We continue our annual look at amateur talents the Baltimore Orioles could (should) be targeting in the 1st Round and beyond. Over the next two weeks we will bear down on the eight potential 1st Round targets listed below, followed by a week dedicated to the 2nd - 5th Rounds and finally the 6th - 10th Rounds. As a reminder, the draft coverage here will focus on Baltimore. More in-depth coverage, including rankings, scouting reports, videos and more can be found over at http://www.diamondscapescouting.com/.
Potential targets at 1:4
Anthony Rendon / 3b / Rice Univ.
Gerrit Cole / rhp / UCLA
Bubba Starling / of/rhp / Gardner Edgerton HS (Gardner, Kan.)
Sonny Gray / rhp / Vanderbilt Univ.
Danny Hultzen / lhp / Univ. of Virginia
Dylan Bundy / rhp / Owasso HS (Owasso, Okla.)
Taylor Jungmann / rhp / Univ. of Texas
Jed Bradley / lhp / Georgia Tech
*Every player discussed in the Depot Draft Preview has been scouted by Nick J. Faleris, either through his efforts at DiamondScape Scouting or as part of his duties as an Associate Scout in the Midwest Region for a National League organization.
Jed Bradley (lhp, Georgia Tech)
Age at Draft: 21y0m
Games Scouted: 1 (in person); 2 (video)
Grades - Now (Future):
Motion: 55/60 (60/65)
Fastball: 55/60 (60/65)
Slider: 45/50 (55/60)
Change: 50 (60)
Control: 50 (60)
Command: 45/50 (60)
Feel: 45/50 (60)
Overall Future Potential: 59/61
*Notes on Grades: The Scouting Scale works from 20-80, with 50 being Major League Average. The scale operates loosely on a bell curve, so the further you move from 50 the fewer grades you'll find among ML players (e.g. Aroldis Chapman's fastball, Ichiro Suzuki's arm strength, Adam Dunn's power and Albert Pujols' hit tool would all be 80 grade). A 60 grade is sometimes referred to as plus and a 70 grade is sometimes referred to as plus-plus.
Wide frame, solid strength with room for more; could add inches, as well. Strength in legs/core with room for more. Very good body control, fields position well.
Bradley has some of the cleanest mechanics of the top tier college arms in this draft class. Throwing out of a true three-quarters slot, Bradley has a free and easy arm action with good tempo. There is deception in his ability to shield the ball with his wide frame and clean, medium arm circle. There is solid drive in his strong lower-half and almost no recoil in his finish. The lone clean-up area might be the release in his secondaries -- while he hits the same arm slot with all three offerings he can lose his release point on the slider and change. Everything in his motion is so repeatable and effortless, however, this is an issue that should resolve upon pro instruction and reps.
Fastball - Bradley's most frequently used fastball is a 2-seamer with late boring action to the armside. He routinely sits 90-92 mph with an ability to push up to 94/95 mph with regularity. Additionally, he'll throw the 2-seamer with some cutting action, giving hitters another look and making it highly difficult to square the ball on the barrel even when the hitter can identify a fastball. At his best, he fills-up the strikezone with the pitch, and college hitters have had such trouble with it he can go through stints where he throws it almost exclusively.
Slider - Bradley's slide-piece is probably his third best offering right now, generally in the 79-81 mph range and capable of hard late sweeping action. Slapping a grade on the pitch is tricky, as it showed above-average, flashing plus, earlier in the season, but was decidedly fringy in his recent start at UIC. As noted above, he can coast at times off the strength of his fastball, which may have stunted the growth of his slider simply because he doesn't necessarily need to throw it much.
Change-up - As with the slider, Bradley is often in a position where he can break-out the 78-80 mph offspeed as a "show me" pitch while relying on the fastball to earn the outs. He turns over the change well, creating fade and dive on a trajectory reminiscent of his boring 2-seam fastball. It's an above-average pitch right now at its best, and could be a true plus offering as he learns to better implement it at the next level.
Bradley is one of the top arms in the draft class and offers a not-often-found combination of "now" production and projection. The lefty gives you a plus fastball two-ways, two potential above-average to plus secondaries, a simple and repeatable low-impact motion and some projection to boot. He has some of the less refined secondaries among the top tier arms, but should see a nice bump in stuff across the board once he gets into a pro system and is tasked with focusing on better executing the slider and change. He has yet to allow a homerun in 81.1 IP, and while his SO/BB ratio could be stronger he produced a highly impressive 44 strikeouts to just 6 walks last summer on the Cape. There's little to dislike, provided you believe in the motion and arm being too clean not to lead to some tightening up of the secondaries. He's an arm worthy of top 5 consideration and should certainly be in the mix for a number of teams drafting in the top 10.
Projected position: #2 starter on tier one team
Suggested draft slot: Top ten overall
This scouting report originally published by the author here.