Alan Busenitz, Right-Handed Pitcher
HT : 6'1
WT : 180
DOB : August 22, 1990 (25), in Watkinsville, Georgia
Throws : Right
Bats : Right
School : Kennesaw State University (Kennesaw, GA)
Acquired : Drafted in 25th Round of 2013 MLB Draft
Last Year's Ranking : #51
The Los Angeles Angels thought incredibly highly of Alan Busenitz coming into the 2015 season, and things unraveled at the seams when a skip over High-A proved to be the wrong move from the Angels side. Busenitz returned to High-A by season's end and flashed high 90's heat, something no one had seen from him before. A new lead could turn Busenitz into something spectacular, as he begins showing near triple digit heat, all while being able to place it with ease.
Busenitz made strides with his fastball this past season, seeing a near five mile per hour velocity spike. In season's prior, Busenitz sat 92-94 MPH and now is a regular in the mid 90's, sitting 93-97, and running it all the way up to 99 at times. One scout and agent even proclaimed that Busentz put up a few triple digits while in Double-A while warming, but never in game. Busenitz slingshots his fastball in with ease, and finds true velocity on his running four-seamer. Busenitz is best when pitching off his fastball to set up his off-speed pitches.
Booze comes equipped with a pair of off-speed pitches in a changeup and curveball. He has a good feel for his changeup, but it's a pretty fringe pitch right now, which leads him to a relief career. He has used his changeup as more than just a "show me" pitch, but makes better use of his curveball to change speeds. His curve has good depth to it, as the ball gets heavy at the plate.
Busenitz has good command of all three pitches he has to offer, but mechanically has work to do before reaching his plateau in the minors. He became very loose and relaxed on the mound, attacking batters with ease, but his deceptive sling shot arm can force him to throw across his body at times, forcing inconsistent landing points. He needs to learn how to repeat his delivery, but is nowhere near a liability in the mid levels of the minors.
Busenitz is deceptive on the mound, hiding the ball behind him through most of his delivery. He has good arm speed, which creates confusion for the batter when the ball comes out, wondering if the ball is flying in at 95 or if it's coming at 80. This will be a key point to success if Busenitz hits the highest levels of the minors and eventually the Majors.
Scouting Report from Taylor Blake Ward - Senior Publisher for Scout.com
Busenitz was a large part of Georgia Perimeter College's Conference Championship, striking out 59 in 57.1 innings, and carried that to a 6-1, 2.67 ERA sophomore year, helping him be named an All-Region and First-Team All-District selection. Booze finished his JUCO career with eight wins at GPC. He soon transferred to Kennesaw State, where he made two starts prior to a season-ending injury. That junior year, he allowed eight runs in 10.1 innings pitched, while striking out 10.
In his final collegiate year, Busenitz collected a 3.03 ERA, while allowing 32 hits and struck out 39 in 35 innings. He highlighted his season with a five-strikeout performance against SEC opponent, Auburn - and also picked up his first and only save against USC Upstate, helping Kennesaw State to a sweep of the Spartans. Busenitz spent the better half of the season as the Owls set-up man and was drafted soon after.
Busenitz jumped into professional baseball and took control of Rookie Orem's bullpen staff. He finished the year with a 2.33 ERA, while allowing just 1.060 base runners per inning. Busenitz walked just four of the 152 batters he faced, and saw multiple runs against in just two of his 21 games pitched.
Busenitz jumped up the prospect ladder with a strong 2014 in Low-A, where he held a 1.94 ERA and 1.091 WHIP, while collecting 17 saves in the mix. In his final 37 games of the year, 31 went scoreless, and he held a 1.74 ERA and .209 against average with a 2.18 GB/AO ratio.
The Angels skipped Busenitz over High-A to kick off last season, and the result was poor. While in Double-A, Booze posted a 1-5 record and 6.75 ERA, while allowing near two base runners per inning. He was sent to High-A, where he found success again, posting a 3.30 ERA and striking out 8.5 per nine.
The Angels rushed Buzenitz last year, and they won't make the same mistake twice - or so it seems. He should begin next season where he began the last, now jumping head stong into Double-A Arkansas, where he'll be a primary asset to the bullpen. The tougher competition should now be on par with Booze's game, and he could become that hidden bullpen gem the Angels have been looking for.
Busenitz did things no one had seen from him last season, jumping into the highest of the 90's with his fastball. That alone should put him on the Angels radar as a future bullpen piece, and it only helps that he can command his fastball to both sides of the plate. The potential ceiling is becoming higher and higher and Buzenitz progresses, but he's reaching an age where they need to make quick - and correct - decisions about Buzenitz's future. He very easily could be a back end bullpen piece within a year or two.
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This article was published by Taylor Blake Ward, who serves as a Senior Publisher for Scout.com, and can be found on Twitter, @TaylorBlakeWard.