Written by Lee Tackett
Starting Pitcher: LHP Steven Brault
Final Line: 3 IP 2 H 2 R 0 ER 0 BB 3 K
Brault pounded the strike zone during his 3-inning outing and was rarely squared up by the Mahoning Valley lineup. Brault stays over the rubber well in the windup and has a deliberate hand separation where he extends his glove side then tucks as his arm comes through. He has a long arm circle that comes through somewhere between three quarter and over the top. Brault doesn't get much extension down the mound in his delivery, especially on his fastball and cuts himself off by stepping across his body. Brault's two way background in college makes him intriguing based on the inference that he?s an athletic kid and when working as a pitcher full time, should be able to repeat his delivery better.
Brault was comfortable working his fastball to both sides of the plate during his outing and was most effective spotting his fastball under the hands of righties. There wasn't much sink or run to his fastball, but there was no hard contact when he located down in the zone. He threw very few breaking balls, but had good 12-6 action when he got through his delivery. Some of his issues with extension were more pronounced and he had trouble staying balanced at foot contact, casing him to fall to the first base side of the rubber.
I mentioned earlier that Brault's arm action was in between slots. This is something that I think the Orioles will change before he gets to full season ball. His mechanics are simple and clean enough to where the organization could open his stride and set him on a starters path. More likely though, they will lower the slot to a full three quarter to capitalize on his deception and hopefully add depth to his fastball.
Relief Pitcher: RHP Dylan Rheault
Fastball: 85-89, mostly sat 87
Final Line: 4 IP 2 H 0 R 1 BB 4 K
Rheault is imposing with a large frame on the mound and has a simple delivery for his size. He comes through with a true three quarter arm slot, but the arm action is slow, not loose, and seemed like he was pushing the ball to the plate. He worked exclusively with a fastball-slider mix and was able to locate the ball down consistently. The slider was his best pitch and had good, tight spin, but he only threw it to the glove side for strikes. He generated some sink with his fastball and it got on hitters when he was down in the zone. When his delivery got out of whack, he missed wide to the arm side and had sequences of multiple misses there without self-correcting. Rheault, like all in their first professional season, should be given some time to iron out some kinks in his delivery, especially given his limited use in college. Hopefully he will see an uptick in his stuff by cleaning up his delivery, but I was not encouraged by his arm action.
Relief Pitcher: RHP Nick Cunningham
Final Line: 2 IP 2 H 1 R 1 ER 0 BB 1 K
Cunningham had the best pure stuff of anyone that threw, but mechanical issues limited his effectiveness. Working exclusively out of the stretch, Cunningham has a big hand separation and scapular load. This can work, but, at foot contact, his top half isn't connected and has him already pulling off to the first base side. This leaks his fastball back over the plate and keeps it elevated. He didn't miss many barrels in his outing, but had good arm side movement when he kept his front side connected at foot contact. Cunningham's curveball humped out of his hand instead of going straight down and did not get any swings and misses. He projects as a reliever going forward and saw very few innings in college so I can see the potential that the organization saw, but there are major mechanical issues to iron out.
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