San Bernardino, California —— At the top of this post, watch our baseball prospect scouting video of San Diego Padres left-handed pitching prospect Eric Lauer, filmed during a start he made on April 17, 2017 in the California League as a member of the Lake Elsinore Storm against the Inland Empire 66ers.
In the game, Lauer’s second start of the 2017 season, the lefty threw six innings against Inland Empire and did not allow an earned run, striking out six hitters while walking one and allowing just three hits on the night. Entering play on Sunday—when Lauer is due to make his third start for the Lake Elsinore Storm this season—they lefty is 0-1 with a 3.72 ERA and 13 strikeouts against four walks and eight hits in his first 9.2 innings of work.
Eric Lauer scouting report notes
At least in this start against Inland Empire, Eric Lauer came exactly as advertised: polished, mature, calm, collected, and with an obvious plan on the mound and consistency in his mechanics and command. The former first round draft pick (2016) out of Ohio’s Kent State University looked every bit the mature college starter in carving up the 66ers’ lineup, and his free, easygoing demeanor on the mound is a sight to see considering he’s still just 21 years old and hasn’t thrown 50 pro innings in his life.
Lauer sits 89-92 mph but can touch a bit higher than that; see him throw and you feel there’s a lot more in the tank should he choose to exert himself and reach back for it, too, though he rarely does. The lefty has command of four pitches, and three of them showed up very well in the April 17 start, beginning with Lauer’s fastball that shows cutting action and can wreak havoc on right-handed batters at times just as lefties. He couples it well with a changeup that has good arm-side fade and some depth, and Lauer can command the pitch to both sides of the plate, making it effective to induce ground balls and weak contact against hitters from each side of the plate.
He throws two breaking balls—a slider and a curve—with the slider being far more advanced to this point. The slider is tight, sitting 77-82 mph with good tilt and hard, late movement. Lauer commands this one as well as his changeup, giving him two off-speed pitches that flash above-average and can keep hitters honest and off balance. The curveball is still something of a work in progress for the level, and the San Diego Padres prospect lacks some of the feel for it that would make it a better offering. It can morph into a slurve and command of the pitch is far from the other three in his repertoire, but because he has those other three good pitches, Lauer can flash the curve here and there to make it work well enough when he needs a breaking ball with a bigger hump.
The Padres are high on Lauer for good reason; the lefty is polished and calm on the mound, repeats his mechanics very well, and clearly understands how to sequence hitters to the point where he may not be long for High-A. Considering he’s a first rounder from a Division I program, it wouldn’t shock me to see Eric Lauer in Double-A by season’s end, and there’s an outside shot at getting some time in the big leagues by the very end of next season. Beyond that, his ceiling is probably that of a #3 starter, with smart money perhaps on him as a back-end rotation member with enough stuff to work big league hitters every fifth day. His ultimate ceiling will depend on things like how his curveball develops, of course, but Eric Lauer has a high floor and he’ll get every chance to have a major impact on the Padres’ big league club soon enough.
To visit Eric Lauer’s player page, please click here.
Eric Lauer scouting report: 140 characters or less
A polished college lefty with advanced use of four pitches, Eric Lauer may not be long for the California League.
Eric Lauer scouting report video
We’ve got this Eric Lauer video at the top of the post, but if you missed it, here’s our clip of the lefty’s mechanics while pitching against Inland Empire in that April 17 contest:
Eric Lauer scouting report GIFs
And just as with the Eric Lauer video, here are a few short GIFs broken out for a shareable sense of the pitcher’s mechanics and pace: