08 June 2010
The first unexpected selection in the 2010 MLB draft was the Diamondbacks' choice of Barret Loux (pronounced like "Loud" with an "x" at the end) with the #6 pick. Loux was definitely moving up draft boards as the draft approached, but most analysts were projecting Loux to be selected in the range from 20-40.
Loux, age 21, is a 6'-5" 220 lb righthander from Texas A&M who went 11-2 with a 2.60 ERA for the Aggies. He has struck out 136 batters in 104 innings while walking 33, and is holding opposing batters to a .197 batting average. Loux's college season is not finished yet, as the Aggies have an elimination game with the Miami Hurricanes on Tuesday night. Loux threw 8 innings with 10 strikeouts in A&M's 17-3 win over Florida International on Friday.
Although Loux has been a fine college pitcher, the biggest knock on Loux is his lack of secondary pitches. He has a fastball in the low 90s that tops out at 95 mph, and he throws that pitch a majority of the time. His next best pitch is a changeup, which is also considered above-average, but after that, his curve ball and slider are still not reliable. Another potential concern is Loux's health - he had minor shoulder problems in his senior year in high school, and then had surgery to remove bone chips in his elbow after his sophomore year in college.
So what do the Diamondbacks see in Loux? First of all, concerns about Loux's health were alleviated after his strong junior season, as he became the workhorse of the Aggies' staff. More importantly, the Diamondbacks like Loux's fluid, easy, repeatable delivery, and feel that his secondary pitches will continue to improve, and that there may be room for a velocity increase. General Manager Josh Byrnes thinks Loux could reach the Majors fairly quickly, and said "He's got a Major League body right now. He looks the part. He's pretty polished. His delivery is sound, [and] he has command." The Diamondbacks also like Loux's aggressiveness. "A lot of college guys don't pitch inside. He will pitch inside," Byrnes said. Among the top college pitchers available at the #6 pick (Chris Sale, Matt Harvey, Deck McGuire), Loux may have better mechanics than Sale, more durability than Harvey, and a better fastball than McGuire. The team was also impressed with Loux's character and work ethic.
The other factor that must be considered is signability. Loux is a pitcher that the Diamondbacks should be able to sign at a reasonable cost, and move through the system quickly. Since Loux has already thrown over 100 innings in college this year, the Diamondbacks will probably not use him much in the minors this year, but he should reach the AA level by 2011, and should be a candidate for the starting rotation in 2012. The Diamondbacks need Loux to advance quickly to the Majors, or this is a pick that will be questioned for years to come.