A thick, 6'4" lefty with an ideal workhorse starter build, Emanuel has been the linchpin of a strong UNC staff for the last few years. He starred as a freshman and repeated that success as a sophomore, and this year he took the reins for the Tar Heels' rotation and posted a 2.70 ERA with an 88/27 K/BB ratio in 120 IP with just 103 hits allowed. He completed 5 games, a testament to the durability of his filled-out frame.
From a stuff perspective, Emanuel sits in the low 90s with his fastball and locates it very well to both sides of the plate. His best secondary offering his changeup, which plays excellently off of his fastball with late movement. Those two pitches have been his bread and butter in college and will continue to be in the pro game. His curveball, his primary breaking ball, shows some promise with a sweeping break and late drop, but it's an inconsistent, below average pitch at this point by pro standards.
Emanuel's biggest strengths are the little things- command of his stuff, generating groundballs, sequencing pitches and working efficiently. He's not the type of prospect that will get anyone particularly excited, but he's a very advanced talent and should move quickly through the Astros system. Expect him to follow in the footsteps of last year's third round pick, Brady Rodgers, and sign quickly and report to Tri-City where he should dominate.
If his curveball doesn't show much improvement, he'll likely fit in as a long or middle relief type.
Emanuel's command and solid average stuff give him the upside of a #4 starter.
Kent Emanuel Bullpen Session 07/4/11 (via Rob Zeida)