Friday, December 29, 2006

Prospect Profile: Zach McAllister (#21)

Age: 18
Height: 6'5" (6" taller than two years ago)
Weight: 230 (60 lbs heavier than two years ago)
Drafted: 3rd Round in 2006 out of High School
Position: Starting Pitcher
Throws: Right

Stuff: McAllister is in the midst of a major change in pitching style. Due to rapid growth, he has become much more of a power pitcher than he used to be. He was signed throwing around 90, mostly throwing 2 seam fastballs and changeups. The heavy sinking action on his fastball was enough for him to get by. The Yankees, seeing his newfound power frame, decided to change his style immensely. They got him throwing a 4-seamer, adding a lot of velocity (it's hard to tell what he is throwing at now. Some reports have him as high as 93). He is still 18 years old and will certainly get stronger as he puts muscle on his big body. His change is average, although improving. His slider was a plus pitcher in High School, but we'll see if he replaces it with a curveball like Hughes did.

Command: A finessed pitching style has one advantage: the pitcher learns how to pitch instead of throw. McAllister has phenominal command of his fastball for his age, and is very aware of the batter when on the mound. His strategic approach could be a serious boon if he develops a power fastball. His pitching mind is years ahead of his peers. In this regard, he has been commonly compared to Phil Hughes (although Hughes has a much better fastball than McAllister, so don't read too much in to the comparison). He prefers to get the groundball over the strikeout.

Outlook: McAllister is incredibly young, so this one is tough to call. He should start the year in Charleston, and likely will stay there for the entire season. His first priority will be improving his curveball. His second priority will be adding muscle and velocity. I have a lot of faith in McAllister's ability to outsmart A ball hitters, so 2007 should be a good season for Zach. Guile alone will not beat AA and beyond hitters though, so his future will be determined less by success in the Sally league and more by improvements across the board on his all of his pitches. His head is the only plus tool he posses right now, although the potential for a plus fastball is certainly there. He was the only Yankee pitcher signed out of the 2006 draft from High School.

Grade: Ceiling B+, Health Incomplete [too young], Comparison: Freddy Garcia