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The View From Behind the Backstop: Brad Wieck, Josh Prevost, and James Duff

The Mets 2014 draft class included a lot of very tall pitchers. Is this perhaps a new market inefficiency?

Josh Prevost
Josh Prevost
Chris McShane

Brad Wieck

Height: 6'9" Weight: 255

LHP, Brooklyn (SS-A)

Age: 22

Acquired: 7th round, 2014

Date(s) seen: 7/12/14 @ Connecticut Tigers

2014: 20 IP, 14 H, 5 R, 3 ER, 6 BB, 28 K, 0 HR

Brad Wieck is a mountain of a man, though he doesn't do the best job of using his height in his delivery. The scouty term here would be 'tall and fall, ' which can lead to Wieck cutting off his the finish to his delivery and not getting good extension of a deep release point. The mechanics are relatively smooth otherwise, especially when compared to Prevost and Duff. Wieck sat 89-91, which jibes with Alex Nelson's post-draft report on the tall lefty, and showed a full three-pitch arsenal in the inning I saw. The curve was clearly the better of the secondary offerings, a mid-70s breaker that showed some late, hard tilt. He could start it in the zone and bury it or spot it for a strike, though he tended to slow his arm action down and cast the pitch when he wanted to just get it over. The changeup needs work. The arm action was okay, as was the velocity separation (the couple he threw clocked in at 78), but it's just a very flat offering at present, not showing much in the way of fade or sink. Without a two-grade jump on the change, Wieck looks like a reliever in the medium-term if not sooner, but the left-handed velocity and breaking ball certainly give him a shot. Like all three of these guys, I expect he'll be fighting for innings in a very crowded 2015 Savannah rotation.

Josh Prevost

Height: 6'8" Weight: 225

RHP, Brooklyn (SS-A)

Age: 22

Acquired: 5th round, 2014

Date(s) seen: 7/12/14 @ Connecticut Tigers

2014: 19.2 IP, 17 H, 6 R, 4 ER, 6 BB, 14 K, 0 HR

Prevost ended up relieving Wieck in this game, so that was pretty convenient for comparison purposes. Like Wieck he sat 89-91, but it was a heavier fastball that generated more downward plane. His mechanics were more herky-jerky and feature a long arm action leading to a near-full-overhead release point. Tall pitchers can have trouble repeating much simpler mechanics than this, and Prevost's delivery is the most relieverish of the three to me. He also showed three pitches. The change has a bit more fade than Wieck's, but was still too firm at 83-85, and he struggled with the release point on his breaking ball in this look.

James Duff

Height: 6'6" Weight: 200

RHP, Kingsport (R)

Age: 20

Acquired: 20th round, 2014

Date(s) seen: 8/14/14 vs. Bristol Pirates

2014: 28.1 IP, 20 H, 7 R, 5 ER, 7 BB, 22 K, 0 HR

Pitching coach Jonathan Hurst's eyes lit up when I asked him about James Duff, and it's easy to see why. The lanky Stonehill College product hasn't gotten as much press as the other two Brobdingnagian draftees (except from our own Alex Nelson), but he might end up the best professional pitcher of the three. The fastball isn't as impressive on the stalker as Prevost or Wieck, coming in at 87-88, but the pitch gets wicked sink and armside run from Duff's low 3/4 arm angle. Also unlike Prevost or Wieck, Duff has a compact, drop-and-drive delivery. It's kind of an odd sight, seeing a pitcher that long and lean fold himself up and get low, but he makes it work and the funky mechanics lend him some additional deception. Bristol hitters just meekly beat the fastball into the ground throughout his multi-inning appearance. Duff also showed a potentially solid-average change-up, which appears to have rapidly improved since Alex's post-draft report, and a frisbeeish slider at 73-74. The breaking ball was a bit short at times, and the low armslot isn't going to give the offering much depth, but Duff could occasionally get some impressive east-to-west sweep on it. Duff has been dominant as a long reliever for Kingsport this summer, and while this may very well just be another case of "polished college arm beating up on Appalachian League hitters," he is definitely worth keeping an eye on in Savannah next year.