Tale of the Tape
Weight: 190 lbs.
Max Velocity: 98 MPH
Though he may not quite possess the athleticism and velocity of potential #1 pick Hunter Greene, Baz is the type of pitcher with limitless upside should he be able to iron out the kinks in his game. Not yet 18 years old, Baz can already pump the strike zone with mid-nineties heat and his curveball, his best off-speed, has outstanding shape for a player his age and could turn into an out pitch at the big-league level. A great athlete with projection still remaining, particularly in the lower half, Baz checks virtually all of the boxes for scouts and it is easy to see why he may well be a top-10 selection next week.
Baz generates most of his velocity with arm speed and trunk rotation- he has clean arm action but doesn’t use his lower half as much as I would like to see for a pitcher of his size. Teams will want to see him use his back leg to generate more drive and add more weight to that part of his frame to facilitate those changes. That said, overall I think most teams will give his mechanics a generally positive review considering his young age, even for a prep prospect.
The young righty’s fastball has a lot of natural arm side run and plays extremely well off of his curveball which has more of an 11-5 inside-out break. He flashes an ability to locate his fastball to both sides of the plate and with time I do see above average command developing. He seldom throws a change at this point in his career but given his feel for the breaking ball I have faith that he can develop a strong one over the next few years.
While Baz is deserving of a top-10 pick, it should be noted that I do think he will need significant time to reach the majors. Though his stuff is of big-league quality right now, teams will want to make some non-negligible mechanical changes here, and putting on good weight will be an important focus as well. While I am not sure that he will ever have the command required of a true ace, I see easy #2 potential here and a definite top half of the first round talent.
Baz actually reminds me a lot of Carlos Martinez. Though he has a few inches on C-Mart, both use their loose athleticism to generate big heat, primarily from the upper body. Both pitchers primarily rely on a fastball-curveball combination to get outs.
Will he sign?
Most likely. Though he has a strong commitment to TCU, Baz will go very high in the first round and would not have much opportunity to improve his stock in college.
Does he make sense for the Astros?
I think so. The team did select a similar prospect last year in Forrest Whitley, but they can afford to wait out Baz’s significant development time given their deep major league roster.