Wahl has been a high profile prospect since he was a high schooler, and his college career at Ole Miss has been a complete success. He has an ideal pitcher's frame at 6'3" and a stout 210 lbs., and he generates all the velocity expected from a pitcher with his strong lower half. He sits 93-94 most days and touches 97, and has been a durable player in college. He also possesses two solid average offspeed pitches in his changeup and curveball, and he has been able to generate a lot of weak contact during his time at Ole Miss. On the surface, he's an excellent prospect and a case can be made for him as a first round pick. Yet, he's projected closer to the sandwich or second round. Why?
Wahl's 1.99 ERA and .189 opponent batting average this season are enticing, but his stat line isn't all pretty. His 76/43 K/BB ratio in 90.2 IP is far from stellar, and it implies a fair amount of good luck this season. His command has never been especially sharp, and it stems from a lot of awkward motion in his delivery. He takes a great long stride towards home plate and his arm speed is fantastic, but as he brings the ball up to his release point he keeps the ball very tight to his body and his elbow has a lot of bend as he follows through. His arm action is a little whippy and it likely has an adverse effect on his placement within the zone. A figure like 43 walks in 90.2 IP will not cut it in the pros, and he'll need to learn to trust his stuff and pound the zone to have success in the pros.
He'll always be a fastball first pitcher, and he lacks a real swing-and-miss offering at this stage. His fastball will certainly play as he rises up the ladder, but he needs to polish his sequencing and strategy attacking hitters rather than pitching with finesse as he has tended to in college. Wahl has promise, but his lack of impressive secondary stuff caps his upside as a pro. His MLB ready body and fastball will be his calling cards, and he has a shot to rise fairly quickly if he is able to control the zone a bit better going forward.
Wahl's strength and velocity are the trademarks of a workhorse back-end type starter, even if he ends up lacking the secondaries to have major success.
If his changeup comes along and he's able to play it off his fastball better, Wahl could turn into a #3 starter type down the line.
Will He Sign?
I can't see why not. He'll go too high to risk re-entering the draft as a senior with less leverage.
Bobby Wahl (Cape Cod League 2011) (via alskor)