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2015 Phillies Draft Preview: Kyle Funkhouser, RHP

A pitcher who flashes top of the rotation stuff and then follows it up by occasionally losing the plate for long stretches. That's what you get in this draft.

Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Funkhouser is a 6'2" 215 LB Righty from University of Louisville. He has a Plus Fastball he can routinely throw 94-96 and often get up to 97 or even 98. He's as filled out as he's getting, so that will be where his speed tops out, which is fine as that's plenty of gas. He also throws a Slider with Plus potential, a Curve that is workable and a Changeup that needs lots of work. There's an arsenal that can be honed into a #2 Starter, there's a build that can be a workhorse #3 and there's enough uncertainty that you could basically just end up with a middle leverage reliever. I'm not sure there's been a more volatile College prospect this year.

We'll start with mechanics. The video below is from Fangraphs and you can see the root of the problems at the end of Funkhouser's delivery. You see it when his foot lands. He ends up with his landing foot pointed to the 3rd Base line. This can cause of host of problems; outward torque on his landing knee, throwing across his body at the end and it causes him to fall towards First at the end of his delivery. The flaw is blatantly obvious as many times you can see his pitches get released as he starts to tilt off towards First, resulting in a call way off the plate and low. The rest of his delivery looks fine and because of his late turn he gets good deception, but that foot landing is a big issue. It's not a deal breaker, as other Pitchers have had that coached out in the Minors, but will it get totally eliminated? How will his control be once that is gone? It should turn him into a very good control Pitcher, but the law of unintended consequences is in play a bit here. He's had games this year where the weird landing hasn't bothered him. He dominated Duke in April, giving up only a single Walk with 7 Ks. But his Early May start against Florida State saw 6K, but with 5 BB, 2 Wild Pitches, 6 Hits and 5 ER in 6 Innings.

Now, talking pitches, his Fastball is his calling card. He can get it up to 98 and consistently works 93-96 and can hold velocity late into starts. Despite his mechanics he maintains good command of his Fastball generally. He gets good downward plane with arm side run and sink. It's a solid plus pitch and might be the best Fastball in this draft.

Behind that he has a Potentially top shelf Slider. He throws it mid-80's with good movement and the release point is the same as his Fastball. His feel is inconsistent as the ball sometimes flattens out and doesn't break and sometimes breaks way too much and ends up in the dirt. Part of it may be a result of the foot landing pulling the ball too far, but ultimately it'll take repetition and a team forcing him to throw it more.

His third pitch is a Curveball that needs some work. He rarely throws it, so I can't say much about it form seeing anything in video or the one time I saw him in person. Scouting reports note it as a pitch that should get to, at least, average with some work with pro coaching. He also has a Changeup that's even more sparsely thrown and pretty raw. I can't even find scouting reports that project it, so I'll say that it's only safe to project that this will only ever be a show-me pitch.

There's a big delta here, as he could end up being anything from a front end Starter to a guy who can't even find Home Plate consistently enough get out of Triple-A. Funkhouser's another guy who I would grab with a Second Round pick, but is a little too much risk for the 10th pick. That said, there could be some underslot potential here. That said, the whole point of going underslot is to get a good player for less money, not to just get whomever for less money. So, if the Phillies feel certain they can fix his mechanical issues and get a mid-rotation starter, he'd be a good pick if you can grab someone who dropped like Jacob Nix or Matuella or whomever else is hanging around for that Round 2 pick. I'm not very confident Funkhouser can fix the issues to be anything more than a #4 Starter. While that may not be a bad outcome for this draft, it's not much to get excited about.