Lancaster, California —— Entering play on Friday night, Colorado Rockies right-handed pitching prospect Peter Lambert is 4-5 with a 3.61 ERA over 12 starts for the High-A Lancaster JetHawks with 76 strikeouts against just 17 walks in 72.1 innings pitched on the year. I’ve observed the Colorado Rockies’ former second round (2015) pick on two different occasions already throughout 2017; below is Baseball Census‘ full report on Peter Lambert, including several videos from his May 25 start against the San Jose Giants.
Peter Lambert Scouting Report — Video
Our pair of videos on the Colorado Rockies’ right-handed pitcher Peter Lambert comes from that May 25 start at home in Lancaster against San Jose. In the game, Lambert threw eight innings, allowing just two earned runs on eight hits and a walk, while striking out three hitters and taking a tough-luck loss in a rare Lancaster pitching duel.
Here’s a look at his stuff in between-innings warm-ups:
And here is every pitch Peter Lambert threw in that May 25 game against San Jose:
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Peter Lambert Scouting Report — Notes
Despite having just turned 20 years old six weeks ago, Peter Lambert is surprisingly mature for the High-A level here in his second full professional season. In the May 25 start—his longest of the season—Lambert showed above-average command of his fastball and a phenomenal feel for his changeup to the point where, even the third time through San Jose’s lineup, he didn’t need to bring out his curveball. That’s an interesting wrinkle (especially in a hitter-friendly ballpark like Lancaster) that suggests Lambert might not be too far from a promotion to the Colorado Rockies’ Double-A affiliate that’ll have him facing more advanced hitters, and force him to show his full repertoire during starts.
Lambert’s fastball sat 90-92 mph, and topped out at 93 mph. It has decent arm-side run at times, and his high three-quarters release point gives him a good downward plane on the pitch. More than velocity or movement, though, what stands out is the pitcher’s ability to command nearly every fastball down in the zone with authority. Both his command and control of the pitch are above-average for the level, and for his age. Further, Lambert understands how to use the pitch and how to sequence hitters early and late in counts with it, and did it so consistently that he was able to run through a prospect-filled lineup like San Jose’s almost exclusively with the fastball.
Coupled with the fastball, Lambert throws an 80-84 mph changeup. It has the makings of a plus pitch right now, with great tumble and good, late arm-side movement. Peter Lambert trusts the pitch, and throws it with intent; his arm speed and action on the changeup are identical to the fastball and he’s mature enough to trust his grip for deception rather than having to baby the pitch. It was an impressive offering during his May 25 start, becoming his main off-speed offering against both righties and lefties during his eight solid innings of work. It’s a ground ball machine right now, but also induces some swing-and-miss which should only improve with time.
Lambert’s third pitch is a curveball, sitting 75-79 mph with decent late 11-to-5 break. Like the changeup, he throws it with intent, and his arm action and arm speed on the pitch are very good. But he just didn’t use it very much on May 25—why show too much of a third pitch if you can run through a lineup multiple times with just the first two?
Peter Lambert Scouting Report — Projection
The whole prospect world is looking at Colorado Rockies shortstop Brendan Rodgers‘ perhaps-imminent promotion out of High-A Lancaster, but why not Lambert? His command profile is exceptional at this point, and he’s able to run through High-A lineups—in the worst pitching environment of them all—on nearly all fastballs thrown down in the zone. It wouldn’t surprise me too much if he gets a few starts in Double-A as a 20-year-old at the very end of the season, if not sooner. Lambert works quickly and pitches calmly, and he’s a good competitor who has obviously taken a mature approach in how he sequences opponents—all great things for a pitcher at his age and in this level. Granted, the Rockies held back another top pitching prospect—Ryan Castellani—to a full season in the Cal League last year as a 20-year-old, so perhaps they’ll be as cautious in this case, but Peter Lambert’s command profile is undoubtedly ahead of Castellani right now for this level and it’s making things easy for the righty in Lancaster.
Beyond a possible promotion this year, the Colorado Rockies may have themselves a solid long-term mid-rotation arm in Peter Lambert. None of his stuff is flashy—he doesn’t throw 97 mph with a hammer breaking ball—but nothing lags behind, either, and in another year or two he should have three pitches in his repertoire that are all above average for the big league level. He’s lanky and will fill out a little bit, which could help him increase velocity another tick or two, but he has enough life on his fastball right now to survive and his exceptional command profile will help that.
It’s not everyday you get surprised by a 20-year-old in High-A, no matter how high the draft round or prospect rank, but Peter Lambert is quietly putting on a show in a very difficult pitching environment. Maybe the Colorado Rockies will leave him down in Lancaster so as not to rush him, but based on my viewings and his ability to get by High-A lineups predominantly with just a well-placed fastball, it might soon be time for him to make his way to Hartford.
In this Colorado Rockies / Peter Lambert scouting report: