The Scouting Skinny: Kyle Wright
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Rewind to late September of 2016, around the time the Hunter Greene Train started barrelling down the tracks as the Twins barreled towards clinching the first overall draft pick in the 2017 draft. I sent out a series of texts about the upcoming draft class, trying to gauge which guys might be getting early consideration to go first overall. One text response really stuck out: “I’d take Wright.”
Kyle Wright was a name I’d heard, but not one that was firmly on my radar. (It was only September.) Sure enough, Wright was someone that many felt could go early. He was arguably the best pitcher in college baseball.
Fast forward to February and Kyle Wright starts slow. Command and consistency, his two biggest question marks, were lacking. Short starts, walks, wild pitches… and the big draftniks questioned if he would go Top 10.
Things started to change on April 14 when Wright dominated Florida. Wright pitched a complete game shutout, allowing only three hits and striking out a career-high 13 batters. Most importantly and impressively, though, Wright didn’t walk anyone.
Wright backed that game up with two more starts - neither great, neither horrible - before getting a chance to impress in front of Twins CBO Derek Falvey. He responded by throwing an absolute gem. Nine innings, three hits, one walk, one run, 13 strikeouts and 119 pitches. I reached back out to the same scout from last fall and got this no-nonsense response: “Best player in the draft by far.”
So who is Kyle Wright? Prototypical size (6’ 4”, 220), mid-90s fastball, a really good slider, a good curveball and an improving changeup. Wright is represented by CAA (who also represents Phil Hughes) and doesn’t seem to have any sort of injury history.
All seems too good to be true, right? Maybe. Doing research on Wright, I’d noticed a lot of pictures of Wright, in mid-delivery, in the Inverted W or at the moment your lead foot lands, your throwing elbow being higher than your throwing shoulder. I remember that being a concern about Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg.
I’m not a scout and don’t pretend to be one, so I asked a Twins scout who has seen both. Initially, he had no concerns about Wright’s delivery. But later said this, “I’ve looked more. There are more similarities, delivery-wise, than I knew.”
But the similarities don’t stop there. There are no Strasburg-type pitchers in the organization. Wright has that potential (minus Strasburg's 80 fastball). And if the risk of arm potential arm issues down the line precludes an organizaton from drafting a potential ace… well, what’s the point of drafting any pitcher ever?
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