Player: Kyle Freeland
Drafted by: Colorado Rockies
DOB: 5/14/1993 (Age: 21)
Height/Weight: 6'3", 170 lbs
Previously Drafted: 2011, 35th round by Philadelphia Phillies
Like a penny stock that catches fire one magical summer, Kyle Freeland just keeps rising up draft boards. He burst onto the scene last year in the Cape Cod League with 48 strikeouts in 40 innings and had a plus slider with a fastball that touched 94 mph.
Nothing changed this spring with Evansville. Freeland kept pounding the strike zone with that plus fastball that college hitters couldn't touch. He's not an imposing presence on the mound, nor does the stuff scream at you, but there's something about a guy who knows how to pitch.
One benefit for Freeland's future team is that he won't need a lot of development time in the minors. He's going to be a quality mid-rotation starter for a long time.
Full Scouting Report
Note: Numerical scores are on the conventional 80-point scouting scale, with the current score first and projected score second.
Long, lanky left-hander generates velocity thanks to excellent arm action and speed after the windup; natural movement on his pitches thanks to a lower arm angle, just above three-quarters, which does cause some command problems.
Mechanics are loud, with some effort in the arm and lack of finish in the delivery; tends to finish upright too often, pushing the ball up in the zone, leading to some hard contact that will get hit over the fence against advanced hitters.
Heater has taken a huge step forward, at least one half-grade, in the last 10 months; now ranges from 90-92 mph and will touch 95; arm angle, movement and deception help fastball play better than velocity suggests; throws pitch for strikes consistently, though needs to show better command to get advanced hitters out.
True knockout weapon for Freeland; will show different looks with the pitch, throwing it in the high 70s/low 80s as a natural cutter with good tilt; also has the ability to put extra oomph on it, giving it the appearance of a cutter but still classified as a slider; ability to give different looks makes arsenal deeper and keeps hitters off balance, not knowing what look they will get.
Fringe-average offering at present with enough flash and upside to project as solid-average in time; good sink and fade over the plate, as well as deceptive arm speed to get hitters out in front; comes out too hard at times, allowing hitters to speed up their bats and make solid contact.
Innate ability to throw strikes will make Freeland a fast mover through the minors; effort and arm angle in delivery leads to more erratic pitches than you would expect for someone around the zone as often as he is; can throw the fastball for strikes but often struggles to get around slider and on top of changeup.
Freeland has much more potential to have control than command because of low arm angle; tends to push the ball with his arm instead of guiding it, and lack of finish in delivery limits command upside; might end up as a reliever if command continues to be an issue.
MLB Player Comparison: Wade Miley
Wade Miley has built a career for the Arizona Diamondbacks as a competent inning-eater whose rate stats don't match the ERA numbers he posted in 2012-13. He's not an overpowering guy but gets a lot of outs thanks to strong ground-ball rates and staying around the zone.
Projection: No. 4 starter for a first-division team
MLB ETA: 2016
Chances of Signing: 85%
There's nowhere for Freeland to go but down if he passes up the chance to get in MLB. He's built off a strong Cape Cod performance last year with better raw stuff than ever. Going back to school would only enhance the concerns about his delivery and command profile, lowering his stock to the point where he could lose a lot of money.