At the Park: Lakeland Pitcher Scouting Notes

James Chipman reports back on a quartet of arms for the Flying Tigers, including Top 50 prospect Kevin Ziomek and sleeper Paul Voelker.

Montreal Robertson

Vitals

Position: Right-handed Pitcher
Date of Birth: 6/19/1990
Height/Weight: 6-4/205
Bats/Throws: Right/Left
Acquired: 2011 MLB Draft, 29th Round

Scouting Report

Body: Exceptional size. Solid strength in upper body; thick lower half. Almost 25-years-old, no projection remaining physically.

Delivery/Mechanics: High-effort 3/4 arm-angle with quick arm-speed and below-average deception. Struggles mightily to repeat delivery. Front side often flies open; landings frequently vary. Best described as a raw dart thrower as command and control are almost non-existent.

Fastball: 94-95 mph t97 predominately flat with occasional wiggle at lower velocity, and straight as a string at higher velocity. Plus-plus in terms of velocity; significantly lower grade however due to lack of movement and inability to locate.

Slider: 83-85 mph with loose loopy slurvy action. Lacks desired tight late-breaking action. Below-average offering that often finds barrels and fails to miss bats.

Summary: Despite having plus-plus velocity, Robertson's profile comes up short for me to see him as anything more than an org guy. Command and control are almost non-existent, there's minimal movement on the fastball and he lacks a put-away pitch

Paul Voelker

Vitals

Position: Right-handed Pitcher
Date of Birth: 8/19/1992
Height/Weight: 5-10/185
Bats/Throws: Right/Right
Acquired: 2014 MLB Draft, 10th Round

Scouting Report

Body: Undersized; Voelker is noticeably shorter and lighter than his advertised height and weight. That being said, he still features solid strength throughout his upper body and a thick lower half. The soon-to-be 23-year-old has minimal, if any at all projection remaining for added growth. Voelker is an exceptional athlete with great coordination; he also fields his position exceptionally well.

Delivery/Mechanics: Voelker fires the ball from a unique drop and drive delivery. He has a high-3/4 arm-slot with clean, compact and quick arm action through release point, causing the ball to explode out of the hand, challenging hitters. His arm-slot generates nice, natural downward plane. There is a fair amount of effort in the delivery and a decent amount of deception thanks to his exceptional arm speed.

Fastball: 93-95 mph t97. At its best, the offering explodes, featuring heavy arm-side run. The fastball does however also have the propensity to appear fairly flat, especially when left up or in the middle of the strike zone. Voelker adds and subtracts the velocity exceptionally well, pounding the zone with quality strikes. Currently a plus pitch with a tick more projection remaining.

Slider: 83-85 mph, scraping as high as 86. The offering features nasty late-breaking 3/4 tilt with exceptional depth at its best. Shape will also occasionally show tight, late-breaking horizontal darting action. Voelker moves the offering around the zone well, utilizing it for strikes and as a chase pitch out of the zone. Voelker's potential plus-slider has legit big league bat-missing potential moving forward.

Summary: Armed with a plus fastball and a potential plus slider, Voleker has been a fast riser, pitching at two levels already this season, and showing the aptitude to adequately handle late inning work at both stops thus far. The profile doesn't have a ton of projection remaining, but Voelker's sexy fastball and slider combo should easily give him solid seventh inning upside at the big league level.

Brennan Smith

Vitals

Position: Right-handed Pitcher
Date of Birth: 8/4/1989
Height/Weight: 6-3/200
Bats/Throws: Right/Right
Acquired: 2010 MLB Draft, 33rd Round

Scouting Report

Body: Ideal pitchers frame. Sturdy build. Athletic body. Almost 25-years-old, no projection remaining physically.

Delivery/Mechanics: Medium-effort 3/4 arm-angle with average arm-speed and average deception. Clean delivery that's repeated fairly well. Noticeably drops arm-slot a tick on breaking ball. Stiff front leg on landings. Struggles to get the ball to the plate in an adequate amount of time: routinely around 1.40-1.46.

Fastball: 93-95 mph t96 runs in on left-handed batters; sinking action in the lower third of the zone; fairly flat at higher velocity. Adds and subtracts velocity well and navigates the offering around the zone well. Solid above-average offering.

Curveball: 77-79 mph with 11/5 break. Spins, lacking tight rotation and overall consistency. Will occasionally flash an average breaking ball; frequently grades out well below-average however. Enough to challenge hitters through A-ball, more advanced hitters will feast on the offering.

Changeup: mid-80s. Utilizes a standard grip. Very little downward movement; lacks fade. Lacks feel for the pitch and the arm speed necessary to make the offering a useful weapon in his repertoire.

Summary: Smith is a solid org soldier. He lacks the necessary secondary stuff to challenge at the highest levels of minor league baseball, but should continue to aid the org in the lower levels.

Kevin Ziomek

Vitals

Position: Left-handed Pitcher
Date of Birth: 3/21/1992
Height/Weight: 6-3/200
Bats/Throws: Right/Left
Acquired: 2013 MLB Draft, 2nd Round

Scouting Report

Body: Tall, athletic build; high waist; long limbs; average strength throughout upper and lower body. Frame suggests that of a potential innings-eater. Minimal room for added growth.

Delivery/Mechanics: High-3/4 arm slot; medium effort in delivery; hides the ball well; extremely deceptive at times. Inconsistent mechanics; occasionally throws across his body, causing balance and landing issues.

Fastball: 86-89 mph, t90. Lacked desired velocity and life needed to adequately challenge big-league hitters. Fastball has some occasional arm-side run when thrown at lower velocity. Fairly flat at higher velocity, and straight as a string when thrown up in the zone. Below-average offering.

Slider: 75-78 mph, short with a little depth, but fairly horizontal in shape, featuring occasional two-plane break. Movement will sometimes cause pitch to behave as more of a late-breaking slurve than a traditional slider. Thrown primarily as a chase pitch, buried down and away in the zone. Average offering.

Curveball: 72-74 mph, traditional shape. Spins on occasion, lacking proper tight rotation and desired velocity. Hung a couple up in the zone that likely would have been destroyed by more advanced hitters. Failed to generate much swing and miss. Below-average offering with minimal projection.

Changeup: 80-81 mph, very little downward movement; lacks fade. Lacks feel for the pitch and the arm speed necessary to make it a useful weapon in his repertoire. Below-average offering.

Summary: Ziomek features an arsenal of below-average to average offerings. Nothing in the profile blows me away, and I struggle to see anything more than a long reliever or lefty specialist.


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