Ht: 6’ 6” | Wt: 240 | B-T: L-L
School: Clemson 4YR
Commit/Drafted: Never Drafted
Age At Draft: 21.1
Tools| Fastball: 50 Slider: 55 Changeup: 50 Control: 45 Overall: 45
The Diamondbacks selected one of the more successful collegiate two-way players when they selected Grice. That said, the plan is that they drafted a left-handed pitcher, not a two way player. Here is what some of the major outlets have to say about the young man.
Though scouts agreed Grice was South Carolina’s best prep prospect in 2020, they were split on whether he was better as a hitter or as a pitcher. Three years later, that debate continues as he draws Joey Gallo comparisons for his frame, power and swing-and-miss tendencies, all of which are massive. He may have more upside as a slugger but a greater chance for success on the mound, though it’s unclear how much he really wants to pitch as a pro. He starred both ways and earned MVP honors as Clemson won the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament in May.
Grice’s 6-foot-6, 250-pound frame provides plenty of strength and leverage, creating raw power that plays to all fields and earns some 80 grades on the 20-80 scale, but his left-handed swing is naturally long and gets out of control. He has toned down his approach some after striking out 97 times in 58 games in 2022, though he still can look helpless against breaking balls. He’s surprisingly athletic for his size, flashing solid speed once he gets going and showing the potential to become an average defender at first base, moving there after playing mostly right field as a sophomore.
The arm strength that served Grice well in right also translates to a fastball that sits in the low 90s and reaches 95 mph with some boring action in on right-handers. He shows the ability to miss bats with an upper-70s slider and a sinking mid-80s changeup as well, and while he lacks polish and experience, he could get significantly better if he focused on the mound. The best course of action may be to see how his bat plays in pro ball and use pitching as a fallback option.
Grice was an effective two-way player at Clemson and hit .288/.398/.560 during his career there, but when the Diamondbacks drafted him he was announced exclusively as a pitcher. Grice struck out 101 hitters in 78 innings as a junior, mostly because of his secondary pitch quality. Both Grice’s upper-70s slider and mid-80s changeup can miss a bat, but his slider is especially nasty, bending in with tight two-plane movement. He’s only sitting in the low-90s but if indeed Grice gives up hitting and focuses solely on pitching as a pro, there might be more in the tank in terms of stuff, across the board. He’s a late-blooming starter prospect.
Grice showed intriguing two-way potential out of high school, but started drawing more interest as a hitter after showcasing massive lefthanded raw power during his senior season. He ranked as the No. 289 prospect in the 2020 class and made it to campus at Clemson, where he pitched only briefly in his first two seasons before playing like one of the best two-way players in the country in 2023. Grice hit .307/.411/.618 with 18 home runs, 15 doubles and a 26.9% strikeout rate and on the mound he posted a 3.30 ERA over 14 starts and 73.2 innings, with a 31.4% strikeout rate and 10.2% walk rate. Grice has a massive frame at 6-foot-6, 250 pounds, with massive 70-grade raw power to go with it, but he has always had contact issues and while he performed solidly during his junior season, most scouts seem to prefer his pro potential on the mound. Grice attacks from a three-quarter slot and throws a fastball that sits in the 90-93 mph range and has been up to 95. He also throws a slurvy slider with two-plane break in the 78-82 mph range and a mid-80s changeup. He generated plenty of whiffs with both secondaries this spring, though his fastball is more of a sinker that drives a high percentage of ground balls. Grice has the physical tools to be selected among the top five rounds as a hitter or pitcher, with more risk as a hitter, but potentially more upside as well.
Here is Grice as a pitcher from March of this year
The pick and rapid post-pick takes by the on-air talent
The Bard’s Take|
There is simply no way to spin this. This pick is a reach at #64. Ranked #118 by MLB Pipeline and #121 by Baseball America, playing for a Clemson Tigers team that crashed and burned once the NCAA Regional Tournament (that they hosted) started, there is precious little to suggests he was moving up on many draft boards. What’s more is, Ian Rebhan was fairly adamant that they selected the young man to be a big-bodied future left-handed starter for the team. It does not appear that there is currently any plan to continue to develop him as a two-way player, despite the monster power he brings as a hitter. Despite this being one of the deepest drafts in a decade, left-handed college pitching may be the worst-represented in even longer. As it is, this draft broke a 44-year string of there being at least one left-handed pitcher taken in the first round. Depending on who is asked, Grice ranks somewhere between the third and fifth best left-handed college arm in this draft and has more potential to stick in the rotation than at least two of those ahead of him. Given that pitching was added to his game very late in his current baseball development, there are plenty of reasons to like the young man as a future lefty for the Snakes, though he may take an extra year to arrive as the team works on fully transitioning him to the mound full-time.