Selected by the Colorado Rockies in the 12th round of the 2016 MLB Draft out of Georgia Tech, right-handed pitching prospect Brandon Gold wrapped up his first full pro season in 2017 by appearing in 12 games (all starts) for High-A Lancaster, throwing 75.2 innings and finishing 4-3 with a 4.40 ERA and 50:12 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Across all of 2017, spent at Low-A Asheville and then Lancaster, Gold started 25 games and threw 146.1 innings, finishing 8-8 with a 4.37 ERA and 191 hits and 21 walks allowed against 112 strikeouts.

A control artist with a fastball that, in my looks, didn’t register 90 mph even a single time, Brandon Gold relies on plus command, guile, and changing speeds for success. Extremely hittable, that success may come less frequently as the righty transitions to the upper minors, but an extreme ground ball profile with a deep arsenal could yet find him some kind of value one day with the Colorado Rockies. Below, we’ve got a full end-of-season Brandon Gold scouting report, including game video, tool grades, projection notes, and more on the right-handed pitcher.




Brandon Gold, Colorado Rockies — 2017 Scouting Report

Dates observed in 2017: September 8; September 13

TOOL (FV)
NOTES & COMMENTS
Four-Seam Fastball (40)
Below-average velocity. Above-average command and control. Some modest cut action to his four-seamer at times. ‘Invisible’ fastball at times, hides pitch well and velo can play up because of it. Knows his velocity shortcomings and understands need to throw to both sides of the plate; likes to go hard in on RHH, will get it in under their hands. Gets ahead, works ahead. Won’t overpower, or be a strikeout pitch, but command feel to both sides of the plate helps. Velocity: 87-88, T 89.

Two-Seam Fastball (40)
Very late arm-side run with modest sink; distinct look from four-seamer but serious lack of velocity. Some backdoor ability to glove-side, in on LHH. As with four-seamer, even with pinpoint command, lacks velocity such that hitters can still get on the barrel. Something of a poor man’s Thomas Eshelman though; battles with command while living exclusively in the lower third of the zone without power. Velocity: 84-86, T 87.

Changeup (40)
Workable pitch to lefties, shows a bit of tumble with modest arm-side run. Good feel for the pitch down in the zone but lacking significant movement to do more than draw ground ball contact at this level; likely to rate well below-average against better hitters. Enough of a change of speeds to get hitters off his fastball depending on sequencing, though. Velocity: 77-78, T 79.

Slider (35)
Tight, controlled 10-to-4 break with some depth. Not a sweeper or a wipeout pitch, works to ground ball contact down in the zone. Mild deception with good arm action. Decent pitch for the level, likely not enough late life to get off the bats of better hitters in upper minors. Velocity: 79-81, T 82.

Control/Command (70/60)
Double-plus control with plus command to both sides of the plate. Great feel for the strike zone. Not quite to Eshelman’s level, but not far off. Wants to challenge hitters and finish at-bats in fewer than three pitches; asset that can let him work deep into games and in relative low stress with runners on base. Arguably throws too many strikes at times; allowed 191 hits in less than 150 innings in 2017, and though he wasn’t necessarily burned by homers (19 in 25 starts), he’ll most likely be tagged very hard in the upper minors and beyond.

Mechanics
Conventional turn and step into balance, closes off to the plate some at the top of his balance point. Lands closed off to the plate but with open foot strike; throws across his body, accounting for some deception and some of the life on his fastballs. Low-stress, repeatable delivery. Comparable mechanics from the stretch, doesn’t leak out forward with runners on base. Three-quarters release with short arm action in the back. Hides the ball well, especially from RHH. Falls off fairly hard to first base as response to closed-off landing and release across his body.

Intangibles
Pitches with guile, and without even average stuff. Hasn’t hurt him yet, but almost certainly will in upper minors; not enough velocity and life to compete consistently. That said, understands sequencing and takes advantage of what little margin of error he has by throwing strikes down in the zone. Works very quickly, both from windup and stretch. Listed at 6’3″, 203 lbs. — lean body; may fill out a bit more in coming years, but more or less in final form.




Brandon Gold Scouting Report — Colorado Rockies — 2017 Game Video




Brandon Gold Scouting Report — Notes & Analysis

It’s tempting to compare Brandon Gold to Thomas Eshelman, but the Phillies pitching prospect has a few more things going for him — namely a deeper arsenal, better command, and slightly more velocity — than does this Colorado Rockies prospect who just wrapped 2017 with High-A Lancaster. Gold’s command profile is enticing, and his control legitimately rates double-plus, but he seriously lacks even average velocity and that’s going to hurt him against better hitters when he’s unable to miss bats and too often finds barrels in his quest for ground balls. Now, it should be noted that he has so far proven extremely good at getting ground balls; perhaps there’s a chance that will continue. I’m skeptical about that, though, because he isn’t doing it with a projectable power sinker but rather an 85 mph two-seamer, and that just isn’t sustainable against the game’s best hitters. His will be an interesting career to track, because he just survived what’s typically a brutal environment for pitchers in Lancaster; in a way not unlike Rockies pitching prospect Craig Schlitter before him, Gold didn’t let below-average stuff impact how he took on The Hangar in 2017.

brandon gold scouting report colorado rockies baseball 2




Brandon Gold Scouting Report — Future Projection

Just like Colorado Rockies left-handed pitching prospect Jack Wynkoop a year ago with High-A Modesto, Brandon Gold has probably pitched his way out of High-A and earned a shot to start in Double-A in 2018. I don’t personally believe he’ll have much success beyond that level, but we’ll see. Gold is going to have to re-prove himself at every stop he reaches simply because he lacks projectable stuff that on its own can remain in the conversation for a future rotation role. Long term, I think he ultimately proves far too hittable and slides into a long relief role, or remains a starter in the upper minors and serves out as organizational depth with maybe a rare shot to be an emergency call-up arm dependent on outside factors.

Overall Future Potential (Future Value): Low-leverage long relief ceiling with possible spot starts; more likely organizational depth with emergency call-up potential (37.5)

MLB ETA: 2019




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