No. 41: Kyle Ryan, LHP
Kyle Ryan was drafted in the 12th round by the Tigers in 2010 out of high school in Florida. After signing, he was sent to the Rookie League GCL Tigers, where he was able to throw 54 solid innings in his first professional season. In 2011, Ryan was aggressively pushed to Class A-West Michigan, where he amassed 137 IP with a 3.15 ERA. He went back to West Michigan in 2012, where he still had a successful season, but his numbers back tracked a little bit, with the exception of his innings total and BB%. Ryan is listed at 6'5", 180lbs per Baseball-Reference, and has tons of projection in his lanky frame, leading scouts to believe that there is the potential for plus velocity in his future.
I saw Ryan in West Michigan last season, and I'm a big fan of his mechanics. He throws from a high 3/4 arm slot, gets good drive from his lower half, and is very balanced on the mound. He repeats his delivery very well for the most part, however there were a couple instances where he allowed his arm slot to drop slightly, which resulted in a loss of command, but that's to be expected. His height, combined with his arm slot, allow him to get excellent downward plane on the baseball, making it difficult for hitters to pick up at times. I noticed 3 pitches from Ryan, a fastball, curve, and change. His fastball sat 88-90 for the most part on this particular day, hitting 91 several times, but there have been some reports of Ryan touching 92-93 at times. With his frame, arm speed, and overall projection, I could easily see Ryan eventually sitting in the 90-92 range, with consistent ability to reach back for 93-94 when he needs it. He also throws a curve, which I put a 60 projection grade on. It's not the sharpest in the world, but it has nice break and plane, and he was able to throw it both for strikes and down out of the zone as a swing and miss pitch. He also threw a change up, but I wasn't impressed. I think it could eventually grade out as average, but when I saw him he tipped the pitch on several occasions by noticeably slowing his arm down when he threw it, but he did throw it from the same arm slot as his fastball, which was nice to see.
Ryan has the ceiling of a 3-4 starter in the MLB, but a lot of that depends on his development, obviously. For that ceiling to be reached, he'll need to add a few more ticks of velocity on his fastball, develop better command of his curveball, and develop his changeup to at least an average level. I like Ryan a lot, but he's going to be more of a project as he moves along. He's still quite young, having only turned 21 in September, and should be in line for a promotion to Class Advanced A-Lakeland in 2013, where he'll be one of their better starting pitchers. A guy like Ryan will probably have to climb a level per year as he develops, so I wouldn't expect to see him on the major league radar until 2016 or so.