Player: Dan Slania
Drafted by: San Francisco Giants (No. 162 overall)
DOB: 5/24/1992 (Age: 21)
Height/Weight: 6'5"/260 lbs.
School: Notre Dame
Previously Drafted: 2010: 42nd round by the Boston Red Sox
Among the pure relief pitchers in this draft, Dan Slania is the best of the bunch. He brings three power pitches to the table, as well as a track record of success at a very good Notre Dame baseball program.
However, due to being a relief pitcher, drafting teams know that there will be a learning curve if they want to put Slania back in the rotation. Given his delivery and body, he would be best served going to the bullpen and moving quickly through a system.
Full Scouting Report
Note: Numerical scores are on the conventional 80-point scouting scale, where 50 Is average, with the current score first and projected score second.
Slania is a better athlete than his body would suggest; puts himself in good position to field and move off the mound; delivery is arm heavy; doesn't take much stride to home plate and relies on arm speed to generate velocity; could use more push with lower half; likely a reliever with current mechanics.
Velocity has fluctuated this season; has gotten better deeper into the year, touching 95-96 regularly; usually sits in the low 90s; can be a little straight but gets on top of it to keep it low in the zone; plus potential if velocity holds.
Solid-average pitch at peak; doesn't throw it for strikes enough; has some control of the pitch, but command wavers; could be weapon with some minor tweaking; some late bite but will flatten out at times.
Better feel for the curve than slider; shows promise as a weapon against professional hitters; good two-plane snap; likes to use this as a put-away pitch, though his trust in the slider is improving; has above-average potential out of the bullpen.
Delivery is cause for concern; doesn't rotate hips well, very stiff and mechanical, leads to arm pushing the ball; opens body up and ball will drift on him; has to keep body closed and step to the plate to get better line; could have average control at peak.
Hard to see more than fringy command with present mechanics; arm action is good enough to generate velocity and some swings and misses, but doesn't spot the ball well enough to fool hitters; will have to prove he can hit the glove to be used in high-leverage situations.
MLB Player Comparison: Jonathan Broxton
Projection: Late-inning reliever with two power pitches.
MLB ETA: 2015
Chances of Signing: 80%
Slania is something of a project for a team that believes he can start. He has power stuff that you would like to see in a potential 200-inning pitcher, but the fact that he has pitched out of the bullpen for three years at Notre Dame and has an ugly delivery makes him best suited for relief work.
There is a bit of an advantage for Slania in that regard. Even though (likely) being a relief-only pitcher lowers his stock, it does enable him to move through the minors quicker and—possibly—make his debut less than a year after being drafted.
Teams are always scouring the market for relief help, so it wouldn't be a surprise to see Slania get under contract quickly and start working with his new team right away.