The first round of this year’s MLB draft will be held on June 4. For the teams that have an early pick on day one, it is essential for them to get a player who can help the team quickly. While drafting a player is not an exact science, teams do their best to ensure they are getting a talented player who can move quickly up the system and help them reach the ultimate goal. College players tend to be more refined and closer to being major league ready. High school players can be taught by the organization’s own coaches but require longer time in the minors. Depending on a team’s needs and evaluation of talent, the draft picks tend to vary in age and maturity level.
Cole Wilcox 2018 MLB Draft Profile
Cole Wilcox is a right-handed pitcher from Heritage HS in Ringgold, Georgia. Wilcox is 6-foot-5 and 220 lbs. and has room to add strength. He will be 19-years old in July which makes him one of the oldest high school pitchers in the draft. Although he has a verbal commitment to the University of Georgia, he is signable if taken early enough.
Wilcox’s fastball sits around 91-94 mph and tops out at 96 mph. His slider has good tilt on it and projects as an out pitch in the future. His changeup is a work in progress, but he can throw it for strikes as well as his other two offerings. Scouts like his repeatable delivery which allows him excellent command and control for a high school pitcher. He has strong leg drive with room to grow which should help him avoid injuries down the road.
Although Wilcox can touch the upper 90s with his fastball, it doesn’t have much movement. While his slider has flashed very good tilt, it is the one pitch he has been inconsistent with. The changeup is also a pitch he commands well but has little movement like his fastball. Injuries are always a worry for teams when they draft high school players. Wilcox has simple and repeatable mechanics and throws his fastball without much exertion, but his follow-through is very loose. He tends to whip his arm around his back after releasing the ball which tends to lead to shoulder problems.
Wilcox is a big kid. He has the physical strength to be a workhorse if he can get his arm mechanics a little tighter. Scouts also expect him to add a bit of weight. He already has great leg drive and a few more pounds could help his durability. His command is generally good for a high schooler but can use some work. Wilcox also needs to work on his spin rate to help his fastball and slider become true strikeout pitches at the next level. MLB Pipeline has Wilcox ranked No. 19 on their prospects list. Fangraphs had the Washington Nationals taking Wilcox at No. 27 on their latest Mock Draft.
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