Not every high-profile draft prospect hails from big-time college baseball programs. Ahead of the 2021, one of the best arms belongs to Sam Bachman. Bachman, a junior from the University of Miami in Ohio is set to be one of the next high-draft picks from a mid-major school. Miami (Ohio) has produced players such as Charlie Leibrandt and Adam Eaton, but Bachman, the 14th-ranked prospect by MLB.com, is positioned to be the first, first-round pick in school history.
While he tops out as an average sized pitcher standing 6’1 tall, he has good size, weighing 235 pounds. As a result, he is able to drive off the mound and unleash pitches at blistering velocities from a low three-quarter angle. He pitched well in three seasons at Miami (Ohio). His ERA was under 4.00 every year, but he burst onto the scene in 2021 with a 1.81 ERA and 0.771 WHIP.
Sam Bachman’s fastball-slider combination is a weapon that any pitcher would love to posses. Scouts grade his fastball a 70/80 and his slider a 65/80, giving him two well-above average offerings. After the Covid-19 shutdown, he improved his conditioning and athleticism, which led to a spike in velocity at the Grand Park Summer League and it carried over to the fall and spring. His fastball jumped in velocity to sit 94-97 and touch 101 mph. Prior to this year, he sat 91-94. Scouts note that the pitch generates good arm-side run and sink which helps him miss bats, which he did a lot of in 2021 with 14.0 K/9.
The slider also helps him miss bats. It sits in the mid-80s, and it’s nasty bite is troubling for left-handed and right-handed hitters alike.
Additionally, he throws a heavy changeup with deception in the mid-80s. Scouts grade it a above average at 55/80, opening the door for him to start at the next level.
For Bachman, the stuff is there, but his control and durability need work. On paper, his control looks fine as he posted a slightly-above-average 2.6 BB/9 and a very good 5.47 K/BB in 2021. However, his BB/9 for his first two seasons in college was 4.1. His control did improve after he worked on his conditioning during the shutdown, but he has yet to show if that is sustainable for the long run.
As great as his stuff has become, he did not show the ability to pitch deep into games with it. In 2021, he started 12 games and totaled 59 2/3 innings pitched – an average of less than five innings per start. This trend followed him throughout college where he never averaged six complete innings per start in either of his three seasons.
Given the quality of his pitch arsenal, he will be rolled out as a starter at the next level. However, his durability concerns could force him to the bullpen where, worst case scenario, he emerges as a high-quality reliever or bulk innings guy following an opener.
Although Bachman is a RHP, he profiles well as a right-handed version of Chicago White Sox LHP Garrett Crochet. They have the same arsenal. Additionally, their best pitches are a fastball that has touched 101 mph, complemented with a good slider and changeup. There is a five inch height difference, but they carry approximately the same weight.
Pete Fairbanks from the Tampa Bay Rays is also much taller and a little lighter than Bachman. Still, their repertoires also compares favorably. Fairbanks doesn’t throw a changeup, but his fastball averages approximately 97 mph and his slider sits in the mid-80s. Both of these comps are relievers, which only further hints that Bachman may have a future in the bullpen. Still, he has the stuff to be a dominant pitcher at the next level regardless if he starts or relieves.
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