Reds 6th round draft pick Zack Weiss, a righthanded reliever out of UCLA, made an appearance in the 8th inning of Game 1 of the College World Series Finals tonight. He only worked to two hitters before being pulled for the closer. There's no margin for error and it's all hands on deck in the CWS.
Weiss induced a flyout from the first batter, but hit the second hitter to bring the tying run to the plate before getting the hook. I haven't seen Weiss before and it's probably unfair to draw any real conclusions based on an appearance in such an anxiety ridden situation. Even so, here are my initial impressions:
Weiss stands 6-3 and weighs 210 with long legs. He uses a fastball heavy repertoire but mixes in fringy curveballs and changeups. His fastball sits in the 92-94 range and seems fairly straight. In the CWS, he struggled with fastball command and only threw one offspeed pitch, a rolling curveball. The batter he hit was Hunter Renfroe, first round pick of the Padres. On a 3-0 count, Weiss overthrew a fastball that ran up-and-in on Renfroe, hitting him in the lead shoulder but coming very, very close to hitting him in the face.
As for mechanics, Weiss' are fairly clean. He has a slightly unusual arm-swing that may include a bit of wrist wrap, but he gets the arm up into proper position and maintains it in good position relative to the shoulder. The arm action itself is clean and he generates solid velocity, but he'll need to do a better job repeating his delivery to improve his fastball command.
Overall, Weiss looks like a fairly typical/decent 6th round pick. A few issues to resolve (fringy offspeed pitches, fastball command questions, lack of a put-away offspeed pitch, etc), but a few positives as well (good velocity, solid mechanics, good physical build, possibly improved velocity as he fills out, etc).
Like all draft prospects, especially mid-to-later round picks, he's a long-shot to reach the majors and carve out a career, but he's got an interesting arm and a few other interesting attributes. The player development team will have to knock off the rough edges and elevate his performance level, but that's why the minors exist.