J.B. Bukauskas 2017 MLB Draft Profile
J.B. Bukauskas is a right-handed pitcher for the University of North Carolina Tarheels. The media guide lists him at six feet tall and 201 lbs. Hailing from Ashburn, VA , the junior has pitched phenomenally in his junior year. His ERA in a very tough ACC this year is 1.51, and he owns a WHIP of 0.81. His three-year career numbers show an ERA of 2.91 and a WHIP of 1.14. The Arizona Diamondbacks drafted him in the 20th Round of the 2014 draft, but he chose to play college baseball instead. At mid-season, he has held opponents to an average of .151. In 2017, he has received Preseason and Midseason All-American honors. He was also named Midseason Pitcher of the Year by D1 Baseball. In 71.2 innings this season, he has struck out 96 and walked 22. His three-year college career K/BB ratio is an outstanding 3.38.
Bukauskas owns good command of a fastball that hits 98 mph early in the game, and dips to around 94 mph in the late game. Scouts rate his fastball as an easy plus. His slider rates as plus-plus and is one of the nastiest in college competition. He also possesses a change-up that he does not have to go to often. The change-up is a work in progress; most reports grade the pitch as average. He’s got all the necessary stuff to make it at the next level.
The obvious weaknesses to discuss is his control, which can take a vacation from time to time. He has thrown eight wild pitches this year, and 22 over the last three years. Bukauskas’ long term durability is also a concern. Mid- to high-90s heat and a plus-plus slider causes wear and tear on an arm. If his arm holds together, he could become the ace of a rotation.