Player: Carlos Salazar
Drafted by: Atlanta Braves (No. 102 overall)
DOB: 11/23/1994 (Age: 18)
Height/Weight: 6'2", 205 lbs
School: Kerman HS (Kerman, CA)
College Commitment: Fresno State
One of the hardest throwers in this draft class, Salazar has a long way to go before realizing his potential as a top-of-the-rotation starter. But there is plenty of time for a team to work with him and harness those skills.
The good news is there is already a lot to work with. Salazar can really bring the heat and has one of the better breaking balls you will see from a high schooler. He is committed to Fresno State and could be a tough player to sign.
Full Scouting Report
Note: Numerical scores are on the conventional 80-point scouting scale, with the current score first and projected score second.
Already filled out physically at 6'2", 205 pounds; lack of physical projection doesn't lower ceiling; very solid build; excellent arm strength; tends to fly open, leading to a lot of pitches sailing high or inside to right-handed hitters; good movement toward the plate.
Consistent plus velocity already; pitch is a little too straight, but ball explodes out of his hand because he has such a good stride to the plate; struggles to throw heater for strikes consistently; might be able to hit plus-plus velocity with improved mechanics.
Still learning to throw curveball; doesn't have good feel or release point for pitch at present; has to use it more in pro ball for it to become any sort of weapon; could scrap it and still feature a three-pitch mix.
Solid-average potential; control problems prevent pitch from average projection right now; has good arm speed on delivery; some feel for it but doesn't seem to have a lot of trust in it; can be straight, though has enough separation from fastball to keep hitters off balance.
Slider flashes plus already but doesn't stay consistent; can get a little slurvy at times and much easier to hit; will drop down on release, preventing him from staying on top of the pitch; given that he will show a very good slider, easy to see well-above-average pitch in the future.
Throwing strikes remains big obstacle; despite electric arm speed and deception, delivery is problematic and will lead to all of his pitches sailing; if he can stay around the strike zone, should be able to miss a lot of bats with power stuff.
Doesn't hit the glove with much regularity; can flash solid-average command, but it isn't at a level it needs to be for a first-round pick; should eventually get more comfortable pitching, instead of just throwing.
MLB Player Comparison: Yovani Gallardo
Projection: No. 2 starter on first-division team if everything clicks.
MLB ETA: 2018
Chances of Signing: 60%
Given how raw Salazar is, it is unlikely that teams will feel comfortable investing a big signing bonus in him, like the kind you would see from a first-round pick. But there is enough upside to make him a strong six-figure deal to steal him away from Fresno State.