Today we're going to look at another possibility for the Cubs first round pick at #16, Ohio State right-hander Alex Wimmers.
Once again, I didn't write this profile, it was done by Matt Marsden.
In case you've forgotten, the first round of the draft is Monday at 5pm Central on the MLB Network.
The next installment of the draft previews is a look at Ohio St. RHP, Alex Wimmers. There are few, if any, pitchers that are more polished than Wimmers. A solid athlete standing in at 6-2, 195 lbs, he has the best 3-pitch mix of any pitcher in this draft.
Wimmer's fastball sits in the low-90’s with good movement and he does a decent job locating it. Wimmers best pitch is easily his changeup, the best in this year’s class. It grades out as a 70 on the 20-80 scout scale. On top of his excellent change, Wimmers has a curve ball that rates as at least average, if not a little better. It is close to an 11-5 break and he throws it in the mid-70’s. More importantly, Wimmers does a great job throwing his curve for strikes. This gives him three legitimate weapons on the mound.
A friend of mine on the Indiana University baseball team saw Wimmers shut the Hoosiers down in April. He kept the pressure on the hitters, really didn't make too many mistakes. The mistakes he did make didn't affect his next pitch so it was hard to get anything going off him," according to this IU player. Sound like a polished, intelligent pitcher to you? That day, Wimmers tossed a complete game, giving up 1 run on 6 hits. He struck out 14 and did not walk a batter! The Big 10 may not be the top collegiate baseball conference out there, but it is solid and IU had one of the best lineups in the league.
Wimmers did not just dominate against Indiana. In 10 starts this season, Wimmers went 9-0 with a 1.60 ERA in 73 innings. His K/BB was a solid 86/23. In his freshman season at Ohio St. Wimmers pitched exclusively out of the pen where he posted a 4.50 ERA in 40 innings. His sophomore was much more like his junior year. In 2009, Wimmers punched out 136 hitters in just over 104 innings and led the Big 10 in strikeouts.
From a mechanical standpoint, Wimmers is pretty solid. He pitches from a ¾ arm angle and does a great job keeping a consistent arm speed and slot with all of his pitches. He uses a high leg kick and does a great job incorporating his lower half, although his motion can get a little out of whack at times. Wimmers struggles on occasion to maintain his balance on his follow-through when his front shoulders opens up and he does not stay square to the plate. This will affect a pitcher's control.
Do not expect Wimmers to spend a lot of time in the minor leagues. That said, there a few things he could work on. Fastball command is the first thing that crosses my mind. He does a solid job of throwing strikes, but his location within the strike zone could use some work. One way to make progress there is by focusing on keeping the shoulders square to maintain balance. I have noticed that pitchers with a strong off-speed repertoire have a tendency to rely too much on it. The first name that crosses my mind when thinking about this is Clay Buchholz, who is known for his change-up and curve ball and had really struggled with his fastball command. I noticed Buchholz dancing around the plate too much early on with the Red Sox. Hopefully Wimmers can avoid this by working on his fastball command.
Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus has the Cubs taking Alex Wimmers in his most recent mock draft. I must say I was surprised when I heard this since Wilken likes higher upside players. Wimmers will not be an ace, but more likely a middle-rotation workhorse. It is possible they see more upside in Wimmers than others. At the end of the day, I would be surprised if the Cubs selected Wimmers, but he would be a great pick.