2012 Mets Draft Scouting Report: RHP Matt Koch

The Mets' third-round selection was Matt Koch, co-closer for the Louisville Cardinals. Koch had been starting but was converted to relief work on the Cape last summer, and Louisville liked what they saw enough to follow suit. Unfortunately, they already had a closer in Derek Self, so the two shared closing duties. So when scouts showed at the park, they never knew who they were going to see, Koch or Self. It made following him very difficult, so some teams probably didn't have enough data on him to make a clear decision. The Mets, evidently, were not one of those teams.

What stands out the most about Koch is his velocity. He will typically throw 92-95 and has been known to throw 97 in short stints. He has pretty good command to both sides of the plate with the pitch. That's the sort of velocity that will make scouts take notice. That is, if any scouts were lucky enough to see you that day. He also has a slider and a changeup, giving him an attractive three-pitch mix. A pitcher with that kind of arsenal shouldn't struggle to put hitters away, but Koch does. The slider will sometimes come out too soft and too loopy, and he'll sometimes lose the feel of his changeup, which, when it's on, has some nice downward bite to it. He's unable to command either pitch most of the time, and when he loses his secondary stuff, hitters just have to wait on the fastball, which is pretty flat.

The delivery is actually pretty good. There is some effort in the delivery, and I think he can improve that by striding just a little bit further, which will let that velocity come just a little easier. You might be able to improve his command by cleaning up his glove side mechanics a little also. And his arm action is very clean: short with early elbow pronation. There's a lot to like about Koch.

So when you consider his durable 6-foot-3, 210 pound frame, his clean mechanics, his potential for a three-pitch arsenal of above average pitches, and his arm strength, you get a pitcher who doesn't really sound like reliever but a starter. And that may be what the Mets envision, because there's little point in drafting a college reliever unless you believe he's going to move quickly, and Koch's offspeed stuff suggests to me that he may be more of a project than you'd typically like a reliever to be. Normally, I stay away from disapppointing but talented college pitchers, but these might be fixable problems. If everything goes right, you have a third starter with an off chance at a number two, if the changeup becomes a plus pitch as some scouts suggest. But there's definitely some work that needs to be put in first.

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