Player: Foster Griffin
Drafted by: Kansas City Royals
DOB: 7/27/1995 (Age: 18)
Height/Weight: 6'5", 190 pounds
School: First Academy (Florida) HS
College Commitment: Mississippi
You find out a lot about a prospect when the spotlight is shining brightest. For potential MLB draftees, that means showing their best stuff on the showcase circuit.
Foster Griffin has been a staple on the proverbial dog-and-pony show, hitting his stride late in the process. The left-hander was dominant in a March start at the National High School Invitational with a complete-game, seven-strikeout, three-hit shutout performance against Milton High School.
It was the quintessential Griffin performance, as he showed efficiency with all 102 pitches and mixed things up to keep hitters off balance. He's committed to play next season at Mississippi; however, with his stock rising, it would be an upset if he steps foot on campus.
Full Scouting Report
Note: Numerical scores are on the conventional 80-point scouting scale, with the current score first and projected score second.
Griffin is a long, lanky left-hander at 6'5", 190 pounds; despite the size and length of his limbs, the 18-year-old has good athleticism that allows him to repeat his delivery; comes almost straight over the top, which gives him a good line to the plate but limits his ability to hide the ball; body control isn't great through the delivery, falling off the rubber and opening up too early; projects well to the next level because there's room to get bigger and add velocity.
Griffin's fastball can be enigmatic at times, ranging anywhere from the high 80s to low 90s, but should begin to sit more in the latter category as his frame fills out; long arm action also helps hide the ball, helping the heater play up despite the lack of elite velocity; controlling the pitch is erratic, while command lags far behind because his release point tends to vary.
Sometimes classified as a slider, which tells you about the spin and consistency, Griffin's curveball has good tight spin and snap that will buckle knees when he's throwing it right; arm action doesn't allow him to stay over the top of the ball to get the shape it needs, which flattens it out and leaves it in the zone too long for hitters to barrel; better feel and some advanced coaching should get the hammer to play up to its above-average potential.
Griffin's No. 2 weapon is the changeup, which he throws with excellent arm speed and deception; he's able to throw it with the same motion and mechanics as the fastball; also fades as it crosses the plate, leading to a lot of soft contact and some missed bats.
The length of his delivery is problematic, more so for command than control, but the latter still suffers at times; easy release to the plate, though with the arm long in the back and coming forward, the release point will change from pitch to pitch; throws the fastball for strikes consistently, but the curveball and changeup are still coming along.
Griffin suffers from "tall pitcher-itis," which is a problem a lot of long-arm hurlers have when you break down their mechanics; can find the strike zone, but when it comes to ball placement, there's a lot to work on; fastball will stay up too often, changeup gets too firm, and curveball lacks definition because of the arm angle; enough potential there to see command coming along, but it won't be better than average.
MLB Player Comparison: Matt Moore
Before Matt Moore became a star prospect, he was an eighth-round pick who was all projection and development. That's the path Griffin will take to the big leagues, though he's more refined as a pitcher than the Tampa Bay left-hander at this stage of his development.
Both have issues repeating their delivery because of long limbs and some faulty mechanics, and they throw three pitches that have above-average or better potential. Moore never developed into the front-line starter that was expected, while Griffin has a lot to work on in order to reach that kind of potential.
Projection: No. 3 starter in first-division rotation
MLB ETA: 2018
Chances of Signing: 80 percent
When your stock is rising the way Griffin's is, you don't sacrifice the allure of being a late first-round pick for the potential to move up draft boards in three years. He has such a fine line to walk anyway that it's likely college would only allow scouts to break apart some of the current issues even more.