There were several teams and prospectors that were scared of Chris Sale in the 2010 draft because he has some very unique mechanics. However, the pure stuff was just enough for the White Sox to draft him and sign him. Now, two years later the same situation is again resurfacing with Kevin Ziomek, albeit on a lesser level. Ziomek has some similar mechanics but his stuff is not on the same level as Sale's. Between Sale's success and the lower quality stuff, teams are required to not take as high of a risk with him do to a lower draft slot and they will worry less than they would have pre-Sale.
Ziomek strides at angle toward the first-base side of the plate and causes him to have to rotate around his plant leg which can lead to some timing issues, but creates a very difficult angle to read for hitters as well. He has a little bit of a strange arm action isn't quite as bad as Sales but is whippy in it's own right. The elbow doesn't drift nearly as high as Sales, so he avoids the Inverted W.
The fastball isn't Sales, its in the 90-93 range but when his complex mechanics get out of sync, he will get into the high-80's. Because of that low 3/4 arm slot and step toward first base, it comes at the plate at an difficult angle and has some fade and sink with it, making it a much more difficult pitch that your typical 90-93 FB from a lefty. The curve is highlight though. Several will call it a slurve or a slider because his arm angle creates some good run on it two give it very nice two-plane break. When the pitch is on, you'll see some lefty's swing at it but it's outside the zone by a foot. Very lethal weapon at times. He also throws a changeup that can be very effective for him as well.
He is able to control all three of those pitches for the most part but that the variety he can show is why he's been such an effective starter. However, all of his pitches are very effective against lefty's, but the angle is less effective against right-handed hitters.
Barring some career-ending injury, I see this guy having a major-league career in one way or another. At worst, he's a LOOGY, and will probably be a shutdown type LOOGY at that.
Realistically, he's a number three starter but you'll find a few that'll hang that number two on him. I'm just unsure of how well he's going to perform against right-handed hitters with his changeup.
Projected Draft Round
His stock has been all over the place. At one point this season he was seen as a possible top 15 pick but has fallen a good bit since then and may fall out of the first round and into the consolation rounds or early second. I think a team could still potentially scoop him a little after pick 20 though.
Will he sign?
I don't see why not. He's not really going to improve his stock more than what he has at times this year and teams have really seen him enough to have a good idea of what he is.
Average body and average strength but deceptively strong. Middle rotation strike-throwing lefty with sneaky fast 88-93 velocity. Basically, let's cut to the chase: His slider and change graded out as slightly above average and he knows how to control both and change speeds with both, making his velocity play up, thus the comment that he's sneaky fast. No. 2 starter in his best years. Would like to see more extension, but that's correctable. He's got enough arm strength to keep right-handed hitters honest and that's a big plus for him. Easy to like.
- High leg kick
- 3/4 arm slot
- Fastball sits 89-93 with good movement
- 75-79 Curve, more slurve at times, is an above average pitch
- Change is an above average pitch, swing and miss offering at its best
- Controls all three pitches well
- Works at a fast pace
I don't know which Ziomek we will see this spring, but when everything is right he profiles as a number three starter. I'm inclined to like him, but I have a known bias in favor of pitchers from cold weather backgrounds.
He has very good stuff from the left side, with a good three-pitch mix. His fastball can be plus at times, he has an outstanding changeup and an effective breaking ball to go along with it. There's some concern about his arm action, but Vandy lefties who perform well tend to do pretty well on Draft day.