The angular lefty is our first Longhorn profiled in a class that figures to be smaller than usual by Texas drafting standards. Still, there is plenty to like about Milner from a makeup standpoint. The question is, what is his upside and where will he fit on a big league team?
At 6-foot-2 and 165 pounds, Milner doesn't appear to have the body type to fill out and be an innings eater. He was 155 in high school, so he hasn't exactly put on a bunch of weight at Texas, but he does have a pretty explosive fastball that can touch 94 while sitting in the low 90s.
He also throws an interesting slurve that's got a nice horizontal and vertical break, but mainly works off the fastball. He also is an inverted w guy from what I can tell in the video, in addition to being a dip and drive pitcher. Not good signs for his continued arm success, but that doesn't mean he wouldn't make a nice bullpen option.
With that velocity from the left side, he'd make a great lefty who can transcend the LOOGY label and be used for an entire inning. Heck, he could also be used in a long relief type role, much like he did at Texas. This guy has a great attitude, it seems, and was an underrated part of this Texas staff.
There's the rub, as the injury risk here outweighs his possible high floor as a polished college arm. But, at the very least, he could be a LOOGY if he stays healthy. If he doesn't add any life to his fastball, he can be counted on to be tough on lefties for his career.
Well, the possibilities here are not quite endless, but they are varied. Who was the last real "long relief" prospect who was developed on his own accord? Mostly, those guys are lapsed starters who get thrown into a role as a bullpen innings eater. But, I think Milner has the chance to be quite versatile, pitching multiple innings and getting up and down a lineup no matter if he's facing righties or lefties. In short, he'd never play for Brad Mills, because he'd drive Millsy crazy with his non-matchupiness.
Projected Draft Round
Don't expect him to go highly, but I could see somewhere in the first ten rounds. It depends on if a team falls in love with the idea of him being a starter consistently.
Will he sign?
Haven't seen any signs either way, but I can't imagine him improving his stock with another year on campus. Probably signs.
Bibliography after the jump
Hoby Milner just may be the most important piece of the Texas baseball team.
Not named Taylor Jungmann, anyway.
While Milner certainly isn't the Longhorns' ace, the skinny, sophomore left-hander is rapidly turning into a vital component as the No. 2 starter, in light of Cole Green's struggles. Milner's also contributing as a spot reliever against left-handed batters.
Tall & thin with a very projectable frame 3/4 arm slot with high leg kick Fastball seemed firm; a touch of arm side run on a bit of a downward plane, but movement was unimpressive; 90 in the 4th (via announcer) Fastball induced almost exclusively fly ball contact; mostly weak, but HR came off on left up and out over the plate 10-5 curve ball with good sharp break; liked to try to backdoor against RH batters; most effective ground ball weapon in his arsenal Change up had drop; improved throughout the game, showing late action by the 2nd inning; 83 in the 2nd (via announcer) Change-up got swings and misses within the zone and was his most impressive offering Slider has 10-4 movement with a bit of late slide; looked more like a cutter at times; threw one slider with good sharp break at 79 MPH in the 4th (via announcer) Fastball command was lacking throughout the game Worked very quickly and attacked hitters, minimizing inefficiencies with his command Paid a lot of attention to runners when on base
After starting three games early in his junior campaign, Milner has returned to the bullpen a picture of confidence, anchoring the Texas pitching staff mid-game. His value has been evident: Milner threw in both games of a doubleheader against Oklahoma State on April 14, and threw 2.1 scoreless innings to get the win as the Longhorns came back to defeat Kansas on Sunday. Milner struck out four and allowed just one hit.
Given his experience among a talented but youthful Longhorn pitching contingent, the reliever role is one Milner is not only well suited for but also comfortable in. He is simply happy to be able to affect his team in a positive way as often as possible.