There is lots of craziness going on right now in the world of amateur baseball as the draft is rapidly approaching! The playoffs have begun across the nation to see who will make it to Omaha this year. I was able to watch the Louisville vs. Xavier game, which was absolutely crazy. Give props to Xavier, they fought really hard against an obviously superior Louisville team and gave them their money’s worth. There’s lots of great stories going on in college baseball, but we’ll save those for later. Today I will give my opinion on Brendon Little, who I find to be one of the most intriguing prospects in this draft and in the top 3 of JUCO draft prospects this year.
Little is a former University of North Carolina recruit who transferred to the State Junior College of Florida after one shaky season with the Tar Heels in which he only threw four innings. This was strange considering he was drafted by the Giants out of high school and was a highly touted prospect from Pennsylvania. After the disappointing season, Little dominated the Cape Cod League with 29 strikeouts in just 22 innings. For his sophomore season, Brendon Little transferred to the State JC of Florida, where he threw 85 innings this season. He was a strikeout machine this season with 133 strikeouts while giving up just 24 earned runs.
The most noticeable thing about Little is his fastball, which has hit 97 and sits between 92-95. While this pitch does not have a lot of movement because of his 12 o’clock arm slot, he has been able to keep it low in the zone. While he does not always have control of the pitch, which we will get to later on, 97 is still impressive. He also been very successful with his curveball, which some scouts say is his best pitch. Because of the true over the top arm slot, he is able to generate plenty of 12-6 action on it while throwing it in the low to mid 80’s. If he is able to improve his control on it, this will be a great strikeout pitch for him in the future.
One area of concern is that he is mechanics are not very smooth. His windup is a bit jerky, which has lead to some control issues with his offspeed pitches. When watching his tape some of his tape that I was able to find, he also has problems with his landing foot veering off to the glove side, which is concerning. If he is not able to correct these problems and increase his control, Little might just end up becoming a bullpen pitcher. He was able to keep his walks down this season, with only a 3.49 BB/9, but college stats are obviously not a perfect indicator of future success. Since the biggest problem with his delivery does seem to be the landing foot, I think this will be a relatively minor fix and that he will be able to work it out without to many problems.
Overall, I think that Little is a solid prospect with lots of room to grow. He already has a plus fastball and curveball. From all the reports that I have read, he seems to have a strong character, something that teams are valuing more and more now, as they should. With two above average pitches and a good character, I expect Little to be drafted within picks 25-50, depending on how much he is asking for. If he is able to improve on his control and clean up his mechanics, as well as putting some serious work in on his changeup, I could see Little becoming a solid #3 starter.