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MLB Draft profile: Bryce Jarvis, Duke RHP

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Dodgers pick 29th in the first round

We’ve seen a lot of middle infielders pop associated with the Dodgers in various mock drafts over the last few weeks, so it’s a refreshing change that Eric Longenhagen has them taking a pitcher with the 29th pick in the first round in his mock draft at FanGraphs.

Longenhagen projected the Dodgers to take Duke right-hander Bryce Jarvis with that first-round pick, though mentioned a few others as possibilities for that selection:

Here I’ve given the Dodgers the best remaining player on my board but they’re apt to take an injured player who they think should have gone higher on talent (Freddy Zamora, maybe a J.T. Ginn sequel?) or someone with a shorter track record like Beeter (who I think has homes throughout the back half of round one) or Shuster.

Freddy Zamora was Miami’s starting shortstop, but in February was ruled out for the season with an ACL injury. Wake Forest left-hander Jared Shuster had a 3.76 ERA and 42-percent strikeout rate in four starts as a junior, after 6.79 and 26 percent in his first two seasons. Longenhagen has Texas Tech right-hander Clayton Beeter going 15th to Philadelphia.

Dodgers scouring director Billy Gasparino said last week of this year’s draft, “The college pitching group and the high school hitting group are really strong.”

The last college pitcher drafted by the Dodgers in the first round was Jordan Sheffield out of Vanderbilt, 36th overall, in 2016.

Jarvis dominated in his four starts this year, posting a 0.67 ERA with 40 strikeouts against only two walks in 27 innings. That included the 18th perfect game in NCAA history on February 25 against Cornell, in which he struck out 15.

After his junior season, Jarvis spent time at Driveline Baseball in Washington, he told Jim Sumner at Duke Basketball Report:

“It was more pitch design, tweaking my slider to make room for the addition of my curve ball. My slider has always been a little unpredictable. Sometimes it’s more vertical, sometimes it’s more horizontal. So focusing in on what I needed to do to make it more horizontal so I could have that vertical curveball was a thing I needed to do.”

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“I’m not much of a pitch-to-contact guy. I’ve had a fair amount of strikeouts but the added velo definitely helps. Overall that will help with the swing-and-miss. That was one of the main goals in order to be an established starter in the ACC and at the next level. Guys are throwing harder and harder. It was something that needed to be done.”

Jarvis in three years at Duke had a 2.81 ERA, with more of his appearances coming out of the bullpen (28) than as starter (20), with 201 strikeouts and 61 walks in 150⅓ innings.

Jarvis wasn’t drafted out of high school, but as a draft-eligible sophomore he was taken by the Yankees in the 37th round in 2019. He returned to school instead. His father is Kevin Jarvis, who pitched in parts of 12 major league seasons with 10 teams. Kevin Jarvis was drafted in the 21st round by the Reds in 1991 out of Wake Forest.

MLB.com rates Jarvis as the 25th-best prospect in the draft, and noted his improvement evident this season:

After working with an 88-93 mph fastball at the beginning of 2019 and dipping to 86-91 by season’s end, Jarvis added 20 pounds to his 6-foot-2 frame and operated at 92-96 with effective downhill plane last fall and this spring. His breaking ball used to be average at best, and now he flashes a plus curveball in the upper 70s that he can manipulate into a distinct and equally effective slider in the mid-80s.

Baseball America rates Jarvis 45th in the draft, noting, “It’s not the most fluid delivery, but it shouldn’t prevent him from starting at the next level either.”

There was another mock draft out today, with Baseball America tabbing Illinois high school shortstop Ed Howard to the Dodgers. We profiled Howard a few weeks back.