Friday, November 19, 2010

Barret Loux

Multiple sources are reporting that Texas has signed Barret Loux for $312k. That amount appears to be slot value for the Ranger's 21st pick in the 3rd round (Akins got slightly more than slot at 350k). Seems like quite a bargain to get a first-round caliber talent at that price even with the questions surrounding his health.

After reading over BA's draft profile on the kid, I'm not sure why AZ had him ranked as a first rounder unless he showed a lot of improvement in the second half on one of his breaking balls:

The Tigers spent heavily to sign high school pitchers Rick Porcello ($7 million contract in the first round) and Casey Crosby ($748,500 in the fifth) in 2007, and thought they also met the $800,000 asking price of Loux, their 24th-rounder. He changed his mind about signing and instead opted to attend Texas A&M, where his 2009 season was halted by bone chips in his elbow. After having the chips removed, Loux is healthy again and racking up strikeouts with a 90-92 mph fastball that touches 95. The 6-foot-5, 220-pounder throws with such ease that his fastball appears even harder. If he had a standout second pitch, he'd be a first-round pick, but he may have to settle for the sandwich round because his curveball and changeup are merely effective. His curveball was his best pitch in high school but hasn't been as sharp since his elbow surgery. He'll show an average changeup, though not on a consistent basis. Some teams have medical concerns about Loux, who missed two months of his high school senior season with a tender shoulder.

In contrast to BA's profile, MLB's profile suggests that Loux's Changeup is plus as is his command.

ESPN Insider praised his pitchability:
Loux has been one of the top-performing pitchers in Division 1 this year despite his lack of a plus pitch, instead getting outs by changing speeds and throwing strikes.
Loux's fastball is in the low 90s, touching 94 occasionally, with some downhill plane on it. His best offspeed pitch is a hard changeup at 83-86 with late but sharp tailing action; he throws a slider and a spike curveball, neither of which is sharp, with the slider ahead of the curve at the moment. He throws strikes with the fastball and change, but can't command the curve, typical of guys who throw the spike.
His arm action is clean but there's no deception in the delivery; he takes a moderate stride that could be a little longer after he drifts through his balance point. If he junks the spike and either gets more consistency on the slider or switches to a traditionally-gripped curveball, he'd project as a mid-rotation starter, with the downside of a two-pitch reliever who'd probably sit at 94 or better.

John Manuel had this to say on draft day:
I think it's safe to say this is the first pick we don't like. Texas A&M righthander Barret Loux goes to the Diamondbacks at No. 6 overall, and that's a reach. Loux has reached 96 mph and turned down six figures out of high school from the Tigers, who made a late run at him. But at Texas A&M, Loux has had bone chips in his elbow and has failed to develop his secondary pitchers. He has an excellent fastball, though, pitching off the fastball and usually dominating off it, ranking fourth in the nation in strikeouts.

But Loux's secondary stuff is light for the sixth overall pick. He was not considered a consensus first-rounder, and his selection is a mild surprise, though Jim Callis said he'd heard Loux rumblings the last few days. The Diamondbacks have gone conservative in recent drafts for the most part and did it again in 2010.

The Diamondbacks already have commented in a release. “We’ve scouted Barret since high school and have seen him grow as a pitcher and as a person at Texas A&M, where he was the team’s Friday night starting pitcher this season,” said D-backs’ scouting director Tom Allison. “He had a successful season this year and is now in the midst of leading his team in a must-win game against the University of Miami tonight to advance to the NCAA Super Regional against Florida this weekend. We believe Barret has all of the physical and mental ingredients to be a starting pitcher in the Major Leagues and look forward to him joining the D-backs soon.”

Loux is the second player Texas has inked this year who failed his physical. The first? - Victor Payano, whose 990k deal was voided when the BoSox found some issue with his shoulder. He signed with TX for 75k.

Texas has drafted 2 players with known elbow issues the last 2 years: Kevin Castner (2009- also drafted by TX in 2008) and Steven McKinnon (2010). Castner had TJ surgery in August of 2009.

Loux has actually had surgery on his arm whereas Scheppers has, to date, not. There are various reports about what AZ found during their physical for Loux, none of which, by the way, whatever they were, prevented Loux from having a dominant season in 2010. Some say that it is the elbow that is the main problem, while others say it is the shoulder? Some say both while some say that surgery for one problem is more imminent than the other, while others say surgery for both is a certainty whatever the case.

What is the truth of the matter? Who knows. If only one thing was demonstrated by all the ridiculous hype surrounding the health of Schepper's shoulder before he finally signed with TX, it was that one should generally ignore sports writers when they are making proclamations about a players particular injuries. Why say this? There "sources" will always be, by definition, off the record as Medical records are private. If there really were sources who had actually read Schepper's medical files and evaluations (supplied by who, various team doctors?), sources who then had the temerity to leak private medical information (which is a felony right?), to a sports writer no less, there is, in my estimation, _ZERO_ reason to trust this kind of third order information.

As we speak, Scheppers is healthy, a "ticking time bomb" only by virtue of small-minded self-serving fiats it would seem. As for Loux, the only thing commentators can say for certain is that he had elbow surgery in 2009 and that TX thinks he is worth 3rd round money. Other than that, worrying about whether Loux will implode via elbow or shoulder, as a starter or reliever, seems to be so much folly.


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