Josh Hartle arguably is the best left-handed prep pitcher in the 2021 class. The Regan High School senior committed to Wake Forest University as a freshman. He helped this team reach the semi-finals of the NCHSAA 4A State Playoffs. With Hartle, he’s got good control of his arsenal. Bring a talented southpaw pitcher is a great pathway to a potential MLB career. Hartle’s 6’4″ frame and skill set shows he can aim high in regards to pitchers to model his game after. He could become the third North Carolina prep lefty to go in the first round of the past five drafts.
Josh Hartle Draft Profile
Scouting Grades: Fastball: 55, Slider: 50, Changeup: 55, Control: 55, Overall: 50
Hartle has the potential for three solid pitches with remarkable movement. He works from a low 3/4 arm slot that comes with effortless delivery and release. The Wake Forest commit even has good control of his fastball, which tops at 93mph. The pitch commands well to both sides of the plate and great tailing action. Furthermore, he generates a high percentage of breaking balls, more of a slider than a curve. His well-developed changeup has nice fading action against right-handed hitters. Hartle’s curveball kills left-handed hitters with its sweeping action, a pitch that will become more lethal as soon as he adds more velocity to it.
A weakness for Hartle is his lack of high-end velocity to consistently miss bats. His stuff isn’t that overpowering, with a fastball sitting in the 89-93 mph range. There are some questions about Hartle’s ability to spring a breaking ball with his 3/4 slot. His 78-84 mph breaking ball movement isn’t great, and it’s a pitch he will need to improve on to enhance his profile. His lanky frame suggests that there’s more in the tank. Hartle is an average athlete at the moment, but he still has room to grow muscle to help gain more power on his pitches. He has plenty of starter traits, and teams will wait for him to fill out and see a tick in his fastball.
James Paxton of the Seattle Mariners is the one player that’s comparable to Hartle. Both Paxton and Hartle share similar comparisons as the two big southpaws have premium power stuff. They even have similar pitches, including a mid-90’s heater and slider. The pair of left-handed hurlers are both listed at 6’4″. They have the arensel to be an ace of the pitching staff at the big-league level.
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