Scouting Rangers Prospect #28: Barret Loux

Earlier this offseason, the Texas Rangers signed former sixth overall pick Barret Loux to a free agent deal worth a reported $312,000. Lone Star Dugout takes a look at the 21-year-old prospect with an in-depth scouting report.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Barret Loux
Position: Starting Pitcher
DOB: April 6, 1989
Height: 6'5"
Weight: 220
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Acquired: 2010 Minor League free agent

The Texas Rangers landed a potential high-impact arm earlier in the offseason when they signed right-hander Barret Loux for a reported $312,000 bonus.

Loux initially went to the Arizona Diamondbacks as the sixth overall pick in last summer's MLB Draft. He was set to sign for a slightly below-slot $2 million bonus, but D-Backs doctors didn't like what they saw in the physical.

Coming into the draft, teams had some concerns over the health of Loux's elbow, which was operated on in 2009 when doctors removed bone spurs. His physical with Arizona reportedly revealed potential shoulder troubles.

In the end, the Diamondbacks didn't offer Loux a contract. By failing to sign him, Arizona gets an extra first-round pick––a compensation selection––in the 2011 MLB Draft.

Because of Loux's in-depth contact with the Diamondbacks and Major League Baseball, an extra predicament was created in that the NCAA likely would have ruled him ineligible to return to college for his senior season. So MLB compromised with an unprecedented decision––granting the pitcher free agency.

"I just feel like it was the right thing to do," Loux said shortly after signing with the Rangers. "I didn't do anything––I didn't deserve it. It just kind of made everybody happy. That's all you can ask for. That's all I can ask for––just a chance to play baseball. When that came out, I was happy."

Loux finally signed with the Rangers after a three-month free agency process that included a handful of workouts and visits.

"I went to Baltimore, Minnesota, Cincinnati, and Milwaukee," he said. "I threw for Baltimore and I did a motion analysis thing for Milwaukee."

But ultimately, the Houston native couldn't pass on the opportunity to play in his home state.

"Staying in Texas was a huge perk, obviously," Loux said. "I've never heard a negative thing about their minor league system––just how it's all homegrown and that they support their guys. You get moved through the organization and have good coaching. That's something that is really important to me."

While Loux says he's currently healthy and ready to pitch when the 2011 season begins, both his shoulder and elbow could present future injury problems. The Rangers went through a similar situation by drafting and signing hard-throwing righty Tanner Scheppers in 2009.

"When I met with Dr. Meister (Rangers team doctor Keith Meister) over the summer, he was telling me about that situation," he said. "He was talking about how they've taken care of him, how they took a chance on him, and that he has kind of flourished in the organization."

The 6-foot-5, 220-pound prospect turned down a reported $800,000 bonus offer out of high school, instead choosing to attend Texas A&M. Loux pitched three seasons with the Aggies and broke out during his junior campaign, becoming one of college baseball's premiere Friday night starters.

Over the 2010 season, Loux posted an 11-2 record with a 2.83 earned-run average. He logged 105 innings and yielded 78 hits while walking 34 and striking out 136.

Loux believes the improvement was a product of a surgically repaired elbow and increased confidence in his secondary stuff.

"The two biggest things were just not really ever having to worry about recovering time or worrying if I was maybe going to miss a start or something like that," he said. "Once I had the surgery and that bone spur was removed, it felt like my elbow was brand new again. It was the best it has ever felt.

"The other thing was definitely pitching with breaking balls consistently and consistently throwing them for strikes. I wasn't just being in a fastball-type rhythm. Later on in the game, I could show batters something new that they hadn't seen before instead of just trying to get the fastball by them after they've seen it a few times."

Note: More quotes from Loux on his late-November signing can be found in the bottom portion of the article linked directly below.

Also See: Loux relieved to end process (November 24, 2010)

Repertoire: Fastball, Curveball, Slider, Changeup.

Fastball: During his three-year career at Texas A&M, Loux generally threw his fastball between 88-93 mph, often sitting comfortably in the 90-92 range. He has shown the ability to bump 94-95 mph in short spurts. Loux gained a reputation as a pitcher that relies heavily on his good fastball, although he did a better job of mixing in his secondary stuff last year. The pitch, which has slight boring and sinking action, was the primary factor behind his 279 strikeouts in 243.1 career innings with the Aggies. While he throws plenty of strikes and knows how to pitch with the heater, he could stand to refine the command a bit.

Other Pitches: The 21-year-old features three secondary offerings in a 76-77 mph curveball, a 79-81 mph cutter/slider, and an 82-84 mph changeup. Specific opinions on his offspeed stuff vary from scout to scout, but the general conclusion is often the same – Loux has three usable, fringy secondary pitches, though none currently project as a dominant strikeout pitch. He gained confidence in his changeup with the Aggies last season, and it may be the most advanced pitch in his offspeed repertoire. While both breaking balls can flash major league average at times, the slider appears to have a better chance of ultimately becoming above-average.

Projection: If Loux stays healthy, he has the ceiling of a number three starter and more likely fits as a back-of-the-rotation guy. The Rangers see Loux as a future starting pitcher and plan to develop him as such. His 6-foot-5 frame and four-pitch repertoire are well-suited for the role. And although he could show plus fastball velocity in short relief stints, his lack of a standout secondary pitch would limit his ceiling out of the bullpen.

As one of college baseball's premiere Friday night starters last season, Loux earned high marks for his competitive nature on the mound. Some scouts have concerns about his athleticism and ability to repeat his delivery with consistency. Still, he could be a quick mover through the system if he continues to refine his offspeed stuff.

2011 Outlook: Loux says he's healthy and ready to pitch in Spring Training. He should break camp with a full-season club, and he will probably slot into the rotation at Single-A Hickory. The prospect has three years of high-level collegiate experience and, if he excels with the Crawdads, there's no reason that he can't finish the season with High-A Myrtle Beach.

ETA: 2013.

Year Team W-L IP H BB SO ERA
2008 Texas A&M (FR) 6-2 90.1 76 35 81 4.18
2009 Texas A&M (SO) 3-3 48.0 43 21 62 4.13
2010 Texas A&M (JR) 11-2 105.0 78 34 136 2.83

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