Team USA Pitchers: Part Two

Arkansas righty Trey Killian

Kiley shares video and reports of more of the top pitchers from college Team USA.

2015/2016 MLB Draft Showcase Season (June/July 2014): PG Jr National Pitchers (2016 prep class), PG Jr National Hitters (2016/17), PG National Overview (2015), Team USA Overview (2015/16), Team USA Pitchers Pt I (2015), Team USA Pitchers Pt II (2015), Team USA Pitchers Pt III (2015/16), Team USA Hitters Pt I (2015), Team USA Hitters Pt II (2015) & Team USA Hitters Pt III (2015/16)

2015/2016 MLB Draft Rankings (May 2014): 2015 College, 2016 College & 2015-16 High School

2014 MLB Draft Reactions: Day One Live Blog

2014 MLB Draft Rankings: The Draft Board

2014 MLB Draft Podcast: Jim Callis


Trey Killian, RHP, Arkansas

The above video of Killian is from when I saw him this spring, as his appearance for Team USA was just one inning and I didn't get the camera out in time. In that summer outing, he sat 90-92 with above average run and cut and threw an average changeup at 82 mph. In the full outing I saw this spring, Killian sat 90-93 for the first few innings, then settled 88-91 mph with above average cut. He threw his slider a whole lot and the 77-81 mph pitch was consistently solid-average, flashing above average once or twice in the game, but it got flat late in the game.

Killian's 81-84 mph changeup was average, he has some deception and he battled, but there's some negatives to point out with the delivery. His arm action is a little awkward, with a pause in back, no flew in his elbow and a wrist cock, which all seem to contribute to the timing issues that cause inconsistent feel for his offspeed. Killian also throws across his body and throws a lot of breaking balls; these things make him higher risk for injury or the stuff backing up and it's only #4/5 starter stuff from a 6'2/190 frame. If he can sit in the low-90's this spring and continue performing, I can see Killian going in the 3rd-4th rounds, but there's a chance he ends up a little lower than that.

Justin Garza, RHP, Cal State Fullerton

The first thing you notice about Garza is his size (5'11/160), but then after a few pitches, you see he's an athlete with feel to pitch and lively stuff. It's easy to see why he didn't get offered a ton of money out of high school given his size, some length to his arm circle and some effort to his delivery, but he makes it work, his stuff has improved since his prep days and he'll get paid pretty well if he keeps all that up this spring.

This was my first time seeing Garza, but I had heard from other scouts that he's a competitor that location three pitches that all flash above average and a fastball that sits in the low 90's late into games. I saw him in a short relief outing for Team USA and Garza sat 92-94 with a four-seam heater that he elevated with purpose late in the count, but also was clearly throwing his hardest (he's hit 95 in the past), knowing he wouldn't be in the game long. His 80-84 mph slider and 78-79 mph curveball were both solid average, but the slider was a little crisper and may be an above average pitch. Garza only threw one changeup at 75 but threw a couple good ones in warmups that were average to slightly above. Like Killian, I don't think there's enough size and stuff here to go in the 2nd round, but as a polished, experienced, athletic college arm that could fill many roles, Garza should fit in rounds 3-5 and I'd take him over Killian.

Thomas Eshelman, RHP, Cal State Fullerton

This was my first time seeing Eshelman as well and I heard good things about him this spring, as a big righty with similar stuff to UCLA righty James Kaprelian (report), but more command and feel for pitching. That's borne out in the numbers as Eshleman racked up 99 strikeouts and just 8 walks in 123.2 innings last spring.

The 6'3/210 righty takes a long stride from a balanced delivery and short arm action and commands his 89-91 mph fastball very effectively. He threw a couple fringy to average changeups at 80-82 and a fourth pitch slider at 82 mph but relies mostly on a 76-78 mph curveball. Eshelman's hook is similar to Kaprelian's in 11-to-5 shape and Eshelman gets more consistent spin with better feel for the pitch, but doesn't get the depth or bite to grade it any better than average. As a big righty that performs with average stuff and advanced command, Eshelman also fits in the same range as Garza and Killian, with Eshelman having the best combo of size, command and delivery, putting him in the 3rd-5th round area. I'd take him second from this group, just behind Garza and just ahead of Killian.

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