Team USA Pitchers: Part One

Kiley shares video and reports of more of the top pitchers from college Team USA.

2015/2016 MLB Draft Showcase Season (June/July 2014): PG Jr National Pitchers (2016 prep class), PG Jr National Hitters (2016/17), PG National Overview (2015), Team USA Overview (2015/16), Team USA Pitchers Pt I (2015), Team USA Pitchers Pt II (2015), Team USA Pitchers Pt III (2015/16), Team USA Hitters Pt I (2015), Team USA Hitters Pt II (2015) & Team USA Hitters Pt III (2015/16)

2015/2016 MLB Draft Rankings (May 2014): 2015 College, 2016 College & 2015-16 High School

2014 MLB Draft Reactions: Day One Live Blog

2014 MLB Draft Rankings: The Draft Board

2014 MLB Draft Podcast: Jim Callis

Kyle Funkhouser, RHP, Louisville

His start for Team USA earlier this month was the fourth time I've seen Funkhouser pitch: hitting 96 mph out of the bullpen on the Cape last summer, then two starts late this spring for Louisville where he looked almost identical to how he did in this Team USA outing, hitting 96 or 97 mph in all four outings. Funkhouser is maxed-out physically, at roughly 6'2/225 but obviously has enough arm speed that lack of projection isn't an issue. He's more of a control over command guy that's still learning to harness his stuff, but there's clearly starter traits here as he's got some feel for sequence and three pitches, going late into games regularly. Funkhouser sits 92-94, sometimes a tick higher, with occasional cut and a 90-93 mph two-seamer at times.

His curveball is 79-82 and regularly flashes 55 on the 20-80 scale, occasionally flashing 60 once or twice a game at 84 mph. Funkhouser's changeup was 79-82 and average in the first three outings, but looked a bit different this summer, flashing 55 potential, more consistency, action and deception at 82-85, possibly due to a new grip (it looked like a splitter). There's average command in there somewhere, but the delivery is a little inconsistent, there isn't much plane and the fastball is a little true, so this could end up looking like a #4 starter or setup guy by next June, which would be rounds 2-3. That said, on the right day there's #3 starter stuff/command from an experienced starter with good numbers from a good college program and that usually goes comfortably in the first round.

Jake Lemoine, RHP, Houston

I also saw Lemoine earlier this year, but caught one of his worst starts of the year from a stuff standpoint. I was getting consistent reports that he was 92-95 with life, a 55-60 breaking ball and a 50-55 changeup, reminiscent of UNLV righty and 2014 National first rounder Erick Fedde. Then, I heard Lemoine was mostly in the 80's down the stretch and when I saw him at the end of the spring, he was 86-91, hitting a 93, basically slinging average stuff in the zone, pitching to contact.

He was back to his normal self with Team USA, sitting 93-95 mph with above average two-seam and cutting life early on and settling 91-94 for the rest of his start. His 83-86 mph slider and 80-83 mph changeup were both above average and scouts that saw him early this year that were at this start said his breaking ball has been even better at times. Lemoine has a shorter stride than many hard throwers and slings from a 3/4 slot (sometimes lower) with an upper-body heavy delivery. We've seen many examples of pitchers that make this sort of delivery work, so it isn't a red flag per se, but just makes him a little more risky than you'd like for a first round talent, as Lemoine's command is also control over command like Funkhouser. At 6'5/220, Lemoine has a better frame than Funkhouser and the stuff is basically the same, so this one likely comes down to, barring injury, who is most consistent in the spring.

James Kaprelian, RHP, UCLA

I saw Kaprelian last summer on the Cape and was expecting a lot after all the noise he made for the Bruins as a fresman closer, but just saw solid-average stuff from a sturdy 6'4/200 frame. Kaprelian is basically the same guy, though he's now a starter for UCLA but that may not last long into pro ball. His arm action slows down/pauses in back and then his foot plants before his arm is loaded, which contributes to some command issues. Kaprelian also falls off to the first base side of the mound and throws a lot of breaking balls. His 76-83 breaker is a slider and curveball that run together and might flash 55 once a game, but it's mostly solid-average pitch that he uses way too often to succeed as a chase pitch, as he's intending. Kaprelian sat 89-93 and flashes plus cut at times, holding his velo deep into the game. That velocity/life combined with the fact that he didn't throw one changeup in a full outing make it easy to see him as a future reliever and maybe even a setup guy if the velocity plays up in short stints.

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