School: Vanderbilt University; Class: Junior
Position: RHP; B/T: R/R
Height: 6-4; Weight: 220
Previously Drafted: N/A
Background: In a friendly competition with teammate Jeren Kendall to see who will eventually hear their name called first on draft day. Wright, a 6-foot-4, 220-pound right-hander from Huntsville, Alabama, has been a consistent – often times dominant – contributor for one of the nation’s preeminent college powerhouses.
Working primarily as a multiple-inning reliever as a true freshman, Wright closed out four games for the Commodores in 2015, averaging more than 9.5 punch outs and 3.5 walks per nine innings en route to tallying a 1.23 ERA. Head coach Tim Corbin pushed the young, hard-throwing right-hander into the rotation the following year.
And Wright blossomed.
In 16 starts, he threw 93.1 innings with an impeccable 107-to-32 strikeout-to-walk ratio to go along with a 3.09 ERA and an 8-4 win-loss record. Wright also tossed an additional 16.1 innings of work for Team USA during the summer as well, fanning 16 and walking 7.
Through his first 12 starts of 2017, his production has – more or less – maintained status quo: he’s averaging 9.80 K/9 and 2.99 BB/9 with a 3.35 ERA.
For his career, Wright’s sporting an impressive 251-to-80 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 227.1 innings of work.
Projection: Solid, front-half of the first round caliber production – though his production has more or less stagnated over the last year. Wright’s shown an above-average, sometimes plus, ability to miss bats. And his control – especially when compared to former Commodores first round hurlers Carson Fulmer and Tyler Beede – is solid-average.
To put some context around his production, consider the following little tidbits:
- Between 2011 and 2016, five SEC pitchers have thrown 90+ innings while averaging more than 10 punch outs and fewer than 3.25 walks every nine innings: Aaron Nola, Chris Stratton, Alex Faedo, Clarke Schmidt, and Kyle Wright, who accomplished the feat during his sophomore campaign.
- Of those five pitchers, Nola and Stratton were previous first round selections. And the remaining trio are all projected to go in the opening round of this year’s draft.
It’s at least a little concerning his production didn’t take another step forward, but Wright should settle in as a nice little mid-rotation caliber arm – and one that could potentially move quickly. If everything clicks for him, he could peak as a #2.
Ceiling: 3.5-win player
Floor: 1.5-win player
Risk (Pitcher): Low to Moderate
Grade: First Round