Selected out of Michigan’s Davenport University in the 14th round of the 2016 MLB Draft by the Chicago White Sox, right-handed pitching prospect Bryan Saucedo made his professional debut this summer in the rookie-level Arizona League. Pitching for the AZL White Sox, the tall (6’6″, 225 lb.) righty finished 3-2 with a 7.04 ERA over 13 games (13 starts), tossing 55.0 innings and allowing 58 hits, four home runs, and 37 walks against 41 strikeouts. Old for the league (DOB: February 3, 1994), Saucedo must move up the ladder quickly if he’s ever to have a big league impact after a less-than-impressive rookie season in Arizona.
That said, he does have a particularly impressive, imposing, and projectable frame with good raw arm strength and exceptional downward plane on his fastball, and the makings of what could become a fringe-average big league power curveball. If the Canadian righty can figure things out pretty quickly here in the next year or two, and transition to the bullpen where his stuff will play up significantly, the Chicago White Sox may have themselves a contributor. Below, you’ll find our full Bryan Saucedo scouting report, including tool grades, game video, projection notes, and more analysis.
Bryan Saucedo, Chicago White Sox — 2017 Scouting Report
Dates observed in 2017: August 3; August 13
Bryan Saucedo Scouting Report — Chicago White Sox — 2017 Game Video
Bryan Saucedo Scouting Report — Notes & Analysis
Bryan Saucedo is a physical specimen with definite arm strength and the ability to grow into a serious power pitcher in time, but it won’t come in the starting rotation. He doesn’t have consistent enough secondary stuff to survive in a rotation, and his command profile is seriously lacking — the combination of which, in addition to his raw arm strength and physical stature, should push him to a bullpen role as soon as possible. He struggles right now to throw down in the zone in the low 90s, but some mechanical adjustments working straight to the plate and the inevitability of his arm strength playing up in short stints could push him consistently into the mid-90s in the next few years. Further physical development of his skinny lower half will add some firepower to Saucedo’s raw arm strength, and he might earn a shot at a high-leverage bullpen role because of it.
In addition, a move to the bullpen will see a serious uptick with the rest of his arsenal. First, Saucedo must throw his curveball significantly harder, and short stints will help promote a max effort look with the pitch. The quicker his arm action, and the harder his follow through on the curve, the more likely he flashes a hammer with good, sharp late life. A one-inning role could be the trick to make his curveball pop consistently at 11-to-5 and work into the upper 70s. I’d love to see his spin rate numbers even now as a starter; I think he’s got an outside shot for a legitimate power curveball out of the ‘pen if things go right the next couple years.
Beyond that, I think it’d be a good idea for Bryan Saucedo—an over-the-top guy nearly to an extreme—to pick up a split-finger fastball. I’ve seen it work for other over-the-top guys in the middle of their bullpen conversions, and I wonder if, far more than his below-average changeup, a splitter would give Saucedo a realistic third look to use as a legitimate strikeout pitch. It’ll take a little bit of feel to develop a splitter, but far less than a changeup, and Saucedo has the arm angle and action that could make the splitter a really, really good pitch for his arsenal — especially out of the bullpen.
Bryan Saucedo Scouting Report — Future Projection
If the Chicago White Sox aren’t going to move Bryan Saucedo to the bullpen, I believe there’s little chance he ever becomes anything more than organizational depth. He doesn’t have good enough command, or consistent feel for his stuff, to face a lineup more than once — especially considering he was 23 years old this summer in the Arizona League and struggled against opponents 3-5 years younger. A move to the bullpen now can’t hurt, and arguably would be wise to max out his abundant physical tools and raw arm strength. It could also push him quickly through a few levels towards more age-appropriate competition. I’d personally love to see him add a splitter to the repertoire one day, but his fastball/curveball combo will play up in a relief role. He’d be more apt to miss bats without having to nibble, too, knowing he has to hold back for a second or third time through the lineup.
In a best-case scenario, Bryan Saucedo could turn into a middle relief (low set-up) prospect if his power stuff takes off in relief. The coming season will go a long way in determining where his future may be; if the Chicago White Sox want to recoup some value out of him, they’d be wise to move Saucedo to the bullpen and let him blow it out in one-inning stints, where he’d likely work his velocity up to the mid-90s in the next few years. The thought of that velocity, from his arm angle, and with a power curve (and maybe even a splitter!) is an intimidating one.
Overall Future Potential (Future Value): As a starter, best-case scenario limited to low-leverage spot starter/emergency call-up role due to command issues; Chicago White Sox would be wise to transition Bryan Saucedo to middle relief/low set-up role (40/42.5)
MLB ETA: 2021