Up next in the 2016 MLB Draft profile series is college pitcher Eric Lauer, who threw a no-hitter and thoroughly dominated his competition.
6’3, 205 pounds
DOB: June 3, 1995
Slot recommended bonus (No. 20): $2,316,300
Slot recommended bonus (No. 32): $1,940,700
Slot recommended bonus (No. 36): $1,791,000
Editor’s note: All information of draft prospects compiled from internet sources, scouting reports and video.
Production is the name of Lauer’s game. He didn’t face the stiffest competition as a member of Kent State (in the MAC Conference), but nonetheless he dominated to the tune of the best ERA by a Division I college pitcher in 37 years.
In his only outing against a viable NCAA team, he faced Virgina and didn’t fare too well: 5 IP, 4 H, 3 R/ER, 5 BB, 5 K. But the highlight of his season came on May 13 when he threw a no-hitter against Bowling Green (13 strikeouts). He would be the first Kent State draftee since 2014 and would join the storied company of Matt Guerrier, Dustin Hermanson, Thurman Munson, Travis Shaw and Steve Stone.
Lauer does have the stuff to be a successful MLB pitcher. His fastball sits in the low-90s and has reached 94 MPH in the past. Like most lefites, there’s some natural movement to the pitch (to the glove side). He can also get a little sink on it. He varies the velocity on his slider, as it’s anywhere from 78-85 MPH with solid shape and depth. It isn’t a true swing-and-miss pitch, but he can still be competitive with it. His curveball is a tick behind the slider and he’ll throw it in the mid-70s with 1-7 shape to it. He also has a changeup that is hard to get a read on because he doesn’t throw it a lot. But like virtually every lefty not named Clayton Kershaw, his changeup should become important when trying to neutralize right-handed batters.
He has an athletic and relatively clean delivery. He gets good downward plane on his pitches and has a bit of a hook when he brings the ball out of his glove. That helps with his deception. His arm drags a bit as his front foot strikes, but decent arm speed helps make up for it. That might need to be ironed out in the pros. Sometimes he can rush his delivery (despite it being a bit deliberate), leading to inconsistent command.
Video courtesy of Adam McInturff, Brian Sakowski and Prospect Junkies
While he’s a junior, there’s almost no chance he’d go back to school. There’s really not much he can do to improve his draft stock (in terms of statistics), thus he should be a relatively easy sign out of Kent State. If absolutely everything breaks right, he could be a mid-rotation starter. He’d be a reach at No. 20 for the Dodgers, so getting him at 32 or 36 (while potentially saving some cash) might be the best play.