Seth Lonsway 2020 MLB Draft Profile

Seth Lonsway
WINSTON-SALEM, NC - JUNE 04: A bucket of NCAA tournament baseballs. The West Virginia University Mountaineers played the University of Maryland Terrapins on June 4, 2017, at David F. Couch Ballpark in Winston-Salem, NC in NCAA Division I College Baseball Tournament Winston-Salem Regional Game 5. West Virginia won the game 8-5. (Photo by Andy Mead/YCJ/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

One of the most intriguing prospects in this year’s draft is left handed pitcher Seth Lonsway from Ohio State University. Lonsway enters the draft with less data on him than most college players. After academic ineligibility caused him to redshirt and Covid-19 cut his redshirt sophomore year short, scouts only have one full season of information on Lonsway.

What Lonsway displayed in his limited time was tons of potential, but also some cause for concern. He has an over-the-top delivery. The ball comes out of his hand well, but he often looks out of sync with his mechanics while delivering the baseball.

He is a good size at six feet, three inches tall and 200 ponds. His stats with Ohio State include a 3.59 ERA in 110.1 innings. His WHIP sat at 1.468, but he strikes hitters out at a superb rate. He recorded 13.7 K/9 in his 21 starts in a Buckeyes uniform and was at a clip of 21.0 K/9 in the abbreviated 2020 season. He enters the draft as MLB.com’s 50th-best prospect.

Strengths

The best part to Seth Lonsway’s game is his curveball. Coming out of the overhand slot of his delivery gives the pitch tremendous break. The power and depth on the pitch has drawn comparisons to the one that Barry Zito threw when it is at its best. Scouts grade the pitch a 65/80.

Lonsway also throws an above-average, riding fastball which hit as high as 96 MPH on the radar gun, but is consistently around 93-94 MPH. The combo of his fastball and curveball led to a lot of strikeouts for him. His K/9 was the best in the NCAA in 2020, and he led the Big Ten in strikeouts during his redshirt freshman season with 126 in 92.1 innings.

He rounds out his pitch mix with a hard slider that resembles that of a cutter. He also occasionally throws a changeup for which he demonstrates good feel.

Weaknesses

Lonsway’s fastball and curveball combo is potent enough that scouts felt he could have been a first-round pick this year, but that all changed after his start against Stetson University where he walked eight batters in two innings. This was not an anomaly for Lonsway who has struggled with control throughout his college career.

Scouts grade his control a 40/80, and his out-of-sync delivery could be a cause to these issues. His head tilts significantly mid-delivery, and halting that movement could be a key to fixing his issues.

Lonsway’s control explains why a pitcher with tremendous stuff like him is ranked as low as the 50th-best prospect. When he throws strikes, he is unhittable, but when he isn’t he puts far too many men on base. He registered 6.3 BB/9 for the Buckeyes, and he walked 18 batters in 18 innings in 2020. The bullpen could be a long-term option for Lonsway if he cannot work out his control problems.

MLB Comp

An interesting comp for Lonsway is current New York Met Dellin Betances. It should be noted that the comp is not because of size or handedness. On top of being right handed, Betances is five inches taller and 65 pounds heavier than Lonsway, and he throws harder with an average fastball velocity of 97.7 MPH in 2018, his last full season.

Where this comp makes sense is in the high strikeout totals, erratic command, and transitioning to the bullpen. Betances came through the New York Yankees organization as a starting pitcher before transitioning into an All-Star reliever. Betances has only had one full season with less than 3.5 BB/9, but conversely only one full season with less than 14.0 K/9.

Betances’s mechanics can also appear out of sync at times, and his head movement is excessive, similar to Lonsway. Betances has enjoyed tremendous success with a similar pitch mix to Lonsway, both featuring wipeout curveballs. Despite their differences, the similarities are strong enough to show what Lonsway can become at the next level with his curveball despite the lack of control right now.

Seth Lonsway is a boom or bust prospect that could bring erratic returns. If he can fix his control problems, the team that drafts him will get a lot of swings and misses. If he cannot solve them, they could be getting a lot of pitches out of the strike zone.

Main Photo: Embed from Getty Images

Previous articleDaniel Cabrera 2020 MLB Draft Profile
Next articleLooking Back: 1987 MLB Draft
DJ is a baseball fanatic that loves to talk about the game's history and debate it's current happenings. DJ always had a passion to write, even though he graduated college with a degree in Marketing, and it was one day while sitting in his cubicle at work that he decided to make a career change and put his journalism minor to use, applying to write for LWOS. He currently contributes in depth coverage of all of MLB with an emphasis on the Yankees and Mets. DJ also freelances at MLB/NHL Network in addition to writing for LWOS, and spends his free time reading and watching college basketball.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.