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Astros Draftee Profile: Tommy Shirley, LHP, Xavier

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via grfx.cstv.com

Summary

I'd really like to see some video on the 6-foot-5, 220 pound lefthander. He was the first lefty taken by the Astros in this draft. Interestingly, he he's a big kid but lacks a great fastball, as it sits right around 90 MPH. Again, no video on him, but he's got the height to remind some Astros fans of Andy Pettite, I'm sure. He gets good sink on his fastball, so he may be able to live with his velocity not gaining too much.

The reason video would be helpful is that the scouting report I read on Baseball America suggests he has a herky-jerky finish to his delivery, landing stiffly on his front leg. That extra stress can usually lead to injury if it's not corrected, but I don't know how severe the problem is. Andy Seiler didn't mention it in his Draft Notebook, so it may not be a big deal.

Shirley was undrafted out of high school and has developed his command nicely. He'll need to work on his offspeed stuff, but will be able to generate some ground balls with his two-seamer.

Floor

As I said, the big concern here is those repetitive shocks on his arm as his front leg lands. He doesn't have much velocity to lose, so any type of arm injury could make his chances of making the majors pretty long. Barring injury, he's a LOOGY who relies on his sinker to get outs.

Ceiling

Shirley is a bit older as a prospect. He turns 22 in November and is one of the oldest of the Astros draft picks so far. Thus, he doesn't have as much time to grow with his stuff. If he can refine his breaking pitches, though, he can be a good starter. Seiler has him pegged as a back-end of the rotation guy, but I'd wait until concerns over is delivery are met before going that far.

Will the Astros Sign Him?

There's a good probability. He's a junior, so he has the option to go back to school, but he'd be going into the 2011 draft approaching his Age 23 season and that's not good for leverage. I think he signs.