Scouting Report on Austin BriceBy
Written by Spencer Schneier (@Baseball_Spencer)
Brice has an unnatural looking delivery, featuring a high leg-kick, and keeping his back stiff which causes him to have to throw across his body with some head-whip. Brice was never a full-time pitcher until entering the Marlins system, which is probably why his mechanics are still so raw. The leg-kick allows him to get a big stride and push off the mound, so he should be able to add some velocity as he fills out and cleans his mechanics up.
Brice has strong legs that he leverages to be able to sit 92-93, but because of his sloppy mechanics he struggles to maintain velocity. He has broad shoulders that he has yet to fill out, and when he does he should be a strong presence on the mound.
As I mentioned Brice really needs to work on his stamina. In the first inning he sat 92-93, but tired himself out and ended up sitting 88-89. He is still very raw on the mound, and his pitchability suffers more than anything because of it.
Brice’s fastball was hard to grade, as there were two versions of it that I saw: 1st inning fastball, and everything after that. In the first his fastball was 92-93, with late life and some arm-side run. I would have graded it as a 55/60 pitch had he maintained that the whole game. After the first inning however, he didn’t throw one fastball I would grade as league average. The ball lost velocity, and lacked any kind of movement or life. I think if he can clean up his mechanics and work on consistency that this pitch could be an above-average one, featuring good velocity and movement.
His curveball was inconsistent, sitting 75-78. He threw it at times with good depth and two-plane break, but also had a propensity for hanging them. Brice also lacked feel for the pitch, not always knowing just how much it was going to break. He needs to work on being able to repeat the depth and velocity on the pitch, as otherwise he will never be able to spot it. This pitch is still very raw, but could end up an above-average offering.
His change-up made the curve seem polished, as Brice would slow his arm, and occasionally drop it when throwing his change-up. It also lacks the desired 10 MPH difference, meaning that batters will still be able to foul it off if/when he fixes the arm-action. It sat 84-85, and behaved a bit like his fastball when the fastball was on, featuring arm-side run.
I think his change-up can become average, as long as his fastball can sit 92-93 and he improves the arm-action. A lot of it depends on the fastball and its progression.
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I think that if Brice can put it all together, that he could be a league-average starter. He could be able to slot in as a 3 or 4 starter, depending on the progression of his pitchability, secondary offerings, and command. He really lacks elite tools, and because of his rawness and average only potential grade, he will probably never show up on any top prospect lists.