Braden Shipley Scouting Report (2014)
While charting pitches during Braden Shipley‘s 2014 debut last week, a few off-day South Bend pitchers discussed what Shipley worked on in extended spring training. One facetiously quipped, “Obviously not his curveball,” indicating that Shipley’s third-best pitch has made notable improvements since last season. This is an important development and very good news for the Diamondbacks’ 2013 first-rounder.
As a pre-draft prospect, Braden Shipley was profiled for his strong fastball-changeup foundation with questions surrounding his curve and control. The control still needs work (though he was around the strike zone most of the night), but the curve was the story of the game.
Just ask Quad Cities’ lead-off man James Ramsay, who struck out on Shipley’s last three pitches of the night – all lethal curves. The first two pitches of the at-bat came in with impressive 2-plane break for called strikes at 74- and 79-mph. Ramsay then struck out swinging on a 78-mph offering. Shipley went five scoreless frames, allowing five hits and one walk with four strikeouts. With added curveball development, the Top-100 prospect projects conservatively for three league-average or better pitches.
Braden Shipley is lean and athletic with a clean delivery. Standing tall in the wind-up, the 6-foot-3 righthander begins his delivery with a back-step and works quickly with a mid-3/4 arm slot. His fastball velocity sat 90-93, touching 96 once. His quick arm portends to increased future velocity. Multiple scouting reports clocked him up to 97 mph last year, so velocity is not a concern.
It was, however, difficult to detect fastball movement other than the occasional touch of arm-side run. Due to limited movement and inconsistent velocity early, he was squared up with loud contact. Jack Mayfield took a fat, 91-mph fastball into left for a double in the first inning and Tanner Mathis lined a 92-mph fastball off the center field wall in the second. Shipley settled in after that.
About two-thirds of Shipley’s pitches were fastballs, dividing the rest between his changeup and curveball. The curve ranged from 74-79 mph and showed more break as the game progressed. Though lacking shape early, opposing batters couldn’t take advantage. Quad Cities managed contact just three times against it – a soft grounder, a bunt single and a weak tap to the mound.
Shipley’s changeup is generally regarded as his best pitch, coming in between 82-85 mph. It didn’t stand out in this start with one exception. Shipley struck out Brian Holberton to end the 4th inning on a nasty 84-mph changeup that began with the same arm speed as his fastball, fooling the Astros’ catching prospect. Thinking fastball early, Holberton was way out in front with an awkward swing that didn’t have a chance.
Shipley finishes well over his right foot, landing square to the plate and ready to field his position. A second-team all-conference shortstop as a Nevada freshman, Shipley defends with aplomb. Brett Phillips reached base in the 3rd inning with a spectacular bunt that died between home and third base. Shipley burst off the mound, pounced on the ball quickly, but didn’t attempt a throw. He was in great position and, if not for the quality of the bunt, had a good chance to make the play.
It was a solid performance considering it was his first appearance of the season on a chilly Iowa evening. With increased velocity later in the season, his fastball and changeup will both play up as there wasn’t enough separation between the two in this start. Limited movement is also a concern as advanced hitters will barrel straight, mid-90s fastballs.
Tool Present Future Projected Role Number 3 Starter On First Division Team Fastball 40 55 Curveball 45 55 Changeup 40 50 Control 40 50 Command 30 50
Owning Braden Shipley
As a top-100 prospect with a high floor, it goes without saying that Shipley is a must-own in most dynasty formats. He is a college pitcher with a good feel for three pitches. So with Arizona’s lack of pitching depth, the road is clear for Shipley to advance to AA this year. If everything goes well in the next two seasons, his ETA is late 2015. But 2016 is more likely.
25 Apr 2014 / Bob Usselman /
1-On-1 ROTO Strategy Session
The Best Of RS
- Can Alex "Chi-Chi" Gonzalez Crack the Texas Rangers Opening Day Rotation?
- Fantasy Baseball Trade Deadline 101: A Former MLB GM’s Take
- Felix Hernandez and Solo Home Run Situations: A Blueprint For Longevity
- JR Graham: Is He Still An MLB Arm For The Atlanta Braves?
- Mason Williams: Is It Time To Label Him A Bust For The Yankees?
- Mike Newman's Top-50 Fantasy Baseball Prospects Scouted in 2014
- Nick Kingham Scouting Report (2014)
- Rangers Joey Gallo, Marlins Giancarlo Stanton And Strikeouts
- The ROTOscouting Baseball Podcast
- Top-10 Fantasy Baseball Prospects By Team
- Will Mike Moustakas Finally Put It Together Next Season?