TCN 2015 Cards Prospect #24: Bryan Dobzanski

The St. Louis Cardinals added their third big-money high school pitcher from New Jersey in the last two years.

The Cardinal Nation/ Player Profile

School: Delsea Regional High School, New Jersey

2014 rank Pos. DOB Ht. Wt. Bat Thw Signed Round
NA RHS 08,31,95 6-4 200 R R 2014 29

Selected 2014 stats

GCL 2 1 2.67 3.62 8 4 0 27 18 8 1 7 17 0.186 1.00 0.215

Staff comments (individual rankings in parentheses)

Message board community (25): Beef16 was the first early supporter of Dobzanski in the community vote. CariocaCardinal considers Dobzanski a real long shot and is not sure that his upside is that great. PadsFS and I thought it was somewhat silly to rate Steven Farinaro as a non-prospect, but to put Dobzanski in there at this point almost solely due to a high bonus. (As a high schooler, Farinaro received a comparable bonus from the Cardinals to skip college in 2013.)

UncleDenny refuted that, saying that Dobzanski is a big, strong kid and a great athlete. UncleDenny spent a lot of time with him at the Gulf Coast League games and he believes Dobzanski has a great attitude as well. Scadder21 thinks Dobzanski was the consolation prize for the organization missing out on unsigned draft picks Justin Bellinger (11th round) and Trevor Megill (3rd round), and believes Dobzanski’s upside is less than that of those two almost-Cardinals. - Jeremy Byrd

Derek Shore: The Cardinals’ 2014 draft centered around pitching and more pitching. Dobzanski, a prep righty, was selected in the 29th round, but became this year’s late-round bonus baby when he was given a $700,000 signing bonus to be swayed away from Louisville. That money is comparable to a third-round bonus and Dobzanski is among those at the forefront of this year’s class with the amount of talent he brings.

Dobzanski was the last major pick to sign, heading to the Gulf Coast League Cardinals at the end of June. He made his debut in relief on July 11th and made three more appearances out of the bullpen before finishing with four starts. Though still early, it has been a successful transition so far. He allowed eight earned runs in 27 innings, which is a 2.67 ERA. The righty struck out 17 and walked seven in that span.

Big and strong at 6-foot-4, he is also athletic for his size. Dobzanski won back-to-back state championships as a high school wrestler in his junior and senior seasons. The two-sport athlete has aptitude and raw athleticism along with arm strength. He reportedly threw in the 88-91 range which should increase given the daily mound time he will have. Dobzanski also has a breaking pitch that shows rotation but needs refinement, and a changeup he has shown confidence in.

Given how raw Dobzanski is presently, the Cardinals will likely be on the patient side with him throughout his path up the ladder. You should see him in Extended Spring Training before joining a short-season club, most likely Johnson City.

Brian Walton (24): Though New Jersey is not considered by most to be a baseball hotbed, it has been an especially fertile ground for the Cardinals in the last two years. Initially, the Garden State sourced two hurlers in Alex Reyes and Rob Kaminsky who received over a million dollars each in signing bonuses and are now among the top five prospects in the entire system. (And maybe even better - stay tuned to our top 40 countdown!)

While Dobzanski also joined the Cardinals right out of high school, he isn’t yet in the league of the other two right-handers. Yet in his Gulf Coast League debut, the now-19-year-old performed well.

When some see the “29th round” label attached to a player, they assume that is a reflection of his talent. That is clearly not the case here. Dobzanski’s college commitment was considered firm unless he was offered $750,000, so other organizations passed.

The Cardinals definitely used Dobzanski as a fallback in case they could not land Megill and Bellinger, but the fact that he is in the organization is an endorsement of good planning by the scouting department.

During instructional league camp this fall, I asked Dobzanski if any of the elements of his wrestling conditioning apply to baseball preparation as well.

“Being down in Florida, it is really hot,” he noted. “But I am used to weather being hot like that because the wrestling room is so humid and it is 100 degrees and it is crazy in there.”

Dobzanski gains both physical and mental benefits from his unique training.

“Wrestling makes you mentally tough to be on the mound and pitching being all mental, so I feel that wrestling really helped me there,” the pitcher explained. “Being strong – wrestling really helped me there. Doing the lifting, being strong on the mat, it really helped being strong out there (on the mound). You really have to have strong legs to be a pitcher.”

Dobzanski is still an infant pitching-wise. As a senior, he threw just 46 innings before adding his 27 in the GCL. Finding and refining an out pitch proved to be necessary.

“I didn’t have much of a curveball or a change-up (initially), so I was really relying on my fastball,” he admitted.

His primary objective in instructs was to work on those two secondary pitches. Like most high schoolers entering the pro game, Dobzanski has to adjust to thrive.

“I am used to from high school striking out pretty much every batter, so it is a lot different,” he acknowledged. “I produced a lot of ground balls, so I was really happy about that. My walks, they could have been lower, but most of the time, I had long counts and just missed the strike zone for strike three. It is just something little that you have to work on.”

In 2015, Dobzanski will likely be given the opportunity to pitch through spring training and extended spring training. As he builds up his workload, hopefully the secondary pitches will continue to progress and we will see a more polished pitcher in short-season ball.

New Jersey is counting on it.

Our 2015 top 40 series continues: To see the entire list of top Cardinals prospects and remaining article schedule, click here. This includes the top 40 countdown and nine in-depth, follow-up articles. Most of the latter are exclusively for members of The Cardinal Nation.

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