Jonathan Buckley Scouting Report

st. mary's college baseball prospects 1 jonathan buckley scouting report
Name: Jonathan Buckley
Position: Right-Handed Pitcher
Birthdate: TBD
Ht/Wt: 6’4”, 225 lbs.
Bats/Throws: R/R
Hometown: Chino, Calif.
High School: Ayala HS
College: St. Mary’s College (2019 grad)

Report Date(s) — July 9, 2018

Affiliate (League): Palm Springs Power (Southern California Collegiate Baseball League)
Level (Org): N/A (College summer baseball)


Body/Mechanics: Powerful frame, good strength through core and lower half. At/close to final form at age, not much physical projection remaining, but durable build; rotation-quality musculature and build that should hold up nicely. Jonathan Buckley is a type-I diabetic, diagnosed before his high school days; learned to manage it well with baseball, no apparent problems currently. Mechanically, three-quarters release with slightly closed-off landing; arm speed very quick through the zone up until release. Arm action can get long on the back side, showing the ball early to hitters (particularly LHH), and he shows a tendency to get horizontally rotational in his upper half into balance and down through release. Nevertheless, good downhill momentum and shows pretty decent downward plane with ability to manipulate pitches at release; struggles to stay on line at times, particularly through hand break and up into arm swing. Mechanically, reminds me a great deal of Milwaukee Brewers farmhand RHP Austin Rubick. Just OK with runners on; sat 1.39 – 1.44 in this July look, varied tempos some with ability to create long holds/sets at times; truthfully, though, didn’t see too much base running traffic until the ninth (final) inning of his outing, at which point his mechanics and command got off the rails pretty badly after not having been in the stretch much for the first seven or eight frames. Struggled to make adjustments there; bears watching in the future if he can hold runners and command quality strikes in high-leverage situations, relief work, etc.

Command/Control: Control well ahead of command at this point; ample arm-side run to fastball makes it difficult to corral consistently in the zone, real tendency to run away off the plate arm-side when he flies open/fails to stay closed through landing to release. Enough life on fastballs here to have catcher set low-middle and allow pitch life to do the work for him; no point in getting too fine to the plate with it. Similarly with off-speed stuff, control OK but lacks command side-to-side in the zone; certainly has ability to throw strikes with both off-speed pitches, but execution is inconsistent (particularly with knuckle-curve). Wants to challenge hitters; love his attack mentality and look; not shying away from contact, just inconsistent ability to get on line and execute quality strikes right now. Based on this, very likely relief profile ahead.

Pitch Type
Notes

Four-Seam Fastball
Ample arm-side life here, even of the four-seam itself. Not as much hard sink late as the two-seamer (below), but there is some depth to his four-seam fastball, particularly when starting down in the zone and aided by plane. Hard pitch, sat 86-91 in my July look here, and got harder as the game wore on; seemed to build strength in the middle innings before he hit 91 a few times in the fourth and fifth. Will flatten some when left up in the zone, but even then, late boring action in to RHH hands makes it a tough pitch to square up consistently.

Two-Seam Fastball
Real pitch manipulation here; two-seamer spins very noticeably different than the four, even sounds different riding on into the plate from release; real downward life here like a hard, heavy sinker, though pitch didn’t quite find a consistent tunnel in my look. Some were exceptionally tight with hard, late depth at the plate that were tough to square up; others flying off the plate arm-side with considerable out-of-control run, as with some of his four-seamers. Regardless, feel for sink here with some ability to manipulate the pitch in a different way. Two-seamer sat 84-87 in this July look; great offering to RHH in particular, hitters will pound it into the ground when right. As with four-seam, real risk of flattening out when left up in the zone.

Slider
Used slider sparingly early on, but pitch really came on late through the second half of this outing. When it did come on late, it showed good late break to glove-side with real depth across two planes, and some ability to get hitters off balance and miss bats, particularly RHH. Sat 79-82 through this look; arguably showed better command of the slider on this day than anything else in his repertoire, with broad feel to throw it for a strike early, and bury it/get it off the plate as a wipeout look late. Gets around some of them and leaves them as cement mixers/spinners on one plane at times, but when he stays through the pitch and finishes, it shows very promising break down and to glove-side; potential here to be a decent power pitch in a short-stint relief look one day.

Knuckle Curve
Seems like more of a project than the slider; vastly more inconsistent, would flash OK break with good eye-level change at times, and would spin out and hang badly to arm-side at other points. Broadly, pitch showed more 12-to-6 break with less horizontal movement than the slider, but he never quite worked it out as a true hammer with consistent downward life in this look. Sat 73-76 here; break path was small and compact even at its best, with a tendency for it to pop out and spin out to stay arm-side without really finishing. Seems to be a work in progress at this point; perhaps some utility here as second breaking ball, for sure, but needs to be more consistently finished with feel to really start to work; definite fourth pitch.

Analysis/Projection: Jonathan Buckley doesn’t have much of a track record at St. Mary’s College as he enters his final season of eligibility in the 2018-19 school year; the Chino native tossed only 24.1 innings across the first three years of his career, including just 3.1 (scoreless) innings across three relief appearances in his junior season. That’s not enough to prove much, or get noticed as a 2019 MLB Draft candidate, but there are some real things to like about Buckley as he heads into his final year with the Gaels. Though he’s been starting this summer in Palm Springs, his future is almost certainly in relief, where an effectively wild Buckley could wreak havoc on right-handed bats with ample pitch life across his repertoire, and enough velocity to play up in short stints to make him at least somewhat projectable into pro ball. He must get on the field and produce this spring to get noticed, but there is a path forward in relief here, and Jonathan Buckley could still become a decent middle reliever at ceiling with a modest bump in velo and a bit of improvement across the board in execution, particularly with his two breaking balls. He’s a dark horse, for sure, but there’s enough size and potential power here that Buckley could blossom late as a reliever, and entice a pro org to take him on as a middle-relief fireman with the ability to go multiple innings; to that end, he bears a couple check-ins at St. Mary’s this spring ahead of the 2019 MLB Draft.

Overall Future Potential (Realistic Role): 40 FV (Multi-inning RH middle relief)




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