With the Kansas City Royals having potentially 7 of the top 100 picks in June’s draft (although it’s looking less likely every day), we’re going to be doing a ton of draft coverage here at Royals Farm Report. Part of our draft coverage will include draft targets for the Royals for the upcoming draft. Our second player profile will be over a lefty from the great state of Texas that has one of the higher floors in the draft.
One decision that MLB teams must make when evaluating draft prospects is floor vs. ceiling. What do I project as the worst outcome for a player, vs. the best outcome for a player. Guys like Michael Gigliotti would be high floor/low ceiling. Gigs may never be an All-Star center fielder, but he seems like a likely candidate to make the big leagues due to his speed and ability to make good contact with the baseball. Guys like Khalil Lee would be considered high ceiling/low floor. Lee may very well be a 20/20 (HR/SB) in the big leagues, and he also may never make it due to his big swing and miss rates.
Deciding on whether to draft a player with a high floor or a high ceiling can be incredibly challenging for an organization. Do you invest money in a (hopefully) sure-fire number four starting pitcher? Or take the chance on a potential ace? In my opinion, Steven Gingery would offer a fantastic opportunity as a high floor selection for one of Kansas City’s competitive balance picks for the 2018 draft.
Steven Gingery of Texas Tech University reminds me a lot of former Royal Jason Vargas. He’s a LHP with a fastball that sits anywhere from 88-92 with a respectable curveball and a wicked changeup. In 2017, Gingery posted an ERA of 1.58 in 91.1 IP with 107 K and only 29 BB. Command is the least of Gingery’s worries and that K:BB ratio is absolutely nuts.
Some of you may remember how nasty Vargas’ changeup was in the first half of last year. It carried him all the way to the All-Star Game in Miami. Steven Gingery’s changeup is reminiscent of Vargas’. Check out this video of Gingery on YouTube to see for yourself: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7OVPDvWVNnk. Thanks Baseball America.
There is so much to like about that video. First of all, Gingery picks off two runners in the video with two separate moves. This is fantastic. I love LHPs who practice and perfect their craft, and those moves have clearly been practiced. Secondly, he has hitters all kinds of off balance. 88-92 isn’t the most ideal velocity for a pitcher you might consider with a first round pick, but Gingery uses his changeup so effectively that he actually causes hitters to be late on his fastball if they’re looking changeup. Velocity is somewhat relative. 88-92 can look like 94-96 if you’re looking for a changeup, making it nearly impossible to catch up with. He also fields a ground ball hit back to the mound and throws a perfect strike to first base, which you want to see from guys who generate a lot of ground balls.
The only real concern I have with Gingery’s motion is his timing mechanism. If you watch the first pitch that he throws in the video, he keeps his weight over his back leg, shows good balance, and delivers a filthy pitch low and away to the LHH. Then on the second pitch, his weight begins to leak out over the mound, he’s forced to rush his delivery, he releases the pitch before his arm is ready, and the pitch stays high and off the plate. This happens several times during the video and appears to be something that Gingery will need to perfect if he has hopes of becoming a first round pick in 2018.
Here’s a little blurb from last June on SB Nation’s Texas Tech site, “Viva the Matadors”:
“Gingery isn’t eligible for the draft this year or he’d probably be a first day selection. If his has a similar year to the previous two, don’t expect him to stay in Lubbock for his senior year.
Gingery has an average “pro arm” sitting in the upper 80’s to low 90’s with good command of his off-speed pitches. His arm strength may improve, but the thing that jumps out about Gingery is his ability to command the strike zone not just trying to overpower the hitter with speed. He can work both sides of the plate and get his off-speed stuff over for strikes. All of this coming from a lefty gets pluses from the scouts.
In his two years at Tech, Gingery has gone 14-3 with a 2.26 ERA and a 2.83 K/BB ratio. Those numbers will definitely get you noticed at the next level.”
Gingery is a guy that I will definitely be watching this season at Texas Tech. The Royals project their next wave of prospects to be ready to debut around the 2021 season. If the Royals select Gingery in June of 2018, I firmly believe he will be ready to join the next wave in Kansas City by 2021. He’s an advanced college arm that won’t need too much refining in the minor leagues.
If you live in the Kansas area, TTU will be visiting KU on April 6, 7, and 8th. Gingery will more than likely start the Friday game, April 6th, for Texas Tech if you want to go watch him for yourself.
Oh, did I mention he fields his position pretty well?