The Mets nabbed another cost-saving redshirt senior in the tenth round, this time taking Daniel Wittenberg Haggard, who goes by Witt.
Haggard, athletically built at 6-2 and 200 pounds, had a nice senior season pitching out of the bullpen for Division II’s Delta State, posting a 3.24 ERA and striking out 36 hitters over 32 innings. For a college senior, he needs more development than you’d probably typically expect. He spent his first two seasons on Ole Miss’s football team, where he served as a backup quarterback. When it became clear that he wasn’t going to play, he transferred to Meridian Community College to play baseball before moving on to Delta State for two seasons. Two-sport athletes often lag behind their teammates who dedicate themselves to one sport, so Haggard’s had some catching up to do.
The raw stuff is solid. He features a low-90s fastball, and it’s very, very lively, possessing some serious arm-side run. He also brings a hard curve that will flash above average, but he doesn’t command the pitch very well. In fact command in general escapes him. The fastball’s life and some violence in his delivery make it very difficult for Haggard to control his pitches, and he walked far too many hitters at Delta State.
Mechanically, his arm action leaves a lot to be desired. It’s very long and very slow with an arm grab in the back, though his arm is lightning quick, so it does catch up to his body some. That said, the arm is still doing too much work, and I’m worried about both his shoulder and his elbow. He also seems to have some trouble finding his release point, which cause his pitches to drift from where he targets them.
If I were a team, I’d focus on streamlining the arm action and calming down his stride and just focusing on getting the ball over the plate consistently. He’s an athletic kid who should take to coaching, but considering he’s turning 24 in December, time is not on his side. The upside here’ isn’t too high: yes, he’s still learning how to pitch, and it’s possible we could see some rapid improvement, but he won’t be more than a middle reliever. The command, the delivery, and the stuff places him firmly in a bullpen, which will have a much shorter development curve. He will definitely sign with the team.