School: Louisville; Class: Junior
Position: RHP; B/T: R/R
Height: 6-3; Weight: 225
Previously Drafted: N/A
Background: The awards started collecting for the former 2012 Gatorade Illinois Baseball Player of Year last season as he was named First Team All-America (American Baseball Coaches Association), Second Team All-America (Louisville Slugger), Third All-America (Perfect Game, Baseball America), Louisville Regional All-Tournament Team, and First Team All-American Conference. And that’s not mentioning his work as a true freshman in 2013 – he would post a 55-to25 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 54.2 innings – which earned him the designation of Louisville Slugger Freshman All-America.
Funkhouser would follow that debut collegiate season up with another dominant one in 2014, his first full action as a starting pitcher.
In 18 starts (120.1 innings), the 6-foot-3 right-hander would tally 122 punch outs, 65 free passes, 13 wins, and a miniscule 1.94 ERA. And then there’s his work with Team USA during summer.
Simply put, he looked poised as a potential top-of-the-rotation caliber arm entering the 2015 season. And he’s shown that improvement in his control during the summer was no aberration.
While he’s seen a slight downturn in his K-rate through his first 12 games – it’s dropped from a career high 9.12 K/9 last season to a career low 8.42 K/9 in 2015 – Funkhouser has managed to walked just 31 hitters in his first 82.1 innings of work, or just under 3.4 BB/9.
Projection: A big, big arm with mid-rotation potential as he sits today – just as the case with Vanderbilt’s Carson Fulmer.
But Funkhouser comes with some added risk: nearly 16% of his season’s strikeouts have come from his dominant performance against Alabama State to open the season; he whiffed 12 in seven innings. Since then he’s averaged just under 7.8 punch-outs-per-innings.
He looks like a #3-type arm who could very easily slide into a backend reliever role in the coming years.
Ceiling: 2.5-win player
Floor: 1.5-win player
Grade: First Round
Photo Courtesy of d1baseball.com.