Profile: RHP - 6'3" - 195lbs - BT:L - TH:L - 2011 Age: 21
• FB 90-92: Plus location, lacks ideal movement, or velocity (55-60)
• CV 78-82: Inconsistent velocity, lacks ideal depth, good rotation and late break. (50-65)
• CH 82-84: Good feel and well located. (55-65)
A Steal. That's that John Lamb was. A projected first or second round talent during his junior year of high school, Lamb broke his elbow in a car accident and missed the entirety of his senior year. As a result he slid all the way to the
Lamb doesn't have fellow prospect Mike Montgomery's ideal size, but Lamb isn't a bad specimen in his own right at a well rounded 6'3". Despite lacking Montgomery's height, or the his ability to throw in the mid to high 90s, Lamb has a gorgeous motion of his own that he repeats easily, allowing him to throw both consistently and with command. He uses his lower half well and doesn't need to overload his shoulder or arm to create velocity. Yet he consistently works in the 90-92mph range and carries that velocity deep into games. His easy motion has kept him injury free and made him something of a MiLB workhorse as he threw 147 innings in 2010, a lot for a MiLB pitcher.
He compliments his low 90s fastball with a very solid changeup that'll fade hard on righties. He located the pitch well and shows good feel and consistent arm motion, frequently catching righties out front, then busting them in with a fastball or curve on the next pitch. It shows an understanding and feel for pitching. Against lefties he prefers the curveball which isn't as strong an offering as his changeup, but while it lacks ideal depth, he locates it well and it's tight rotation and late break make it tough to pick up. I think the pitch still has a lot of projectability in it.
One thing Lamb does struggle with, and this might be my biggest complaint, is movement on his fastball. The pitch is relatively flat and as a result, his GB rates at the MLB level are likely to be somewhat below average. It also seems to affect his willingness to attack hitters inside with the pitch.
Lamb steam rolled through both level of A ball, and obliterated the Carolina League's hitters before getting slowed up at AA. Of course as at just 20 years old, he's pitching well below the average age of his competition and his stuff was still quite effective. Lamb's K rates have always been average/plus and he's shown solid command throughout his MiLB tenure. His greatest weakness is, and remains ground ball rates. They're solid in the minors but project as more neutral/fly-ball prone at the MLB level.
I'm not as high on Lamb as most, but that's more technical than anything. He's a very good pitcher with three pitches that, in my opinion, he could use in the Majors tomorrow if the Royals wanted to go that way with him even though he definitely has areas he can work on. Pretty much a lock as a #2 who could climb with improved fastball movement or depth on his curve.
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.