2013 TigsTools: Best Command

Command is often the last element of a pitcher's game to develop. It takes consistency with the mechanics/delivery, confidence in the arsenal, and a dedication to focusing on locating every pitch. For that reason, command often develops last and can make or break a prospect as the approach the big leagues. Check inside to see who offers the best command in the Tigers system.

Best Command
1. Hudson Randall (RHP)
2. Kyle Lobstein (LHP)
3. Jordan John (LHP)
4. Endrys Briceno (RHP)
5. Tommy Collier (RHP)

It can be difficult to assess Randall at this point because of the time missed due to injury, but at his best, Randall locates his fringe-average fastball extremely well. He can move the ball east-west, as well as north-south, and he shows aptitude for locating his secondary pitches to each side of the plate as well. Randall's command profile suggests a big league future, but in order for that to happen, his stuff will have to tick up to get big league hitters out consistently.

Lobstein impressed me last year with his ability to locate the fastball and changeup, and also his ability to consistently keep the breaking ball down in the zone. He would lose his release point at times with the fastball, but showed enough feel to quickly get things back under control. Jordan John's command profiles similarly to Lobstein's, and scouts were impressed with what he showed in the Midwest League last season.

If you catch Endrys Briceno on a bad day, or in a bad inning, this rating will look foolish. If you catch him on a good day, this rating could also look foolish, but that's because he would look like he has the best command in the system. At times, Briceno moves his fastball around with ease and his easy, repeatable delivery suggests that he can gain consistency with his command going forward.

Collier's success relies on locating his 88-90 mph sinking fastball to both corners of the plate, while remaining low in the strike zone. He has done well with that throughout his career, and he could have an above-average command profile long term.

Honorable Mention
Brennan Smith (RHP)
Jake Thompson (RHP)
Drew VerHagen (RHP)

Smith, Thompson and VerHagen all show an ability to locate their fastballs to both sides of the plate. VerHagen's command is the most advanced of the three, but Smith will have spurts where he locates extremely well. Thompson remains the most raw of the three in this area, but he projects for average or better command down the line.

Projection Kings
Wilsen Palacios (RHP)
Zach Reininger (RHP)

For a pitcher that may be a darkhorse to help in the Tigers bullpen this summer, showing Palacios as a Projection King could seem a little odd. Palacios has already improved his command over the last couple of years, but there is still another step he can take. With consistency moving the ball to both corners, and elevating when he wants rather than when he loses his delivery a bit, Palacios could have above-average command. Reininger was impressive in a brief debut last year and he could have average command if he continues to develop against more advanced hitters.


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