A twelfth round selection by the Chicago White Sox in the 2014 MLB Draft out of the University of Cincinnati, right-handed pitching prospect Connor Walsh split the summer of 2017 between Double-A Birmingham and Triple-A Charlotte, notching 39 relief appearances and finishing 3-3 with a 3.36 ERA and three saves. In 56.1 innings pitched over that span, the hard-throwing reliever allowed just 40 hits (6.4 H/9, .203 opponents’ batting average) and 33 walks (5.3 BB/9), while striking out 63 hitters (10.1 K/9). After the season, the White Sox sent Walsh to the Arizona Fall League, where he pitched ten times in relief for the Glendale Desert Dogs.

A power reliever with the some raw, late-inning wipeout-stuff, Connor Walsh could profile well as a back-end reliever up with the Chicago White Sox over the next few years. Already 25 years old (DOB: October 18, 1992), the righty will likely break through into the big leagues at some point in 2018, and his arsenal gives him the chance to stick there as a high-leverage bullpen arm, though command and control have proven a problem thus far in his career and may ultimately limit his role. Below, Baseball Census a full Connor Walsh scouting report, including tool and pitch grades, game video, and a projection breakdown for the relief prospect.




Connor Walsh Scouting Report, Chicago White Sox — 2017

Dates observed in 2017: Arizona Fall League

TOOL (FV)
NOTES & COMMENTS
Fastball (70)
Double-plus velocity with downward plane, especially at bottom of the zone; consistent cut action to the pitch, especially to glove side. Tough for hitters to square up. Command and release point issues; will leave it up in the zone and above, but enough velocity to get away with it; pitch flattens out considerably in upper half of strike zone, but unafraid dial it up and challenge hitters even in upper half. Significantly better command/control would be ideal, but velocity provides considerable margin of error, especially for relief profile. Velocity: 94-97, T 98.

Curveball (45)
11-to-5 break with considerable hump; throws it very hard with two basic looks (strikes early, wipeout late). Effective off-speed against LHH, and to change eye level from hard fastballs in top half of the zone. Some tendency to overthrow it and leave it up without follow through; loses feel and ability to throw it for a strike at times. Chance for command improvements in time but near final form; will likely remain below average but effective enough to miss a few bats. Velocity: 79-82, T 83.

Slider (45)
Sweeping break to glove-side; throws it very hard, nearly a cutter at times but larger tilt with occasional 10-to-4 break. Tunnels well with fastball out of the hand; effective against RHH down and away. Will flatten out and sweep horizontal without depth at times, turning into a cutter and losing ability to miss barrels. Ultimately plays up with velocity and power look, but as with curveball, command issues hold it back; inconsistent. Velocity: 86-89, T 90.

Control/Command (45/40)
Bull in a china shop; overthrows. Lacks feel side to side and down in the zone consistently; velocity provides margin of error to overcome command inconsistencies. Will survive in power relief with below-average command, but improvements in both command and control will help push ceiling. Effectively wild at his best, but inconsistent in execution.

Mechanics
Works from the third base side of the rubber; lands slightly closed off to the plate. Very short, high arm action in the back (high back elbow) with high three-quarters release. Lots of leg drive to the plate; max effort look in short stints, some head whip through release. Exceptional arm speed; even on off-speed, sells it with fastball arm speed. Finishes on line to plate but stays tall; doesn’t always finish through pitches; will consistently leave the ball up.

Intangibles
Very hard thrower with a max effort look ideal for late inning work; he’ll reach the big leagues with his command/control as it is now, but improvements will push ceiling from set-up to potential closer, especially with two hard off-speed pitches. Consistency will be key with work to do, but upside is there in power profile.




Connor Walsh Scouting Report — Chicago White Sox — 2017 Game Video





Connor Walsh Scouting Report — Notes, Analysis & Projection

One of the harder throwers at the Arizona Fall League the last two months, Connor Walsh brings it from a high three-quarters look with two hard breaking balls to boot. Between those three pitches, he’s got the stuff to match up against hitters from both sides of the plate, but command problems have robbed him of some ability to execute consistently and it’ll probably be that issue going forward that could limit his ultimate big league potential. Obviously, anybody who throws in the uppers 90s with an upper 80s slider has room to wiggle a bit on missing spots, but there’s a fine line there, and Walsh needs to fill the bottom half of the zone more consistently if he’s to be relied upon in a late-inning role in the big leagues.

He should spend most of 2018 with Triple-A Charlotte, likely bouncing up to the Chicago White Sox as needed, and the power profile will draw him the attention and opportunities to prove himself on the south side. My hunch is he’ll ultimately settle into a middle/late-inning relief role (or as an up-and-down middle reliever) because of inconsistency in command and control, but if he refines considerably there, he’s got the raw stuff to work his way into a closer role at ceiling.

Overall Future Potential (Future Value): Stereotypical power relief profile with two hard breaking balls; command/control issues likely limit ceiling to 7th/8th inning set-up work (50)

MLB ETA: 2018




Did you like this Connor Walsh scouting report? Get more prospects here:

Chicago White Sox RHP Zach Lewis — CLICK HERE

Chicago White Sox RHP Ryan Burr — CLICK HERE

Chicago White Sox RHP Bryan Saucedo — CLICK HERE

Miami Marlins LHP Scott Squier — CLICK HERE

Toronto Blue Jays OF Reggie Pruitt — CLICK HERE

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