Name: Brody Koerner
DOB: October 17, 1993
Repertoire. Fastball, Curveball, Changeup, Slider.
Fastball. Koerner's bread and butter has been, is, and will always be a plus big league sinking two-seam fastball both from a velocity and movement standpoint. It gets a ton of late sink and when he's healthy it has the ability to sit in the 93-96 mph range. He not only shows good control over his sinker but above average command of it as well and, inducing as many ground balls he does, he stands to be one of the bigger beneficiaries of eventually climbing the minor league ladder and having better defenses play behind him at the higher levels. Very athletic [he played both football and basketball in high school too], it's not beyond the realm of possibility that he could add or two to his fastball velocity either considering how little he has pitched in college and at the professional level thus far.
Other Pitches. Koerner gets a little unfairly knocked by scouts and critics alike for seemingly sub-par secondary pitches when in actuality he has shown in brief healthy spurts to not only have them be average big league pitches across the board but all have above average or better long-term potential too. The problem is not many observers have been able to get extended looks at those pitches given how fastball-heavy his repertoire is and how little time he's been healthy enough to showcase those pitches in games. He has a quality big league curveball at his disposal, one which sits in the low-80s, shows good late-bite diving action, and one he can throw for strikes. It's his best strikeout pitch among his secondary offerings to date and has room to get better. His changeup is actually pretty good too, showing good fade and depth akin to his sinking fastball. However, a reliever in his debut season and healthy for just five starts in 2016, he hasn't been able to throw it too much to further develop it's rather significant ceiling. He even has a solid slider too. Sitting in the 84-86 mph range, the slider, like his other pitches, just needs more time to develop further but it's already big league average with significant room to get better.
Pitching. Koerner is a quick-tempo, ultra-aggressive strike-thrower with a very loose delivery whose main plan on the mound is trying to induce early count contact, get opposing batters to pound his sinking fastball in the dirt, and let his defenses work behind him. He doesn't mess around either. He's all business on the mound, throwing strike after strike, and he's looking to get quick outs, pitch efficiently, and pitch deep into games. He also lives in the lower-half of the strike zone. When he misses the strike zone it's usually down and because of that he is extremely adept at keeping the ball in the yard [he has given up just two home runs in his career thus far]. As noted earlier, his high level of athleticism lends itself to repeatable mechanics and solid defensive positioning post-pitch which makes him very good fielding his position and holding runners too.
Projection. For somebody who has so little experience to date, Koerner has very few weaknesses in his game, if any. The biggest weakness is his seeming inability to stay on the field for extended periods of times and that could have a negative long-term effect if the trend continues because consistent playing time would do wonders towards tapping the significant potential each of his already big league average four pitches possess. The sinker alone is so special that his ability to induce a lot of ground ball contact with plus velocity conjures up images of a young Mark Melancon type and that could give him the floor of a big league reliever someday. However, the potential is there for the changeup to be special too [he just needs the time to work on it] and the same could be said about his curveball and slider too. Throw in a very loose delivery, innate strike-throwing ability, high makeup, work ethic, and intelligence [he graduated college in three years], there's a big league middle of the rotation starting pitcher ceiling or better still yet to be tapped if he can remain healthy, log more innings, and get the required time to further improve his secondary stuff.
ETA. 2019. What Koerner's elbow injury in 2016 was push back his eventual big league estimated arrival by a year. He should pick up where he left off last year, back in the high-A Tampa rotation, and the game is advanced enough to move rather quickly should he be healthy enough to get on a early roll. He probably needs two more minor league seasons to get his game where he wants and where it could go, but don't be surprised if he moves quicker than this too.