Player: Cameron Varga
Drafted by: Tampa Bay Rays
DOB: 8/19/1994 (Age: 19)
Height/Weight: 6'3", 205 pounds
School: Cincinnati Christian Academy (Ohio) HS
College Commitment: North Carolina
Wherever Cameron Varga goes, the drafting team is going to get one of the most volatile pitchers in this class. In a season that's already drawn headlines for pitcher injuries, he has substantial risk attached.
He missed last year's showcase season with a biceps injury, which hasn't been a lingering problem this season but is enough to make teams skeptical about how durable he will be when tasked with starting every fifth day. He's also old for the class, turning 20 in August, and does not have the advanced stuff for a player of his age.
Full Scouting Report
Note: Numerical scores are on the conventional 80-point scouting scale, with the current score first and projected score second.
Varga has a classic pitcher's frame at 6'3" and 205 pounds; has athleticism on the mound with the ability to repeat his mechanics often; biggest issue is his delivery; is very heavy on the arm, which tends to drag behind the rest of him; has problems with control and the aforementioned injury concerns.
Varga's best present pitch is a sinking fastball that he throws in the low 90s; delivery, while problematic, does help the heater play up, because it comes out of his hand so late that it's on you before you know it; not much projection in the pitch, but with better command it should be an above-average pitch.
The one pitch in his arsenal that projects as plus is the curveball; consistent release point is still a work-in-progress, which will also help the shape, but when he's on it, there's a lot of late snap to the breaking ball that will miss bats.
Unlike the curveball, which flashes plus frequently, Varga's changeup doesn't pack the same punch from inning to inning; has the basic ingredients to make it above-average, with deceptive arm action and speed, as well as late fade, but he doesn't showcase it often enough to have a feel for it.
The arm action is Varga's key to success, or failure, in pro ball; it's going to miss bats in the lower levels of the minors because of how the ball explodes out of his hand, but it will be all over the plate at times; advanced hitters aren't going to offer at the junk, so getting a better feel for the off-speed stuff will be paramount to success.
There's not a great command profile for Varga; is very much a thrower at this point instead of a pitcher; throwing strikes is one thing, but being able to spot the ball is another; even with good movement on the fastball, you have to place it well to get advanced hitters out; should have average command in the right arm.
MLB Player Comparison: Yovani Gallardo
Speaking strictly on potential as prospects, there's no doubt that Gallardo is a better pitcher than Cameron Varga. Looking at where the Brewers pitcher has gone in his career, the comparisons become easier to see with a low-90s fastball and, when it's going right, plus curveball.
Projection: No. 3 starter in first-division rotation
MLB ETA: 2018
Chances of Signing: 90 percent
Given the injury concerns already talked about, it's clearly in Varga's best interest to sign with a team when he gets drafted. There's too much risk in turning down second-round money and hoping to move into the first round in three years.
Plus, being able to work with professional coaches who can tone down the delivery will serve him well.