Tigers Scouting Report #21: Kyle Ryan

Kyle Ryan was a little-known left-hander in the Tigers system, that is up until a run on starters at the big league level facilitated the Tigers pushing him all the way up to Detroit, where he made a half-dozen appearances. Now with an off-season that provided reinforcements and health, what does Ryan need to do to get back?

Kyle Ryan


Position: Left-handed Pitcher
Date of Birth: 9/25/1991 (2015 Opening Day Age: 23)
Height/Weight: 6-5/180
Bats/Throws: Left/Left
Acquired: 2010 MLB Draft, 12th Round
Ranking History: #75 (2011), #36 (2012), #39 (2013), #31 (2014), #21 (2015)

Background: Given an over-slot bonus ($100,000) in 2010, Ryan has been on the Tigers radar for an extended period of time, growing up just down the road from their spring training home. After a tour through the GCL after being drafted, Ryan spent two seasons with low-A West Michigan where he combined for a 3.47 ERA in 52 starts. In his first taste of high-A in 2013, Ryan posted a 3.17 ERA in 24 starts, spanning 142 innings. Finally reaching the upper levels of the minor leagues in 2014, Ryan was solid at both Erie and Toledo, before finding success in limited big league innings as well.


2014 Stats - Pitching
Erie 21210126.2140156764327814.551.367-10
Toledo 55033.02108652001.640.793-0
Detroit 62010.1100332402.611.162-0

Scouting Report

Body: Long, lanky frame; not a ton of present strength; narrowish shoulders; limited physical projection remaining; durable arm that handles pitches and innings well; doesn't have the classic workhorse frame; good length that allows for leverage/angle.

Delivery/Mechanics:Consistent delivery that he controls well; lots of arms and legs flying at hitters; little bit of funk that offers deception and makes him hard to pick up; arm keeps up with the lower body well; arm slot is low-3/4; loses some of the leverage he could gain from height/length because of lower slot.

Fastball: Consistently worked 87-88 mph with FB in 2014; bumped 90 on occasion but those were rare; FB has some life but not a ton; moves ball around to both sides of the plate; must work down to compensate for lost angle from lower slot; when he works up, ball lacks movement or velocity to beat hitters and can get pounded; prone to home runs off FB; FB could play to 88-90 mph more consistently in short stints as lefty reliever. Grade – Present 4/Future 5+

Cutter: Best pitch; relies on it very heavily; works at 85-86 mph with good horizontal movement that gets in on RHH and runs away from LHH; threw as much as 60% of time in several starts last year; won’t miss bats but keeps hitters off balance and induces tons of weak contact; can break bats on RHH when he gets in the kitchen. Grade – 5+/5+

Breaking Ball: Nice little breaker; comes out of same slot as FB and cutter; has some vertical movement to pitch that gets it to a different plane than the two harder offerings; throws at 77-80 mph; works better at lower end of that velo range and offers more separation from primary pitches; potential average pitch. Grade – 4+/5

Changeup: Still working on developing pitch; minimal progress over last two seasons; similar velocity to breaking ball; some fade but not consistent; will slow arm rather than trusting grip and letting it fly; arm slot is consistent with FB; projects to below-average but should continue to use as a change of speed offering. Grade – 3+/4

Control/Command: Despite lanky frame and deceptive delivery, displays knack for locating FB and moving it around the zone; command cutter very well, arguably better than FB; potential plus command profile if he can refine ability to work low in zone rather than elevating where his stuff flattens out and becomes less crisp; command of CH lags other offerings.

Other: Very quiet demeanor; goes out and gets the job done; impossible to rattle him on the mound; hard worker between starts; plus makeup.

Final Word

Summary: Cutter is only present or potential above-average offering; FB and CH come up short and project to below-average; breaking ball is potential average pitch but not a swing and miss offering; mixes and matches well; plus potential command profile; has deception in delivery with arms and legs flying everywhere; works quickly; hitters don’t square him unless he leaves the ball up in the zone when he can become prone to the long ball; absolute murder on left-handed hitters; has durability to start and chew innings at AAA level or make spot starts at MLB level; may have longer MLB career as left-on-left reliever.

Risk:Low risk; Minimal development remaining in game; low ceiling player.

Projection: Unlikely to hang around in starter role at MLB level unless he figures out a way to craft himself into Jamie Moyer version 2.0; more likely org starter depth at Triple-A or occasional MLB swingman; could carve out niche as left-on-left reliever that works less than an inning each time out; nearly MLB ready and should see additional time in Detroit in 2015.

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