Position: Right-handed Pitcher
The Tigers fourth round pick this week, VerHagen could be a difficult player to sign given his remaining year of eligibility at Vanderbilt.
Despite being a junior, VerHagen has only pitched one season for the Commodores, having transferred in from Navarro Junior College and before that he spent a year pitching for Oklahoma. During his prep career, VerHagen pitched for Rockwall-Heath High School, the same school that produced the Tigers second round pick, Jake Thompson.
In his lone season with Vandy, VerHagen tossed 69 1/3 innings across 27 outings, starting seven of those games. He posted a 3.50 ERA while allowing 64 hits striking out 37. His control has been poor, having walked 28, hit another 17 batters and uncorking seven wild pitches.
VerHagen is the classic Tigers power pitcher. He is an extremely physical 6-foot-6 and 225 pounds. He has strength throughout his extra-large frame, including thick legs and a well-built torso.
When discussing VerHagen, scouts immediately point to his physicality and his velocity. He consistently runs his fastball into the mid-90s as both a starter and reliever. In short bursts he will flash 96-97 mph. His fastball has good natural life and can miss bats when located well.
There are concerns about VerHagen's delivery, as his arm action is short and choppy and he doesn't always finish well out front. He frequently comes to an abrupt stop at the end rather than extending fully.
The reports on VerHagen's secondary stuff have not been positive this spring. Most scouts note both a below-average change-up and curveball with little feel for throwing either in the strike zone. A couple of scouts believed the breaking ball could become average with some work, but weren't optimistic about that progression.
With his messy arm action, VerHagen struggles throwing strikes. He frequently loses the strike zone all together and rarely shows any semblance of command over his arsenal.
After seeing him in the Cape Cod League and talking to several scouts about him, I hold out very little hope in VerHagen's projection as a starting pitcher. He profiles as a max-effort reliever that tops out with a setup profile.
Performance Level Team W-L ERA G GS SV SO BB IP WHIP COL
VerHagen has had plenty of trouble with injuries throughout his career. As a high school senior he battled shoulder issues and then he went under the knife for Tommy John surgery while at Navarro Junior College.
VerHagen may require a signing bonus in excess of MLB's recommended slot for the fourth round. Vanderbilt underclassmen are notoriously difficult to sign outside of the top couple of rounds and the Tigers track record with players like Casey Weathers and Dominic De La Osa adds fuel to the fire.
If the Tigers can pull VerHagen into the fold, he may only spend a brief amount of time in the short-season leagues and could be pushed to West Michigan fairly quickly as a reliever. Without something clicking unexpectedly, VerHagen doesn't project as a fast-mover through the system and could take a few years to get his feet under him.
Mark Anderson is TigsTown's Managing Editor. Be sure to follow him on twitter @TigsTownMark.