Prospect #24: LHP Austin Warner
He was signed out of Independent Baseball
A WARNING, A CONFESSION
I have been dismissive of Warner for too long. You see, he's a cast off. After going undrafted, Warner went to play baseball with The River City Rascals. For those that don't know, the Rascals are somewhat local to the St. Louis area and even we have dismissed them, for the most part. Warner has tremendous control, and that usually takes pitchers to the Texas League. Usually there, they get exposed. Some of the better pitchers make it through the Texas League, but are exposed BIG TIME just a few starts into a AAA promotion.
This hasn't been the case with Warner.
Warner is good and left-handed and I really think that there's a major league debut in his future. That's awesome. That makes him a tremendous story worth getting behind. I'll tell you the rest in a bit, but I was wrong and dismissive and you should know that. I'm what the British would call "a knob."
WHY TO GET EXCITED
Warner has advanced control of his entire arsenal. He won't blow anyone away, but he induces plenty of strike outs and he keeps hitters on both sides of the plate off balance very well.
Warner throws a couple of good offspeed pitches. I'm not sure if they're average or above average. I'm not sure what their ultimate peak is, but they're good right now and effective right now and that's all that matters.
While most believe that his change up and curve ball are equally effective pitches, I really love his change up. It's a very good pitch. When he mixes in his slider and he's command all four pitches, that's when he has the most projectable effectiveness.
Warner is smart and a bulldog and confident in his abilities. Sometimes that is half of the battle.
Warner is a great story to get behind! He's the underdog that we all love so much. From undrafted, to the Independent Baseball Leagues, to knocking on the door of a major league debut. Warner is a player that you want to root for.
The drop and drive style inn his motion is repeated very well and he repeats it very well.
WHY TO BE CAUTIOUS
Warner will eventually be limited by himself. He's smaller at 5'11" and he doesn't throw with much in the way of velocity. He's done tremendously well while maximizing his skill--set.
Because his stuff is mostly average and he doesn't have an advanced pitch, strike-outs are going to be at a premium for him.
More than likely, Warner is a bullpen arm long-term, if there is a "long-term."
Warner has done a tremendous job to limit the home runs allowed until he made it to AAA. Now, he's allowing them at an aggressive clip. He allowed three home runs in one of his most recent starts and he had allowed three other home runs in his prior four starts. That's usually a sign that a pitcher is being exposed.
There's more to say, but I'm going to leave it here. I love Mr. Warner and I'm rooting for him. You should, too.
I don't have the slightest idea. No, for real. I really don't know who to compare him too. He's a wild card. A total unknown. His rise through the ranks is both improbably and difficult to assess. So, you know, I'm not touching this with a 99 and a half foot pool. With a player like this, with his background and questions and success, there is absolutely no way to make a comparison. He's entirely his own "thing."
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Thanks For Reading!!