Best Outfield Arm
1. Jose Azocar
2. Jason Krizan
3. Connor Harrell
4. Mike Gerber
5. Ben Verlander
Jose Azocar still has some work to do with regard to his overall defensive package, but there’s little debate about his arm. It didn’t take long for the West Michigan Whitecaps to brand him the “Azooka” last year after he began unleashing jaw-dropping throws with regularity. The 20-year-old throws with impressive velocity and carry, and he showed enough accuracy to record a Midwest League-leading 16 assists last year.
Krizan is a veteran of the outfield arm lists thanks to a very quick release, plus velocity, and accuracy from all three outfield spots.
Harrell has plus arm strength, and like Krizan he can make all the throws from each outfield position, but he lags slightly behind due to the occasional lapse in mechanics that lets throws sail on him.
Gerber has also played all three outfield spots, but he’s stretched a bit thin in center. Fortunately he has shown the above-average arm strength and accuracy needed to play right field.
Verlander spent part of his time in college as a pitcher, and he still has an above-average arm that helps him control the running game from right field.
Kivett wasn’t known for his arm when he played second base as an amateur, but as a pro he has developed into a well-rounded defensive outfielder with solid-average arm strength and accuracy.
Bauml took a small bonus as a 10th-round senior sign out of Northern Kentucky, but the 24-year-old Canadian is a solid athlete who boasts a strong, accurate arm.
Bojarski is just an impressive package of raw tools right now, but he has already show signs of having a plus arm that would play perfectly in right field.
Juan Ramirez isn’t as physically impressive as Bojarski, but he boasts the same potential for a plus arm in the outfield.
Mojica has yet to play in a professional game, but he enters the system with a reputation for exciting tools, including an above-average arm.
Why He Missed
Hill stands out most for his range and instincts, but he was also garnering consistent above-average and even plus grades for his arm strength. But late last season he injured his elbow and needed Tommy John surgery. While the procedure seems almost routine now, and expectations are for a full recovery, not every player comes back with the same arm strength. Hill is likely to return to the field in June, but we may not know if his arm strength is back until 2018.