By Todd Johnson
Due to Baseball America’s Cubs prospect list being released on Friday, I moved up this week’s draft profile to today. The draft profile will return next Saturday, the 14th.
This Week’s Profile
Brendon Little – State JC of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota
6’2” and 195 pounds
“He has tools you can’t teach like a fastball that touches 97 from the left side. He also still has a lot of projection left which you don’t find often at his age. He could gain a tick in his FB with a more downward plane on his delivery. That would also help his command, too.”
That is what one former AL scout told me about Brendon Little. Currently, Little is far from perfect. However, his floor is a nice 97 mph fastball. His ceiling, on the other hand, could be much, much better with improved mechanics, a repeatable delivery, which both could make his secondaries average to plus pitches.
As for his story, Little has been on a very short and very strange trip since the 2015 draft when he was a high school senior…
When you only throw four innings, you only throw four innings. Such was the case of Brendon Little in 2016. The 2015 draft pick committed to attend UNC and did so rather than accept a pro contract. Little did Little know that he would only see four innings as a freshman at North Carolina.
What happened next is something that I like about Little. He pulled himself up by the bootstraps and had an impressive summer in the Cape Cod league. His fastball touched 97 consistently and his curve and change flashed some potential.
There is still some work to be done. Little did not return to North Carolina this past fall. Instead, he is now at a junior college in Florida. In most videos, Little’s wind up and delivery is all over the place. And most of that comes from the lower half. His foot placement and plant need to be cleaned up quite a bit, which might be one reason he’s been wild in the past. In addition, he throws mostly upright without much bend in the back. Some sites said that he cleaned that up some and he is now working on his breaking ball and change. He will be a key pitcher to watch this spring.
Fastball is elite – mid to upper 90s
Outstanding summer at the Cape
Curve could be plus
What Others Say
Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo
Little has serious arm strength from the left side. In the Cape, he was 93-96 mph with his fastball and touched 97 mph this fall. Using a straight up-and-down delivery, there’s not a whole lot of downward angle, and his fastball can be flat at times. He uses a hard, true 12-to-6 curve effectively and a new changeup he showed in the fall looked good in a brief look. His arm is quick and clean, and he still misses bats despite the lack of bend in his delivery.
Little’s command can be spotty, and he hasn’t always repeated his delivery well. The lack of track record will concern some, but if he can show that three-pitch mix in the spring, teams that believe he can start will give him a very long look.
While he doesn’t have a lot of physical projection left, 97 is 97, regardless of which side of the rubber he’s throwing from. Teams are going to gamble on that and I think the Cubs could, too. If he did clean up his mechanics, his value grows. The Cubs could have a golden opportunity for a power lefty with either pick.
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