Yesterday the Cincinnati Reds traded Jay Bruce to the Mets. I’m sure that if you are reading this article that you are already knew that. The organization landed infielder Dilson Herrera and left handed pitcher Max Wotell in return for Bruce. Nick Kirby wrote some about that yesterday here at Redleg Nation. I wrote about the two guys as well some at my site when the trade went down. Today, I wanted to dive in a little deeper on Wotell.
The left hander was selected in the 3rd round of the Major League Baseball draft out of North Carolina. He had committed to Arizona but he signed with the Mets for $775,000 and gave up the chance to play for the Wildcats. Entering the draft he was rated as the #144 prospect by Baseball America, but he would go 88th overall in the draft.
After he was drafted he was sent to pitch for the Gulf Coast League Mets. He pitched strictly out of the bullpen in his first pro season and only went over 2.0 innings one time. The lefty struggled with his control in his debut season, walking nine batters in 10.2 innings. He did however strikeout 16 batters and allowed just two hits.
The control problems may have been related to his mechanics, which are a bit unorthodox. This season his control has improved. In 29.2 innings pitched with short-season Kingsport he’s made six starts and walked 12 batters. He’s mixed in 31 strikeouts along the way and given up just one home run on the season.
Not every start has gone smoothly for the now 19-year-old left hander. In his first start of the year he walked four batters in 4.1 innings. Over his next three starts and 17.1 innings he walked just three batters. Then on July 22nd he ran into some control problems again, walking four batters in 3.0 innings. He would rebound well in his most recent start, giving up just one free pass in 5.0 innings. Eight of his 12 walks on the year have come in two games. In the other four starts he’s walked four total hitters.
Fastball | The pitch works int he 89-92 MPH range and touches a tad higher on occasion.
Slider | His slider is his best offering and it’s an above-average offering that flashes itself better than that at times.
Change Up | It’s a clear third offering at this point in time, but it’s already improved since the time he was in high school. It could be an average pitch in the future if it continues to develop.
Other | Wotell has rather unorthodox mechanics and you can see them in action in a video from Fangraphs that was from his high school days. It’s not just the arm action though, watch what he does with his back leg in his wind up. I’ve watched a lot of baseball in my time and I don’t recall ever seeing another player do that.
You can get a good feeling for his slider in the video and the mechanics are certainly interesting to see. He’s got a legitimate arm and there could be more in the tank velocity wise to tap into. He will need to continue to work on repeating his delivery, which will help him with his control issues that pop up every so often.