After going college bats in the first day of the draft, the Diamondbacks opened up the 2nd day of the draft with high school pitching. The first pitcher taken was Massachusetts’ Matt Tabor from Milton Academy. Tabor wasn’t a serious draft prospect until his senior year, where a 2-inch growth spurt pushed him up to 6’1” and helped boost his velocity into the low 90s. He also has a feel for a slightly above average change-up and a fringe-average breaking ball.
The first thing the Diamondbacks would work on is adding weight to his 6’1” 160 frame. Build him up to 190-200 pounds in rookie ball, then send him on his way to full season ball. I do think the added strength will add velocity and push it towards the mid 90s potentially. The secondary pitches and the mechanics need tweaking, but nothing major in either regard. The mechanics themselves are inconsistent, but nothing that suggests a high risk for injury either. I do expect him to be a 2-year complex guy then take on full season ball at the start of the 2019 season.
Fastball: Sits 91-93 MPH at 160 pounds. The pitch does have good arm-side sink, so it has the potential to play up into a plus offering as he adds weight. Grade: 55/60
Slider: The pitch itself could be the difference between starting and relieving, but it’s also a pitch that needs a lot of work. Due to his arm swing motion being a bit more flat than usual, that leads to him leaving it up in the zone too much. Doesn’t have a lot of bite, just spins. Grade: 40/50
Change-Up: Similar movement to the fastball, gets a bit more sinking action than the fastball itself. Already looks like an average offering right now and could get better if the fastball gets better. Grade: 50/55
Command: Tabor has a funky delivery, similar to Braves pitcher Julio Teheran, but less moving parts overall. Tabor is very athletic and repeats his mechanics fairly well, so I don’t think command will develop into an issue down the road. As his mechanics and delivery get better, the command should improve. Grade: 50/60
Tabor’s ceiling is more of a middle of the rotation starter with only 1 pitch that projects to be a plus offering, although I think the change-up could get there if the fastball gets into the mid 90s more consistently. I think he’s most likely going to end up as a bottom of the rotation guy or a reliever in the majors. The first thing the Dbacks need to do is fill out his frame and get him to at least 180 pounds before sending him off to full season ball. I have him debuting in 2022 if things work out.