MLB DRAFT: Sleeper college arms to keep an eye on

The higher the pick, the better chance at success. At least in theory in the MLB Draft.

At a certain point, it becomes overwhelmingly unlikely the player sees a day in the big leagues.

At some stage through their board, clubs resort to seeking one or two traits or tools. Moldable attributes that, if developed, can turn the player’s profile on its head.

In 2021 and 2022, this included the likes of Bryce Miller, Tanner Bibee, Bryan Woo, Emmet Sheehan, Chase Hampton, Zebby Matthews, and C.J. Culpepper. The first four names above have all performed in the majors with Miller and Bibee showing mid-rotation or better performance and upside.

The following arms are unlikely to be selected on Day 1 of the 2024 Draft, and a few may slip to Day 3. But they each possess standout qualities offering a chance at big-league projection.

Aidan Haugh, RHP — North Carolina

A lanky right-hander, Haugh is appealing thanks to athletic traits along with favorable metrics. He was initially used in relief by the Tar Heels but made some start down the stretch.

Attacking from an over-the-top slot, Haugh’s fastball will get up to 96 mph with ride, but there may be more in the tank. His primary secondary is a hammer curveball with spin and conviction, projecting as a weapon for him moving forward.

He’ll also toss in a changeup with less-than-ideal action, but it plays well enough off the fastball to generate some whiffs and suggest a chance at a big-league pitch.

Haugh’s hurdle is well below-average control and command, but at 6-foot-6 and athleticism, there are building blocks here.

Cade Obermueller, LHP — Iowa

A sophomore-eligible left-hander, Obermueller provides a unique look and can dial it up to 97 from a low attack angle. He’s generally sat 88-93 mph, but the deception and ride

Obermueller’s primary secondary is a sweeper up to 3000 RPMs with tons break. There’s also a changeup here, but the fastball/sweeper combo is the draw.

The athlete is dynamic, the stuff plays in some role in pro ball with more strikes.

Jay Woolfolk, RHP — Virginia

Formerly a quarterback for the Cavaliers, Woolfolk has committed to baseball full-time, and he’s a plus athlete on the bump with noticeable arm talent.

He throws both a four-seam and sinker variants of the fastball, the former flashing hopping action from a flat approach angle and lower release. The sinker shows more of a traditional running, two-seam action.

He throws a firm sliders in the mid-80s and flashes a solid-average splitter-ish offspeed with sinking action. Both look the part of future big-league viable secondaries.

Woolfolk has struggled to throw strikes, but the athleticism and delivery suggest the potential for future average grades in control and command.

Pico Kohn, LHP — Mississippi State

Kohn’s already been a victim of UCL surgery, which stole his 2023 season, but he’s intriguing despite that.

The 6-foot-4 southpaw returned to the mound at the end of the 2024 season and is an incredibly free and easy mover. He provides a deceptive look that results in plenty of emergency hacks.

The fastball worked up to 94 mph and is tough for hitters to track, leading to good results despite pedestrian movement. The slider has plenty of horizontal bite, and he tends to locate it to the back foot to righties. He’ll also throw a changeup.

Kohn’s a fun upside play with stuff, mechanics, and solid strike-throwing, and he could have mid-rotation upside if he gets to more velocity.

Jaron DeBerry, RHP — Dallas Baptist

A fourth-year senior, DeBerry’s a supinator whose game is command, projection, and spin. His best pitch is a low-80s sweeper up to 3000 RPMs, and he commands to the corners of the plate.

DeBerry tends to cut his fastball in the low-90s, up to 94 mph, but it has yet to miss bats much, despite favorable command. DeBerry does a good job separating the shapes of his sweeper and curveball, the latter being more of a hammer with sharp downward movement.

Pitchers that can legitimately command the baseball are difficult to find, and DeBerry’s lean, athletic frame (6-3/180) and easy mechanics all serve as foundational traits clubs seek in starting pitchers.

Greg Farone, LHP — Alabama

A left-handed senior, Farone has a workhorse frame (6-6/240) and simple mechanics. His appeal is primarily based around the fastball, a pitch that generates plenty of hop with command. It’s a bulldog mentality with the fastball up to 95 mph.

He also has a curveball, slider, and changeup, but he’ll need to develop more conviction with each of them I order to take advantage of his feel for the zone.

Brooks Auger, RHP — Mississippi State

Another senior, Auger throws a riding fastball up to 97 mph that has noticeable carry through the zone and has bat-missing potential.

His best secondary weapon is a nasty mid-80s gyro slider, a pitch he throws with confidence. He’ll turn over a fringe changeup, but his feel for it is lacking, and he might be better suited for a splitter with his higher slot.

Auger’s one-two punch is significant, and he likely plays in a big-league bullpen if his path in the rotation stalls.

L.P. Langevin — Louisiana-Lafayette

Langevin has some of the most absurd fastball metrics. He’ll reach 97 MPH with high spin, and has an outlier combination of ride and run from a flat approach angle.

All of this to say Langevin threw his fastball 80% of the time. Hitters knew what was coming, but still whiffed at a 46% rate, and slashed .156/.299/.234 on the pitch. It’s an unprecedented level of dominance, impossible to ignore.

This is an opportunity for organizations to add a potentially elite four-seamer to the system. He’s not a dynamic athlete or strike thrower, but in a bullpen role, the path to the majors with this kind of fastball value requires little dreaming.

Photo of Aidan Haugh courtesy of University of North Carolina Athletics
Photo of Cade Obermueller courtesy of Iowa Athletics
Photo of Jay Woolfolk courtesy of Virginia Athletics
Photo of Pico Kohn courtesy of Mississippi State Athletics
Photo of Jaron DeBerry courtesy of Dallas Baptist University Athletics
Photo of Greg Farone courtesy of Alabama Athletics
Photo of Brooks Auger courtesy of Mississippi State Athletics
Photo of L.P. Langevin courtesy of Ragin’ Cajuns

Oliver Boctor
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