Ferrell has a good fastball but he also had a big walk rate in 2018. Ferrell is the classic great stuff but poor control pitcher that is considered in Rule 5 drafts. Last year was a career worst for him as far as control goes with 5.92 BB/9. Ferrell did a good job limiting hits giving up 1.12 H/9 between AA Corpus Christi and AAA Fresno. Even though I attend a lot of Texas League games, I’ve never seen him pitch live.
Ferrell did have shoulder surgery in 2016. I thought some of his control issues last year could have been from that but he had a 2.42 BB/9 in 2017 so I don’t think it is the reason.
Ferrell did pitch about his xFIP in Fresno posting a 6.75 ERA compared to a 4.34 xFIP. The numbers suggest that he should have better results than he did so we can hope that he may regress back toward his career averages.
Ferrell was working 92-94 in most of the film I watched. There were a few 91s and a few 95s mixed in there but I would say he is mostly low-90s. Ferrell throws his fastball up in the zone a lot. It seems he is trying to use the upper third of the zone exclusively with his fastball. It may be something the Astros do with their 4-seamers. I know I’ve heard talk about that. He throws a 12-6 curve that sometimes has movement to the glove side. It has good late break but I think hitters pick it up fairly early out of his hand because he didn’t many bad swings with it. I did see a LHH take a backdoor curve for strike three. I didn’t see any change ups in the 4 games I watched so he must not use it often if at all.
Ferrell is a flyball pitcher getting only 39.5% ground balls in AAA so that could hurt his homer rate with big league hitters. This isn’t a surprise though because he works his fastball up in the zone.
All in all, Ferrell would be a solid pick for someone and is fairly polished in his mechanics. Ferrell does fall off at times to the first base side which causes him not to throw through the ball. I did notice that at times he stands up straighter in his stretch. I don’t think it is intentional and he does tend to elevate more often when he is standing taller. It’s not every time, but a lot of the time.
Ferrell looks like he could be a big league reliever next season. If he can get his control ironed out he will make it for sure. I think he would be an okay selection for the Royals to put right into their bullpen and he should have some success.
Photo from MiLB.com taken by Charlie Blalock.
Here are the potential draftees we’ve covered already: