On Episode #8 of THE NatsGM Show, I had the privilege of interviewing Baseball Prospectus’s and Grantland’s Ben Lindbergh.
This week Ben and I covered many topics, including his meteoric rise to Editor-in-Chief of Baseball Prospectus, his Podcast Effectively Wild, and we briefly previewed the MLB Trade Deadline. Special thanks to Ben for being so generous with his time.
Download and Enjoy – Thanks for Listening!
Saturday evening, in an effort to have a unique date night with Mrs. NatsGM, I surprised my wife and took her to the Frederick Keys game against the Lynchburg Hillcats. The promise of a Nick Markakis bobblehead (which were gone before we arrived at 4:45pm), postgame fireworks, and a start from Lucas Sims made this the perfect opportunity to enjoy a wonderful summer evening. Although the smell of the tasty food and the delicious Flying Dog made it difficult for me to focus on the action on the field, I was mesmerized by the immense talent of Lynchburg’s starting pitcher, Lucas Sims.
Lucas Sims RHP Atlanta Braves
On the hill for Lynchburg was Atlanta’s top prospect, 2012 1st Round pick, 21st overall, Lucas Sims. The 20-year-old Sims has a classic pitchers frame, listed at 6-2 195lbs, with plenty of physical projection remaining, especially in his lower half. A quality athlete with obvious athleticism, this young right-handed pitcher currently lacks rhythm in his delivery, which causes him to struggle to find a consistent release point. During this appearance Sims was featuring a 90-93mph fastball, touching 94, with late life, natural cutting movement, and he located the pitch well both low in the zone and to the glove side. In addition Sims showed a slurvy, inconsistent 73-75mph curveball with potential, and an impressive 82-83mph changeup with glove-side downward sinking action.
A still raw pitcher, Sims has plenty of current strengths and weaknesses to his game. Presently, Sims has an above-average or better fastball with natural right-to-left movement and his off-speed offerings can both flash above-average or better. With more experience and refinement, Sims could potentially have 3 better than average pitches, which when combined with his natural athleticism, allows you to project him as a future #2 or #3 starting pitcher.
With that said, Sims struggles to repeat his delivery, which is not a particularly fluid motion and looks surprisingly non-athletic: as my wife eloquently described, “He is not the most graceful pitcher, is he”? He needs to improve his momentum throughout his delivery, but his youth and athleticism, not to mention Atlanta’s track record with young pitching, gives me little doubt he will improve and refine his motion with age. These improvements should help him reduce the number of walks allowed, and perhaps gain better consistency with his changeup and curveball.
Sims needs more development time in the minor leagues to refine his motion and develop his off-speed pitches, but this is an extremely promising young arm with true mid-rotation potential. Assuming he stays in High-A the rest of the season, and spends all of 2015 in Double-A, Sims is on-track to debut in the majors sometime in 2016. Sims is one of the most exciting pitchers I have watched this summer and is a no-doubt top-50 prospect currently in the minor leagues.