Player: Grant Holmes
Drafted by: Los Angeles Dodgers
DOB: 03/22/1996 (Age: 18)
Height/Weight: 6’2”, 200 lbs
School: Conway (S.C.) High School
College Commitment: Florida
The younger brother of Colby Holmes, a two-time national champion at South Carolina, Grant has the potential to be the highest-drafted high school pitcher in South Carolina history this June thanks to his two present plus offerings and knack for working deep into games.
The right-hander solidified his position as a likely first-round pick in June with a dominant performance during last summer’s showcase circuit, and he’s continued to improve his stock this spring pitching for Conway High School (S.C.). On the season, Holmes was 4-1 with a 0.52 ERA and 82 strikeouts in 40 innings.
The primary concern with Holmes moving forward is his lack of physical projection and deception, though his power arsenal and underrated feel for pitching will make it difficult for teams to pass him over as the first round unfolds.
Full Scouting Report
Note: Numerical scores are on the conventional 20-80 scouting scale, with the current grade first and projected grade second.
Holmes has a physically strong and mature frame at 6’2”, 200 pounds, but also lacks long-term projection for that same reason; some debate as to whether he’s actually that tall; delivery requires minimal effort; works from a consistent three-quarters slot but lacks deceptive arm action; excellent use of his core strength and powerful lower half; good momentum and trunk rotation; has already proven to be a workhorse capable of working deep into games.
Holmes’ fastball consistently registers in the 92-95 mph range, and he maintains it deep into starts; showed ability to bump high 90s fairly regularly early in the spring; heavy pitch with late sinking action makes it extremely difficult for opposing hitters to lift; doesn’t shy away from pitching up in the zone, though the pitch has less life in those situations; generally locates the pitch well to both sides of the plate; unlikely to gain more velocity as a professional.
Features one of the best curveballs among prep draft prospects, with plus-plus potential; pitch borders between a curve and slider, as it’s thrown with velocity in the low 80s with some sweeping action; generates a more consistent 11-to-5 shape with sharp downer bite and good depth when he gets on top; shows a decent feel for adding/subtracting; big-time swing-and-miss potential.
Least-used offering given overwhelming success of fastball/curveball against high school hitters; demonstrates a good early feel for the pitch, throwing in the mid-80s with good arm speed and fading action; potential to be a third plus pitch at maturity.
Generally a strike-thrower capable of hitting spots, especially with his fastball; feel for moving pitch throughout zone to change hitters’ eye levels; less consistent with secondary offerings, but still around the plate often enough to generate whiffs and get hitters to expand the zone.
Advanced command for prep pitcher; highly effective when working down in the zone; feel for pitching allows him to avoid barrels and hard contact; will need to refine secondary command to be effective starter at the highest level.
MLB Player Comparison: Ben Sheets
Holmes draws comparisons to former Brewers' ace Ben Sheets, as both hurlers have similar builds and mechanics, working from a three-quarters arm slot and using a strong core and lower half to generate impressive velocity and induce whiffs, especially against right-handed batters.
Projection: No. 2 starter
Major Leagues ETA: Late 2016
Chances of Signing: 90 percent
Holmes is regarded as one of the top prep pitchers in this year’s draft class behind Brady Aiken and Tyler Kolek and therefore is likely to come off the board sometime in the first half of the first round. He’s committed to Florida next season, but it’s increasingly doubtful the right-hander will step foot on campus next fall.