The latest signee is third-round pick Jeff Soptic, a 6-foot-6 pitcher from Johnson County Community College in Kansas. Baseball America is reporting Soptic’s signing bonus at $320,000.
Hometown: Leawood, KS
Class: J2 (2nd year in Junior College)
Few pitchers in this draft can light up a radar gun like Soptic can, but his lack of consistency likely will keep him out of the first couple of rounds. The 6-foot-6, 220-pounder’s arm works easily, as he effortlessly delivers fastballs at 93-96 mph and peaks at 100. Velocity is the one constant with Soptic. His four-seam fastball is fairly straight and gets hit harder than it should. He’ll flash a plus slider at times, but it’s below-average more often than not. His changeup is a distant third pitch. Unless he can significantly improve his control and secondary pitches, Soptic probably will have to settle for being a reliever as a pro. Nevertheless, his arm strength and body are hard to ignore. Drafted in the 43rd round out of high school by the Royals but unselected when he maxed out at 94 mph as a freshman, Soptic will attend Missouri if he doesn’t turn pro.
This 6-6 right-hander scrapes 100 MPH with his fastball and has a promising slider. Although somewhat unrefined as a pitcher, his upside is huge and his arm strength is as good as anyone else’s in the draft. He could easily go in the supplemental round to a team looking for a high-octane arm to harness.
Big guy with a mid-90s fastball and good slider. He has a University of Missouri commitment and might end up there if he doesn’t go high enough this year. 4.50 ERA with 58/31 K/BB in 56 innings, 41 hits; command issues are the main problem.
Clocked as high as 100 MPH, but slider and changeup are inconsistent. Very high upside in his 6-6 frame but needs polish.
The Royals drafted Soptic 2 years ago in the 43rd round out of Shawnee Mission East High School. The 20 year old RH is still very projectable and was throwing 93 on a very cold baseball day (38 degrees) the day I saw him pitch. His fastball lacked the movement you would want with a power pitcher and he complimented it with a 83-84 mph slider.He did not throw a change the day I saw him but I am told he has a serviceable one.
Here are his Junior College Stats; from NJAAA:
And here’s a 1 and a half minute video of Soptic:
And a 3 and a half minutes video of Soptic: