The Mets used their fifth-round pick on Seton Hall righty Josh Prevost. Prevost is a giant on the mound at 6 feet, 8 inches tall, and he carries all the benefits and caveats that great height brings.
Prevost was a high school basketball player, and like many two-sport athletes, especially the ones in cold-weather states, he lagged behind his counterparts who focused solely on baseball. Because of that, he rarely appeared during his first two seasons at Seton Hall, making just 12 appearances total. By his junior season, Prevost was ready to move into the rotation. He performed admirably for a guy who was really seeing his first action as a starting pitcher, but it wasn’t enough to get him drafted. Prevost looked far better in 2014, however, capturing Big East Conference Pitcher honors to cap a 12-2, 1.62 ERA season. Even more encouraging was the elevated strikeout rate, a dramatic increase from 2013.
On the mound, Prevost typically throws 89-92 with his heater, though he has been known to get it up to 94 when he needs it. Being 6 feet, 8 inches tall, there is some hope that he could add on velocity, but his being a college senior, my feeling is that if he hasn’t shown it yet it’s probably not going to happen. His long arms, however, do come in handy in generating downward plane on his pitches. His fastball shows great sinking action as well as a little arm-side run, so he should be a ground ball machine. He’ll also throw a slider and changeup, though neither pitch looks to be a pitch with which he can strike batters out.
Location is going to be very important for him. His control and command both drew very high marks, but he’ll need to be fine with it if he wants to succeed as a pro. At Seton Hall, Prevost was able to thrive just by pounding the lower strike zone with very good fastball velocity. And while I admire his instinct to go right after hitters, in the majors Prevost’s velocity will only be average, so his ability to hit the bottom of the strike zone consistently will be the key to his success. Mechanically, he looks pretty good, though he does have some late elbow pronation, which may stress the shoulder some. I don’t see any other red flags, however, that could impair his command at higher levels, but tall pitchers are notorious for having difficulty in repeating their mechanics.
Prevost’s ultimate projection is as a back-of-the-rotation starter who pounds the lower part of the zone with his sinker. I wouldn’t count on anything more than that unless he spruces up his slider. That said, being a senior sign, he has less development time than other pitchers, so I’d say any major developments in his pitching ability are likely behind him. His senior status does bring one benefit: he has no leverage during negotiations and is almost certain to sign at a substantial discount. When you consider that fact, I’m surprised Prevost wasn’t off the board sooner.