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Earlier this season I wrote up a scouting report on Tyler Mahle when he made his first start in Triple-A. In that game he was charged with three unearned runs in 6.0 innings with a walk and nine strikeouts. Things went quite well for the right hander, at least when considering the things that he can control. His line for the day wasn’t bad: 5.0 innings, eight hits allowed, one earned run, one walk and four strikeouts.

On August 15th I made the trip down to Louisville to see Tyler Mahle in person. It was the first time since right before the season began. In early April he pitched in Louisville in the Futures Game against the Reds to end spring training.

With the Louisville Bats in Triple-A he’s performed quite well in 2017. In 59.1 innings he’s posted a 2.73 ERA with 52 hits allowed. He’s walked just 13 batters and he’s struck out 51 batters along the way. That’s a step back from what the right hander did in Double-A, but it’s still quite good.

The numbers are certainly strong, but what did the stuff look like? You can see several innings of the game for yourself above if you’d like.

Tyler Mahle Scouting Report

The Fastball | From a velocity standpoint, the pitch was 91-93 MPH – though it would get to 94-95 at times, too. On this day, the location of the pitch wasn’t at it’s best. The movement was also not at it’s best.

The Slider | There were two versions of this pitch on the day. There was some good and some bad that comes along with that. The version of the slider on this day that he was able to throw in or near the strikezone was a fringe-average offering in the 83-85 MPH range. It didn’t have much bite on the day. The other version of the offering showed good biting action. It was in the same velocity range. However, when the pitch had good bite it was never close to the zone, often never appearing to be a strike at any point and often finding the dirt.

The good side is that the slider that showed good biting action isn’t one that I’ve seen much of in the past. If he can thrown that pitch closer to the zone it will be a real upgrade to his arsenal.

The Change Up | This is another pitch that was fringy on the day. That has been the case in past starts, too. It worked in the mid 80’s. Like the fastball, it didn’t have the best movement on the day – though the fastball has generally shown better movement than the change up (in comparison to others offerings of the same pitches).

The Curveball | The curveball didn’t show up in the first few innings, but began making it’s appearance around the 4th inning. It was a solid offering coming in around 75-77 MPH.

This day was not the sharpest that I’ve seen from Tyler Mahle. A scout that I spoke to between games (this was the 1st game of a double header) made a similar note when discussing the outing. I’ve seen his velocity be a little better at times.  I’ve also seen his ability to locate his pitches be better by quite a bit.

What does the future hold

If I were to only have a take away from this singular outing, Tyler Mahle would probably be written up as a solid, but unspectacular prospect. In this outing there just wasn’t anything that stood out. The control wasn’t there like it usually is. The fastball didn’t move as much as it usually does and the offspeed stuff didn’t stand out. With that said, outside of Clayton Kershaw or Chris Sale, there aren’t pitchers that don’t have “off days” in baseball.

Tyler Mahle has looked better in other outings that I’ve seen from him, both in person and watching most of his starts since he reached Double-A last summer on MiLB.tv. I still wonder just how well his secondary offerings will play at the big league level. There just doesn’t seem to be one that has that out-pitch look to it. With that said, when his fastball is at it’s best, it’s going to likely be an out-pitch with the combination of location and outstanding movement.

While I don’t see Tyler Mahle being a guy that’s going to be confused with a #1 pitcher on most staffs, he does have everything that you want to see from a guy who can be a middle of the rotation pitcher. He throws strikes and he’s got four offerings to help keep hitters off balance. In that sense he’s similar to former Reds pitcher Mike Leake. The stuff isn’t too comparable between the two guys, though. Leake had a better secondary offering, while Mahle’s got the better fastball when it’s at its best.

It will be interesting to see how the organization handles Tyler Mahle when September rolls around. He’s not on the 40-man roster right now, but he does need to be added this offseason. Will they give him a look in September with a call up, or will they wait until next spring to let him compete for a job in the rotation? We’ll find out soon enough.

3 Responses

  1. Krozley

    With Castillo soon to be shut down for his innings ceiling, I think the first five starters in September should be Bailey, Romano, Stephenson, Reed, and Garrett. The latter two haven’t necessarily deserved it, but I’d like them to get another look this season. If they decide to go with a 6-man rotation (probably smart) or another gets hurt, Mahle is the next up for me then Davis. If Wojo, Adleman, or Farrell get starts in September instead of any of those guys, I won’t be happy.

    • MK

      Have they announced shutting him down or is that your speculation considering what they have done to others in the past?

      • Krozley

        From a Tuesday article on reds.com

        The Reds have a few factors that make their rotation fluid and rookie Luis Castillo approaching an innings limit is one of them. Between Double-A and the Majors, Castillo has logged 150 2/3 innings, more than the 131 2/3 innings he had last year in the Minors. Price would like him to get 30-35 innings beyond his 2016 total.
        “It didn’t look the math was going to allow him to pitch all the way through September,” Price said.