Drafted as an 18-year old out of Chino Hills High School, Bailey Falter was quickly signed for a little over slot and opened his professional career in the Gulf Coast League just a couple of weeks after being drafted. He didn't show any signs of needing time to adjust to being away from home and pitching in the pros and put up strong numbers - 3.45 ERA, 0.9 BB/9, 7.8 K/9 and 1.08 WHIP - for the GCL Phillies. The debut earned him a bump to Williamsport this past summer and again, he didn't disappoint, striking out 59 in 59 2/3 innings of work and finishing with a 3.17 ERA in 13 starts.
One of the biggest things for Falter will be to simply add some muscle, especially in his lower half. He has good drive and follow through with his legs, but tends to wear down a little deeper in games and loses just a touch of velocity when pitching out of the stretch. Some added muscle would help him improve on the low 90s velocity that he shows with his fastball. The fastball has decent movement and generally stays down in the zone, but even just a tick more velocity would make the pitch stronger. When he starts to tire, the pitch stays up in the zone and flattens out considerably.
The curveball is advanced for Falter's age and has a strong 11-to-5 movement and when thrown just right, gets the preferred 12-to-6 movement. Averaging around 76 mph, Falter disguises the pitch very well and hitters have a tough time knowing that it's coming until it's late in the process for them to adjust to hitting. As expected, Falter uses the pitch in various situations and relies heavily on the pitch to get outs.
While a couple added mph on the fastball would help, being able to drop a little on the change-up would also help. Coming in with a mid-80s velocity, the change is just too close to the fastball to be really effective. The movement on the pitch carries it away from right-handed batters and at times, almost looks like a two-seam fastball more than it does a change-up.
Falter prides himself on being able to repeat his delivery and throws with a loose, comfortable 3/4 arm slot and has that downhill delivery that scouts love to see. At 6' 4", Falter has good size, and at just 175 pounds, there's room to pack on that needed muscle and not disrupt his build in a negative way. For a kid who is just turning 20 early in the season this year, Falter has good balance and doesn't really need to change anything in how he throws the ball. It's more just a matter of finding that extra little velocity and developing the change-up to be a more effective pitch to give him three good weapons.
With the exception of when he's tiring, Falter keeps the ball down in the zone and when he misses with a pitch, he generally misses low. As he tires, the pitches start to rise and become much more hittable.
As well as Falter has performed, if he doesn't improve the change and/or put more velocity on the fastball, to give him better speed separation between the two pitches, he could wind up pitching in a relief role as he reaches the higher levels of the minors. For now, the Phillies like him as a starter and he's likely to get his first full-season test in 2017 with a start at Lakewood. It will be interesting to see if Falter has put on some muscle during the offseason, because if he's pitching with the rigors of a full-season schedule, he's going to likely need some help, especially late in the year.
Bailey Falter's career stats
|All Levels (2 Seasons)||2||8||3.26||21||20||88.1||1.234||9.1||0.5||2.0||8.6||4.20|