2014 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.

Best Command
1. LHP Kyle Lobstein
2. LHP Kyle Ryan
3. RHP Austin Kubitza
4. RHP Zac Reininger
5. RHP Chase Edwards

Left-handers Kyle Lobstein and Kyle Ryan both wear the craft lefty moniker fairly well. Lobstein is a more aggressive pitcher with more zip and life on the fastball, along with the frame that suggests he could handle plenty of big league innings. With all of that, Lobstein pounds the strike zone with all of his pitches and successfully works his fastball to all parts of the strike zone. Ryan on the other hand, is a funky lefty that is very short on raw stuff but has the ability to locate all of his pitches and move them around the zone to keep hitters off balance.

Kubitza excelled during his time in West Michigan in 2014, using his average fastball and plus slider as weapons against young, inexperienced professional hitters. When he combined those two quality offerings with the ability to move his fastball to both sides of the plate and elevate when he needed to, Kubitza carved up his youthful opposition.

Both Reininger and Edwards pounds the strike zone with fringe-average arsenals, though Reininger has more big league potential than Edwards. Working exclusively in relief, Reininger mixes and moves four pitches very well. Edwards has been worked as a starter thus far, and while his fastball comes up well short, his ability to keep it low in the zone and move it side to side helps compensate some.

Honorable Mention
LHP Tyler Ford
RHP Brennan Smith
RHP Gage Smith

Drafted in 2014, Ford looks like a little leaguer on the bump, coming up short in both raw stuff and stature, but during his time in short-season ball last summer, he showed an ability to locate his fastball from the left side. Both Smiths have an ability to move their fastball around, though the consistency lags and must come along for either to have a true MLB projection.

Projection Kings
RHP Endrys Briceno
RHP Andres Tejada

With Tommy John surgery now in his rear view mirror, Endrys Briceno will be looking to regain his lofty prospect status. Blessed with an easy arm action and ability to paint the corners, Briceno is one of the few players on this list that combines command projection with impressive raw stuff.

Though he walked 19 batters in just 34-1/3 innings with the DSL Tigers in 2014, Tejada has shown flashes of commanding his projectable fastball. Blessed with a long, lanky frame at 6-foot-5, 190 pounds, the 20-year old has the potential to combine an easy release of a low-90s fastball with quality command.


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