AFL Scout's View: Jake Arrieta
Scouts were able to get their first look at Orioles righthander Jake Arrieta, the professional version, in the Arizona Fall League this year and have come away impressed.
A 2007 fifth-rounder out of Texas Christian, Arrieta signed late—for $1.1 million—and didn't pitch in the minors during the regular season.
After a dominating 2006 season in which he tied for the NCAA Division I lead with 14 wins and put up 4-0, 0.27 numbers with Team USA last summer, Arrieta followed up that season with inconsistencies.
His velocity was down in the spring and he struggled to maintain his mechanics at times, eventually dropping to the O's in the fifth round because he wanted more than slot money and is represented by Scott Boras.
But Arrieta's stuff has surged this fall. His fastball has been up to 95 mph with good late life and his slider has shown consistent bite.
So far this fall, Arrieta is 1-0, 0.00 over his first seven innings with the Phoenix Desert Dogs.
We caught up with a veteran American League scout to provide a breakdown:
There are some things mechanically going on with him, but the bottom line is this kid hasn't pitched professionally and he's out here not pitching scared against much more advanced hitters.
"He's up to 95, and will run that in on the hands when he wants to with no problem. He's got a nice, long stride and his arm is flexible through his delivery. He's good and projects as a No. 3 or No. 4 starter.
"He's got a little bit of a recoil in his delivery that doesn't allow him to maximize his pitches because he's not transferring his weight properly. It's like a boxer throwing a punch while he's back on his heels. He gets very little leverage as opposed to lunging forward and following through with strong finish.
"He needs to have better overall balance over the rubber and get his weight shifted downhill. He's got a great pitcher's body, but in order to get the most of out his stuff, he's going to have to take care of that.
"But again, he's out here competing with some of the best stuff among the pitchers in this league. For a guy who was just drafted—who's just here to get innings in—he's been very good."