This week’s ESNY New York Yankees’ spotlight shines on last year’s second round draft choice and pitcher, Jeff Degano.In 2015, the New York Yankees made an obsession over taking college arms in the First-Year Player Draft and Jeff Degano was one of them.
The 23-year old native of British Columbia, Canada pitched in the Little League World Series ten years before he was drafted (2005) and spent his first two years of his college playing days at Marshalltown Community College before heading off to Indiana State.
With the Sycamores in 2013, Degano started in three games prior suffering a season-ending arm injury in which he blew out his elbow. The lefty went 0-1 with an 8.31 ERA in 8.2 innings during his junior year.
In 2014, the lefty redshirted but came back as effective as ever for his 2015 senior campaign.
He went 8-3 with a 2.36 ERA across 15 starts in 99 innings of work. The best part was his strikeout per nine ratio was at an astronomical 11.45 featuring a WHIP of 1.07.
With the Staten Island Yankees a year ago, he surrendered only three runs in 10.2 innings pitched while striking out 14. His K/9 was higher than it was in any previous level at 11.81 as he threw in two relieve appearances as well.
SEE ALSO: First Quarter Scouting Grades
According to MLB pipeline, Degano set Indiana State records for single-season strikeouts with 126 and a career ERA of 2.83. Despite the popular numbers, injury concerns after a questionable physical welcomed a low signing bonus of $650,000.
As amazing as it is to set records in college, imagine how incredibly difficult maintaining those numbers are while relying on only two pitches. That’s right, two.
Degano’s arsenal features a fastball that sits at around 89-92 MPH but has reached as high as 95 with some bite to it. To counter it, he pulls out a devastating slurve that drops down to the low 80’s but works as a runaway slider to lefties and a back-foot against righties, according to MLP pipeline.
Here are his scouting grades:
Scouting grades: Fastball: 55 | Curveball: 55 | Changeup: 45 | Control: 50 | Overall: 45
When you watch his tape, his slurve resembles that of Andrew Miller but features more of a 12-6 arch, given that it’s a slurve and not a traditional slider.
Degano is looking to add a changeup into the mix and has developed a decent looking one in professional baseball. With every developing pitch, however, his command has been an issue.
What many experts see in Degano is that he has the potential to be a solid relief man if being a starter fails to pan out as his fastball and slurve could become a deadly duo in short bursts in relief.
He has not yet played here in 2016, but as long as injury keeps its distance we could watch Degano make his way up the farm system ladder in the near future.
If I had to make a prediction on the kid, I’d say we have another starter turned reliever on our hands but there’s still plenty of time for him to pan out into a solid starting pitcher at the highest level.