2013 MLB Draft Profile: Kent Emanuel, LHP, University of North Carolina
College left-handers are one of the strengths in the 2013 draft, with several southpaws having designs on the first round. Sean Manaea of Indiana State is the early favorite as the top arm, but there is considerable depth behind him with Tom Windle of Minnesota, Kevin Ziomek of Vanderbilt, Marco Gonzales of Gonzaga, and Dillon Overton of Oklahoma all drawing early notice. Another lefty to watch closely is University of North Carolina ace Kent Emanuel, who is expected to be the rotation anchor for the Tar Heels.
Emanuel was originally drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 19th round in 2010, from high school in Woodstock, Georgia. He didn't throw especially hard in high school, just 85-87 MPH, and his curveball was inconsistent, but he was physically projectable and scouts felt he would thrive in college. As expected, he didn't sign professionally and went off to Chapel Hill, which looks like an excellent decision.
Emanuel stepped into North Carolina's pitching staff and took a key role as a freshman, going 9-1, 2.33 in 16 starts with an 89/23 K/BB in 104 innings, allowing 96 hits. He was even better as a sophomore in 2012, going 8-4, 1.96 with a 100/23 K/BB in 110 innings, allowing 91 hits. Both seasons were excellent statistically, and the scouting reports are coming around to match the numbers.
Listed at 6-4, 190 coming out of high school, Emanuel has filled out and added strength without losing flexibility, now listed at 6-4, 225 heading into the spring of 2013. The improved strength has shown up on the field, with his fastball reportedly kicking up into the low-90s. His changeup is very good and compliments the fastball well. The biggest past complaint about Emanuel has been about his breaking ball, but that is now tighter and more effective than it was in high school.
Emanuel has always thrown strikes and shown a good feel for his craft, and if he maintains the improved velocity this spring, he will shoot up draft boards. He's dominated college competition due to his pitchability, and the improvement in his stuff should get him into first-round territory.