Player: Mac Marshall
Drafted by: Houston Astros
DOB: 1/27/1996 (Age: 18)
Height/Weight: 6'2", 180 pounds
School: Parkview (Ga.) HS
College Commitment: LSU
If you are looking for a pitcher with "big-game experience," it's hard to beat the resume that Mac Marshall has built up over the last four years at Parkview High School. He's been part of a squad that has won high school national titles and travel team championships and gets better each season.
On top of all that, he pitched for the United States in the 18-and-under World Cup last year the day before getting his appendix removed. Pitchers have to be mentally tough in addition to having top-notch stuff, so it's hard to argue with anything the LSU commit has done in his brief career.
Full Scouting Report
Note: Numerical scores are on the conventional 80-point scouting scale, with the current score first and projected score second.
Listed at 6'2", 180 pounds, Marshall does have room to add muscle to his frame; has a limited physical projection because he's done growing, but he does a good job of staying on top of the ball with a high three-quarters arm slot, often keeping the fastball down in the zone.
Mechanics are sound, if a little too busy with a lot of moving parts; some Clayton Kershaw in his windup with high glove placement, though the arm works well and he has the athleticism to repeat it from pitch to pitch.
Fastball has lost some velocity this spring, though not enough to significantly hurt his upside; clocked as high as 94-95 mph last season but now touches 92-93 mph and sits in the 88-91 mph range; if he finds the extra velocity, the pitch moves up a full grade instead of half; also too true, which is especially odd for a left-hander, but deception in the delivery makes the heater hard to pick up; lack of size does cause the pitch to sail on him from time to time.
Marshall's breaking ball is far better than it needs to be given his age, but it isn't so advanced that he can get away with throwing the pitch any time against professional hitters; has a tendency to lose the release point and feel on the curveball, causing it to lose any semblance of shape; when it's on, the pitch sits in the mid-70s with great two-plane break and incredible drop as it crosses the plate.
The best weapon in Marshall's arsenal is the changeup; loses the feel for it and has to start throwing it more often but has great arm speed and late fade to be a swing-and-miss offering in due time; pitch just tumbles once it gets in the hitting zone, leading to a lot of soft contact.
Marshall displays good control of his pitches, especially so in the months leading up to the draft; has a tendency to fall off the rubber, which knocks the control down a peg, but he has gotten much better at staying on line to the plate and finishing out front; aggressive with the fastball and shows confidence in the off-speed stuff.
Despite ability to throw strikes, ball placement is an issue; better feel for off-speed stuff and finding a consistent release point will allow the command to take off; has athleticism and easy arm action; command profile is average at peak.
MLB Player Comparison: Hyun-Jin Ryu
Hyun-Jin Ryu doesn't exactly get you excited taking the mound, but he's a quality left-hander who mixes a deep arsenal of pitches and knows how to get outs. Marshall has the stuff and ability to become that kind of starter in the future, especially if the curveball develops as expected.
Projection: No. 3 starter on a first-division team
MLB ETA: 2018
Chances of Signing: 80 percent
Considering how much Marshall's stock has climbed this spring, even with the slight dip in velocity, it would be an upset if he didn't sign. The southpaw would be turning down a scholarship to a great baseball school in the country's best baseball conference, but the allure of pro ball, and the money that comes with it, should be too great to pass up.