Weight: 235 lbs.
Though he may pitch for Division II Cal Poly Pomona, Ponce does not fit the mold of a typical small school prospect. With prototypical size, plus athleticism and a mid-90s fastball, it's a surprise that Ponce isn't at one of California's bigger baseball programs. Watching Ponce's mechanics, it's not a shock that he is a Kinesiology major, as they are very clean. He gets good knee height, throws from a consistent release point and keeps his elbows low as he splits his hands. He has a fast arm and uses his lower body effectively to generate velocity while maintaining smooth arm action. Ponce repeats his delivery quite well, and shows present average command that has a good chance to improve past that level.
Ponce employs a four-pitch mix, impressive for any college pitcher. He pitches off of his mid-90s fastball which sits at 93-94 and can touch 96. He does a good job of maintaining arm speed on all of his pitches and releases them on the same plane, adding to his deception. His four seam fastball has great life, and it plays up further thanks to his strong cutter, which he throws in the lower 90s and uses liberally. He also shows a potential above-average curveball at 79-81 with decent depth and an 11-5 shape. He uses his change up less often than his fastball, cutter and curve, but it shows some potential as a swing-and-miss pitch to round out his arsenal.
One of three pitchers in the Cal Poly Pomona rotation with a sub-2.00 ERA, Ponce has had some minor injuries that have limited his innings this year, but when on the mound he has been dazzling with a 40/5 K/BB ratio in 35.1 innings (eight starts) and a 1.78 ERA. Ponce maybe a DII prospect, but he is extremely impressive from a scouting perspective and has done his job dominating inferior competition. Assuming he has a clean bill of health before the draft, Ponce is in line to be selected very highly.
I project Ponce as a #3 starter in the major leagues, with the upside of a lower-end #2.
Projected Draft Round
Ponce is generally projected as a first round pick and will not slide past the supplemental round. It's not impossible that a team in the top 15 picks could fall in love with his substantial talent and pull the trigger.
Will he sign?
All indications point to Ponce signing this year.