The Mers continued a string of college selections by selecting St. John’s righty Thomas Hackimer in the 15th round. A sidearmer, Hackimer is a low-upside selection who will be relying upon guile, deception, and location to make his way into a major league bullpen. A smart kid who is a physics major, he hopefully has the baseball I.Q. required to make things work.
Hackimer, a local kid who comes from Floral Park on Long Island, didn’t pitch at all in high school. Instead, he played shortstop, but a lack of openings in St. John’s infield led the team to try him out in the bullpen instead. There, they tried dropping his arm slot, and he took to it right away.
And is it ever low. He’s not quite a submariner, but any lower and it would be. Instead, I’ll just call it a low sidearm arm slot, and it helps him get an awful lot of drop on his fastball. At his best, he’ll pound the lower half of the strike zone with the pitch, although "pound" is a relative term. His fastball barely hits 85 miles-per-hour and he’ll typically throw in the low 80s. Hackimer will add in a frisbee slider which can be difficult for righties to pick up. Unfortunately the arm angle does make things easier on left-handed hitters, so it’s unlikely that he’ll be more than a righty specialist, though it should be noted that on occasion sidearmers can be effective against hitters from both sides; they just need to be careful with the location of their slider and keep the ball down in the zone. Elevate the pitch too much to a lefty and you’re throwing batting practice.
Mechanically, he has a long stride, a high elbow, and there’s clearly effort there. But that’s to be expected whenever you discuss a sidearmer. Usually they drop the arm angle as a last resort, because all other methods of squeezing out velocity have been tried. And as a bullpen specialist, it’s a minor concern anyway.
As I said, Hackimer is a low-upside play, and whether he even reaches that low ceiling will depend upon his ability to locate.
Note: Baseball America reported a different velocity reading for Hackimer. It's quite possible that he throws a little harder than reported here. I just reported what I had been told, and if you're hung up on fastball velocity, you're kind of missing the point of Hackimer. Even if he peaks at 91 vs. 86, the point is he has below average velocity for a right-handed pitcher.