Zac Lowther, LHP
Some say his 13.28 K/9, sub 1.00 WHIP, and sub 3.00 ERA was only possible because of his inferior Big East competition. I’d say that type of strikeout rate would work anywhere. When faced with better competition in the Cape Cod League, he pitched like a pro, bettering his college stats across the board. His fastball only touches 93 and sits in the late 80’s.
A Reagan Era fastball needs a life and runs to survive, and Lowther has it. The one issue against him is, while not allowing many hits, 15% of those hits did go for a homerun. The lefty has deceptive delivery and has always been an over achiever. It’s a reach to have him as one of the quickest rises in the farm system, but he’s got the frame, the attitude, and the stuff to get to the majors.
Major League Comp: Jon Lester, a second-round draft pick who spent four years in the minor leagues, has the same frame and left-handed delivery. Comparisons continue with repertoire, velocity, and sneaky movement on the tails of his pitches.
Jimmy Murphy, RHP
One of the oldest members of the draft class, Murphy also has one of the best curveballs. Turning 23 in October, he’s used the bender alongside an equally effective changeup to hold batters to a .225 BA and only seven home runs in five years. Turning 23 in October, Murphy could turn into a great addition to the Orioles pitching staff with expedience.
Major League Comp: Lance McCullers is the first man to come to mind, and that’s because his curveball is devastating. With a similar body, peripherals, and repertoire, we can dream big and wish Jimmy turns into Sir Lancelot 2.0.
T.J. Nichting, OF/2B
As a senior outfielder and second baseman for the Charlotte 49ers, T.J. slashed .373/.411/.529 while only striking out 22 times in almost 60 games. At first, it was his contact skills that the scouts loved. The love grew when he came alive on the baselines with 16 stolen bases in his final year, only stealing three in his previous two years combined.
After a poor showing at the Cape, he proved himself in the Coastal Plains League, as one of the best pure hitters in the league. Now, his new-found aggression on base needs to calm; otherwise, he will cause too many unproductive outs at the higher levels. Expect his leadership, versatility, and contact skills to spring him through the farm system soon.
Major League Comp: Eduardo Nunez can play all over the field like T.J. His isolated power and BABIP are close to identical, while also sporting similar strikeout rates. If the young O’s ability to steal bases is not an anomaly, this comparison goes even further.