The Astros were linked to several prep players early in the days approaching the draft, but in the end came away with two college players on day one, following up their selection of Brice Matthews by taking UCLA righty Alonzo Tredwell in the second round. A 6’8” mammoth, Tredwell moved into the UCLA rotation this season after working as a reliever in 2022, posting a 3.57 ERA and 51 strikeouts against 12 walks in 45 and 1⁄3 innings before a back injury ended his campaign early. While he was a decorated prep player, he also lost his senior year of high school to Tommy John, so he’s not as much of a known quantity as the other college arms to come off the board.
A two-way player for Mater Dei in his high school days, Tredwell was a highly regarded underclassman who may well have ended up signing were it not for the elbow injury. Pitchers with his length are a volatile proposition, as the big extension they offer often comes packaged with command risk thanks to the longer levers and, in general, worse body control than more compactly built arms. The latter has never applied to Tredwell, who is surprisingly controlled and fluid in his delivery, which helped him to stand out from a young age. He topped out in the low 90s at that point, but there was obvious projection, and it was backed up with feel to spin.
UCLA eased him into action as a freshman, deploying him exclusively as a reliever, though he often threw multiple innings, totaling 47 innings in 25 appearances. The results were very good- he posted a 2.11 ERA, 62 Ks and just 6 walks, locking him into a rotation role for 2023. The results largely held up prior to his injury, even if they weren’t quite as superlative as what he showed as a freshman, and while the stuff wasn’t as nasty as what we saw out of some of the top SEC and ACC arms, it continued to progress positively, with his fastball touching the mid-90s with improved carry. Both of his breaking balls figured into the mix heavily, as did a solid changeup, and he displayed feel for tunneling and sequencing his pitches, which was particularly impressive given the lower experience level for his age.
Tredwell doesn’t have an obvious plus pitch yet, but there’s a possibility that the velocity continues to come on, and its a complementary arsenal. The carry on his heater allows it to play well up, setting up his 12-6 curveball beautifully. It’s a bit of a unique look for a pitcher of this size, many of whom emphasize downward action from their high release points. While the curve stands out in the secondary mix, the slider is a very distinct and capable offering, and his changeup projects to be in average territory giving him another way to work horizontally. The health history is a bit scary, but Tredwell can profile as a finesse-oriented, bat missing back of the rotation starter as things currently stand, or one of the more uncomfortable at-bats around for pro hitters if he does end up adding a bit more velo to his existing extension and broad arsenal.