Prospect Countdown #21 : Jonah Wesely

Top 100 Los Angeles Angels' Prospects Countdown, #21 : Left-Handed Pitcher, Jonah Wesely (photo : Travis Berg)

Jonah Wesely, Left-Handed Pitcher

HT : 6'1
WT : 215
DOB : December 8, 1994 (21), Tracy, California
Throws : Left
Bats : Left
School : Tracy High School (Tracy, CA)
Acquired : Drafted in 11th Round of 2013 MLB Draft
Last Year's Ranking : #23


There was a major rut in the road last June when Jonah Wesely found out he torn his UCL and Tommy John surgery would be required. Regardless, the Los Angeles Angels nabbed him from a commitment to UCLA and he's now one of their top relief pitching prospects, and even better, he's left-handed. Even with the injury, the Angels have a hidden gem in Wesely who has the talent, will power and youth to be a part of the Angels organization for a long time, expecting high end results. In short, he fits the part of being something special.


SCOUTING REPORT:

When drafted, Wesely came equipped with a high load of tools that made him a desirable prep pitcher. Now, he's more refined and those tools are polished making him one of the Angels elite pitching prospects. The highest mark on his overall game is his knowledge of how to pitch and attack batters, making him the perfect package to be a southpaw reliever. Wesely attacks inside and puts away outside, using his fastball to lure batters in and puts them away with his plus off-speed pitches.

Wesely's owns a pair of fastballs that he uses effectively against both left and right-handed hitters. His four-seam has natural bore and diving action to it. He mostly attacks right-handed hitters and uses this to get ahead in counts. He also has a two-seam fastball with more run and sink to it, which allows him to work inside against left-handed hitters. Both these fastballs range from 88-92 miles per hour, touching 93 at moments.

In the off-speed department, Wesely throws a pair, with one being the dominant. His curveball is his best pitch, sitting in the high 70's to low 80's, turning into a slurve-like pitch due to it's spin and velocity. It has good diving and downer action, flying away from left-handed hitters and dropping in righties. He has shown a high amount of confidence in throwing this pitch and will throw it in any count to get ahead or bury for strikeouts. Wesely also throws a changeup but it's rare and slightly fringe. If he can stay behind it more and drive it through the zone, you could see Wesely return to the rotation with time.

Wesely has clean and simple mechanics, staying back and driving with his lower half. He throws from a near 4/5 arm angle, creating deception in itself and gives the ball a quicker look. He has a quick and low effort delivery, helping him stay aggressive with a high tempo to attack. He has limbered up and become loose through Bikram Yoga classes, which has helped him finish tall with a kick nearly over his head. This has been one of his biggest improvements, going from a stiff arm from his prep days to loose arm currently. All of this combined has helped keep him repetitive, taking away command problems.

Prep players rarely come into pro ball with a frame like Wesely, who was drafted at 240 pounds and above six-feet tall. He's now lost the excess weight and added the proper muscle weight, helping him become more limber and loose, while keeping room for physical growth. Once he does grow into his full frame, with the proper muscle, Wesely could be touching the mid 90's with ease on his fastball.

Last August, Wesely underwent Tommy John surgery after finding that he had a partial tear his UCL, impacted by broken down scar tissue. He's kept high spirits in returning to the mound and recently began the throwing process of rehabilitation. It will be a large challenge - as it does for all pitchers - in learning to trust his arm when throwing off-speed pitches again. However, Wesely is in a prime position being drafted from high school and pitching upwards of Single-A, as opposed to being in his junior year at UCLA, his collegiate commitment in high school, around the time he'd be drafted.

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Scouting Report from Taylor Blake Ward - Senior Publisher for Scout.com


STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN:

Wesely spent the 2013 season mixing a senior year of high school and one inning of Rookie Ball. As a senior at Tracy High School, Wesely posted a 0.98 ERA while striking out 110 batters in 64 innings (15.48 K/9), and holding bats to a .162 average. Once drafted, Wesely had a minor injury limit him to one inning of work in the AZL where he allowed one hit and one walk.

In his sophomore professional season, Wesely held a 4.08 ERA, 1.330 WHIP and collected a pair of saves. Wesely struck out over one batter per inning, while limiting bats to a .218 average and .640 OPS. In his first nine games of relief - 19 innings - Wesely did not allow a run, maintained by allowing just 13 base runners and holding bats to a .129 average and .293 OPS.

Last season, Wesely posted a 2.97 ERA and 1.187 WHIP before falling victim to a UCL tear. One outing where Wesely allowed five runs spiked all his numbers, and without the appearance, he would have held a 2.14 ERA, 5.52 H/9, 1.059 WHIP, .176 BAA and .499 OPSa. Wesely struck out a career high 12.8 per nine, including 21 of the final 54 batters he faced.

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EXPECTED FUTURE:

Wesely likely won't return to a professional mound until June or July, which will impact his quick progress through the system. It's likely he'll begin in Rookie AZL on rehab assignment, and then return to Low-A where he finished his season last year to get back on track in his route to the top. The Angels will likely limit his innings with a new arm, and keep an eye on his confidence for off-speed pitches.

Rehab and health coming off Tommy John will be key for Wesely in moving upwards in the system. Aside from Greg Mahle, the Angels lack depth in the system for southpaw relievers and Wesely gives them just that. They tend to be the quickest risers in the system, which means an ETA to the Majors for Wesely is hard to project, but he's shown all the tools to show he's set for a future relief role in the Majors.



For more updates on the Los Angeles Angels, their prospects, and our Top 100 Prospects Countdown, follow us on Twitter, @AngelsOnScout. Keep up with our countdown on Twitter with the hashtag, #LAATop100Prospects.

This article was published by Taylor Blake Ward, who serves as a Senior Publisher for Scout.com, and can be found on Twitter, @TaylorBlakeWard.



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