LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers took their third college pitcher in their first four picks, finish Monday's selections with Virginia starter turned closer Josh Sborz with the No. 74 overall pick.
What he’s good at right now: From the pen, Sborz can reach the mid 90s with his fastball out of a deceptive delivery. His change-up is solid average.
What he can be good at in the future: Sborz can tighten his breaking pitch and may even push his velocity higher once he’s settled into a set role, likely in the pen.
What does he need to work on: Sborz lacks a put-away pitch and needs to tighten a breaking ball that can make a sweeping motion at times. His arm action is what it is at this point, but managing his tempo in his delivery could help improve his command. Sborz is homer prone and must keep the ball down in the zone.
Carry tool: No standout carry tool, but his fastball can reach plus velocity.
Biggest weakness: Without a put-away pitch, he limits his upside to middle relief.
ETA: As a reliever, Sborz could move quickly and reach the majors as soon as the 2016 season.
Realistic best case scenario: I’m not terribly high on Sborz, but I can see him being a middle relief arm and reach the majors in a hurry. He’s not as electric as other bullpen options in this draft, which puts his ceiling at 7th inning arm.
Wrap: Not every Dodger pick was going to be exciting, and the expectation here is that Dodgers might be saving some money on this pick. Sborz had some appeal to teams as a starter with his durable build and chance for three pitches, but his stuff takes a step back in the rotation and doesn’t profile as the type of starting pitcher that would reach the majors with a team as good as the Dodgers and their lofty requirements for starting pitcher arms.
Sborz’s delivery is less than ideal, with a long stab and tilt in the back, and even longer arm action to the plate. He’s generally around the zone, but he can be hittable. He’s bounced between roles at Virginia but has settled in as the closer and his performances down the stretch for Virginia have been his best.
The likely hope is that a full time switch to relief will help him tap into his tremendous arm strength and get his fastball into the mid 90’s more consistently, while sharpening his breaking ball. His arm slot is fitting for either curve or slider, and he may need to re-tool his breaking ball during his development. If Sborz is a budget-conscious selection, he’s not a bad bid to at least become a major leaguer, even if the upside is only middle relief.