7th RD Pick 220 – Zach Pop Pitcher – University of Kentucky
While “pop” is usually referred to hitting, the Dodgers drafted a pitcher named Zach Pop in the seventh round who has a chance to be another steal. Pop was the 95th rated player in the draft and was taken in the seventh round by the Dodgers. He was not a closer in college, but he was a reliever and is my pick to be the first player drafted this year to reach the major leagues. Pop features a fastball in the upper 90’s and has hit 99 mph on the radar gun. He also has a very hard slider that is in the upper 80 mph range.
Pop does have some things he needs to work on. He occasionally throws a below-average changeup and has had control issues. The pure stuff is definitely there, but Pop will need to harness control of his power stuff to become a late inning reliever. Part of the reason Pop has trouble controlling his pitches is that his pitches are not straight. His fastball has some tilt on it, so he needs to learn to trust his stuff.
The current major league comparison for Zach Pop would be Pedro Baez. Like Baez, Pop relies heavily on his heavy fastball and will occasionally mix in his sharp slider. Pop’s slider is more refined than the offspeed pitches that Baez has so Pop is definitely ahead of the game. Should Pop learn to control his pitches better, he should be a late inning reliever for the Dodgers by the end of 2018.