Age at draft: 18 years, 8 months
FB velo: 91-94
College commitment: TCU
Teams tend to have very specific preferences when it comes to prep pitchers, and Illinois righty Quinn Priester has traits that should make him appealing to a wide range of clubs. The 6’3” righty is a great athlete who quarterbacks his high school squad, with plenty of room to grow into his frame. He has been pitching in a cold weather environment, hailing from northeast Illinois, and could add significant velocity as he develops despite already throwing in the low nineties. It’s easy heat, too, as Priester gets good leg drive and doesn’t throw with a ton of effort.
There’s a lot to like about Priester, but perhaps his best trait is his curveball, a heavy pitch with 11-5 action for which the young righty shows advanced feel. He’s able to bury the pitch in the dirt or low in the zone consistently, and while it can lose some of its shape at times, it flashes plus and shows the potential to be a swing-and-miss pitch for him in the pros against both righties and lefties. His fastball has solid arm side run, and he also throws a tight two seamer with two-plane action.
At present, Priester’s arsenal lacks a second offspeed offering. This isn’t uncommon with young arms, but adding to his repertoire will likely be a focus early in his pro career, as he has myriad starter traits and won’t be rushed up the ladder. Priester is very much a ball of clay who is likely to have a slow development plan, but it’s rare for prep pitching prospects to be more than that, particularly those who come from cold-weather regions. Priester shows all the ingredients to be a rotation down the line, as his athleticism, frame and clean delivery should allow him to log healthy innings once he’s filled out, and he already shows swing-and-miss stuff.
Priester checks a ton of boxes for me. While given his background I think he’s unlikely to reach the bigs before 2023 at the earliest, I feel comfortable projecting a velo spike at some point during his development when taking to account his build, athleticism and region of origin. There’s already present feel for a potential out pitch; so long as he can develop another offering to complement hi four-seam, two-seam and curve, I think there’s at least #3 starter potential here, perhaps more depending on where his fastball settles in. He’s a high ceiling pitcher with the ingredients to generate both swings and misses and weak contact.
Projected Draft Round
Priester is typically ranked in the 20-40 range and stands a good chance of being selected in round one.
Does he fit with Houston?
There’s been some chatter that the Astros may be interested in Priester, and it makes sense. The Luhnow front office has shown a proclivity for fastball/curveball arms, and selected a cold weather prep righty on day one last year- Jayson Schroeder in the second round.
Will he sign?
Priester’s TCU commitment will certainly be a negotiating tool for him and his agent once selected, but there haven’t been rumors of lofty bonus demands unlike with some of his peers.
In which Priester makes Bobby Witt, Jr. look silly: