When the Detroit Tigers signed Australian prospect Jack O'Loughlin in 2016, it happened without much fanfare. However, as the year came to a close and the teenage pitcher started performing well in Australian professional baseball, he became a blip on the radar. He managed to snag a spot on Bless You Boys' 2017 top 30 prospects list, edging in at No. 21. Now, as we enter the 2018 season, the young pitcher from down under is slated to appear here in the United States for the first time this February at spring training.
“For my age, I’ve got pretty good velocity and pretty good command over my pitches, which allows me to get the job done,” O’Loughlin told David Penrose of ABL Stats. He throws two-seam and four-seam fastballs that sit around 90 to 91 miles per hour, a curveball that is more advanced than those of his peers, and a changeup that shows some promise.
Despite the fact that 90 miles per hour is unimpressive in a climate that sees 100 mph fastballs more and more often, it is important to remember that O’Loughlin is (a) very young, and (b) throws from the left side. If all goes well, it would be no surprise to see that velocity tick up a bit, perhaps reaching up to 95 mph at peak.
Why this matters: O'Loughlin's arrival to the Tigers farm system gives fans reason to be happy. First, that a legitimate prospect is joining the ranks of the Tigers’ burgeoning system. Depth is key in a good farm, and he is just that. Second, the Tigers front office may be showing the beginnings of a new pattern: a willingness to explore the foreign market. They have had moderate successes with Australians in the past, and continuing that spells good things for the future, perhaps in other international stages as well.