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MLB Draft Profile: Gunnar Hoglund

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The 2021 MLB Draft will begin on July 11, 2021. Today, we look at Gunnar Hoglund, a quality right-handed pitcher from the University of Mississippi who would be a top-ten pick if not for him getting Tommy John surgery this spring. 

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

Gunnar Hoglund, RHP, Ole Miss

Height: 6’4” 

Weight: 220 lbs. 

Age: 21 

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Bats: Left

Throws: Right

2019: 3-3, 5.29 ERA, 53/14 K/BB in 68.0 IP
2020:
3-0, 1.16 ERA, 37/4 K/BB in 23.1 IP
2021:
4-2, 2.87 ERA, 96/17 K/BB in 62.2 IP

Scouting Grades 

Fastball: 55

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Slider: 60

Changeup: 55

Curveball: 50

Control: 55

Gunnar Hoglund was a top pitcher coming out of Fivay High School in Hudson, Florida in 2018. He was good enough to be selected in the first round (Competitive Balance, 36th overall) by the Pittsburgh Pirates. Despite this, Hoglund opted to pass up a potential $2 million signing bonus and keep his commitment to Ole Miss. As crazy as that seemed, he wound up pitching himself into the top ten pick conversation for 2021. Unfortunately for him, however, he injured his elbow in May after having a great junior season up to that point. He very much may still be a first-round selection, but going in the top ten is certainly out of the question.

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Strengths 

Hoglund doesn’t have an eye-popping fastball, but he relies a lot on finesse and locating very well. He had also seen an uptick in velocity this year before going down, as he was seen sitting around 93-95 at times. The Florida native has an outstanding spin rate on his four-seamer as well, in the 2400 rpm range. The lack of velocity is made up by the movement of the pitch, his tremendous control, and secondary pitches that tunnel well with the fastball. In Hoglund’s three-year career, the right-hander walked just 35 batters in 154 innings while striking out 186. He attacks all quadrants of the zone and gets ahead of hitters while having the ability to spot the corners and tail away from the batter.

After using an average curveball in high school, Hoglund implemented a power slider at Ole Miss. The pitch tunnels extremely well with his fastball and has been reported to be sitting in the 85-87 mph range. He misses a lot of bats with the offering, as it is on a similar plane to his fastball and spins at a high rate. The spin rate is around the 2450 rpm range and his control with it is above average. The third offering, in his changeup, has its limited use but is still a solid pitch. Like his top two pitches, Hoglund controls it well and it has good late tailing action. 

Weaknesses 

Perhaps the only real weakness for Hoglund is the fact he required Tommy John surgery due to his elbow injury. This could be very worrisome, however, as it will be tough to know whether he will be able to increase his velocity after he recovers. The fact of the matter is, he may actually see a decrease and will need to make sure not to go too hard upon his return. But even so, his ability to control his pitches with tremendous spin and tunneling action, makes me not so worried he can finesse well at the next level.

Pro Comparison: Zack Greinke

Like Hoglund, Greinke has been much more of a finesse pitcher in his career. Coming out of high school, when he was drafted sixth overall, his velocity was in a similar range (91-94) as Hoglund’s. Over the course of his career, Greinke has transitioned more and more into the finesse pitcher. His velocity has dropped down to the 88-90 mph range. He focuses on the command and location of his pitches to get batters out. The Houston Astros pitcher even added a 51 mph eephus pitch to his repertoire.

Draft Projection: Round 1, Pick 20, New York Yankees 

Hoglund is in a similar position as the Yankees’ top-three prospect Clarke Schmidt. Schmidt went down with a torn UCL just over a month before the 2017 MLB Draft but the Yankees still took a chance on him at 16th overall. With his proven abilities, it would come as to no surprise to see the Yankees take a chance on another guy coming off Tommy John. The former Rebel will definitely be available when New York picks at 20 overall.


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Main Image Credit: From Ole Miss Sports

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