At first look, Clinton Hollon doesn't stand out as a high end pitching prospect because of his size which is on the small side. He's 6-1 and a 195 pounds. He's not that 6-3 frame that so many scouts drool over. However, once he starts throwing, he immediately grabs your attention. His arm speed stands out and is the source for his electric fastball.
Hollon has seen his stock move all over the place as some clubs are a bit weary of him due to some injury issues last year. He couldn't pitch in the showcase circuit last summer because of some forearm tightness which prevented him from being properly evaluated early on and the injury itself has some scary ties. By itself, tightness isn't scary, but it can be tied to more significant elbow issues in some cases.
Given the injury history and his imperfect mechanics, he caries a bit of a risk. He has inconsistent leg drive and will sometimes "fall" over his front leg instead of drive to it which reduces the force coming from his lower body. Because he falls into his front leg, his core has to create some force and leads to some excess rotation and lean to the first-base side. That leads to some control issues. The arm comes through in a 3/4 arm slot that is a fairly clean arm clean arm action.
His fastball sits in the low 90s and has reached 95-97 at times but doesn't have a lot of movement. His best off-speed pitch is his power curve as some places and his coach describes it, but some call it his slider. Given the low 80's velocity of the pitch, it's more of a slider pitch. He also throws a softer curve that's in the mid-70's and a change-up in the low 80's that has some cutting action on it.
Outside of the usual spiel about being a career minor-leaguer, his major league floor is of a reliever with arm issues and a strong fastball/slider combination.
There's just not enough indication that he can be a top of the rotation starter. He has the fastball velocity and breaking ball to be mid-rotation starter and while he's shown the feel for a change-up, he hasn't shown enough consistency to it to be a strong enough pitch for a front-line starter. He could also have some value as a late-inning reliever because of the fastball/slider combination. He shows some similarities to Jeremy Guthrie.
Projected Draft Round
He's ranked 94th in Baseball America's Top 250 for this years draft and that puts him in the 3rd round range. I can see him getting taken in second half of the 2nd round or later into the 4th round.
College Commitment: Kentucky
Will He Sign?
He's committed to Kentucky and there haven't been many rumors about him being a large signability risk, or any worse than any other high school pitcher. However, he fits the profile of a pitcher who could improve his value in college to an upper tier level similar to Sonny Gray.
Clinton Hollon is a 2013 RHP/OF with a 6-1 195 lb. frame from Lexington, KY who attends Woodford County HS. Very solid well proportioned athletic build, has got stronger in the last six months. Fast paced side step delivery, pretty busy with a big slide across the rubber, will get cross body at times, not consistent with his front side and will spin off, clean and fast arm action, deep arm circle, compact 3/4's arm slot. Low 90's fastball, had 93-94 mph whenever he wanted it, very good running life at times, can throw to both sides of the plate. Power curveball with very good depth at times, release is most inconsistent on curveball at present. Nice feel for change up, good cutting action. Mixed his pitches well and showed confidence in each. Nice early season outing for a top prospect, arm strength and secondary pitches were there and he looked healthy and strong. Signed with Kentucky.
The #3 high schooler according to ESPN's Super 60, Hollon is an electric arm with some power stuff. The potential is definitely there as he has excellent present stuff highlighted by a fastball that sits in the low-90s and has been clocked as high as 96. He also adds a curveball in the high 70s and has shown both a slider and a change-up in the low-80s. He shows a good feel for the change-up, but the slider is widely regarded as his out pitch. Hollon is athletic on the mound and his delivery is very quick. He generates well above-average arm speed and maintains it on his secondary offerings. Hollon is a strike-thrower, but like all high school arms, he needs plenty of refinement to his command. I
The Kentucky high school product, while not the biggest guy in the world, has some serious arm strength. He can get his fastball up to the mid-90s with a decent breaking ball to go with it. He even shows some feel for a changeup, giving him the chance to have a full repertoire of at least Major League average pitches.