Scouting Rays' Prospect Jeff Ames

The New York-Penn League hasn't appeared to be much of a challenge for Rays' righty pitching prospect, Jeff Ames, as he's near the top of the league in most pitching categories. Ames took the mound in game two of the Hudson Valley Renegades' playoff series on Sunday night and I was in attendance to evaluate his outing.

Name: Jeff Ames
Position: Pitcher
Team: Tampa Bay Rays
Height: 6-foot-4
Weight: 225
Bats/Throws: R/R

Events Scouted: New York-Penn League


Physical Description

Ames is exactly what you look for in a future big league starter in terms of physical attributes. He has the height, as well as a powerful lower half. He's a decent athlete but I wouldn't expect him to be bouncing off the mound all that quickly.

Mechanics

Simple and repeatable, I came away very impressed with Ames' mechanics. He comes over the top in most cases and the ball has good hop coming out of his hand. He comes across his body somewhat, but not to the extent that it's worrisome. His arm slot dropped to high three-quarters at times later in his outing as well.

Fastball

Ames' fastball was significantly better in the early innings of this outing. Working at 91-94 mph early on, Ames got some swings and misses in the zone on his fastball and showed good life. By the middle innings, however, he began to work around 90-91, and bumping 92. It's not a huge dip but it's something to keep in mind.

Slider

Although he's very aggressive with his fastball, Ames' sprinkled in his secondaries nicely in this outing. And, his slider should grade out as an average offering at the big league level. Working at 82-85 mph, it showed good depth and was well spotted.

Changeup

There's a lot of conviction in Ames' changeup, at least in this outing. Thrown at 79-81 mph, the differential is clearly there and he did a good job of spotting it down and away to left-handed hitters. It's definitely his third best pitch, but the ones he threw were impressive in this game.

Summation

Jeff Ames has the makings of three quality big league pitches, one of them being a potential plus fastball. We'll have to see how he evolves in terms of tightening up his command, and we need to see if either of his secondary pitches takes a step forward, but right now he looks like he can be a solid middle of the rotation starter in the future.

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