Name: Brandon Sproat
Weight: 215 lbs.
Acquired: 2023 MLB Draft, 2nd Round (University of Florida)
2023 Stats: DNP
Armed with a fastball that sat in the high-80s-to-low-90s and a full arsenal of effective secondary pitches, Brandon Sproat dominated his high school competition at Pace High School, a school in Florida’s Santa Rosa County. In his junior year, he posted a 1.78 ERA in 59 innings, helping lead Pace to Florida’s Class 7A State Championship Game, and in his senior season, he posted a 1.53 ERA in 32 innings. All in all, he made 27 starts and 5 relief appearances for the Pace Patriots over three seasons and posted a cumulative 1.83 ERA. The Texas Rangers selected the right-hander in the 7th round of the 2019 MLB Draft and expected him to accept their over-slot offer, but the right-hander elected to honor his commitment to the University of Florida instead.
Sproat missed most of his freshman season with the Gators thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, appearing in 4 games out of the bullpen and posting a 1.50 ERA in 6.0 innings with 2 hits allowed, 3 walks, and 8 strikeouts. He supplemented his time on the mound by pitching in the Texas Collegiate League that summer, playing for the Tulsa Drillers. The right-hander posted a 3.48 ERA in 10.1 innings, allowing 6 hits, walking 11, and striking out 7.
In 2021, he returned to Florida and appeared in 16 total games, starting 2 midweek games and making 14 appearances out of the bullpen. All in all, he posted a 6.65 ERA in 21.2 innings, allowing 29 hits, walking 15, and striking out 18. That summer, he made a brief appearance with the Chatham Anglers of the Cape Code League, allowing 3 earned runs in 2 innings with 3 hits allowed, 4 walks, and 2 strikeouts. In 2022, his redshirt sophomore season, Sproat established himself as Florida’s Saturday starter and top starter following the injury to Hunter Barco. Making a team-high 16 starts, the right-hander posted a 3.41 ERA in 89.2 innings, allowing 84 hits, walking 33, and striking out 82. The Mets selected him with their third-round selection, the 90th pick overall, but the two sides were unable to agree to terms, with Sproat returning to Florida.
He appeared in 19 games for the Gators as the staff ace and posted a 4.66 ERA in 102.1 innings with 81 hits allowed, 43 walks, and 134 strikeouts. He matched up against Ty Floyd in the 2023 College World Series finals and pitched four innings, allowing two runs on six hits, with five walks and seven strikeouts. With LSU’s victory in the exciting best-of-three series, Sproat’s career at the University of Florida came to an end. For his career, he appeared in 56 games, starting 37 of them. In 223.2 total innings, he posted a cumulative 4.27 ERA with 202 hits allowed, 99 walks, and 242 strikeouts. The Mets once again selected the right-hander in the 2023 MLB Draft, this time in the second round. The two sides agreed to a $1,474,500 signing bonus, exactly the MLB-recommended slot value, and Sproat finally became a professional baseball player. He did not suit up for the Mets for the remainder of the season.
At 6’3”, 210 pounds, Sproat has a solid pitching frame that should be able to log innings, with an athletic frame and solid lower half. The right-hander throws from a three-quarters arm slot with a long, whippy arm action through the back. His delivery is fairly simple with few moving parts, and he repeats that well, but he often struggles consistently repeating his release point, a problem that has plagued him throughout his time at Florida to varying degrees and is one reason that he was not able to take his place among the elite tier of draft eligible college pitchers in 2022 and 2023.
Sproat’s quick arm generates easy, plus velocity. His fastball consistently sits in the mid-90s, topping out at triple digits. Despite the velocity, the right-hander does not miss as many bats with it as you would expect with it, partially because he often has trouble commanding the pitch and partially because the pitch has a relatively low spin rate. It hovers around 2000 RPM, giving it very little plane or shape and making it fairly straight. Sproat is more than a brute force thrower and can recognize when his fastball is not getting the job done and transition to relying primarily on his secondary pitches.
The right-hander complements his fastball with a slider, changeup, and curveball. His slider is his main strikeout pitch, an upper-80 offering with tight break that features up to 2700 RPM of spin, above-average for a slider. He can manipulate its shape and at times the pitch resembles more of a cutter, with slightly more velocity but firmer shape. His changeup sits in the mid-80s and tunnels well with his fastball as he maintains his arm speed well. While he is able to generate strikes and strikeouts with it, the pitch more often induces ground balls from weak contact. His curveball sits in the upper-70s-to-low-80s with 12-6 break, though sometimes it can get less top-down and become slurvy. While he can bury it below the zone for strikeouts, it is a soft, floaty pitch and is mainly used as a get-me-over offering.