After getting drafted straight out of high school in the 34th round by the New York Mets, Vanderbilt commit Jake Eder chose to play collegiately. The lefty slinger’s decision paid off with a National Championship in 2019 that he closed out with a three-inning save against Michigan. Now he gets his second chance at getting drafted, as the 59th-best prospect according to MLB.com.
When you watch Eder pitch the first thing that jumps out is his dimensions coming at batters from the left arm slot. At 6’4″ and 220 pounds he is built to become a major league pitcher whether it be out of the bullpen or in the rotation. The delivery is fundamentally sound with his long stride and upper arm slot that creates angle and plane according to Perfect Game.
The fastball is his strongest potential pitch which scouts have graded highly (55) with his curveball coming in at an equally impressive clip (55). He typically throws the heater between 92-95 MPH but can reach as high as 97 with room to grow. This is just about as strong of a power arm as you can find from a LHP in this year’s class.
As far as experience is concerned, Eder is also a notch above most of the other pitching prospects in 2020. He proved himself in the most crucial games possible at the collegiate level during the Commodores’ 2019 College World Series run. The 21-year-old had his best year in the largest sample size of his career as a sophomore. Eder compiled 39.1 innings as a reliever with a 2.97 ERA, 41 strikeouts, and a 1.119 WHIP. After struggling in his freshman year as a starter, the lefty found a home as the best arm in the Vandy bullpen.
Jake Eder has also had some struggles during his time at Vanderbilt, especially regarding consistency and command. Despite his success in relief, the lefty tended to struggle as a starter. During his freshman year he started nine games pitching to a 5.45 ERA with 22 walks and a 1.424 WHIP.
After his most successful campaign in 2019 out of the bullpen, Eder started four games in the shortened 2020 season. Despite lowering his ERA to 3.60, his 1.450 WHIP was even higher than it was as a freshman. To have major league success Eder will need to prove he can reel in his control (50) when it gets the best of him.
This one really hits the nail on the head especially considering the tweener that Jake Eder is between starter and reliever. Mike Minor seems like the perfect fit based on their track records and mechanics. The Texas Rangers’ All-Star has had stints in both the bullpen and rotation throughout his career.
Where did he go to college you might ask? Vanderbilt University. Both 6’4″ LHPs played SEC baseball for the Commodores throwing heaters in the mid-90s. Minor’s curveball developed into a knuckle-curve in the pros while he added a slider. Eder could definitely add to his repertoire in the future once he starts experimenting in the minor leagues.
Mechanically, the upper arm slot deliveries and long strides from the left side leave left-handed batters whiffing. These smooth deliveries have very little arm-side movement which generates swing and miss stuff. Time will tell whether Jake Eder is a starter or reliever long term, either way, his talent warrants the draft pick.
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