- Full name Tanner J. Bushue
- Born 06/20/1991 in Kinmundy, IL
- Profile Ht.: 6'4" / Wt.: 180 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- School South Central
Drafted in the 2nd round (69th overall) by the Houston Astros in 2009 (signed for $530,000).
View Draft ReportA sprained right knee that didn't require surgery caused Bushue to miss most of his junior season and the summer showcase circuit in 2008, severely limiting his exposure. Now that he's healthy again, he has vaulted past lefthanders Ian Krol (Neuqua Valley HS, Naperville) and Jerad Grundy (Johnsburg HS) as the best prep prospect--and perhaps the top draft pick--in Illinois this spring. An all-area basketball player who averaged 18.2 points per game as a senior, Bushue is just beginning to realize his potential on the diamond. An extremely athletic 6-foot-4, 180-pounder, he repeats his delivery well and throws with little effort. That allows him to maintain his 88-90 mph fastball into the late innings, and he can reach 93 mph with the promise of more to come. Bushue's curveball is a solid-average pitch, though he needs to use it more often, and he also messes around with a slider. He hasn't made much progress with a changeup, a pitch he'll need to remain a starter at higher levels. He has signed with John A. Logan (Ill.) CC rather than a four-year school and should be signable in the first 10 rounds. A team that believes in his upside could pop Bushue as early as the fourth round.
Organization Prospect Rankings
Like Mike Foltynewicz, Bushue is an Illinois high school product with a lanky pitcher's frame. The similarities end there, however, because Bushue doesn't have Foltynewicz's power repertoire. Bushue's strong suit is his fastball command, which helped him win five of his first six starts last year at Lexington. He pitched off an 88-92 mph fastball that he located to all four quadrants of the strike zone. However, he started wearing down by June, spending six weeks on the disabled list with back spasms, and posted a 7.43 ERA after his return before being shut down in late August. Bushue's curveball is his next-best pitch, and when it's on it's a 12-to-6 breaker with good shape. It can get loopy at times, too. He also throws a slider and changeup, and neither pitch stands out as an effective third offering. Bushue has to add some strength to his frame in order to stay healthy over a full season and to maintain his delivery during games. He could be headed back to Lexington for a third season if he doesn't wow the Astros in spring training, but he has a shot to earn a spot in Lancaster. If he gets stronger and refines his secondary pitches, he could develop into a No. 3 or 4 starter.
Bushue split time between baseball and basketball in high school, and his athleticism attracted the Astros. He wasn't expected to be a second-round pick in 2009, but his late helium, projectable frame and flashes of 93-mph heat prompted Houston to jump up and draft him there. Lexington's youngest player for much of 2010, he missed two weeks with a toe injury that required postseason surgery but still led the Legends with 134 innings--and the South Atlantic League with 18 homers allowed. The owner of the system's best curveball, Bushue uses a high arm slot to throw it with plenty of depth. He commands the curve well and misses bats with it. His velocity backed up in his first full season, with his fastball usually sitting at 86-88 mph and his curve operating at 69-73. He'll need to add strength and improve his finish in his delivery to get to the low-90s fastball the Astros and most scouts who saw him as an amateur projected him to have. Bushue has decent feel for his developing changeup. His delivery is fluid and he throws with ease, giving him good control. Houston hopes Bushue's experience, full health and some added strength will lead to improved velocity in 2011. He'll need it as he heads to Lancaster's launching pad.
After missing most of his high school junior season with a sprained right knee, Bushue blossomed into Illinois' top prep prospect in 2009. A strong predraft workout sold the Astros, who took him in the second round and signed him for $530,000. Bushue shows a good feel for pitching and the ability to work both sides of the plate. His fastball currently sits at 88-90 mph, but he's so athletic--he was a high school basketball standout--and generates velocity with such little effort that it's easy to project his heater as a future plus pitch. He already touches 94 mph on occasion, and his athleticism also should allow him to repeat his delivery and throw strikes. He also shows the ability to spin a breaking ball, with the makings of a power curveball. Bushue needs to stay healthy so he can soak up more experience. He hasn't had any arm problems, but he had the knee injury in 2008 and had his pro debut ended by stress fractures in his lower back in July. That also limited him in instructional league. He shows aptitude for a changeup, but it's still a work in progress. He also throws a slider, though it's not as promising as his curve. The Astros expect Bushue to be healthy and able to handle a full season of starts in low Class A in 2010. He's just beginning to scratch the surface of his ability and has the potential to develop the best stuff among Houston's starting pitching prospects.
Minor League Top Prospects
Bushue pitched his way into the second round with a strong predraft workout for the Astros. He signed quickly for $530,000 and made a smooth transition to pro ball before back problems ended his debut at the end of July. His health isn't a long-term concern, however, and he was expected to participate in instructional league. An athletic 6-foot-4, 180-pounder who also starred in basketball in high school, he repeats his low-effort delivery with ease. He holds his 89-90 mph fastball into the late innings and peaks at 93, and there's reason to believe there's more velocity in his projectable frame. Bushue also throws an average curveball and messed around with a slider in high school. Like most high school pitchers, he'll need to develop a changeup to advance as a starter.