Profiling 2014 MLB Draft: Sean Newcomb
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He might not come from a big-name school, but Hartford Hawks left hander Sean Newcomb is drawing big-time interest. The University of Hartford has only had three players reach the major leagues. The most notable of these is Jeff Bagwell. The last time a player was drafted out of Hartford was back in 2004, when the Toronto Blue Jays selected Scott Roy in the 21st round.
Newcomb, a 6’5 lefty listed at 240 pounds, had a promising freshman year at Hartford. In 45.1 innings, he posted a 20.9 percent strikeout rate, and allowed an opponents’ batting average of just .219 before suffering a season-ending injury. His highlight was a no-hitter against Yale with 10 strikeouts. However, his control was something of an issue, as shown by a 17.7 percent walk rate. He played for the Wareham Gatemen of the Cape Cod League, but the injury limited him to five appearances.
He made a big step forward in 2013, throwing 72 innings. Thanks in large part to increased fastball velocity and improved secondary pitches, his strikeout rate jumped to 31.2 percent. Furthermore, he trimmed his walk rate to 12.5 percent. Opponents hit just .213 off Newcomb with a .273 slugging percentage. After the season, he returned to the Gatemen, and continued to impress, with 28 strikeout in 22.1 innings.
Newcomb shows a plus fastball that tops out at 96. He also features a cutter/slider, and a curveball. He’s also known to mix in a changeup. Not surprisingly, the fastball is easily his best pitch. The cutter/slider is solid. Improved command of his secondary pitches is a big key for Newcomb’s continued development.
Mechanically, Newcomb features a relatively low effort delivery. He shows good arm speed, but occasionally struggles with maintaining his release point. He throws from a natural 3/4 arm slot, with clean, rather than whippy arm action. Pitchers are always injury risks to some extent, but Newcomb’s delivery doesn’t contain any red flags. At 6’5, he should get good downward plane, though he sometimes gets too low on his back leg, causing him to leave pitches up in the zone. Using an abbreviated leg lift, his mechanics stay consistent from the stretch.
Sean Newcomb has the size and fastball velocity that teams covet. In terms of delivery and frame, he is drawing comparisons to Boston Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester. Everything he has shown so far indicates he will continue to improve. With a solid junior year, he could go within the top twenty picks of the 2014 draft.