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Selected out of Michigan’s Davenport University in the 14th round of the 2016 MLB Draft by the Chicago White Sox, right-handed pitching prospect Bryan Saucedo made his professional debut this summer in the rookie-level Arizona League. Pitching for the AZL White Sox, the tall (6’6″, 225 lb.) righty finished 3-2 with a 7.04 ERA over 13 games (13 starts), tossing 55.0 innings and allowing 58 hits, four home runs, and 37 walks against 41 strikeouts. Old for the league (DOB: February 3, 1994), Saucedo must move up the ladder quickly if he’s ever to have a big league impact after a less-than-impressive rookie season in Arizona.

That said, he does have a particularly impressive, imposing, and projectable frame with good raw arm strength and exceptional downward plane on his fastball, and the makings of what could become a fringe-average big league power curveball. If the Canadian righty can figure things out pretty quickly here in the next year or two, and transition to the bullpen where his stuff will play up significantly, the Chicago White Sox may have themselves a contributor. Below, you’ll find our full Bryan Saucedo scouting report, including tool grades, game video, projection notes, and more analysis.

Bryan Saucedo, Chicago White Sox — 2017 Scouting Report

Dates observed in 2017: August 3; August 13

Four-Seam Fastball (55)
Hard and straight, with no arm-side run but occasional glove-side cut. Can get away from him glove side. Exceptional downward plane when down in the zone thanks to high overhand release from 6’6″ frame. Overpowering at times; sneaky velocity. Deceptive; ball gets on top of hitters thanks to Saucedo’s frame and long arm despite sitting around 90 mph. Struggles to command fastball on arm-side vs RHH; when left out over the plate, straight fastball is very hittable. Struggles to command upper band velocity fastballs down in the strike zone. Inconsistent pitch, but could play up in relief role with good raw arm strength and imposing physical frame behind it. Velocity: 88-91, T 92.

Changeup (35)
Speed differential, but very, very little feel for the pitch. Straight change with very little movement or hump, no arm-side run or tumble late. Lacks feel even with decent arm speed and good extension. Struggles to command it to lower half of the zone. May be wise to scrap the pitch and learn a split-fingered fastball that can work as a change of pace from his straight over-the-top release. Velocity: 80-82, T 83.

Curveball (50)
11-to-5 break with some serious depth thanks to his high overhand release point. Good speed differential that can get hitters on front foot. Sharp and hard at times, makings of a power curveball at its best. That said, Saucedo struggles to consistently finish the pitch and will throw spinners that don’t have enough bite. Must keep arm speed and arm action fast all the way through release; when he finishes out front with authority, he’s got a chance for a good-looking pitch. Better from the windup than the stretch; more likely to fully finish the pitch via windup. Mechanical consistency will help the pitch, but good, tight spin with some feel and arm strength gives it potential to be average. Velocity: 72-75, T 76.

Control/Command (45/35)
Both are well below-average right now. Struggles to get in on RHH and can too often throw pitches out over the plate. Variable release points produce variable results; will overthrow and spike pitches and fall off hard to first base. Unable to consistently get his body in line and his timing right from landing to release. Unlikely to ever show enough of a command profile to start in upper minors; raw stuff could play up in bullpen enough to overcome it.

Conventional turn into balance point. High overhand release point with pulldown from 6’6″ frame through release. Falls off slightly to first base side on occasion, but generally well balanced throughout to plate with good athleticism even while struggling with timing. Long levers, tough to sync up. Moderate spine tilt but very little head jerk through mechanics. Lands slightly closed to the plate but not as significant a cross-body thrower as AZL White Sox teammate Zach Lewis. Tendency not to finish every pitch; sometimes lands very softly with little leg drive forward, leaving pitches up and lacking. Leaks out some to front side in stretch; arm doesn’t always catch up to body and pitches left up and arm-side with runners on. Needs to find mechanical consistency; will see velocity increase when it comes.

Big, strong frame with broad shoulders and well-built top half. Lean legs with room to grow; should build out lower half in the next few years and develop a Kyle Farnsworth-type body. May see significant velocity bump in time with it, and with mechanical refinements. A good overall athlete, he moves very well on the field for his size. College position player, still considerable athleticism left in his frame. Missed all of 2016 due to injury and catching up now; arm looked healthy, free, and easy, and he pitched a full workload in 2017. Old for the AZL, though, and didn’t have a good year; either he’s destined for organizational depth with the Chicago White Sox, or something (i.e. role) must change quickly. Outside shot at being a fringe power pitching prospect out of the bullpen.

Bryan Saucedo Scouting Report — Chicago White Sox — 2017 Game Video

Bryan Saucedo Scouting Report — Notes & Analysis

Bryan Saucedo is a physical specimen with definite arm strength and the ability to grow into a serious power pitcher in time, but it won’t come in the starting rotation. He doesn’t have consistent enough secondary stuff to survive in a rotation, and his command profile is seriously lacking — the combination of which, in addition to his raw arm strength and physical stature, should push him to a bullpen role as soon as possible. He struggles right now to throw down in the zone in the low 90s, but some mechanical adjustments working straight to the plate and the inevitability of his arm strength playing up in short stints could push him consistently into the mid-90s in the next few years. Further physical development of his skinny lower half will add some firepower to Saucedo’s raw arm strength, and he might earn a shot at a high-leverage bullpen role because of it.

In addition, a move to the bullpen will see a serious uptick with the rest of his arsenal. First, Saucedo must throw his curveball significantly harder, and short stints will help promote a max effort look with the pitch. The quicker his arm action, and the harder his follow through on the curve, the more likely he flashes a hammer with good, sharp late life. A one-inning role could be the trick to make his curveball pop consistently at 11-to-5 and work into the upper 70s. I’d love to see his spin rate numbers even now as a starter; I think he’s got an outside shot for a legitimate power curveball out of the ‘pen if things go right the next couple years.

Beyond that, I think it’d be a good idea for Bryan Saucedo—an over-the-top guy nearly to an extreme—to pick up a split-finger fastball. I’ve seen it work for other over-the-top guys in the middle of their bullpen conversions, and I wonder if, far more than his below-average changeup, a splitter would give Saucedo a realistic third look to use as a legitimate strikeout pitch. It’ll take a little bit of feel to develop a splitter, but far less than a changeup, and Saucedo has the arm angle and action that could make the splitter a really, really good pitch for his arsenal — especially out of the bullpen.

Bryan Saucedo Scouting Report — Future Projection

If the Chicago White Sox aren’t going to move Bryan Saucedo to the bullpen, I believe there’s little chance he ever becomes anything more than organizational depth. He doesn’t have good enough command, or consistent feel for his stuff, to face a lineup more than once — especially considering he was 23 years old this summer in the Arizona League and struggled against opponents 3-5 years younger. A move to the bullpen now can’t hurt, and arguably would be wise to max out his abundant physical tools and raw arm strength. It could also push him quickly through a few levels towards more age-appropriate competition. I’d personally love to see him add a splitter to the repertoire one day, but his fastball/curveball combo will play up in a relief role. He’d be more apt to miss bats without having to nibble, too, knowing he has to hold back for a second or third time through the lineup.

In a best-case scenario, Bryan Saucedo could turn into a middle relief (low set-up) prospect if his power stuff takes off in relief. The coming season will go a long way in determining where his future may be; if the Chicago White Sox want to recoup some value out of him, they’d be wise to move Saucedo to the bullpen and let him blow it out in one-inning stints, where he’d likely work his velocity up to the mid-90s in the next few years. The thought of that velocity, from his arm angle, and with a power curve (and maybe even a splitter!) is an intimidating one.

Overall Future Potential (Future Value): As a starter, best-case scenario limited to low-leverage spot starter/emergency call-up role due to command issues; Chicago White Sox would be wise to transition Bryan Saucedo to middle relief/low set-up role (40/42.5)

MLB ETA: 2021


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Bobby DeMuro

Bobby DeMuro is the founder of Baseball Census. A former college and independent league baseball player, he now watches more than 200 games a year working full time for the site. You can follow him on Twitter @BobbyDeMuro for more.

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