Ryan Cusick 2021 MLB Draft Profile

Wake Forest University’s Ryan Cusick has experienced peaks and valleys since 2018. As a Massachusetts prep pitcher, he flashed the potential of a top-three round draft pick. His desire too pitch at Wake Forest was stronger than his desire to turn professional at that time, and he ultimately slipped to the 40th round.

As expected, the 6’6 right-handed pitcher who weighs 235 pounds didn’t sign with the Cincinnati Reds. However, he bottomed out in his freshman year of college where he posted a 6.44 ERA. He rebounded to show he has great potential as a professional pitcher, but there are still some concerns with the collegiate right-handed pitcher. Currently, he is the 26th-best prospect, according to MLB.com.

Strengths

Without a doubt, Ryan Cusick is a power pitcher, and he is one of the hardest throwers in collegiate baseball. His fastball sits 94-97 mph, but he has also hit 102 mph with good spin rates. He generates riding action on the pitch that he maintains deep into his starts. For a stretch, his fastball was all he had, but his curveball has developed into an above-average second offering. Scouts grade the pitch  a 55/80, sitting 79-82 mph that is a plus pitch at its best.

These two pitches were a deadly combination for opposing hitters as Cusick recorded a 17.3 K/9 in the abbreviated 2020 season and a 13.9 K/9 in 70 2021 innings. That mark led the all ACC pitchers.

He rounds out his repertoire with two average pitches – a changeup and a slider. The changeup sinks and shows flashes of being a third solid offering for his repertoire. His slider sits in the mid-80 mph range, but it tends to get too slurvy at times.

Weaknesses

There isn’t much effort in his delivery which bodes well for him moving forward, but he has yet to see that translate into consistent success. In fact, as great as his potential is, he has yet to harness it and turn it into great results. Of his three seasons at Wake Forest, the only season he finished with an ERA under 4.00 was the abbreviated 2020. He pitched 22 1/3 innings with a 3.22 ERA that year.

His freshman year was bad with a 1.736 WHIP to go along with the 6.44 ERA. In 2021, he had a 4.24 ERA and 1.386 WHIP. On a positive note, he pitched much better in the Cape Cod League and Coastal Pin League then he did as a Demon Deacon.

His lackluster control explains his struggles. Scouts grade it a 45/80, and he dealt with walk issues all throughout college. Even when his K/9 was 17.3 in 2020, his BB/9 was 7.3. For as many batters as he struck out, Cusick issued almost half as many walks. His career K/BB is 2.61.

MLB Comp

Ryan Cusick is a tall pitcher with a blistering fastball and a good curveball that has not yet harnessed his potential. At one point in time, the same was said about Tampa Bay Rays‘ pitcher Tyler Glasnow. Glasnow is taller than Cusick, standing at 6’8, but he also hits triple digits with his fastball and has a plus curveball.

With the Pittsburgh Pirates, Glasnow began his career similarly to how Cusick’s college career unfolded- a lot of strikeouts but also a lot of walks and not great consistency. Once he became a Ray, the organization was able to unlock his potential, making him one of the best pitchers in MLB. All it takes is the right organization to get their hands on Cusick for the same to happen to him.

Players Mentioned: Ryan Cusick, Tyler Glasnow

Main Photo: Embed from Getty Images


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