Ah, one of those pure projection picks. They’re the bread-and-butter of a draft class past a certain point, and that point has passed in the 12th round of the draft. Alex Durham, a prep righty from North Carolina, is 6 feet, 4 inches tall and weighs a mere 185 pounds. He’s tall and lanky and doesn’t look like he has a pound of muscle on him. The Mets are hoping he adds some.
The good news about Durham is that he might not need to add too much more velocity. He throws 88-91 regularly and will peak at 93 with his heater, though he can be a little all over the place with his velocity readings. Mechanically, he doesn’t stride nearly as far as his long legs will enable him, so there could be ways to stretch out a little more velocity that way. What I don’t like is how much lifting his shoulder is doing to reach that current velocity. His arm action is long and his tempo slow, as he’s stretching out the ligaments in his shoulder to slingshot his arm forward to throw hard. Getting his lower body to do more work and streamlining his arm action will help reduce his injury risk and could help with his command.
Ah, the command. It’s well below average right now, and that’s going to take some work. As I said, quickening his tempo, shortening his arm action, and striding more so he doesn’t land so stiffly on his front leg will help that somewhat, as might teaching him to follow-through better. Right now, he kind of just stops at the end of his delivery, something I personally can’t stand. Hopefully professional coaching will help.
His secondary offerings are a hard curve and a changeup, and both need a lot of work.
Durham is definitely a project, but he’s a young one at 17, and he’s already indicated that he’s foregoing his commitment to the University of North Carolina-Greensboro to sign with the Mets.