hitters; true out-pitch at the next level.
Shipley’s usually around the zone, but his lack of experience can be obvious at times; combination of electric arm and lack of finish to his delivery can result in wasted pitches; possibly a result of being too athletic at times.
Showcases impressive feel for pitching and overall pitchability relative to time spent on the mound; present command of fastball-changeup throughout strike zone; continues to improve at working down in the zone; aggressively (and confidently) attacks both sides of the plate; intense competitor who isn’t afraid to challenge good hitters; trusts his stuff.
MLB Player Comparison: Clay Buchholz
Projection: high-end No. 2 starter; rare high-ceiling, high-floor college prospect.
MLB ETA: Late 2016
Chances of Signing: 99.9%