With the new slotting rules, college seniors are becoming more prominent in the higher rounds of the draft. They provide a lot of flexibility within the bonus cap by becoming more likely to sign below slot deals. Identifying the top college seniors provides a lot to a draft, not only in finding talent, but being able to sign other top talent.
Chase Mallard fits the bill of a talented senior. He has quickly climbed draft boards this year as he's finally been given a chance to be a full-time starter. He was a reliever as a freshman and other than a few starts at the end of his sophomore season, he was a reliever. As a junior, he was supposed to be the closer, but due to a lack of save opportunities, he became a starter late in the season. However, this year he's been the Friday night starter and has been the staff ace.
He's racked up some pretty nice accolades this year including the Conference-USA Pitcher of the year.
Mallard has a decent pitcher's build at 6'2" 185 pounds. There's not much video of him pitching to look at his mechanics. Just a clip here and there in some of the interviews. Nothing stands out as red flags in those short clips.
His repertoire consists of an 88-92 fastball, slider, and a change up. It's a pretty standard repertoire, but he commands it well.
This season, he's tossed 110 innings across 15 games. He's walked 22 and struck out 94. That's a 1.80 BB/9 and a 7.69 K/9. He posted 1.55 ERA as well.
He doesn't have a long track record as a starter so it's possible he gets relegated to a reliever in the pro ranks. Plus, he's already 22, his development will need to move a little quicker.
Likely ceiling is as of a back or the rotation starter.
Projected Draft Round
Probably not a day one pick. He's probably going to go in rounds 5-10.
Will he sign?
Doesn't have much of an option besides not playing baseball.
Mallard is a true ace, a strike-throwing machine with an 88-92 fastball, a swing-and-miss slider and a good changeup. The senior was dependable out of the bullpen over the past three years, but he has really thrived this spring as a starter.