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Tanner Brubaker Scouting Report

Right-Handed Pitcher
Saddleback College

Tool (PV/FV)
Notes & Comments
Fastball (45/60)
Fastball shows hard run in on RHH; pitch bores arm-side and is very heavy; will completely saw guys off at times; overpowering at this level even in uppers 80s velocity band because of natural life. Stamina and natural arm strength; fastball stays hard deep into the game with Brubaker touching low 90s well into the seventh and eighth innings of work in both outings I’ve seen. It’s a hard 90-91, too; low effort release with ball exploding out of his hand; looks/feels harder than 91 with serious late life and some awkward, poor swings by overmatched hitters. Good downward plane; uses height and works downhill on everything, which adds to pitch life. Free and easy out of his hand in a way reminiscent of a less powerful version of Pittsburgh Pirates prospect Mitch Keller. Not sure how much more velocity we’ll see out of Brubaker as he ages, but good pitch life and further command improvements will make his a decidedly above-average and likely fringe-plus fastball in time. Velocity: 88-92.

Slider (40/50)
Slider is hard, with a hump and good 10-to-4 break; consistent depth with advanced feel for both sides of the plate. Strong command feel to arm-side against RHH to sneak onto inside corner early in counts; ability to extend and bury it down and away late as a put-away pitch. Professional-quality pitch with good velocity and promising feel; room for improvement in tightening it up with more consistent downward break, but he’s got a good one here and is on the right track. Velocity: 78-83.

Changeup (35/45)
Looks like it might be a split change; appears to hold splitter in his hand before coming set, and appears to transition into some kind of split/Vulcan change with occasional considerable drop-off at the plate that can miss bats. Lacks the same feel for his changeup that I’ve seen in his slider, but a promising pitch here with natural life and even what appears to be some cut action at times; good for a third pitch right now with enough life, but must develop into a more consistent weapon against LHH in pro ball for success. Velocity: 76-81.

Command (45/55)
Control and command profiles both advanced for this level; loves to challenge hitters and isn’t afraid to pitch to contact and get guys out of the box quickly; pounds the strike zone and doesn’t let up. Side-to-side feel for his fastball on both sides of the plate, with promising feel to dot slider where he needs it; changeup lags behind those two as far as command execution is concerned, but enough control there to use it consistently and keep hitters honest to the third look. Will overthrow sometimes and leave fastball high and arm side with arm lagging behind body, but that’s been relatively minor in my looks and he’s been in sync and consistent for the most part, even deep into games as his pitch count creeps higher. Finishes strong!

Pretty conventional mechanical look; stays in line to target remarkably well with consistent balance point and drive, and high three-quarters release point. Moderate-to-significant arm stab during his back swing up to release; good arm speed; hides the ball fairly well behind back with insignificant horizontal rotation through balance. Will fall off hard to first base side on occasion, but more or less able to stay consistently on line through release even when doing so. Consistent mechanical look with relatively low effort; ability to repeat over multiple starts and deep into games. Uses long sets and varied tempos to hold runners from stretch; decently quick pickoff move to first base further aided by long holds; typically 1.38 - 1.45 to the plate with runners on first base.

Physical, strong kid with a sturdy frame and strong lower half; listed 6’5″ and 220 lbs.; may be slightly shorter, but tall and strong nonetheless. Maybe still some room to add a bit of good weight, but close to final form and essentially filled out with the size and durability to remain a rotation arm in pro ball. Works very, very quickly; get it, throw it, get it, throw it again. Brubaker really, really reminds me of Colorado Rockies prospect Peter Lambert — lacks one specific overpowering/double-plus pitch, but everything across the board is solid, and he just keeps coming at you, attacking and attacking, challenging every hitter and dictating at-bats without letting up. Aggressive without being emotional; has a clear game plan and loves to attack hitters with it.

MLB Draft
Whereas one of his Saddleback College teammates is hampered by less-than ideal size and likely won’t be selected, Tanner Brubaker is a legitimate high-follow for the 2018 MLB Draft; Brubaker has given a verbal commitment to UC Irvine for the 2019 season as a junior, but now having seen him dispatch two strong JuCo lineups, I have trouble believing he’ll make it to Irvine. He’s solid across the board and remarkably polished compared to his age and level with a real shot to develop average to above-average tools all around, and the frame and physicality to suggest he’ll have little trouble remaining a rotation arm as a pro. Lots of value here as an MLB Draft arm in 2018; there’s a very good shot he’ll find the right opportunity to turn pro this summer.

OFP (50/55 FV)
For me, right on the cusp between being a mid-rotation arm and a back-end guy at his ceiling. Not enough velo or stuff to expect him to be a front-end rotation piece, but shows lots of polish and consistency already that’ll play up with further development in pro ball over the next few years; real shot to be a solid if unspectacular rotation contributor much in the same way I expect Lambert to grow into a mid- or back-end starter role in the next couple years. Brubaker should transition relatively well into pro ball with his current repertoire; inevitable development across the board to refine execution, command, etc. will polish him up towards that mid-rotation future. Floor as a long/middle reliever beneath that, but I really think Tanner Brubaker is going to get a very long look from an MLB org to prove himself as a starter over the next several summers. Promising arm; could move relatively quickly for a JuCo guy, and will make for a nice pickup to be happy about come MLB Draft time. MLB ETA: 2022.

Tanner Brubaker Scouting Report, Saddleback College — Game Video

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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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