Scouting Giants Draft Pick Zack Wheeler
Looking at some of the top right handed prep arms in this year’s draft, starting with Giants draft pick Zack Wheeler
Zack Wheeler | RHP | East Paulding High School | Drafted by – San Francisco Giants
Label – The Signability Pick with Upside
Signability – Committed to Kennesaw State, but viewed as signable…he’s expressed a desire to get his professional career started
Body Type – Very athletic and very projectable build with plenty of room to fill out his frame. I’d classify him as pretty lean at the moment.
Fastball – Sits mostly in the 91 – 94 range, but can get as high as 95 or 96 in short spurts…tremendous life…gets on hitters quickly as it explodes out of his hand…will run into lefties and away from right handed batters…terrific carry through the strike zone, indicating plenty of arm strength…Wheeler has said he features two fastballs — a two-seamer and four-seamer
Slider – Hard slider is more like a slurve…comes out of his hand looking like his fastball and travels on a similar plane as well, which you can see in the below clip…the pitch breaks a little early, so it could use some tightening, but the break has some snap to it and will generate plenty of swings-and-misses.
*Credit to the MLB Scouting Bureau
Change-Up – Below average at the moment…doesn’t get enough differentiation from his fastball velocity to really get hitters off balance. When you contrast that with Jacob Turner’s change-up, even though he doesn’t throw the pitch very often, I’ve never seen it described as anything worse than “developing”. That’s one of the differences between Turner and Wheeler.
Wheeler’s mechanics are a bit herky-jerky. Pitchers with herky-jerky mechanics will often times make hitters less comfortable in the box, make it more difficult for hitters to pick up the ball out of the pitcher’s hand, and make it tougher for hitter’s to time a pitcher’s release.
*Credit to Takkle Sports
Wheeler takes a long stride and generates excellent separation between his torso and hips as you can see in the clip above. I pause it at the point in which he achieves the most separation — the chest is facing third base, while the lower body is pointed toward home. His upper body is then uncoiled forward. Wheeler’s arm action is long and he sorta looks looks like a bird spreading its wings. Again, along with his herky-jerkiness, this is an attribute that hitters can have problems with. It makes Wheeler much more deceptive than he would be otherwise.
Despite a lot going on in his delivery, Wheeler’s athleticism helps him repeat it consistently.
Like the other prep pitchers, Wheeler’s still has work to do in shoring up his command, especially on his breaking stuff. He’s highly regarded for his work ethic and mound presence.
It’s also worth noting Wheeler played for the No. 1 prep team in the nation and as a result, he wound up facing a better level of competition than other high school pitchers.
Best Case Outcome – No. 1 starter
More Likely Outcome – Borderline No. 2 starter
Up Next - Jacob Turner
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