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2017 MLB Draft Profile: Luke Heimlich, LHP, Oregon State University

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Strike-throwing Luke Heimlich has dominated for Oregon State. Where will he land on draft day?

Moving forward with our coverage of the 2017 MLB draft, we continue our profile series with a look at Oregon State University left-handed ace Luke Heimlich.

THE BASICS

Luke Heimlich is from Puyallop, Washington. Owner of an 85-88 MPH fastball in high school, he was undrafted in 2014 and honored his commitment to Oregon State University. He was a solid relief pitcher as a freshman in ‘15 (3.61 ERA in 52 innings, 35/17 K/BB), then was used as a swingman as a sophomore in ‘16, going 7-4 in 11 starts and nine relief outings with a 3.53 ERA and a 63/26 K/BB in 87 frames.

Moved into the rotation full-time in 2017, Heimlich has been unstoppable: 9-1 in 14 starts, 0.87 ERA in 103 innings, 114/20 K/BB, only 64 hits allowed, leading NCAA Division I in ERA.

STRENGTHS

Heimlich is listed at 6-1, 197, a left-handed hitter and thrower born February 3rd, 1996. His fastball has ticked up since high school, increasing from 85-88 then up to 89-92 now, with occasional touches at 93-94. The pitch plays up due to his sharp command and contrast with his secondary pitches.

The change-up was his best pitch two years ago but he’s since refined his curveball, to the point that some scouts like it better than the change. He throws all three pitches for quality strikes, maintains his mechanics well, and has a good health record.

He hasn’t given up a home run this year and has been touched for long balls only four times in his entire college career.

WEAKNESSES

Although he’s a good athlete and has been durable, he looks shorter than his listed height and until this year there was some concern he would fit better in the bullpen than in the rotation. That is less of a worry after what he’s done this spring. His fastball tops out at 94 and is more commonly around 91, meaning that he doesn’t have a huge margin for error. He will dominate the low minors due to his command but will have to show that he can make adjustments at the highest levels.

OVERALL PROJECTION

Viewed as a potential third or fourth round pick four months ago, Heimlich has shot up boards due to his excellent spring. It is unlikely that he’ll slip past the second round and it is possible he could get into the back half of the first round.