We've heard Astros GM Jeff Luhnow and Scouting Director Mike Elias talk about draftees checking all the boxes. Eric Lauer is the type of pitcher that checks all the boxes, if not then most. The left-handed pitcher has a track record of being successful at the collegiate level to the point he's been the Friday night starter for Kent State since his Freshman year. Sure, the MAC is not an illustrious conference, but he also led the Cape Cod League last summer in strikeouts. If you're not familiar, the Cape is the most prestigious summer league for baseball.
His strikeout rate has been north of ten per nine both as a sophomore and a junior. his walk rate has also been less than three per nine during the same time frame. This season, his WHIP is 0.74 which is extremely impressive for a college pitcher. His ERA is 0.76 for this season across 95 innings.
When it comes to amateurs, just like the minors, the stats and scouting report have to support each other to make a real prospect. His fastball sits in the low 90's and will occasional hit 94 MPH. He also has a slider and curve ball. The slider isn't a hard breaker but is late breaking and induces weak contact. The curveball also isn't a big breaker but has good downward action and doesn't have the hitter friendly hump. He also throws a changeup that is lagging behind the others. Nothing in his arsenal is standout but everything can be projected to at least average pitches for the majors.
Mechanically, this is one of the smoothest and effortless delivery's I've seen. I'd like to see his elbow a little more flexed in the back end but he corrects it in time. He jabs the ball out on the back side which could give hitters a chance to catch the grip but he ends up hiding it well.
Because he doesn't have a true plus pitch, I don't see a frontline starter. However, I can see him carving his way into a very good number three starter.
He has a versatile arsenal that should allow him to be at least a number five starter or at worst a solid middle reliever.
Projected Draft Round
Middle of the first round
Will he sign?
Yes. He's playing in non-major conference where he's been a premium pitcher for at least two years plus a strong showing in the Cape. There's just nothing else for him to prove that would raise his draft stock.
FUTURE: Lauer’s greatest strength is his lack of weaknesses. While I didn’t see a true plus pitch, the fastball, curveball and slider all could develop into at least average Major League pitches. There will always be a place in the League for polished lefties with a four pitch mix. Lauer projects as a back end of a rotation starter with a high floor.
Lauer projects as a number three starter. He is generally seen as a compensation round pick but it would not be a surprise for him to sneak into the first round, especially after what he did last night.