School: University of Louisville; Class: Senior
Position: RHP; B/T: R/R
Height: 6–3; Weight: 225
Previously Drafted: Los Angeles Dodgers, 1st round, 2015
Background: Well, this is something you certainly don’t see on a regular basis: the ace University of Louisville right-hander bypassed the chance to sign as a first round pick following his junior season – and along with about $1.7 million in bonus money – to head back to school at a chance to earn more money following his senior season.
And let’s just say that, well, it was a bold move. Not one that’s going to pay off after an up-and-down 2016 campaign. But a bold, confident move nonetheless.
The Dodgers grabbed the big right-hander after a solid 2015 when he averaged 8.33 strikeouts and 3.61 walks per nine innings. But this season he’s averaging 9.5 punch outs and more than 4.7 walks per nine innings.
For his career, Funkhouser is sporting a 2.86 ERA to go along with a 369-to-179 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Projection: So here’s what I wrote prior to last year’s draft:
“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-[nine]-innings
He looks like a #3-type arm who could very easily slide into a backend reliever role in the coming years.”
Well, the big arm from Palos Heights, Illinois, looks more like a relief option than he does a starting pitcher.
Funkhouser has never shown anything better than suboptimal control; he’s averaged 4.35 BB/9 in his career. But he does a good job keeping the ball in the park and will average about a whiff per inning.
It’s pretty safe to assume that whichever team grabs him in the draft this year will give him a couple opportunities to start – so he may figure it out in the minors – but he could be pushed quickly when he makes the move to a backend relief option.
Ceiling: 2.0–win player
Floor: 1.0– to 1.5-win player
Risk: Moderate to High
Grade: Second Round