Updated: Dec 16, 2018
Prospect #20: LHP Evan Kruczynski
Previously Unranked in preseason but ranked 29th at July reranking
Drafted in the 9th round of the 2017 draft
THE QUICK WRITE UP
Kruczynski has spent quite a bit of time on the Palm Beach DL and that would usually scare me away from adding him on to the list. The good news is that the injury wasn't arm related (it's a hamstring strain). So, he gets a small pass.
Here's the thing about me and Kruczynski: I don't think I took him seriously enough after the Cardinals drafted him. When I compiled my final list for the preseason Dirty 30, Kruczynski wasn't anywhere near the top 40. He had a nice debut for the organization, but it wasn't exactly stand-out or eye-popping.
Early on in this season I made a point to watch every Palm Beach game that Milb.TV televised. It was there that I was first exposed to Kruczynski and just how good he is capable of being. You know what? He can be really good.
Kruczynski represents a rarity in the organization as it is currently constructed: he is left handed starting depth with back-end of the rotation potential. His curve ball is really good and his change up plays well with his fastball. He has smooth mechanics with arm action that is quick and a little deceptive. Kruczynski is back to pitching for Palm Beach now and everything seems to be back on schedule. I believe that he has an arsenal that could make a major league debut if he stays on his current developmental track.
*UPDATED ON 8/23/2018*
Kruczynski is quickly becoming one of my favorite prospects in the organization. He's been doing everything but dominating the Texas League since arriving there in Early August. Evan is polished and just plain GOOD. Keep a close eye on this young man.
WHY TO GET EXCITED
Kruczynski is one of the few lefties in the organization behind Austin Gomber with Major League potential as a starting pitcher.
He comes from the same school (East Carolina) that gave Cardinals' Nation Seth Maness. Now that might not impress you because, you know, Seth Maness, but there's a control and command that ECU pitchers have and Evan isn't an exception to that. That's very good.
Kruczynski throws with a repeatable motion.
The motion is smooth until the arm action starts. From there, it gets more violent and that helps to create deception. Especially when he throws his change up.
Without seeing the data, it seems like everything that Evan throws is from the same release point.
When he is on, he throws a devastating curve ball that he is in full command of.
He's well built at 6'5" and 210+ pounds.
His change up is an average pitch and he mixes it well with his fastball and curve.
It's been a great sign that his strikeout rate has gone up from last year while his home runs allowed rate has gone down.
WHY TO BE CAUTIOUS
It's not that worrisome, but Kruczynski missed a portion of the season due to a hamstring strain. He's back to pitching now, but it's worth a mention.
Kruczynski has legitimately good stuff, but often times he's pitching to not get hit rather than to get hitters out.
He has above average command, but his BB/9 on the season is right around 3.00. He's too good of a pitcher to be walking that many hitters. However, that number is acceptable if he keeps striking out hitters at the rate he currently is.
While I find him extremely exciting, I think that most others will find him boring.
At 23-years-old, it's time for him to be at Double-A. Even though he has limited innings at A+, his age and success rate at that level warrant a promotion as soon as he's health and innings ready.
I really like Kruczynski and I hope that he doesn't suffer any setbacks after the hamstring injury. He truly possesses major league potential on the back of his fast ball/curve combo. The motion in his lower half reminds me of Mark Mulder but his arm action is something different. I'm going to start with the most likely ceiling for Kruczynski, and that is something similar to Mike Maroth. Yes. I know. Get excited. Maybe the Tyler Lyons/John Gast comparison is more apt and current. However, I decided to lead with that because I believe that his 5% ultimate ceiling is that of Jose Quintana.
Fangraphs is the real hero of this article for supplying the stats!
Thanks For Reading!