Spradlin relies on control.
With so much attention given to breaking down prospects piece by piece, looking at their strengths and weaknesses with great detail, we present Scouting Analysis here at CapitolDugout.com. Using the valuable input of professional scouts, we take an advanced look at lefty pitching prospect, Jack Spradlin.
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Present/Future Scouting Grades
Fastball - 3/4
Slider - 5/5
Changeup - 5/6
Overall Future Potential - 50
Adjusted Overall Future Potential - 55
Explanation. Jack Spradlin is not out to overpower anyone, and if he did try to, his 84-87 MPH fastball would likely be pounded by advanced hitters. Instead, he attacks batters with a masterful mix of three pitches. In terms of velocity, his fastball grades quite low, but he is helped by his outstanding command and moxie. Plus, if he's able to add a little bulk to his slight frame, his velocity may jump. Jack's secondary pitches are where he makes his living. He already has a slider that is big league average. It doesn't appear to be a true strikeout pitch, but he locates it exceptionally well and when he's on, it will produce a glut of groundballs to the left side. His slider was his go-to pitch in college, but it appears that Spradlin also has the makings of an excellent changeup that will serve him well at the pro level. In time, it may be a plus pitch.
No, he may not have any plus pitches at this point, and, by definition, has a below average fastball, but that doesn't mean he can't be a steady Major League pitcher for many years. Pitchers like Jamie Moyer and in the past, Denny Neagle, have made great livings by commanding the zone with pedestrian fastballs. Spradlin doesn't appear to have the upside of pitchers of that caliber, but he at least has a chance to be a number four starter.
Physical Description. Physically, Spradlin resembles Devil Rays' pitcher, Casey Fossum. He is listed as 6-foot-2, but like Fossum, doesn't look the size. He also appears to have quite a bit of filling out to do, weighing in at 170 pounds. He flashes excellent athleticism, getting off the mound to field his position and showing a powerful follow through. His natural build is slight, so putting on extra weight may be somewhat difficult and durability over a long season may be a significant question as well.
Mechanical Distinctives. Much of Jack Spradlin's game is centered around deception. In a finesse pitcher like the former USC Trojan, scouts usually look for a trick pitch or a quirk in the delivery. He may not have the trick pitch, but he does have a "funky" delivery. For a comparison, look no further than Texas Rangers' closer, Akinori Otsuka. Both pitchers share the delay in in the middle of their leg kick. At least in the low levels of the minors, hitters have a tough time regaining their timing after the pause right before Spradlin delivers the ball. Once he breaks his hands, he hides the ball well behind his back, using his long, loose, arm action.
Abilities. The number one thing that Spradlin has going for him is that all of his pitches look identical coming out of his hand. Hitters don't get a good look at him as he goes through his delivery, and the fact that he commands all three of his pitches bodes well for his future as a Major Leaguer. Spradlin can't afford to miss his spots with any of his pitches. Despite the lack of raw velocity, he does have some late life on his heater and it comes out of his hand nicely. Coupled with his deceptive windup, Spradlin shows swing and miss stuff on occasion.
Summation. Left-handed pitchers with less than dominating stuff have long had success at the big league level, and Spradlin could be the type of hurler to follow that same path. He profiles as a back end of the rotation starter who has enough moxie and command of his pitches to keep his team in the game. His competitiveness and mound aptitude also bode well for his future.
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