I had the chance to see Holdzkom play over the weekend. Hopefully you all will like the report. I played baseball through college and did a little scouting afterwards for a few colleges and a defunct showcase company.
John Holdzkom (7 IP, 2 H, 3 BB, 9 K) - Drafted in the 4th round by the New York Mets in the 2006 draft out of the Salt Lake Community College. He was previously drafted in the 15th round of the 2005 draft by the Seattle Mariners out of high school, but did not sign. A huge mound presence at 6'7", 225 lbs., I didn't quite know what to expect from him with a 6.92 ERA entering the evening. However, after his success in shutting down Rome's big three, I was left with no choice but to be impressed by the 20-year old's performance. Here are a few observations I came away from the game with;
- Mechanics could be a little tighter; Arms and legs seemed to be flying everywhere in his motion
- Limited athleticism?
- 1st inning - 86-91 fastball, topped out at 92 MPH
- In the middle innings, his fastball topped out at 95 with a handful of 94 MPH readings
- Fastball looked overpowering at times
- Consistently 88-91 in the 7th inning
- Began leaving fastballs up from the 5th on
- With 9 K, 3 BB, and other multi-pitch at bats, he had a pretty high pitch count
- With increased velocity came less control
- Less control from the stretch; Problems staying tall on his follow through
- Mid to high 80's cutter? Either that, or his FB velocity would differ greatly from pitch to pitch during particular at bats.
- Low to mid 80's change with good arm action; Unable to locate well
- May have snuck in a slider or two?
- Fought out of 1st and 2nd, 0 out jam by striking out Rome's #2 hitter and then getting Jason Heyward to ground into a 6-4-3
- Of the 2 hits allowed, 1 was a bunt hit
- One hard hit ball by Rome; 1st pitch L8 for a single by Heyward
Holdzkom's size and fastball are major league material to me. His size likely means a slower developmental curve than smaller pitchers because of problems repeating his mechanics as evidenced by 57 BB in 86 2/3 IP. I question whether a number of his strikeouts are a product of being able to blow it by lesser hitters. He will have trouble moving up without refining his breaking pitches and developing at least a serviceable 2nd offering. In my opinion, his change looked as if it had some potential with his arm action. He was wild with it, but I'd rather see balls in the dirt than changeups left belt high.
At this point, I can see him as possibly a power reliever, but not much else unless he can add to his repertoire. His getting Heyward to ground into a 6-4-3 double play in a scoreless ball game showed more guts than an ERA close to seven would indicate.