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Nick Vespi Scouting Report

Left-Handed Pitcher
6’3” · 215 lbs. · B/T
DOB: October 10, 1995
Baltimore Orioles

Tool (PV/FV)
Notes & Comments
Four-Seam Fastball (40/45)
Straight four-seam without much depth or fade; shows it early in count to establish zone, but struggled to consistently get ahead with it in my look. Mild deception; can jump on hitters a little bit, particularly LHH. Effective glove-side in to RHH when he hits his spot, but mostly works well as a set up to off-speed wipeout stuff later in counts. Unremarkable velo and life on its own; command-reliant and will play up when working against off-speed more than living on its own. Command and control must improve; without plus velo, risk for hard contact when it catches too much of the plate. Velocity: 87-91.

Two-Seam Fastball (35/40)
Pretty similar profile and use as four-seamer, but with marginally more arm-side run. Inconsistent sink/fade; didn’t show ability to manipulate the pitch into a sinker in my look, but can play it off the slider some as a nice change of pace. As with four-seam, imperative that command improves; needs fastball to get ahead early so he can go to (markedly better) breaking balls to draw weak contact/miss bats late in count. Velocity: 86-88.

Slider (45/50)
Tight spinner that sweeps across with 10-to-4 break, and plenty of horizontal movement towards glove side. Encouraging ability to manipulate the pitch for depth; will flash a few that show really solid downward break late at the plate, particularly with two strikes. Very much a fastball/slider guy who trusts the pitch; consistent ability to throw it for a strike down in the zone, and while command profile isn’t pinpoint, control of the pitch + break/life makes for a strong combination. Works off the slider more so to RHH than to LHH; tendency to flash curveball more often to LHH in my look. Slider will miss bats; some room to improve — will tighten and improve depth to make it a real weapon against better hitters — but already a promising pitch that draws awkward swings. Velocity: 79-81.

Curveball (45/50)
Good complement to the slider; plenty of depth with 12-to-6 break and sharp, late life at the plate. Will occasionally get around the pitch and spin it closer to an 11-to-5 break, but depth is still consistent there. Good weapon against LHH in particular; generally goes to slider early, curve later when he shows both. Sharp with good velo and arm speed; would love to see a spin rate for it — pitch is pretty tight with some feel. Will miss bats along with slider; should be a real weapon in time. Velocity: 76-78.

Changeup (N/A)
Never saw him throw a changeup in my spring look; velo readings come from team source, notes from watching him throw a few in sides. Pitch shows some arm-side fade with tumble; late life here, though not as pronounced as curveball/slider. May be an effective weapon against RHH, but tough to say; need to see it more to give a grade and more valuable comments. Velocity: 79-82.

Command (35/40)
Struggled to consistently locate fastball early in counts in my look; control well ahead of command, with touch and feel for slider within the strike zone surprisingly better than the fastball. Likely relief future ahead based on command profile; plenty of life on wipeout off speed and variable command; will be valuable when he’s effectively wild rather than pitching to contact; going to work some deep counts in future role.

Pretty conventional high three-quarters release from the left side; works slightly to the third base side of the rubber. Toe tap after balance point and before leg drive out towards the plate, a la Clayton Kershaw or Robb Nen, to keep weight over back leg longer and allow his arm a shot to catch up to body through release. Toe tap makes sense with decently long arm swing in the back; arm will lag behind body some and shows tendency to leave pitches up and out of the zone. Some ability to hide the ball, particularly from LHH. Decent downhill plane coming from 6’3″ frame helps play up life, but inconsistent release points affecting command in my look.

Strong kid with powerful core and durable lower half. More or less at final physical form right now without considerable room to grow left into his body. Good size that should prove durable enough for full-season ball over the next few years. Started a decent chunk of games so far in his pro career, but future should come in relief with command issues and two breaking balls that flash real ability to miss bats — won’t be surprised if he shifts full-time to the bullpen in 2018.

OFP (45 FV)
For me, likely future ceiling will come in a set-up role as a situational left-handed reliever. Both breaking balls flash a real ability to miss bats; better consistency and depth over the next couple years will make them solid off-speed pitches, particularly when facing LHH in high leverage. Floor as organizational depth, and some age concerns — already 22 years old, Nick Vespi has made just one appearance in full-season ball — but a strong 2018 at Low-A , or even split with High-A, will go a long way to quelling that concern. Ultimately may never make a huge impact in a big league role, but Nick Vespi is a decent under-the-radar lefty relief option with a nice track record of missing bats and some bullpen upside that could flourish soon. MLB ETA: 2021.

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More from our Nick Vespi scouting report and other Baltimore Orioles prospects:

Keegan Akin, LHP | Jacob Brown, OF

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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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