Jonathan Buckley Scouting Report
Name: Jonathan Buckley
Position: Right-Handed Pitcher
Ht/Wt: 6’4”, 225 lbs.
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.
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)
Jonathan Buckley Scouting Report — Game Video
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