Sean Newcomb, Left-Handed Pitcher
HT : 6'5
WT : 240 lb.
DOB : June 12, 1993, Brockton, MA
Throws : Left
Bats : Left
School : University of Hartford (West Hartford, CT)
Acquired : Drafted in 1st round (15th overall) of 2014 June Draft
Stock : Rising
Cool Notes : Out of High School, he enrolled in the College of Arts and Sciences as a Criminal Justice major
Sean Newcomb was a unanimous vote as the #1 prospect in the Angels farm system when we took our first ballots for the Top 100 list. However, a trade brought in another prospect who will be named #1 in our countdown tomorrow, sorry Sean. This doesn't mean much, since Newcomb is within the elite prospects in all of minor league baseball. He reminds many scouts of Jon Lester at his ceiling, and Scott Kazmir (another 15th overall pick) as his floor. I'd say that's a safe bet to a successful career for Mr. Newcomb.
Newcomb has what is believed to be the best fastball in the Angels farm system. It comes in primarily at 92-94 MPH, and can sit anywhere from 91-95 regularly, tapping 97 at times. Newcomb has a nice ability to throw into the mid 90's late in games, and has touched 96-97 in the sixth and seventh inning before. Due to his effortless arm action and extension towards the plate, his fastball has some late lift to it and can come in quicker to the batter's eye than it actually is at times. When thrown down in the zone, his fastball has sinking action, running to his arm-side. Many have said Newcomb would fit well learning a cutter, but that is an organizational decision whether it happens or not. When Newcomb elevates his fastball, and gets even more lift, batters look baffled, taking harsh hacks at it, making Newcomb look even more Major League ready.
Newcomb comes with a pair of breaking balls, a curveball and slider. His curveball currently seems to be a change of pace offering to keep batters guessing. It sits in the 76-81 range, and Newcomb has found ways to change the speed of his curve, making it even harder to read. It has an 11-5 break, being somewhat slurve like with downer movement. Newcomb's slider is slightly better than his curve, with good tilt and added velocity. It comes in in the low to mid 80's, and has short break. Newcomb has found confidence in it, learning to to pitch away from lefties and burrying it on the back foot on right-handed bats as it dives out of the zone, similar to a power curve.
Newcomb's changeup is already a plus pitch. It sits in the mid 80's, and comes in with the same arm action and arm speed as his fastball creating a load of back spin. It has good running action to his arm-side, and can have a late drop to it. He needs a little more development in commanding it, but Newcomb shows high confidence in throwing his changeup in any count.
Newcomb has filled in physically but has some more growth to do. He's 21, and stands tall at six-foot-five and 240 pounds, but there's one element you have to see in person to understands he has some more growth to him. When we saw him at Angel Stadium, it didn't take much for us to look down and see his huge feet. The kid has to wear a size 16 or 17 shoe, and it says that he could mature physically even more, and possibly add more velocity and athleticism.
As an athlete, Newcomb has no problem. He's large and has an adequate frame to support that he has nice endurance and stamina to pitch deep into games. He was a star basketball player in high school, being named to New England region honors. Newcomb isn't necessarily fast, but he's nowhere near slow, and could be one of the better defensive pitchers in the Angels farm system.
Mechanically, Newcomb is a stud (again). He stays balanced and comfortable throughout his delivery, torquing his hips and using his legs and core to his advantage. He comes through well with his arm at a three-quarter slot, and shows little effort, which takes away any injury concerns many may have. Sometimes, he doesn't completely finish his trunk rotation, which is where his command problems arise. With this fix, he should be able to command the ball better, and throws even more strikes with his already fine control. Once Newcomb can repeat his mechanics with as much ease he naturally has, he should be able to take on that Major League level of talent.
You wouldn't guess it based on any conversation with him, but Newcomb shows some emotion while pitching. He's a New Englander, and competes like it. He can contain those emotions, but in a playoff scenario this last season while in pro ball, Newcomb allowed a hit, glared at the man on first, and then went on to strikeout the next five batters. With his contained emotion, and ability to flash brilliance beyond mistakes, Newcomb could be very fun to watch in any outing with his fierceness on the mound.
At Middleboro High School, Newcomb was a three-sport athlete, excelling in baseball and football, as well as leading the Patriot League in scoring as a basketball star. As a senior, Newcomb collected a 0.46 ERA, 9-0 record, three saves, and 110 strikeouts in 58 innings of work. He was named the Enterprises' Player of the Year, and was selected to pitch for Massachusetts in the All-Star game, where he was named MVP. Newcomb was an All-Scholastic selection by the Brockton Enterprise for baseball, basketball, and football.
As a freshman at Hartford, Newcomb held a 2-4 record, but no win was nearly as cool as his first one. His first victory came against Yale on March 24th, 2012, where he struck out 10 batters, and allowed NO HITS! Yep, Newcomb's first collegiate win was a no-hitter, pretty cool if you ask us. In his nine appearances on the season, Newcomb held the team lead in ERA at 4.17, and struck out 45 batters, while allowing 37 hits in 45.1 innings pitched. Newcomb was named to the America-East All-Rookie Team, as well as America-East Academic Honor Roll.
Newcomb made 13 appearances his sophomore year for a total of 72 innings pitched. Over his work, he allowed 30 runs on 53 hits, for a 3.75 ERA and a .213 batting average. Only 11 of his 53 hits went for extra-base, and only two were home runs. Newcomb struck out 92 batters, leading the America East Conference, and struck out five or more batters in 11 of his 13 outings. Newcomb collected a complete game, three-hit shutout against Maine, and had a pair of one earned run outings against Binghampton and Albany, where he struck out 12 in the prior game. Newcomb was named to the America East All-Conference First-Team.
In his junior year, Newcomb was a straight stud. He held an 8-2 record, with a 1.25 ERA over 93.1 innings pitched. Newcomb had a 0.953 WHIP, while holding bats to a .161/.254/.184 slash. Newcomb only allowed seven extra-base hits the entire season, all doubles. Newcomb struck out an average of 10.22 per nine, with a total of 106 over the entire season. Newcomb was named the 2014 America-East Pitcher of the Year, being the first from Hartford to win the award.
In his professional debut, Newcomb was limited to just 14.2 innings of work, where he struggled. Bats combined for a 286/.343/.411 slash against Newcomb. He had a combined season 6.14 ERA and 1.500 WHIP between Rookie Ball and Low-A. However, in his final appearance of the season, in a playoff clinching game for the Burlington Bees, Newcomb shined. After striking out the leadoff bat, he allowed a bunt single. He then glared at the man on first, then went on to strikeout the next five in a row swinging, and struck out four more in the afternoon for 10 strikeouts in four innings pitched, helping Burlington clinch a playoff spot.
Newcomb should see Single-A time at the beginning of 2015. Whether it be a return to Burlington or a trip to High-A Inland Empire is not noted yet. Spring Training results with the big club should be the real detriment for his season next year. If he shows a strong enough outing in Spring, don't hold out on him going to Double-A Arkansas for the 2015 season. If not right out of Spring Training, you should at least expect it at some point over the year.
Newcomb has a ceiling all the way to being a near "ace" kind of guy. He seems to be better suited for a #2 or #3 guy, especially with Andrew Heaney, Tyler Skaggs and Garrett Richards ahead of him in the organization. Wherever he lands, Newcomb should be expected to have a lengthy, All-Star career, going 200+ innings multiple times in his career.
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Taylor Blake Ward is a Senior Publisher for InsideTheHalos.com, and can be found on Twitter, @TaylorBlakeWard.