Brian Loconsole, Right-Handed Pitcher
HT : 6'2
WT : 220
DOB : August 10, 1990 (25), in Chicago, Illinois
Throws : Right
Bats : Right
School : Western Illinois University (Macomb, IL)
Acquired : Drafted in 20th Round of 2013 MLB Draft
Last Year's Ranking : #59
Brian Loconsole was cut from his high school baseball team three times, and never threw a pitch at Glenbard North High School. Oh how things have changed for "Loco." Scout.com told the story of how Brian Loconsole's baseball career began, when he appeared on our countdown last season, and we feel there's a need to share it again.
As mentioned, he never threw a pitch in high school. After some time on summer league teams, a teammates' mother dared him to try out for the Western Illinois baseball team. He made it as a walk on after throwing just eight pitches. He red-shirted that season, and sadly, his coach passed away. As things were already bad, Loco had to go to Moraine Valley C.C. to pitch just to find a roster spot anywhere.
Loco won Pitcher of the Year honors at the school that year. He returned to WIU, was named the closer after a stellar season, and earned a scholarship for his final season of college. Loco went on to break the single-season and career saves record at WIU, and was drafted by the Angels in the 20th Round of the draft, just to top it all off.
Loconsole has gone from the bottom to the top, and is now right in the middle, as a reliever in the farm system. Only time will tell if he'll reach the top again as a Major Leaguer, but it should be said that there's no quit in this young man.
Loconsole comes equipped with a four-pitch arsenal, with the best of the three coming in as a mid 90's cutter. His fastball pairing (four-seam / cutter) both sit in the mid 90's, ranging anywhere from 91-95, and sometimes tapping slightly higher. The cutter is the better pitch, and is set up by his four-seam and slider.
Loco can throw all his pitches for strikes, but utilizes his cutter as a primary out-pitch. It is a true cutter, and is used best on the outer half of the plate against right-handed batters, and in at the hands against left-handed bats.
Loconsole's slider is used best as a set up pitch, but he has used it to back door. It has some swing-and-miss movement when buried. Loco can use this pitch to contact and create ground balls. He also has a changeup that's rarely seen.
Loco is a true power arm, as he really hurls the ball hard towards the plate. That's not to say he's a "thrower" and opposed to a "pitcher" as he knows how to pitch, but he can get a little inconsistent when throwing. Most of this power comes from the ground up, which is exactly what you want.
He leads with strong legs, uses his core and carries that through his shoulders to entire arm, somewhat like a hard throwing quarterback in the NFL. He has quick mechanics, going through his entire delivery in a snap. Loconsole has gone away - slightly - from an old delivery pattern where he would fall from his motion and use his shoulders near too much.
Keep this in mind, he's only been pitching since after high school. Those mechanics mentioned above were similar to a quarterback because he was an outstanding football player in high school. His athleticism has allowed him to clean up his mechanics and become more consistent.
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Scouting Report from Taylor Blake Ward - Senior Publisher for Scout.com
Loconsole's first chance at pitching in organized baseball came right after summer leagues, and into Moraine Valley Community College. He only spent one season there, but made good use, posting a 3.06 ERA in 78 innings, helping him be named the team's Pitcher of the Year.
Loconsole had some simple years at Western Illinois, during his sophomore and junior seasons, posting a 6.57 ERA and 2.153 WHIP in 18 combined appearances.
However, no reliever in WIU history matched what Loco did his senior season. Loco posted a 2.86 ERA while breaking the single-season and career school records, recording nine saves in 22 appearances. He held bats to a .282 slugging percentage, and was drafted by the Angels in the 20th round of the MLB Draft. Right out the draft, Loco struggled, posting a 9.11 ERA and .392 against average in 17 appearances.
Statistically, Loco was one the best relievers in the Angels farm system during the 2014 season. Loconsole posted a 1.68 ERA, 0.990 WHIP and .208 against average over the entire course of the season, seeing 24 of his 34 appearances go for scoreless outings. To kick off innings, hitters could not get past Loco, slashing just .097/.152/.129, strikin out 14 of the 62 batters he faced, while walking just three.
Loconsole was punished by the California League this past season, seeing his numbers spike in two of the most hitter friendly parks in all of Minor League Baseball. Outside of Lancaster and High Desert, Loconsole posted a 3.81 ERA - inside Lancaster and High Desert, 11.74 ERA. To each his own, because every pitcher on the Sixers' staff had to pitch in the same parks, but it just fell hard in Loco's case.
Loconsole hit some ruts last season, with the majority coming in some of the hardest parks to pitch in. This shouldn't hurt him moving forward, as teams look at these elements when scouting. They also look at age and abilities, and Loco is right around the proper age with the proper abilities to make the jump to Double-A in 2016.
It's all about progressing for Loco, when it comes to his eventual future. He's right around that mark of turning from organizational reliever, to potential Major Leaguer. 2016 may be the largest season in Loconsole's entire career, with the chance of turning him into a guy who competes at the highest level, or not.
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Taylor Blake Ward is a Senior Publisher for Scout.com, and can be found on Twitter, @TaylorBlakeWard.