LOS ANGELES -- Including their selection of Gonzaga right-hander Andrew Sopko in the seventh round of the 2015 MLB Draft, the Dodgers drafted seven college pitchers in their first 12 picks.
What he’s good at right now: Sopko has feel for spin on his solid average slider and has reached 94 mph on his fastball. He has a simple delivery that he repeats well and has decent command.
What he can be good at in the future: He’s fairly tapped out as a starter, but he could see the grades of both his fastball and slider move up a tick if he moves to the bullpen.
What does he need to work on: His stuff is fairly hittable, so he’ll have to work to improve his pitch sequencing and improve his command to keep his fastball away from trouble.
Carry tool: Sopko’s best path to the majors could be relief, and his solid average slider might tick up in the bullpen and become his go-to pitch.
Biggest weakness: Sopko’s ceiling and overall stuff profile could meet its match in the upper minors. He may have to move to relief, and middle relief is likely his best bet.
ETA: Sopko has the pitchability and stuff to get through the first few levels quickly, but will face a tough challenge at Double A and on. He could move quicker in relief, and that might be his ticket to the majors, which could come around 2019.
Realistic best case scenario: Sopko moves to the pen and sees his fastball sit more frequently around 94 mph with an above average slider as a putaway pitch. He could work in long relief or in the seventh inning at the major league level with that repertoire.
Wrap: Sopko received consideration for my Top 200, but I ultimately passed due to the lack of ceiling as a right hander with fringe to fringe-average stuff. By the seventh round, he’s a solid depth signing that should fill out a minor league rotation until his stuff requires a move to relief.
Sopko has some pitchability but he gets hit too often and might be around the plate too much with his fastball. He has a solid slider and change-up, so he has the necessary pitches to start, but he’s going to need to see a jump in velocity for him to stick in the rotation. Sopko is a depth signing with some upside as a future pen arm.