School: University of Georgia; Class: Junior
Position: RHP; B/T: L/R
Height: 6-4; Weight: 226
Previously Drafted: Baltimore Orioles, 28th round, 2013
Background: After missing the majority of the 2015 season due to injury – forearm discomfort which, unfortunately, is sometimes a precursor to Tommy John surgery – Tyler, who avoided undergoing the knife, has come back strong in what will likely be his final season for the Bulldogs of Georgia. The 6-foot-4, 226-pound Georgia-born right-hander, who was limited to just over 100 innings between his first two seasons, is averaging nearly 11 punch outs per nine innings in his first 14 starts of 2016. The problem: he’s walking more than 5.5 batters per nine innings as well.
For his career, Tyler is sporting an impressive 182-to-79 strikeout-to-walk ratio to go along with a 3.62 ERA in 179 innings of work. He was also named a Freshman All-American by Collegiate Baseball following a dominant year in 2014.
Projection: Seemingly every year one of these hard-throwing, injury-pocked hurlers finds his way into the first few rounds of the draft. And Tyler, who was previously selected in the 28th round by the Orioles coming out of high school, has a chance to go somewhere between rounds two and three.
He’s big, projectable, and has a propensity to miss quite a lot of bats. The problem for his, though, will teams be able to look past the forearm issue – by all accounts he’s healthy this season – as well as some worrisome control issues?
So what do the stats say?
Well, it’s not overly encouraging.
Between 2011 and 2015 there have been six pitchers that have thrown at least 70 innings, walked more than 5.25 BB/9, and fanned more than 10 K/9: Andrew Mitchell (a former personal favorite of mine, admittedly), Mark Leiter, Kyle McMyne, Matthew Reckling, Matthew Vedo, and Terrance Washington.
Mitchell was the best of the bunch, but he’s struggled in the minors (and didn’t pitch in 2015).
Tyler has shown his control was much better as a freshman, but will teams be convinced that this year’s woes are the aberration? I doubt it.
Ceiling: 2.0-win player
Floor: 1.0-win player
Grade: Second/Third Round