FanPost

Jordan Lyles scouting reports

With the due date for pitchers and catchers to report to Spring Training a little over a month away, one of the players I know we'll all be keeping our eyes on is Jordan Lyles.  He's been invited to Spring Training and will compete for the fifth spot in major league club's rotation.  Because of this, I thought it'd be appropriate to share all the scouting report "clippings" I've collected on Lyles since he was drafted back in 2008.  I've included links and the names of the people who wrote up their reports where possible, so that you can get context and evaluate the weight you give to any particular person's analysis.  If it's behind a pay wall, I've paraphrased it, otherwise I just took direct quotes.  It's a lot of material, but if you know of any more scouting reports (including your own) add them in the comments!

Physical Description (Projection)

"He still got hit around as he is not overpowering yet, but there is plenty of room in his lean, athletic frame to add considerable more velocity down the road."
PG Crosschecker (Allan Simpson), June 2008

"It's a big body. It's athletic. He throws downhill."
Chron.com Interview (Bobby Heck )
, June 2008

"He also has room in his 6-foot-4 frame to add strength and velocity."
Baseball America (John Manuel), June 2008

"[H]e does pass the eye test, with an athletic body that should be able to better handle the pounding that pitching puts on a player's arm, as well as to help him to make any needed mechanical adjustments going forward. His good frame will also allow him to put on some size, which may help in terms of velocity."
Hardball Times, Breaking Down the Draft (Alex Eisenberg), July 2008

"His 6-foot-4, 185-pound frame leaves plenty of room to project more velocity."
Baseball America's Appalachian League Top 20 (Matt Eddy)
, 2008

"Despite his length and a frame that should fill out, he's not very projectable; it seems like his current velocity already requires effort, leaving many to feel he's close to his ceiling."
Baseball Prospectus, Houston Astros Top 11 Prospects
(Kevin Goldstein), December 2010

Mechanics

"scouts marveled at his smooth, easy delivery. "
PG Crosschecker (Allan Simpson)
, June 2008

"Blessed with a clean and easy delivery"
Baseball America (John Manuel)
, June 2008

"Lyles does a good job of drifting through his balance point rather than coming to a stop at the point where his knee reaches its upper most point; you never want to stop your momentum mid-way through your wind-up. I'm not crazy about his arm action-I would like his arm to be a little more whip-like as it rotates into release.  Another thing I'm not sure I like is his stride into foot plant. Lyles brings his front leg down, straightens it out completely and brings it around into foot plant. I would rather see him cut down the distance that his front leg travels by altering the path that his leg takes.... There are different ways to alter one's stride, but what Lyles should ultimately be looking for is a way to gather extra momentum heading into foot plant." [AA:  this scouting report also contains animated gifs for analyzing Lyles' throwing motion]
Hardball Times, Breaking Down the Draft
(Alex Eisenberg), July 2008

"Athleticism and a clean, easy delivery were among his strongest traits as an amateur, and Appy League observers concurred."
Baseball America's Appalachian League Top 20 (Matt Eddy)
, 2008

Delivery:  free, easy, classic, team says little tweaking necessary.
Baseball America's Organization Top 10 Prospects
(Subscription), January 2009

"For a high school product, the right-hander already has a pretty good feel for pitching and a very good delivery."
MLB.com's Top 10 Prospects to Watch
(Jonathan Mayo), March 2009

"His delivery is an 'easy' three-quarters motion and is not a violent affair. MLB.com didn't do a scouting report on Lyles before the draft last season, but they did post video of his throwing motion, which faintly reminded me of Scott Elarton."
Minor Musings: Jordan Lyles Pitching Profile
(our very own David Coleman, prior to joining The Crawfish Boxes), May 2009

"The 6-foot-4 righthander with a free-and-easy delivery,"
Baseball America, Prospect Hot Sheet
, August 7, 2009

Delivery:  Fluid, repeatable, clean arm action
Baseball America, Prospect Bulletin
(Subscription), August 2009

When he loses his command, he tends to miss up in the zone. As for why he misses up in the zone, my take is that it's a mechanical issue. Occasionally, Lyles will have a timing issue with his arm action, which ends up arriving slightly later than it should. As a result, the pitch will sail on him.... Despite the occasional timing problem, Lyles does show an ability to consistently repeat his delivery. He's a good athlete, which helps matters." [scouting report also contains video showing about 40 of Lyles' pitches from the game that the website scouted]
Baseball Intellect, Jordan Lyles vs. Ezekiel Spruill
, September 2009

"Throwing from a 3/4 arm slot, he does a good job repeating his smooth and easy delivery...Despite his athleticism, Lyles does not finish in a good fielding position. He follows through by whipping his push-off foot up above his waste and across his body. This leaves him off-balance -- falling toward first base -- by the time the ball reaches the batter."
Project Prospect, Jordan Lyles Scouting Report (Adam Foster), October 2009

Fastball

"A fastball that was in the 85-87 mph range as a junior had suddenly jumped to 88-90, touching 91."
PG Crosschecker (Allan Simpson)
, June 2008

"Lyles offers a fastball in the upper 80s and can break 90 mph on occasion."
Baseball America (John Manuel)
, June 2008

BA's draft report card states that Lyles hit 95-96 in the summer of 2008.
Baseball America's 2008 Draft Report Cards
(Subscription), 2008

"From his junior to senior year, Lyles experienced a jump in velocity from 86-87 to 88-90. My feeling is that there is even greater velocity waiting to be let loose through both mechanical adjustments and the filling out of his projectable frame....Fastball Grade - 45 Now, 50 Future"
Hardball Times, Breaking Down the Draft
(Alex Eisenberg), July 2008

His fastball sat at 88-92 mph, and though it doesn't feature much life, Lyles commands it well for a young hurler.
Baseball America's Appalachian League Top 20 (Matt Eddy)
, 2008

Fastball saw velocity increase in pro ball, from 86-88 to 90-96, with good command.  Tends to leave it elevated.
Baseball America's Organization Top 10 Prospects
(Subscription), January 2009

"No need to destroy this kid's golden arm seeing as he's currently dealing his fastball at 94-95 mph."
Corpus Christi Caller Times (Joel Roza)
, May 2009

"The 6-foot-4 righthander with a free-and-easy delivery and a plus fastball"
Baseball America, Prospect Hot Sheet
, August 7, 2009

"But it's telling that in a game where he had to throw a total of 15 pitches, only six of them were fastballs. They say pitching backwards can work in the N.L. Central, though."
The Baseball Analysts, Stuff of the Futures
(Jeremy Greenhouse), July 2010

"He's got a good fastball that he throws in the 88-93 mph range, with room for some more in the tank as he matures."
MLB.com's Top 10 Prospects to Watch
(Jonathan Mayo), March 2009

Quoting Lyles' "adviser" Lee Long
Velocity: 87-89 in HS, 90+ in pre-draft workouts
Baseball America, Draft Dish
(Subscription) June 2009

"Lyles' fastball sat in the high 80s for much of last spring, but he pitched at 90-96 mph in his debut and has shown similar velocity this year."
Baseball America, Ask BA
(Jim Callis), July 2009

"He threw 86-89 MPH in high school, but has his heater well into the 90s now,"
Minorleagueball.com, Hit and Run
(John Sickels), June 2009

"The 6-foot-4 righthander with ...a plus fastball is tied for fourth in the minor leagues with 139 strikeouts, showing why the Astros bucked industry consensus by taking him in the supplemental first round a year ago."
Baseball America, Prospect Hot Sheet
, August 7, 2009

"His fastball can reach the mid-90s, but Lyles still battles inconsistency, as you'd expect with a teenager in his first full season."
Baseball America, Prospect Hot Sheet
, August 14, 2009

90-91mph most of season, 89-92 in the game they scouted, late movement, leaves ball up
Baseball America, Prospect Bulletin
(Subscription), August 2009

"Lyles' fastball, averaging 92-93 mph, is a big reason the 6-foot-4, 185-pound right-hander was taken so high in the draft. It was also his best weapon this season."
Scnow.com, (South Carolina News)
, September 2009

"Fastball - A rising fastball that will also move away from right handed hitters. He has pretty good command of the pitch, but there are times he struggles to locate it. When he loses his command, he tends to miss up in the zone."
Baseball Intellect, Jordan Lyles vs. Ezekiel Spruill
, September 2009

"Lyles' Low-A success hinged on his ability to command his explosive, 88-92 MPH two-seam fastball. He has good enough control to land the pitch in the strike zone just about any time he needs to. He isn't afraid to throw inside. And he can locate his fastball on the corners. Though Lyles' two-seamer has a bit of arm-side run, it doesn't move much. He does, however, hide the ball well. Still, hitters frequently squared up on the pitch when he left it over the plate.  Lyles has poor command [of] his 91-94 MPH four-seam fastball. He frequently overthrows it and usually can't get it in the strike zone. It's pretty straight too.  The bulk of Lyles' fastball swing-throughs came on pitches that were well up in the strike zone. He lives up in the zone once he gets ahead of hitters. Low-A bats generally couldn't resist his high fastball and couldn't hit it either. Lyles doesn't pitch well down in the zone.   About 80-percent of Lyles' offerings were fastballs the times I saw him pitch. Overall, I'd grade the pitch as average right now. He has solid velocity and good command. But I don't think he's going to leverage at-bats away from polished professional hitters by working off the fastball that I saw in 2009...I am concerned about Lyles' line-drive against rate, especially because I watched hitters square up on his fastball regularly. It ranks him 471-of-484 among Low-A pitchers who topped 100 total batters faced in 2009."
Project Prospect, Jordan Lyles Scouting Report
(Adam Foster), October 2009

"[Corpus Christi manager Wes] Clements said Lyles had a plus-plus changeup, and while his fastball isn't overpowering, his command makes up for it. ‘He doesn't throw 95, but his delivery is a little different,' Clements said. ‘Big, tall kid, and 90 at the knees works pretty good. It works pretty good in the big leagues.'"
Milb.com, Texas League Notebook
, June 2010

"He's 88-93 but he locates it incredibly well for his age to both sides of the plate"
Baseball America, Prospect Hot Sheet Chat
(Ben Badler), August 6, 2010

"I saw him in his debut for Round Rock against Sacramento, although I was entertaining family that evening and consequently not focusing exclusively on charting/scouting. 4 seamer got as high as 93 but was otherwise a bit lower than that. 2 seamer is his bread and butter, upper 80s there."
Mr.Kupe, commenter at Project Prospect
, October 2010

 "His 89-91 mph fastball plays up thanks to location and movement"
Baseball Prospectus, Houston Astros Top 11 Prospects
(Kevin Goldstein), December 2010

Curveball

"Right now, Lyle's curveball is OK, but it needs to be tightened up...Curveball Grade - 45 Now, 50 Future"
Hardball Times, Breaking Down the Draft
(Alex Eisenberg), July 2008

"His stumbling block could be the development of his low-70s curveball, which rates as below-average. He struggles to stay on top of his curve and to find a consistent release point."
Baseball America's Appalachian League Top 20 (Matt Eddy)
, 2008

Curve has shape and rotation, but has trouble repeating, can be flat.
Baseball America's Organization Top 10 Prospects
(Subscription), January 2009

"He's got a pretty good curve"
MLB.com's Top 10 Prospects to Watch
(Jonathan Mayo), March 2009

"Jordan Lyles' off-speed stuff has developed past his limited fastball... his curve will most definitely play,"
The Baseball Analysts, Stuff of the Futures
(Jeremy Greenhouse), July 2010

Has 2 curves, loopy (75-76mph) and in-the-dirt (79mph, sharp break);
Baseball America, Prospect Bulletin
(Subscription), August 2009

"Curveball - Lyles didn't throw too many in this outing, but it flashes above average, maybe even plus potential. He battles with its consistency, but it's come a long way since being drafted."
Baseball Intellect, Jordan Lyles vs. Ezekiel Spruill
, September 2009

"[Reaction from the] first scout I talked to was: "It was OK but it flattens out at times. It's a more of a show-me pitch at this stage of his development than a legitimate offering."  I liked Lyles' curveball a little more than the scout I spoke with. It's a solid pitch. But it is a little loopy, even though it has solid break. The pitch isn't a knee-buckler. And it's not an offering that he's able to rely on to finish hitters. Lyles' curveball command was promising. He was able to sneak some strikes on the corners with it. He throws it a little more than 10% of the time.  In the outings that I watched, very few hitters offered at Lyles' curveball. They took it and waited for him to throw a fastball... If you're looking for a curveball that moves enough to upset a hitter's timing, Lyles has one. It's a solid complement to his fastball. But his curve doesn't have hard, breaking action, nor is it a hammer or a hard-snapper. It is a below-average offering at this point."
Project Prospect, Jordan Lyles Scouting Report
(Adam Foster), October 2009

"[H]is breaking stuff has improved to become more usable"
Baseball America, Prospect Hot Sheet Chat
(Ben Badler), August 6, 2010

"[H]e gets ahead in the count to set up a wealth of off-speed offerings, the best of which is a plus curveball."
Baseball Prospectus, Houston Astros Top 11 Prospects
(Kevin Goldstein), December 2010

Changeup

"[H]is change-up shows promise but he is still developing a better feel for the pitch."
Hardball Times, Breaking Down the Draft
(Alex Eisenberg), July 2008

"Though Lyles relies on his fastball, he already shows advanced feel for a changeup, getting good arm speed and separation on the pitch."
Baseball America's Appalachian League Top 20 (Matt Eddy)
, 2008

"[H]as shown a feel for a changeup with good overall command."
MLB.com's Top 10 Prospects to Watch
(Jonathan Mayo), March 2009

"Jordan Lyles' off-speed stuff has developed past his limited fastball.  His changeup dives away from lefties,"
The Baseball Analysts, Stuff of the Futures
(Jeremy Greenhouse), July 2010

Changeup is low-80's, good to both RHB and LHB, confident in the pitch
Baseball America, Prospect Bulletin
(Subscription), August 2009

Change-up - Lyles didn't really have the pitch working for him in this game, but it's an average, potentially above average pitch with the potential to get better.
Baseball Intellect, Jordan Lyles vs. Ezekiel Spruill
, September 2009

I had trouble getting a good read on Lyles' changeup. The pitch doesn't move much. And from the reports I got, it lacks deception but can be a decent offering against lefties. Like his fastball and curve, Lyles can throw his changeup for strikes.
Project Prospect, Jordan Lyles Scouting Report
(Adam Foster), October 2009

"[Corpus Christi manager Wes] Clements said Lyles had a plus-plus changeup"
Milb.com, Texas League Notebook
, June 2010

"[H]is changeup is a swing-and-miss pitch that could be a 70 down the road."
Baseball America, Prospect Hot Sheet Chat
(Ben Badler), August 6, 2010

"His change-up is advanced for his age"
Baseball Prospectus, Houston Astros Top 11 Prospects
(Kevin Goldstein), December 2010

Cutter/Slider

"Jordan Lyles' off-speed stuff has developed past his limited fastball... his slider can neutralize righties,"
The Baseball Analysts, Stuff of the Futures
(Jeremy Greenhouse), July 2010

Began using slider mid-season 2009, 82-84mph
Baseball America, Prospect Bulletin
(Subscription), August 2009

Mentality

"He's well beyond his years in maturity and very smart, very bright. "
Chron.com Interview (Bobby Heck )
, June 2008

Coached Lyles re: aggressiveness and mound presence, might be behind Seaton in terms of maturity.
Baseball America, Wednesday Dish
(Jim Shonerd), May 2009 

"He is very mature for his age," [Legends pitching coachTravis] Driskill said. "He is playing against older guys, but he's able to hold his own... "He just seems to be a confident young man," said Driskill. "He's not outwardly confident like Kobe Bryant, but you can see he's in control of the situation (when he is on the mound). I think that's really what is going to carry him, his overall maturity."
SCNow. (South Carolina Newspaper)
, June 2009

Future Role

He's got a very high ceiling and he does project to be in a major-league rotation.
Chron.com Interview (Bobby Heck )
, June 2008

"For now, Lyles profiles more as a back-of-the-rotation sort, but a jump in the quality of his stuff would move his upside to a quality middle-of-the-rotation starter."
Hardball Times, Breaking Down the Draft
(Alex Eisenberg), July 2008

Solid #3 pitcher, possible #2.
Baseball America's Organization Top 10 Prospects
(Subscription), January 2009

"He could develop into a No. 2 or No. 3 starter"
MLB.com's Top 10 Prospects to Watch
(Jonathan Mayo), March 2009

"Scouts definitely think more highly of him these days, and he projects as a possible No. 3 starter, maybe more."
Baseball America, Ask BA
(Jim Callis), July 2009

"A total of 3,140 minor league pitchers topped 100 regular-season total batters faced this year. Lyles clearly belongs in the top 0.2-percent of that group. He's an extremely elite prospect. But putting top-of-the-rotation expectations on him may be premature...The scouts I spoke with each named a handful of pitching prospects in the South Atlantic League alone who impressed them more than Lyles. Going off buzz from members of our community and the information that's circulating around the web on Lyles, I think he's someone who's likely to enter 2010 very overhyped due to his Low-A walk and strikeout rates.  Looking deep into his numbers, watching a large portion of his 2009 starts, and talking to multiple scouts about Lyles, I see more than a few weaknesses in his game. The main one is that he relies on hitters chasing his fastball up in the zone. Once he faces guys who don't do that, he's likely going to slam into a wall.   While Lyles certainly has a lot going for him, there are safer bets in the minors who also offer higher ceilings than him. That I'm sure of."
Project Prospect, Jordan Lyles Scouting Report (Adam Foster), October 2009

"At this rate he'll be a Top Ten Pitching Prospect by the end of the year. Depending on what happens with other pitchers and what his year-end numbers and scouting reports look like, he could be a Top Five guy."
Minorleagueball.com, Minor League Notes
(John Sickels), July 2010

"He has the stuff to be a top-of-the-rotation starter...You know I'm not crazy about comps, but in some ways, he reminds me of a taller, more athletic version of Jeremy Hellickson."
Baseball America, Prospect Hot Sheet Chat (Ben Badler), August 6, 2010

"Perfect World Projection: He could be a dependable, consistently good third starter...He issues walks while keeping his WHIP down and will have a big chunk of innings with a solid ERA, but he's not going to be a big impact type."
Baseball Prospectus, Houston Astros Top 11 Prospects (Kevin Goldstein), December 2010

"Jordan Lyles, RHP, Grade B+: He won't be a superstar, but he'll soak innings and throw strikes."
Minorleagueball.com (John Sickels), December 2010

Video

Warming up for the Futures Game, July 2010
CC Hooks, Side View
, May 13, 2010
CC Hooks, Warming up Between Innings
, May 13, 2010

Comment threads

Project Prospect, June 2009
Project Prospect
, October 2010
MinorLeagueBall.com,
August 2010 (Lyles' AAA debut)
MinorLeagueBall.com
, September 2010
MinorLeagueBall
.com, December 2010

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