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Bobby Poyner Scouting Report, Boston Red Sox — December, 2017

Full Name: Robert William Poyner
DOB: December 1, 1992 (25)
Birthplace: West Palm Beach, Florida
School: University of Florida
Acquired: 14th Round, 2015 MLB Draft
Height, Weight: 6’0”, 205 lbs,
Bats/Throws: L/L
Dates Observed: October – November, 2017
Affiliate(s): Peoria Javelinas (Arizona Fall League)
Previous Reports: None

Tool (FV)
Notes & Comments
Fastball (50)
Conventional fastball look with modest arm-side run, more pronounced when it starts out there. Insignificant/inconsistent downward life, but well-commanded in bottom third of the zone with feel for both sides of the plate. Unexceptional pitch but does its job; command profile boosts effectiveness early to get ahead, particularly against LHH. Velocity: 87-91, T 92.

Changeup (55)
Go-to offspeed pitch; late life down and to arm-side with consistent feel to both sides of the plate. Enough feel here to pitch backwards and get hitters on front foot with changeup. Exceptional arm-speed and consistent arm action both sell the pitch; downward tumble helps get it off the barrel. Changeup is put-away pitch once ahead to both RHH and LHH. Occasionally too much arm-side run to control within strike zone, but consistently showed off ability to drop in changeup at any time in any situation at AFL this fall. Velocity: 77-80, T 81.

Slider (45)
More of a work in progress than his changeup. Loopy and big at times; 10-to-4 break, but sweeping and sloppy without late bite. Casts the pitch and can see it out of the hand at release at times with some over-manipulation. Inconsistent feel for slider command in my viewings; good enough to get it over for a strike, but lacked ability to throw it where he wanted it. Ultimately a below-average pitch without late life, but some inevitable value here against LHH with break down and away. Would do well to trust the grip and throw it considerably harder, creating short — but late — break. Velocity: 74-76, T 78.

Control/Command (50/45)
Above-average command and control with fastball and changeup; lacking in both realms with slider. Sum total is decent command profile, particularly for a relief role. What he lacks in wipeout pitch life, he makes up for in consistently pounding the zone and working ahead; also, value here in being able to throw changeup for a strike at any time to any hitter. Will work quickly and get ahead of hitters with consistency.

Pretty standard high three-quarters release with conventional mechanics. Some deception hiding the ball with slight back turn, particularly against LHH, but lacks the quirks you might expect of a left-handed situational reliever, instead showing a pretty routine (and repeatable) delivery. Drop and drive guy in lower half, sacrificing some downward plane, but enough command at the bottom of the zone to make up for it. Repeatable delivery and strong frame to withstand durability questions in big league bullpen role.

Physically strong, well built lower half that is well-used in drop-and-drive push to the plate; very little, if any physical projection left. As you’d expect, polished pitcher with acumen thanks to college background. Interesting to note strikeout totals to date in strong 2017; lacked a true wipeout pitch in my AFL viewings but was solid, if unspectacular, at avoiding the barrel. Either way, certainly shows pitchability with feel for sequencing hitters; should ultimately settle into situational relief against LHH, but changeup feel gives him a legitimate weapon against RHH.

OFP (45 FV)
Future coming quickly as a late-inning set-up man who should land in Boston next summer; natural fit for situational relief against LHH. Perhaps seventh inning guy at ceiling with strong track record and good changeup to neutralize RHH, but far more naturally falls into lefty matchup role. Low-leverage long relief at floor with relatively low risk; Red Sox should be able to get some value out of him in a pen role regardless. Will be interesting to see how he fares in high-leverage situational roles with the Boston Red Sox considering lack of plus velocity and/or quirky deception, but more than enough feel and life in fastball/changeup combo to give him a chance. Too many relievers spent AFL as throwers rather than pitchers, blowing upper 90s with bull-in-a-china-shop feel for the strike zone; Bobby Poyner, to his credit, is a pitcher. What he lacks in power and wipeout stuff, he’ll make up for with sequencing and command, and that’ll give him a shot at a big league job beginning at some point in 2018. MLB ETA: 2018.

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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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