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2017 Mets draft profile: Tony Dibrell

With their fourth selection in the 2017 draft, the Mets selected Tony Dibrell, a right-handed pitcher from Georgia.

Name: Tony Dibrell
Born: Alpharetta, Georgia
Age: 21 (11/08/95)
Height/Weight: 6'3"/205 lbs
Position: RHP
Bats/Throws: R/R
School: Kennesaw State University

Tony Dibrell was an impressive specimen at Chattahoochee High School, where he lettered four times as a varsity player, but he never garnered much major league attention. As a high school player, the 6’1”, 200-pound right-hander had a fastball that touched 90 MPH, and was supplemented by a developing slider, curveball, and change-up, but no major league team bit, causing him to go un-drafted. Though interested in attending a variety of schools with strong baseball programs, Dibrell made a verbal commitment with Kennesaw State University and went through with it, donning the black and gold and becoming an Owl.

Dibrell didn’t exactly impress in his first year at Kennesaw State. He pitched out of the bullpen, appearing in 11 games for the Owls. He posted a 5.06 ERA in 16 innings pitched, allowing 18 hits, walking 3 and striking out 18.

In 2016, the right-hander had a bit more success. He appeared in 14 games for Kennesaw State, starting seven of them. He went 1-4 on the season, posting a 4.64 ERA in 54.1 innings. He allowed 54 hits, walked 30 batters, and struck out 66, which tallied for second most on the team. There was clearly promise in his big frame, but it wouldn’t manifest itself until that summer, when he participated in the prestigious Cape Cod League. Playing for the Bourne Braves and the Chatham Anglers, Dibrell posted a 1.66 ERA in 38.0 innings pitched. He allowed 28 hits, walked 18, and struck out 36, earning All-Star honors.

He returned to college riding on the success he had in the cape and was able to keep it going. Taking the reigns as ace of the Owls pitching staff, Dibrell went 7-4 with a 2.45 ERA in 95.2 innings in his junior year, the third-lowest ERA for a single season in Kennesaw State University history. He allowed 77 hits, walked 39, and struck out 103 batters.

Dibrell has a fastball that tops out at 96 miles per hour, generally sitting in the low-to-mid 90s. At times late in the collegiate season, his fastball velocity has backed up, most likely the result of throwing 110 pitches or more six times in his 14 starts in 2017. The pitch does not have much movement, but it shows sink when thrown down in the zone.

He complements his fastball with a slider, a changeup, and a curveball. His slider is generally considered his best breaking ball. The pitch is above-average, sitting in the low-80s with hard biting action, generally used to get swings-and-misses from right-handed batters down and away. His change-up is considered a pitch just as good as his slider, but is thrown sparingly. It also sits in the low-80s, showing good fade and tumble to the arm side, especially when thrown low in the strike zone. Rounding out his arsenal is his curveball, a pitch in the low-to-mid-70s with soft break used to keep hitters off-balance.

The ability to command his pitches has given Dibrell trouble throughout his career. He often has trouble with his location and is not too sharp in the zone. At times, he shows better command of his secondary pitches than his fastball, but has shown the ability to think in-game when this happens, throwing his secondaries more often when his fastball is off.

Dibrell throws from a high three-quarters arm slot. His delivery is a bit violent, with some extra moving parts and effort, but the right-hander displays enough athleticism to repeat it. He is not consistent with his landing foot points, generating control issues when it is not pointing towards home plate. His arm action itself is not that loose, but the right-hander generates good arm strength and speed and travels through the arm circle quickly. At 6’3”, 205 pounds, the right-hander has a strong pitching frame, having been a bulldog for the Owls this season.