It has been very evident that over the last two years the Atlanta Braves front office has been deeply devoted to “retooling” a once prominent farm system. Since the new front office has shifted its focus to the future for the Braves, we will take look at multiple prospects in the Braves farm system, specifically today as we take a look at top pitching prospect Sean Newcomb.
Newcomb was drafted by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the 1st round of the 2014 MLB Draft. In 2014 combined, Newcomb compiled a 0-1 record with a 6.14 ERA, granted this was during over the span of 6 games (stats according to milb.com).
2015 saw Newcomb breakout as a top-flight pitching prospect as he posted a combined 9-3 record, a 2.38 ERA, 168 strikeouts to 76 walks, and an impressive 1.27 WHIP.
In November, the Braves traded elite shortstop Andrelton Simmons and minor leaguer Jose Briceno to the Angels for shortstop Erick Aybar, pitching prospect Chris Ellis, Sean Newcomb, and cash considerations.
After Spring Training in 2016, Newcomb was assigned to Double-A Mississippi. Through 11 games so far this year, Newcomb has posted a 3-2 record, a 3.47 ERA, 58 Ks to 33 BBs, and a 1.37 WHIP.
Multiple scouts have claimed that Newcomb has the best fastball in the Braves’ farm system. His fastball usually sits around the 91-95 MPH range and tops out at 97-98 MPH. Newcomb also has a curveball and a slider in his arsenal. The curve sits in the 77-82 MPH range with 11-5 break, which makes it difficult for opposing batters to read. Newcomb’s slider sits in the mid-80s as he can break it away from lefties and bury it on the back foot of righties. A change-up, which completes Newcomb’s balanced arsenal, also sits in the mid-80s.
Standing at 6’5″ and tipping the scales at 250 pounds, Newcomb looks more like an NFL tight end than a top pitching prospect. Although his mechanics are very sound, Newcomb could improve with his command due to his 33 walks in 57 innings pitched this year. Once Newcomb gets his call up to the show, expect him to become a workhorse and a mainstay in the rotation, as the Braves try to recreate a pitching staff that could hopefully rival the likes of Smoltz, Maddux, Glavine, and Avery.