Profile: RHP - 6'4" - 200lbs -BT:R - TH:R - 2011 Age: 25
• FB 91-93: Plays up in bullpen after being 88-90 in rotation, lacks movement, very tough on righties. (45-60)
• SL 80-82: Good rotation and tilt, needs to be more consistent, very tough on righties. (60-60)
• CH 82-84: Improving. Could still use better arm-action and differential. (40-55)
Taken in the 5th round of the 2009 draft out of LSU following his teams National Championship run (he was a teammate of fellow Central Top Prospect Jared Mitchell) Coleman was a rare senior draftee. He signed quickly for a 100K bonus and was immediately sent to the teams Burlington A Ball affiliate, but he'd quickly be promoted to Advaned A Wilmington. He dominated both levels working almost exclusively out of the bullpen (he did make one start) after a career as a starter at LSU.
On the mound the 6'4" Coleman works with an extreme 3/4 delivery that borders on aide-arm. It's a very tough delivery on right handers who have to see a ball that starts off on their hip then runs away. Unfortunately it also curtails the advantages of being 6'4" - namely, the ability to generate downward plane. Still his motion is easy and repeatable and he shows good command. I always have injury concerns with pitchers who throw across heir body, but in a refrain readers of mine ought to be used to by now, the fact that he works out of the bullpen should help lessen those risks.
His fastball, which sat in the high 80s in college works better out of the bullpen where he works in the 91-93 range and has shown gradual velocity improvement over the years, though I think he's maxed out what his delivery can do for him.
He pairs the fastball with a tight slider that gets good lateral movement with some sink. The pitch is really tough for righties to pick up because it breaks late and he throws it from the exact same arm angle as the fastball. They simply don't pick it up until it's too late. If he can improve him change up he'll have a really good extra weapon in his arsenal that could make him strong vs lefties as well.
Proven ability to miss bats at every level of the minors while combining that ability with plus command. The big red flag is the groundball rate, though when you strikeout as many as he does while walking as few as he does, you really limit the ability of the fly-ball to have a significant negative impact.
Reminds me a lot of Pat Neshek. Both in their somewhat late arrival to the Majors, unconventional deliveries as well as their stuff, mound presence, and injury risk. He should be death to righties and with improvements to his changeup could be effective vs lefties as well.
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.