Scouting the Draft: Zachary Hammer, RHP

By Ari Berkowitz

October 27, 2018 No comments

Photo by Taylorsville Times

Zachary Hammer, RHP

Round 21, Pick 620 

Ht: 6’3” Wt: 170 DOB: July 4, 2000 (18)

Stats: Senior Year (Alexander Central HS), 40.2 IP, 2.75 ERA, 67 K

2018 Kingsport 3 G, 2.1 IP, 4 H, 5 ER, 3 BB, 3 K

Background  

What a great name for a pitcher with a power curveball.  The kid from North Carolina is expected to continually grow into his frame and get stronger.  Scouts love his projectability due to his prototypical power righty build and that he seems to know what he’s doing on the mound.

The classic right-handed high school project, he will start in the lower levels of the minor leages and have to put in tireless hours of hard work and study to get anywhere close to actualizing his potential. Welcome to the real world Mr. Hammer.

Scouting

Mechanically speaking, Hammer leverages his long legs into, what seems to be a very fluid delivery. The problem is, he consistently lacks command of his pitches. This is, by and large, a byproduct of his hips flying open, causing his lower half to start deceleration prior to his arm reaching its release point. This can lead to a) lost velocity, b) no chance of commanding your pitches and c) a ton of stress on your deltoid which is in charge of decelerating your arm.

Repeatedly putting stress on your deltoid can also cause damage to your rotator cuff.  Part of the problem here is that he does’t properly finish his pitches, though I am fairly certain that this all has to do with the same issues.

Hammer utilizes a fastball, a cutter and a hard curveball, the type that only happens when pitching out of a high-3/4’s delivery. The fastball mainly sits upper-80’s MPH, but he can reach 92, according to scouting reports. The power curve is lethal and can reach the upper-70’s, but due to his mechanical foibles has a tendency to hang. He apparently has a “feel” for a changeup, but at this point is only hearsay. He throws a pretty nasty cutter, though I am unsure if he a) has natural cutting action on his fastball, b) throws it as a separate pitch, or c) a byproduct of his inconsistent delivery.

Development

A pitcher who might be three years away from a rotation spot on a full season affiliate is the ultimate development challenge. While smoothing out the flaws in his mechanics are of utmost importance for him having any shot at longevity, uprooting what seems to be a fairly consistent setup and delivery is a serious undertaking.

In that vain, Hammer must be humbled in order to want to uproot the fundamentals which have earned him $250,000 as a teenager. If he proves willing,  he will need to build off his new delivery and learn how to command his repertoire. Coupled with a good deal of strength and conditioning, Zach Hammer could eventually find his way onto a Major League roster.