One of my favorite prospects from the 2015 MLB draft is left-hander Ryan Kellogg from Arizona State University. Drafted in the fifth round by the Chicago Cubs, his pro career has begun with a shutout inning of relief work with two strikeouts for Eugene in the Northwest League.
There are several reasons to like Kellogg. Born and raised in Canada, he was a prominent member of Canadian amateur teams and was viewed as a possible mid-round pick for the 2012 draft. He was committed to Arizona State however and signability pushed him to the 12th round where he turned down the Toronto Blue Jays. At the time he was a big projectable lefty with good pitchability and physical projection but a fastball in the 80s.
The hope was that Kellogg (his height/weight data in high school varied depending on source but was usually around 6-4, 190) would see strength and velocity gains in college and set himself up as a possible first round pick for 2015.
Kellogg DID have a very good college career, snaring a starting rotation spot as a freshman with the Sun Devils and never letting go, averaging 16 starts and over 100 innings per spring. This year he posted a 3.60 ERA in 115 innings with a 92/23 K/BB. This was the best K/IP ratio of his college tenure.
Kellogg has filled out since high school and is now listed at 6-5, 225. He still shows an impressive feel for pitching. His change-up draws praise and both his slider and curveball are solid. Scouts love his makeup. He throws strikes and has held up under a full college workload for three seasons with no difficulty. He repeats his delivery well and has a reputation for clutch performance under pressure.
However, the hoped-for fastball velocity gain never really happened. He was upper-80s in high school and has picked that up just a tiny bit, working at 88-91 most of the time and topping at 92. It played in college due to his strong secondary arsenal, but there's no guarantee that will happen at the highest levels, which is why he lasted until the fifth round this spring.
All that is the standard report on Kellogg, but here is the unsubstantiated prediction part.
I think his velocity WILL increase, not up to 97 or anything, but into the 90-94 range. Add that to his three strong secondary pitches and his mound instincts and you have a mid-rotation starter with advanced command who will zip through the minors fairly quickly. I think pro instruction and a mechanical tweak or two will add that extra zip to the heat Kellogg needs to live up to his full potential. And I think that velocity gain will be obvious and in place by the end of 2016.
Why do I think this? I just do.
I told you it was unsubstantiated!