Tigers Scouting Report #35: Jordan John

Jordan John spent his first full professional season working in the West Michigan rotation, and had plenty of success, with over 100 innings pitched and a sub-3 ERA. Does John have the ceiling to continue that success in the rotation as he moves up the ladder?

Jordan John

Vitals

Position: Left-handed Pitcher
Date of Birth: 7/5/1990 (2014 Opening Day Age: 23)
Height/Weight: 6-3/200
Bats/Throws: Right/Left
Acquired: 2012 Draft, 6th Round
Ranking History: ##36 (2013), #35 (2014)

Background: Signed as a draft-eligible sophomore in the sixth round in 2012, John spent the entire 2013 season with full-season West Michigan, pitching better as the season went along and proving he could handle a heavy workload in his first full professional season.

Performance:

2013 Stats - Pitching
TEAMGGSSVIPHHRRERBBSOHBPERAWHIPW/L
West Michigan 23190111.010724036328932.921.259-4


Scouting Report

Body: Powerful, strong lower half; thick through the hips and butt; strong legs; tree trunks; well-built upper body but not overly physical; surprisingly narrow shoulders given the rest of the build; overall very good bod; maxed out physically with no remaining physical projection.

Delivery/Mechanics: Very simple, efficient delivery; moves down the plane of the mound well; lands on firm front leg; drives well off back leg with some minor drop and drive; doesn't look like he finishes well but still keeps the ball down; looks like he's playing catch in the back yard; easy; clean and repeatable.

Fastball: Works low; modest life on FB that sits 86-88, T90; velo plays up with quality location; ball can appear to have more velo because of easy release; good plane; FB has more deception than raw zip; can work against low-level hitters; upper-level hitters may barrel it more frequently; even with deception and movement, FB plays below-average; lacks projection. Grade – Present 4+/Future 4+

Slider: Best secondary pitch; looks like FB out of the hand; same easy release; good arm slot consistency with FB; tight rotation disguises pitch as it approaches play; vertical breaker; induces weak contact and won't miss upper-level bats; solid-average with above-average potential as consistency rounds into form. Grade – 5/5+

Curveball: Needs some work; gets around the outside too frequently and the pitch blends into the SL; lacks bite and depth; more of a show-me third pitch that isn't a significant part of the arsenal; upper-70s velo; projection is lacking because of the reliance on the SL and how he gets caught between them. Grade – 4/4+

Changeup: Straight change; will get too firm with it at times; needs to choke it more and turn it over a little better; can look like FB out of the hand with occasional quality velo separation; fringe-average pitch with average projection. Grade – 4+/5

Control/Command: Strongest part of the profile; clean, easy delivery; ball comes out very well; stays within himself; moves FB and SL to both sides of the plate; can elevate FB when he wants to; consistently works lower third of the zone; control is advanced; command shows very well for his experience level and has conservative projection in above-average range; very nice control and command profile.

Other: TJ surgery on college resume; minimal effects of injury at this time; durable body and the arm bounced back well in his first pro season; intelligent pitcher with ability to mix four pitches; holds runners well; lacks impact pickoff move but does well enough; finishes balanced and ready to field position; knows his role on the field.

Final Word

Summary: Four pitch mix that won't blow you away; SL is only true MLB-caliber pitch; FB and CB both come up short; CH has chance to work at MLB level; control/command will help arsenal play up; has makeup, presence and intelligence to maximize the raw stuff; package may not work in a starting rotation long term; SL can work to get LHH out consistently.

Risk: Moderate risk; Limited ceiling; decent floor; minimal grade jumps required; TJ surgery in past.

Projection: Has breadth of arsenal to start but the raw quality may not stand up to big league hitters; FB and SL can play in left-on-left relief role; FB won't tick up much in bullpen but ability to locate will help; floor is a 4A starter; ceiling is high-leverage lefty reliever; likely outcome middle relief or second bullpen lefty; could move quickly starting in 2014 with potential to finish in Double-A and then reach the big leagues in 2015.

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