MLB Draft Profile: Seth Lonsway

MLB Draft Profile: Seth Lonsway

by May 11, 2021 0 comments

With the MLB Draft getting underway in a few months, we take a look at Seth Lonsway, a lengthy left-handed pitcher from Ohio State, who is ranked as MLB.com’s 133rd-best prospect.

Make sure to check out all of our other MLB Draft Profiles.

Seth Lonsway, LHP, Ohio State

Height: 6’3”
Weight: 200 lbs.
Age: 22
Bats: Left
Throws: Left 
2019: 8-4, 3.70 ERA, 126 SOs, 1.440 WHIP
2020: 1-2, 3.00 ERA, 42 SOs, 1.611 WHIP
2021: 3-4, 3.21 ERA, 80 SOs, 1.050 WHIP

Scouting Grades

Fastball: 55
Slider: 55
Curveball: 65
Changeup: 50
Control: 40
Overall: 40

The former number one ranked high school player in Ohio returned to the Buckeyes this season after not being selected in the 2020 draft. Out of high school, Lonsway was a 19th-round selection of the Cincinnati Reds. Although he was a higher-rated prospect at the time, teams passed on him because of Lonsway’s intentions to attend Ohio State. Academic ineligibility due to a transcript issue caused him to redshirt in 2018 and he is now a 22-year-old fourth-year player for the Buckeyes.

Strengths

In 2020, Lonsway led Division-I in strikeout rate with 21 K/9. He struck out an absurd 42 hitters in just 18.0 IP. His K/9 in 2021 has dropped a bit to 13.5, but his WHIP and H/9 have also dropped. However, he has still shown to have high strikeout capabilities when he sat down 17 against Indiana earlier this year. His curve is what has scouts drooling over his potential. Not only have some scouts compared his curve to Barry Zito‘s, but he is also able to throw it with some decent power (lower-mid 80s.)

His fastball clocks in at around 96 mph and has some potential as a plus-pitch, but his slider/cutter has more potential as he is more of a swing-and-miss guy rather than a blow-you-away guy. In his time at Ohio State, Lonsway has changed his delivery to more of a three-quarter release rather than an over-the-top release. This allows him to keep his eyes up the whole time and will, in theory, help with his command (we will get to that.)

At the end of the day, he has an improving fastball that has a bit of a bite to it as well as some promising development in its movement, but he is a junk-ball pitcher. Lonsway’s curveball has elite spin that gets up to 3,000 rpm and has that 12-6 movement that MLB teams love to see. His slider is clocking in around 84 mph and has proven to be an effective finishing pitch. His curveball and slider were able to set down 24 batters on empty swings.

Weaknesses

Lonsway has absolutely devastating movement on his pitches. The only problem is, he has absolutely no idea where the ball is going. His command is a serious problem that will probably see him fall in the draft. In his Ohio State career, Lonsway has a BB/9 of 5.8. With his game translating to more of a bullpen role in the bigs, that is a legit problem. He is able to throw his breaking stuff more effectively but with no real accuracy to his fastball. That may be a problem staying ahead in the count, especially when you face much more talented, and patient hitters.

As mentioned before, Lonsway has changed his delivery so that he is not so over-the-top. Part of his command issue is that he just doesn’t look at the plate. His head is practically facing up when he pitches. It reminds me a bit of James Karinchak of the Cleveland Indians.

He has been a four-year starter for the Buckeyes but with his command issues, MLB scouts see him as more of a long-term reliever, perhaps even a closer. Obviously, his command is what coaches will work on with him the most, but as of right now, he does not have the control or command to be a starter. He needs to work on getting his fastball to a point where he can rely on it to hit the strike zone and help him get ahead, or back into the count.

Pro Comparison: Barry Zito

Every website, scouting report, and video that I have seen has compared this guy to Zito. Being compared to a Cy Young winner has to feel pretty good. The main reason that he draws comparisons to Zito is the effectiveness of their curveballs. Now, Lonsway throws his in the mid-80s while Zito’s would barely scrape 70. If Lonsway can continue to develop an already pro-ready curve, there is no reason that it can’t be one of the more dominating pitches in baseball, much like Zito’s in the early 2000s.

Draft Projection: Round 1, Pick 28, Tampa Bay Rays

Lonsway could be a bit of a reach in the first round. But his rising potential could be enough for a team to select him and Tampa Bay makes the most sense. Lonsway has no true role in the majors just yet. Will he start or will he be a bullpen guy? Well, in Tampa Bay, you do both. Lonsway would be the perfect opener or guy who comes in after the opener for a long “relief” appearance. We will find out soon if Lonsway can fix his command, but for now, he is translating towards this role that I have laid out.

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Main Image Credit: https://www.nbc4i.com/sports/seth-lonsway-strikes-out-17-buckeyes-beat-indiana-6-0/

 

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