The Cold Harsh Truth

If you don’t believe me, let me show the stats of a former college pitcher. Based on these stats, I want you to think about where you’d draft him. The only other information you have is that he’s 6-foot-5 and 205 pounds with no documented history of arm injuries (the reason he didn’t pitch his second year in college was because he was very bad). I’m not going to give you his fastball velocity until you think about it.

 Year      W-L   ERA    G  GS  CG  SV    IP   H   R  ER   BB   SO  WP  HBP  Avg. 
 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 20xx      3-0   3.70  15   7   0   0  41.1  30  21  17   36   32   9    7  .208
 20xx      0-1  27.00   9   1   0   1   6.2   6  20  20   24   11  13    3  .273
 20xx      5-3   7.13  14  13   0   0  53.0  47  52  42   53   72  16   12  .240
 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Career    8-4   7.04  38  21   0   1 101.0  83  93  79  113  115  38   22  .229

This guy sucks, right? Sure, his strikeout rate is decent for a college pitcher, but his walks are way too high, and just look at the number of wild pitches he threw!

The person who owns those stats is Jason Neighborgall, a former Georgia Tech pitcher, and he was drafted in the third round by the Arizona Diamondbacks, getting a bonus payout that was more appropriate for a high second-round pick.

How could he get drafted so highly without control, command and poise?

That’s easy. Neighborgall had the only thing that mattered: A 100+ mph fastball with life. He paired it with college’s best curveball, and scouts thought both pitches would eventually develop into No. 1 major league starter weapons (a scouting grade of 80).

http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/fastball-mechanics-the-pitching-mechanics-of-the-hardest-and-softest-throwe/

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