Chris Viall RHP
Bats/Throws: R/R Ht: 6’9 Wt: 253 lbs Age: 22 (DOB 9/28/95)
Hey if baseball doesn’t work out for today’s Mets Prospect of the Day, Chris Viall, maybe a living in pro-basketball is doable?
After all, 6’9 athletes don’t grow on trees. Luckily for the Mets, Viall has taken his talents to the pitcher’s mound, and after signing out of Stanford as the Mets 6th round pick in the 2016 amateur draft, it will be the Mets job to do a little tinkering here.
Well worthy of the 6th round gamble, Viall oozes arm strength. His fastball, which sits comfortable 93-97, will explode on batters due to the great extension lended by his extra-tall frame. Viall has reportedly been clocked as high as 101 MPH. But before we go jumping up and down that we have the next Thor on our hands, there is still some work to do.
Like all pitchers his size, Viall has had trouble with repeating his release point, thus leading to sub-par control. He has featured a high leg kick in the past, which has contributed to imbalance in his delivery, and Viall has had to learn to consistently repeat pointing his landing foot directly towards home plate. Placing strikes has been an issue for Viall throughout his collegiate and early professional career, with a walk rate of around 6.00/9 in a mere 46 career innings in affiliated baseball.
2017 did show some hopeful signs, as he got his BB rate down to roughly 4.5/9 innings pitching both in relief and as a starter for the Brooklyn Cyclones. Viall has also done a nice job in missing some bats, as he struck out NY-Penn league hitters last year at a 10.7/9 inn. clip. Doubtless, Cyclones pitching coach Royce Ring was charged with finding those consistent mechanics which will allow Viall’s fastball, indeed his entire repertoire to play up to it’s massive potential.
2018 will likely see Viall give it a go for the full season Columbia Fireflies, where it is still not known whether the Mets will use Viall as a starter or out of the pen. The fact that Viall does own both a tight curveball and some decent feel for a changeup, had the Mets toy with the idea of Viall as a starting pitcher. That being said, Viall’s height and mechanical issues will have many evaluators eager to see if pitching short stints out of the pen will allow Viall to flourish.
So there you have it, another day, yet another righty Mets prospect that throws absolute darts. This one may be a bit tricky because of the delivery/command issues, but Viall’s upside, if he figures that out, is at least high-leverage big league reliever. What, you thought the parade was over?