The 2021 MLB Draft will begin on July 11, 2021. We take a look at Ben Kudrna, the 46th ranked prospect in this year’s class by MLB.com, out of Blue Valley Southwest High School in Kansas.
Make sure to check out all of our other MLB Draft Profiles.
Ben Kudrna, RHP, Blue Valley Southwest
Weight: 175 lbs
Kudrna, at his young age, already has some impressive accolades. Although, it wasn’t an easy journey for him. It seemed as though he would more than likely head to LSU, where he is committed, before a huge breakout at the Area Code Games last August. He won the Kansas state championship pitching a three-hit shutout in the process.
After that performance, he was named the Gatorade High School Player of the Year. He was also named to the Perfect Game 2020 Preseason Underclass All-American Team and the 2021 Preseason All-American Team. As far as tournament accolades go, he was also named to the 2020 PG 17U World Series All-Tournament Team.
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One thing about Kudrna that scouts have admired is his delivery. With his frame, he is able to throw without much effort. There have been many scouts who are impressed with his loose arm action, as well as how seamless and smooth it appears. However, the biggest thing that has helped him, in terms of his delivery, is his three-quarters arm slot. This has opened new avenues for him to create some new angles and more sink on his pitches.
In terms of pitches, his best pitch is his fastball. Before the Area Code Games, it was normally hitting somewhere in the low 90s, but it wasn’t very consistent. After that performance, Kudrna was able to get his fastball to consistently hit anywhere from 92 to 95 mph, with it topping out at 97.
One of Kudrna’s biggest weaknesses right now is his control. He can throw plenty of strikes, but he needs to be more consistent. His changeup isn’t necessarily a weak pitch in itself, with it being clocked anywhere in the low-80s, but it can be too firm at times when used. With his slider, while it is a good pitch, averaging anywhere from 82 to 85 mph, it still could use a little work with the break. It looked sharper as the year went on, but it will be something that needs to be addressed as he makes his way through the major league system.
Pro Comparison: Andrew Heaney
When looking at a pro comparison for Kudrna, Andrew Heaney of the Los Angeles Angels fit the bill perfectly. They both have the same three-pitch mix of fastball, slider, and changeup and they have similar ranges of speed. With Heaney having a 6’2″, 200 lbs frame as well, this makes him the perfect fit. Heaney could serve as a good look for the future of Kudrna’s slider and changeup in terms of the break and velocity.
Draft Projection: Mid Second-Round Pick
There is always the college commitment scare issue with Kudrna, but his stock has certainly been rising, and may even raise more as time goes on putting him in the early second-round potential. But for now, he will more than likely be picked somewhere in the middle of the second round.
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Main Image Credit:
From Goggle Images