Logan Gilbert is amid another fine season for the Stetson Hatters. The junior righty is picking up steam heading into June’s MLB Draft as one of the top right-handers in the class.
I saw Gilbert this past Friday against Kennesaw State. He picked up the loss, just the second of his three-year career which speaks volumes in itself. It was the tale of two pitchers, however, and there was plenty to like before a rough fourth inning.
Gilbert is a big presence on the mound. He’s listed at 6-foot-6 and 225, but when he’s coming down at the batter, he looks even bigger. He grew up in Apopka, Florida where he was both a first baseman and pitcher in high school. Along with plenty of Perfect Game accolades, he also was a 4.0 student, so there is little reason to be concerned with baseball IQ.
He was primarily a reliever as a freshman, going 2-1 with a 2.74 ERA. He showed some command issues, striking out 42 while walking 27 in 49.1 innings, but those seem to be a problem of the past. Gilbert broke out in the rotation as a sophomore, going 10-0 with a 2.02 ERA. Most importantly, he walked one less batter than his debut freshman campaign while tossing 40 more innings. Gilbert also struck out 107 in 89 innings en route to ASUN Pitcher of the Year honors.
Our own John Sickels told me prior to Friday that he knew Gilbert was both athletic and super clean in his mechanics. Both of those were evident, as he throws with little effort and makes his delivery look easy and repeatable.
Gilbert has four pitches. I am not sure if it is a normal trend, but against Kennesaw State, he was very fastball-heavy early on in the game. I saw some reports saying that he hits the upper-90s, but he sat 91-93, topping out at 94. The pitch looked like a plus two-seamer that moved. When he missed, it seemed to be in the same spot just a tad high. His fastball, like some of his secondary offerings, has movement and some nice arm-side run.
He has three secondary offerings. The curveball was nice when used. It was at 70-75 and we saw two of the nicer ones right around 72, so he can take a lot off of it. He also mixes in a changeup and slider. The slider is so seldom used, I did not even see it before I left. I was told by Chris Blessing who was also in attendance that it was the best looking of his secondary offerings. Gilbert also mixes in a nice changeup that he throws a bit differently than the fastball. All three appear to have the potential to work at the next level.
Gilbert was nothing short of dominant for the first three innings. He went perfectly up and down the Owls lineup, and after striking out the side in the third, he entered the fourth with five strikeouts and no walks.
He was very aggressive. The first inning saw all three outs come on contact (one groundout and two softly hit pop-outs), with all three batters behind 1-2 in the count. It was very much the same over the next two innings, with 1-2 counts being the norm before he got the punch out most often with the heat.
The fourth inning started off decent enough. He did fall behind 2-1 in the count for the first time all evening, but he took a comebacker and threw it to first, clearly showing he can field the position. He fell behind 2-0 on two separate batters and both took advantage tagging Gilbert for home runs on middle-in fastballs.
The pitch seemed to be moving just as it had with the velocity still in the low-90s, he just did not seem to be mixing in the secondary stuff until later on in the outing. Again, I had to, unfortunately, leave early due to a delayed start, but Chris Blessing told me there was much more of a mix of pitches as the game progressed.
Gilbert went 6.1 innings allowing six earned runs, but struck out seven and walked just two. Kennesaw State was able to make contact on Gilbert, and a fair amount was hit in the air. He did win the groundout to fly out war 7-to-5, but some of the balls hit were tagged pretty nicely.
He is now 6-1 on the season with a 2.98 ERA and a 76-to-15 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 54.1 innings. Opponents are hitting just .192 against him. Along with the ERA, both of these numbers are inflated after his last outing. I think it is safe to say that Gilbert’s first three innings were more indicative of the pitcher he is. His ceiling is pretty high in my opinion. He has the looks of a solid No. 2 with four pitches that can all be above average as he develops and uses them more. He should be one of the early college arms off the board in June.