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Selected by the Atlanta Braves in the first round of the 2012 MLB Draft from a Georgia high school, right-handed pitching prospect Lucas Sims made his big league debut on August 1, 2017. At Triple-A Gwinnett for the first part of the season, Sims was 7-4 with a 3.75 ERA in 20 games (19 starts), throwing 115.1 innings and allowing 95 hits and 36 walks against 132 strikeouts. Once he got to the big leagues in August and September, the righty went 3-6 with a 5.62 ERA over 14 games (ten starts) for Atlanta, and allowed 64 hits and 23 walks against 44 strikeouts over 57.2 innings pitched.

A very good athlete with a physically strong, durable frame and the use of four different pitches with decent command across the board, Lucas Sims ought to project out to remain a starter with the Atlanta Braves for much of his career. Formerly a top prospect before his graduation to the big leagues, the righty will enter 2018 with high expectations for landing a rotation job in Atlanta and solidifying himself there as more top organizational pitching prospects quickly make their way to join him. Below, you’ll find our full Lucas Sims scouting report, including game video, velocity notes, tool grades, projection notes, and more on the Atlanta Braves prospect.

Lucas Sims, Atlanta Braves — 2017 Scouting Report

Dates observed in 2017: July 17

Four-Seam Fastball (60)
Feel for both sides of the plate, but particularly to his glove-side. Generally pretty straight pitch, but some mild cut action to glove-side at times. Command down in the zone, can reach top of his velocity band at the knees. Hides the ball well, good arm action on release at high three-quarters point. Pitches primarily off FB, uses it to set up off-speed stuff second and third time through lineup. No-nonsense heater with good raw velo and some mild deception from cross-body mechanics. Needs to improve getting it in arm-side against RHH. Velocity: 92-94, T 95.

Sinker (55)
Distinct from four-seam; some arm-side run along with sink. Good ground ball pitch, especially vs. LHH. Lives in the bottom third of the zone with it but can catch too much of the plate. Cross-body mechanics and arm action aid deception. Velocity: 90-92, T 93.

Curveball (50)
Hard, sharp curveball with 11-to-5 break. Ability to miss bats; feel to throw it as a strike early and bury it as wipeout pitch late in counts. Tight, quick arm action helps give life and deceptiveness; very tightly spun. Generally maintainsits  life out of the stretch. Good change-of-pace when pitching off the fastball. This FV may be slightly low; enough life here if command profile remains consistent that curve could be above-average with some refinement. Velocity: 73-76, T 77.

Slider (50)
Very tight, sharp pitch with late break and 10-to-4 tilt. Distinct from curveball. Occasionally loopy, can get hit by LHH down and in if not sharp enough, but Sims typically throws it with good arm speed, creating very good velocity. More consistent life on slider from windup rather than stretch. Velocity: 84-87, T 88.

Changeup (40)
Lagging behind curveball and changeup as far as arsenal goes; more of a show-me pitch with modest arm-side movement and little sink. Not great feel for the pitch, but overall decent enough control. Effective on occasion vs. LHH, but more of a back-pocket fourth option that won’t be used as much. Velocity: 82-83, T 84.

Control/Command (55/50)
Above average control with command lagging slightly behind. Great feel for glove-side half of the zone, but struggles some to pinpoint pitches — especially fastball — equally as well to arm side. Strike thrower with his full repertoire; can sometimes catch too much of the plate, especially with fastball and slider. Some mechanical adjustments (more below) will help him iron out command profile, improve arm-side consistency.

Quick, conventional mechanics from step to turn and balance. Holds hands together a long time as he comes forward to the plate; breaks hands late and behind his body, producing some deception by hiding the ball very well. Contributes to sneaky-hard fastball because of that. Cross-body thrower in my looks; reportedly had changed mechanics significantly to get more on line in previous years, which greatly helped his curveball and command profile, but was back to landing closed-off and throwing across his body this summer. That’s fine for deception; it also leaves him off balance and falling hard to first base side to overcompensate through and after release. Repeatable mechanics, though; above-average feel for it from the stretch and won’t leak out too much to front side. Quick, efficient arm action allows him to catch up to his body even with breaking hands relatively late. Would do well to get back on line in landing point; likely will help command to both sides of the plate.

Big, strong kid with a well-built lower half. Strength, durability, and physical stamina to remain in the rotation moving forward. Maybe a very little bit of room to grow into his frame, but more or less in final physical form. Works quickly, pushes hitters into box especially with no one on base. Good foot speed and overall athleticism, fields his position very well.

Lucas Sims Scouting Report — Atlanta Braves — 2017 Game Video

Lucas Sims Scouting Report — Notes & Analysis

One of the multiple well-regarded Atlanta Braves pitching prospects littered across their system, Lucas Sims has graduated to the big league and figures to be in the mix for a rotation job in 2018. He’s a solid pitcher with a very good arm and two good breaking balls, and that combined with above-average control and very good athleticism makes him a pretty standard mid-rotation arm who could make a significant Major League impact. His curve and slider both have a shot to be serious strikeout pitches, and if he can get back on line through his drive to the plate and front foot landing, maybe he’ll find even more success with both. Above all, he’s a solid, consistent mid-rotation arm who broke into the big leagues for a taste in 2017 and now will be better equipped with a good enough arsenal to compete in the big leagues next summer.

Lucas Sims Scouting Report — Future Projection

Lucas Sims will be in the mix for a starting rotation job with the Atlanta Braves to begin 2018. Long term, he has the arm strength, command profile, and use of four pitches that should make him a reliable mid-rotation (#3/#4) arm for years to come. His impressive physical stature will help here, too; there’s no question in my mind that Sims is durable enough to be part of a big league starting rotation, and he may yet build out some more velocity with a few minor mechanical refinements that will also help improve the sharpness and effectiveness of his breaking balls. Above all, he’s one of a plethora of young, exciting pitching prospects the Atlanta Braves have quickly moving toward the big leagues, and there’s a high likelihood Lucas Sims will have an impact on the Braves’ next playoff run over the coming few seasons.

Overall Future Potential (Future Value): Mid-rotation (#3/#4) starting pitcher (55)

MLB ETA: 2018


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Bobby DeMuro

Bobby DeMuro is the founder of Baseball Census, the author of We Is Blaze, (obviously) a fan of minor league baseball, and an unlikely expert on the animated classic TV show King Of The Hill. For more on Bobby and the personal, human side of this site, follow him on Twitter and Facebook: @BobbyDeMuro.

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