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2016 MLB Draft: T.J. Zeuch, RHP, University of Pittsburgh

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Had your fill of 2016 MLB Draft college pitching yet? Here's another arm for your consideration: T.J. Zeuch of the University of Pittsburgh.  Zeuch did not receive a huge amount of attention in the prospect press pre-season, but scouts were well aware of him. He's been very strong this spring and has put himself easily into the first round picture.

As a high school pitcher in Mason, Ohio, Zeuch drew notice for his projectable 6-6 frame but was considered to be in need of college development, falling to the 31st round of the 2013 draft. He turned down the Kansas City Royals then pitched notably well as a freshman in 2014, posting a 2.75 ERA in 56 innings of work as both a starter and reliever, 41/17 K/BB. He started full time as a sophomore and rang up a 3.87 ERA in 88 innings but with a nice 90/25 K/BB. He then made four starts Chatham in the Cape Cod League, posting a 17/5 K/BB and 1.31 ERA in 21 innings.

Zeuch entered 2016 as a potential early pick; he's taken the "potential" out of that sentence. He missed the first few weeks of the season with a groin injury but came back in time to make 10 starts for the Panthers, posting a 3.10 ERA in 70 innings with a 74/19 K/BB and 61 hits allowed.

The numbers are solid and the reports are better. Now up to 6-7, 225, Zeuch has matured physically, boosting his fastball from the 80s in high school to 91-94 MPH now, with reported peaks at 96-97. Even at the lower velocities his fastball plays up because he has a full arsenal of secondary pitches: both his slider and his curveball are at least solid-average. Reports on the change-up vary; some rate it as below average, while others put it on par with the breaking stuff as a quality pitch. Call it inconsistent but promising.

The important point is that Zeuch has access to a wide velocity band from the upper-70s into the mid-90s and makes use of it well, throwing strikes from a tall frame and doing a good job keeping his mechanics consistent. He's young for the junior class at age 20, not turning 21 until August, but his cold-weather background means he has fewer miles on his arm than the typical college stalwart. Overall, Zeuch projects as a workhorse starter and looks like a clear pick in the middle part of the first round.

Some video from PittLiveWire. Pitching view starts 44 seconds