Chase Ingram, the Mets’ sixth-round pick, jumped up draft boards this spring with a fantastic season for Hillsborough Community College. He went 11-1 with a 1.88 ERA over 100 innings, striking out 120 while walking just 23 and allowing only three home runs. The 19-year-old is blessed with an ideal pitcher’s frame, standing 6-foot-4 and 205 pounds. It’s possible that he still has some projection left but unlikely. He looks pretty solidly built and filled out as it is, so I think what you see is pretty much what you get.
Frankly, he could use a little extra in the stuff department. Ingram’s fastball is a fringe-average pitch for me, thrown 88-92 with some sink that comes thanks to long arms. He does locate the pitch pretty well, and he’ll need to keep that up, because the fastball won’t scare very many professional hitters if it catches too much of the plate. The good news is that the offspeed stuff is better. He throws from an extreme overhand slot, which really helps him get on top of his pitches. His curve is a downer pitch thrown in the mid-to-upper 70s. It’s an above average offering right now, a pitch that should generate some swings-and-misses. He also brings a changeup that’s really made some strides over the last year, showing deception and some fade. It could be an average pitch.
Mechanically, Ingram looks good. He takes an okay stride--he could push himself further, but his delivery is fairly synchronized right now, and I’d hate to take that away from him--and as a result his landing leg is a little stiff, but it doesn’t seem to hurt him much right now. If his command starts to desert him, it can be adjusted. The arm action is pretty short. There’s some length on the back end, but a high point of hand separation mitigates the damage somewhat, and he still turns the ball over early enough. So he’s not perfect, but on the whole, I have no significant reservations about him starting.
Unfortunately, he doesn’t quite have the stuff to project as anything more than a fourth starter, but that’s not a bad thing in the sixth round. At this point it’s tough to find anyone signable with a prayer of becoming anything more than a reliever, so this is far from a weak pick. A career in the bullpen is still more likely, but with a durable frame, three pitches, and solid mechanics, he’ll stay in the rotation until he proves he doesn’t deserve to be there. Location and changing speeds will be the keys to his success: keep the ball down, keep the hitter off balance. I’m not sure he has the stuff to blow enough hitters away otherwise. Best of all, he should be signable for less than slot, which will allow the Mets to save some money to sign one of their other talents. I haven’t been able to find a college commitment, which is usually a good sign that a pitcher is focused on pursuing a professional career.