Every draft, Major League Baseball scouting departments search endlessly for high-end talent to stock their minor league systems. The prize for most teams in this search are top notch pitching prospects; young pitchers with a big arm and ace potential at the next level. In this year’s draft there are many pitching talents like this; however, few have the ceiling of Concordia Lutheran’s Shane Baz.
Shane Baz 2017 MLB Draft Profile
For Baz, the strengths are easy to see. It is not about his ability to hit spots, move the ball around the zone, and out pitch his competition. It is about stuff, plain and simple. He has an electric fastball that can already reach 96-97 MPH, a slider/cutter that he uses in clutch situations that has plus potential, and a curve ball that has great depth and plus potential. He finishes his arsenal with a change-up that is developing rapidly and is not far behind his other offerings.
The thing that makes Baz unique is his confidence and willingness to dominate with his fastball. A lot of young arms of this era fall in love with their breaking balls. Baz, despite his great off-speed pitches, realizes his fastball can be his meal ticket to the next level. With a developing 6’3″, 195 lb frame Baz’s stuff will only continue to get bigger and better with time.
Like most electric-armed high school pitchers, the major issue sits with his ability to consistently locate pitches. He has a tendency to fall off of the mound into a bad fielding position, and this has created some inconsistency with him inside of the zone. Fortunately, that is all Baz has in terms of weaknesses. He has a repeatable delivery, a fast arm, and all of the athletic ability to fix the small technical issues he may have.
Due to his mix of a big arm, big confidence, and a developing arsenal of plus potential pitches, Shane Baz has an opportunity to become a star at the next level. High school arms carry a lot of risk, but if a team in the middle of the first round is looking for a high end talent, Baz seems worth the risk.