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Kent Emanuel: Prospect Profile for Houston Astros' 3rd-Round Pick

June 1, 2013; Chapel Hill, NC, USA;  North Carolina Tarheels starting pitcher Kent Emanuel (41) delivers a pitch against the Towson Tigers during the Chapel Hill Regional of the NCAA Baseball Tournament at Boshamer Stadium.  Mandatory Credit: Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports
Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports
Mike RosenbaumMLB Prospects Lead WriterJune 7, 2013

Player: Kent Emanuel

Drafted by: Houston Astros (No. 74 overall)

Position: LHP

DOB: 6/4/1992 (Age: 21)

Height/Weight: 6’4”/225 lbs

Bats/Throws: L/L

School: North Carolina

Previously Drafted: 2010: Pittsburgh Pirates (18th round)

 

Background

A Georgia native, Kent Emanuel chose to honor his commitment to North Carolina rather than sign with the Pirates as an 18th-round pick in 2010. Looking back on it now, it’s hard to fault the left-hander for his decision.

Emanuel made an immediate impact with the Tar Heels, as he posted a 9-1 record with a 2.33 ERA and 89/23 K/BB in 104.1 innings. In addition to garnering freshman All-American honors, the southpaw also asserted himself as the team’s top starter.

He turned in a strong follow-up campaign as a sophomore in 2012, with a 1.96 ERA and 110/23 K/BB in 110 innings and, more importantly, exhibited pitchability and consistency that are rare in an amateur pitcher.

It’s been more of the same from Emanuel this season, as he’s once again served as the ace for arguably the top team in the nation. Through 15 starts for the Tar Heels, he’s posted an 11-3 record with a 2.36 ERA and 87/24 K/BB in 118.3 innings.

Although he doesn’t have first-round pure stuff, Emanuel’s outstanding feel for pitching and ability to command four pitches should result in a selection within the top three rounds.  

 

Full Scouting Report

Note: Numerical scores are on the conventional 80-point scouting scale, with the current score first and projected score second.

 

Body/Mechanics:

6’4”, 225-pound frame still involves some projection; capable of adding strength, especially to lower half; durable; employs an unorthodox, herky-jerky delivery that creates tons of natural deception and aids his overall effectiveness; repeats it well; dependent on command of pitch to both sides of the plate; changes eye level well; it also makes his pickoff move all the more effective. 

 

Fastball: 45/50

Lacks overpowering velocity; usually works in 88-90 mph range and will bump to 91-92 mph on occasion; natural arm-side movement; features some late life thanks to deceptive delivery and arm action.

 

Curveball: 40/50

Legitimate feel for when to add and subtract with the pitch; the better of his two breaking balls; slow breaker with consistent pace; relies on command; very hittable when left over the plate; would benefit from tighter rotation and throwing it with a few more ticks; not an out-pitch.

 

Slider: 40/45

Least advanced offering; fringy pitch that’s comparatively inconsistent; more of show-me offering at the moment; helps keep hitters true to his fastball and changeup; like the curveball, the pitch could improve a grade with refinement at the next level.

 

Changeup: 50/55

Above-average potential; impressive feel for the pitch; turns it over well to create late fading action; vital toward his ability to keep hitters off-balance; pitch plays up due to deception; thrown with conviction throughout strike zone.

 

Control: 60/60

Demonstrates plus control of four-pitch mix; among the best in the 2013 draft class; around the zone with each offering; flat-out consistent.

 

Command: 50/60

Greatest asset on the mound is pitchability; oozes with confidence and doesn’t take a pitch off; demonstrates aptitude for command of fastball-changeup; attacks hitters despite lack of a plus offering; pitches to contact and induces weakly hit outs; mature demeanor on the mound with a consistent approach.

 

MLB Player Comparison: Mark Buehrle

 

Projection: No. 4 or 5 starter.

 

MLB ETA: 2015

 

Chances of Signing: 75 percent

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