When draft lists first started popping up for the 2016 season, the name I was most surprised to see down the list closer to the Dodgers' selections was Oregon left-hander Matt Krook. Once the 35th overall pick as a high school pitcher with the Marlins, Krook ultimately decided on college after reportedly failing a physical with Miami. Krook's medical issues would continue at school, as he succumbed to Tommy John surgery during his freshman season, also wiping out the bulk of his 2015 year as well. Since returning to the mound last summer in Cape Cod, Krook has shown both flashes of the player that has the talent to be taken in the first round, but also the rust and inexperience of a pitcher that has struggled for innings since high school.
Physically, Matt Krook is essentially the prototype. Listed at 6'3 205 lbs., Krook has a well proportioned and athletic build, with room for maturity. He has a high leg kick in his delivery but demonstrates overall above average body control. Krook can struggle to maintain his release point and keep his body on line with the target, but he has the athletic ability to correct this flaw with more innings and repetitions. Additionally, Krook can get in a hurry with his delivery, speeding up his body ahead of his release and causing him to drag his arm late to the plate.
Krook's best pitch is a hard curveball that he can vary the depth on, but generally takes the shape of a true 1-7 lefty curve. When right, Krook releases the ball from a high ¾ slot, critical for the break on his curveball, but at times he can drop his arm down and dulls the break and causes more of a sweeping motion. The higher the release, the less the ball "pops" out of his hand, making it difficult for hitters to pick up. While he can throw it as a chase pitch, he has enough control to challenge hitters in the zone with his curve.
Krook's fastball has quite yet reached the promise of his potential, but he has reportedly been reaching the low 90's. The pitch is plenty lively, with plenty of arm-side sink, and the pitch can take off on him when thrown closer to the left-handers box. Again, Krook just needs more repetitions to get a proper handle on the life of the pitch to improve his fringy command.
In terms of upside, Krook's overall ceiling isn't too distant from the collegiate arms (A.J. Puk and Alec Hansen) rated ahead of him. Puk likely has the higher floor, but Krook has flashed the power stuff to eventually pitch as a solid number two or elite number three starter. Because of the injury history and lack of repetitions, Krook is still fairly raw and may not move as quickly through the system as a typical collegiate pick. Should Krook struggle to repeat his delivery more consistently and sure up his command, he has enough stuff to foresee a future at the back end of a bullpen, where his power can exceed the lefty specialist role (think Kevin Siegrist).
If Krook can start to show consistency down the stretch with Oregon, his star is likely to rise well beyond the Dodgers' first selection, but in the most recent Baseball America mock draft, Krook was pegged to go to Los Angeles in the supplemental first round. The Dodgers have the upper end talent and depth to gamble on Krook, and like Reggie Lawson, he has the requisite upside to pay off in a big way down the road.
Up next: Daulton Jefferies