Carmen Mlodzinski told scouts in 2017 that he would honor his commitment and attend the University of South Carolina, essentially withdrawing his name from the 2017 MLB draft. After three years at South Carolina, Mlodzinski is an intriguing right-handed pitching option in the 2020 MLB draft that should hear his name called in the first round.
At Hilton Head Island High School, Mlodzinski didn’t pitch full-time until his senior season in an effort to keep him healthy and maintain his innings. He was potentially a mid-rounder in his senior season of high school due to his physical tools but wanted to improve upon his draft stock.
After a rough freshman season, Mlodzinski seemed poised to break out in his sophomore season as a full-time starter. He entered the 2019 season as the number one starter for the Gamecocks. However, in his third start, Mlodzinski broke his left foot and missed the rest of the 2019 season. Following his frustrating season, Mlodzinski played for the Falmouth Commodores in the Cape Cod League. With a mid 90s fastball and a plus cutter, Mlodzinski excelled and dominated the Cape Cod League. In 29.1 innings, he had 40 strikeouts and a 2.15 ERA with just four walks. Although his junior season was cut short, Mlodzinski continued his excellence with a 2.84 ERA in four starts.
At 6’2, weighing 230 pounds, Carmen Mlodzinski is the 21st best prospect in the MLB Draft according to MLB.com. If Mlodzinski can continue his growth, he can become a mid-rotation starter, with the potential to be more, in the big leagues.
After his sophomore season ended due to a stress fracture in his foot, Mlodzinski got the opportunity to play in the competitive Cape Cod League. One of the key reasons for his dominance was his command of the strike zone. He had four walks, mainly due to a plus sinker. His sinker sits at 94-95 with a plus command that will allow him to pitch to contact and continue his success in creating weak ground balls. Scouts have also reported that his fastball touched 99 miles per hour in the fall practice, which gives upside to a little increase in velocity, to an already plus fastball, as he continues to grow. MLB.com rates his fastball a 60 on an 80 point scale.
Alongside the sinker, Mlodzinski possesses a hard, nasty cutter that is his primary putaway pitch. The cutter, not to be mistaken with his lower 80s slider, averages 88-90 MPH. It has excellent movement that cuts away from a right-handed batter and is his “chase” pitch. What makes his cutter excellent, is the contrast in movement from his sinker. Mlodzinski doesn’t allow a batter to cheat towards his sinker and uses a cutter to keep them off-balance.
Mlodzinski also has an excellent work ethic according to many of his coaches. In just one year, he added four miles to his fastball and over 20 pounds. With his willingness to pitch to contact and improve, Mlodzinski could be a fast-riser in any MLB farm system.
He entered tonight having thrown 24.1 IP, 35K/4BB, 10 H, only 1XBH
FB sizzles at 95-96, CV an 83 hammer as he K’s the Cape leading hitter on 3 pitches pic.twitter.com/RXnuE3x8Gb
— Stu Murray (@Stu_Murray1) July 26, 2019
Although his low 80s slider and change-up have shown flashes of becoming “plus” pitches, Mlodzinski needs one of them to develop to become a reliable middle of the rotation starter. His low 80s slider acts similar to his cutter but is seven miles per hour slower than his cutter. He hasn’t thrown it with much consistency since scrapping his curveball earlier in his career. Mlodzinski must also throw his change-up more consistently, and be able to throw it for a strike. The velocity difference between his fastball and change-up has improved since his uptick in velocity, but increasing confidence in this pitch would give him three pitches that he can throw for a strike.
Another key point Mlodzinski needs to continue to repeat his mechanics. Earlier at South Carolina, Mlodzinski had trouble in repeating his three-quarters arm slot, which led to a lack of command. However, this has improved over his time in the Cape Cod league. He also possesses a short-arm delivery that has a little jerk in the action, increasing injury risk.
With an above-average sinker and a hard cutter, Jake Arrieta seems like a fitting comparison for Carmen Mlodzinski. When Arrieta was with the Chicago Cubs, he had a groundball percentage as high as 56.2%, which matches the pitcher Mlodzinski can become. From 2014-2016, Arrieta had a groundball rate of at least 49.2% and a K/9 of at least 8.67. Mlodzinski has a groundball pitch, as well as a legitimate putout pitch, which will allow him to rack up groundballs and strikeouts at the next level. Arrieta is also a sturdy pitcher at 6’4, 225, which is similar to 230 of Mlodzinski. Mlodzinksi’s sinker is much harder than Arrieta, but Arrieta has a solid curveball that serves as his third pitch.
Carmen Mlodzinski looks to be a sure-fire first-round prospect, who could fly up the minor league system of any team. With a combination of plus command and a plus putout pitch, he can be a groundball pitcher that can go deep into games. Add that to an excellent work ethic, Mlodzinski can be a mid-rotation starter in the major leagues for years to come, with the potential to be an ace of a staff.
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