The big pick in the Angels' draft was the selection of a heralded left-handed high school starting pitcher. This isn't that guy, but Jonah Wesely shares that same description except he was taken several rounds later which could prove to be one of the better values of the Angels' 2013 draft class, even he lacks the hype of Hunter Green.
Position: SP Highest Level: AZL
Bats: L Throws: L Height: 6'2" Weight: 205
Age: 19 Born: 12/8/1994
2013 Rank: Unranked
2013 Season Stats
AZL: 1.0 IP, 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 H, 1 BB, 0 HR, 0 SO, 6.20 FIP, .250 BABIP
Fastball = B+
The average LHP throws 88-90, as a high school senior Wesely was sitting comfortably at 91-92. He has a strong build, straight-forward mechanics and likes to attack hitters on the inside corner with his low-90’s heater. His fastball is especially helped by the fact that he’s left-handed and deceptive in his release. Hitters find it hard to pick up the pitch and by the time they do Wesely’s thrown the ball hard enough to get it by hitters. There isn’t a ton of physical projection here, but there is room for refinement. It seems likely that Wesely remains a starter and barring injury, should be a hard-throwing lefty.
Offspeed Pitches = C+
Wesely offers a plus-slider that he snapped off with regularity and control during the All-American scouting games he attended in high school. He also has a change up that he uses only once or twice a game that has fade to it but is also in need of refinement as he slows his arm motion down to get it over. Definitely something to build off of.
Control = C
One of Wesely’s strengths is that he regularly pounds the zone with an array of fastballs and sliders. This is likely the result of a very simplified and low effort delivery he uses.
Command = D
Wesely’s approach has been pretty simple so far. Attack hitters on the inner half with your fastball and snap off sliders on the outer half. Where he struggles in this department in his release point. He has a tendency to leave the ball up and over the plate.
Mechanics = C
I like Wesely’s pre-release motion. It’s a quick delivery, not a ton of moving parts and doesn’t leave him in any awkward positions. However, the release itself seems forced and tight. He doesn’t have a loose arm-slot like you’d see from a pitcher like C.J. Wilson. It’s more of a stiffened arm, a little like Nick Maronde.
Performance = Incomplete
There isn’t any performance to go off of yet. He’s thrown one scoreless inning in his professional career so far.
Projection = B
Lefties with low-90’s heat and a decent slider don’t grow on trees. Because of his simple mechanics and build/endurance, I could see Wesely staying in the rotation, but given his release and lack of a changeup it also wouldn’t surprise me to see him end up in the pen. Either way, there’s definitely something to work with here. It’s quite amazing Wesely even made it to the 11th round for the Angels. Prep lefties with his build and stuff usually don’t leave the first 5 rounds, and Wesely himself was expecting to go in the 3rd. After which time, most teams didn’t draft him because they thought he’d for sure opt to go to UCLA. The Angels took a flyer on him and Wesely was willing to sign. Quite a good pick up if you ask me.
Grade as a Prospect = C+
There are promising lefties in every organization, but not many have been tested on the national stage as often as Wesely has through high-profile scouting tournaments in high school. There were quite a few teams interested in signing him and we as fans should feel fortunate the Angels landed him when they did as he was a UCLA commit. He has the stuff, upside and pitching demeanor to remain in the rotation over the long-haul.
Estimated MLB Arrival Date = 2018
Five years seems about right when we’re talking about prep lefties. Generally since Wesely was able to see more advanced competition being from California, he’ll have less of a learning curve at the lower levels. But by the time you reach AA it all evens out.
2013 in Review*
With all of one inning's worth of work in the AZL, there obviously isn't much to go on from Wesely's statistics. The important thing to know about him is even though he was and 11th round selection, he was a committed to play at UCLA after an utterly dominant high school career. Many believed it to be a longshot that Wesely would sign with the Angels, but they managed to get it done, which is a real coup for the Dipoto regime. In their first draft, they played it safe, drafting mostly college kids, but they took some gambles on high schoolers this time around, so it was important that they made it pay off by signing them, which they mostly did.
As for Wesely himself, the consensus is that he had a real chance to turn into a potential first or second round talent had he gone through with his plans to pitch for UCLA. Even though he is a high schooler, he is more developed than you would think. With an already pretty fully matured body, his fastball is already pushing the low-90's and his breaking balls and changeup show promise. He showed a knack for attacking batters in high school, so if he can stick with that approach, he has a good chance of advancing through the system more quickly than his more highly touted southpaw draftmate, Hunter Green, though he doesn't have nearly the same ceiling.
*As we do every year, the scouting reports and grades are provided by Scotty Allen while Garrett Wilson provides the 2013 in Review and Looking Ahead sections.