Arms to Watch in Draft: Kyle Funkhouser

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As I continue you to cover the 2015 draft I have noticed one consistent trend with the top college pitching prospects. Mike Matuella, Kyle Funkhouser and Nathan Kirby were never drafted out of high school. This could mean that they were strongly committed to their college or they weren’t good enough to receive a tempting signing bonus. All three of these pitchers look to be taken in the top 10 this year. Last year, as sophomores, these three pitchers had breakout years. All three should be the aces of their college staffs and should pile on a lot of innings this year. This will give scout a chance to see these guys in action and get a better feel for them. Scouts don’t have a lot of background on these pitchers besides their sophomore years. I believe that this is the year to take prep pitchers, as there is a great amount of big physical prep pitchers. Pitchers like Justin Hooper, Mike Nikorak and Beau Burrows all have chances to shoot up draft boards, if they have a great spring. Overall, this draft looks to go down to the final weeks of the college and high school seasons. I don’t think anyone really knows who is going where and in what order.

Kyle Funkhouser has a chance to be a top 10 draft pick this year, and a potential impact arm at the major league level. Funkhouser was born in the suburbs outside of Chicago. He didn’t go unnoticed in high school, but he wasn’t drafted, deciding to attend the University of Louisville. Louisville isn’t a major baseball school, but has competed in the college World Series the two years that FunkHouser has been there. Since his freshman year, Funkhouser has become one of the best college pitchers in the country. He has pitched for Team USA, and was a top ten prospect in the Cape Cod League.

Funkhouser was Louisville’s ace of the staff in 2014. He pitched to a 1.94 ERA in 120 innings with 122 strikeouts. He throws a fastball that ranges in the 91-94mph. His over the top delivery helps him keep the ball low, and with the downward angle, he induces ground balls. His next best offering is his slider which is considered an above average. It moves side to side well and has pretty tight break to it. Scouts consider his change-up to be above average. Funkhouser is also working on a curveball, which is going to be a good pitch to change speeds. A slider is thrown hard, and a curveball will really help him keep hitters off-balance. The only worry would be that his slider and curve may mix together, creating a slurve type pitch. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it’s better to have two distinctly different off-speed offerings.

Control/Command has been somewhat of an issue of Funkhouser as he has pitched more innings. In 2014 he pitched in 120 innings but walked 65 batters. He has also worked on his mentality when it comes to pitching deep into games. A pitcher he compared himself to was Justin Verlander. Funkhouser doesn’t look to overpower the hitters, but to get them out any way possible that will be most efficient. I think that if he can improve his control and stay healthy we are talking about a Chris Archer type player. He will pitch 200 innings each year and will be a solid number two in a pitching rotation.

Funkhouser is definitely going to be a top pick in the 2015. I believe that it may take two years in the minors for him to get become a legitimate starter in the bigs. His favorite team is the Chicago White Sox, and I could see them taking him. The Cubs and Twins could also be good fits for Funkhouser. If you’re a team selecting Funkhouser, you are getting a player how is going to go out and compete every 5th day. He may not be the power pitcher that teams look for, but he is a player that you can build a rotation around and count on him to make 30 starts a year.

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