Profile: LHP - 6'0" - 198lbs -BT:L - TH:L - 2011 Age: 25
• FB 91-93: Solid arm-side run, well commanded. (55-65)
• CV 79-81: Good vs lefties, but he knows how to backdoor righties too. (55-60)
• CH 82-84: Show me, almost completely abandoned at this point. (30-35)
Schlereth is getting a bit old to be on this list, and having now pitched in parts of two seasons, labeling him as a prospect is a bit of a stretch too. He's well known because of his father, Mark, former NFL player and TV analyst, however Schlereth has the tools to make a very good name for himself. A first round draft pick in 2008, he signed for 1.3m and did so in time to make his debut the same year.
A power arm out of college, Schlereth is a drop and drive pitcher who work out of a 3/4 slot, generating good velocity and solid plane. He hasn't developed into the high end reliever I once expected he would as his velocity seems to have come down but Schlereth remains a solid reliever and his stuff will allow him to succeed in the Majors. He has had Tommy John surgery and his mechanics do still have some red flags, but with a new elbow, and working out of the bullpen, hopefully those risks are mitigated.
Though Schlereth has thrown a changeup before, the pitch seems to have been mostly scrapped at this point and is now strictly a two-pitch pitcher, fastball/curve. The fastball still runs up with good velocity, but it's not the great velocity we had seen earlier in his career. The pitch has some arm-side run which is more good than great and doesn't get much depth. His curve at times looks more like a slider and people have definitely called it that before. The pitch has 11/5 and sometimes even more 10/4 break meaning it doesn't get ideal depth, but the pitch still moves well with very good tight rotation and late break.
At this point Schlereth largely is who he is and that's a strikeout machine with fairly extreme control issues. He managed to suppress those control issues somewhat last year, walking just under five batters per nine innings. Unfortunately, that's still a ton of walks and despite his ability to miss bats, he'll get himself into trouble on occasion. He does a good job getting ground balls on the curve and shouldn't give up too many home runs because he does a good job keeping the fastball down in the zone.
I used to see him as a closer, but his velocity isn't what it once was and his curve never developed the way a lot of people expected. I'm not even certain if he's a setup guy at this point given his command issues. He's a border-line 7th/8th inning guy.
Corey Ettinger is a Senior Writer for Baseball Digest as well as a proud contributor to both 612Sports.net, 312Sports.com, and 313sports.com. He also provides extensive analysis of the American League Central Division at his own blog, AL Central In Focus. Be sure to follow me on Twitter @Coreyettinger for the latest updates, random thoughts and general tomfoolery.