Back in February, Riley Pint was seen as the top right-handed pitching prospect in the draft. The chances of him going first overall though was slim as he was firmly positioned behind two left-handed pitchers, Jason Groome and A.J. Puk. Then, at the Premier Baseball Pro Day Showcase, Pint lit up the scouts radar with a 102 mph fastball and entered the conversation of best pitcher in the draft.
Once the high school season started Pint wasn't hitting 102, but was sitting comfortable between 95-99 in more of his starts and has continued to see his stock rise. While Pint probably won't be the first overall pick, that has more to do with the Phillies' preference for a college arm than anything else.
Riley Pint's Strengths
Pint's biggest strength is his fastball. It's not just about velocity though; even when he's throwing it in the upper 90s it has good movement. Pint's has good feel for a changeup that should continue to improve as he's forced to throw it more and a weird mix of breaking pitches. There's been alternating reports of a power curve that may be closer to a hard slider as well as another curve that sits in the 70s.
Pint has also been handled with extreme care in his development. While some would point to his delivery as being prone to increase injury, the bigger concern for future injuries is oftentimes overuse doing a pitcher's amateur years. Unlike a lot of other draft prospects, Pint has limited the amount of innings that he's pitched, even bypassing an opportunity to pitch to Team USA's 18U squad.
Riley Pint's Weaknesses
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Pint's biggest weakness is with his mechanics. He's struggled at time to maintain them, and they've also been a bit violent, which has affected his command. However, that may be a bigger reflection on Pint's relative lack of innings. Pint has shown improvement through his senior season and with professional coaching that should only improve.
As with any high school arm there is inherent risk because the prospect is so far away from the majors and so many things can go wrong in the development. The effort in Pint's delivery does bring some concerns to the table as well.
Why the Rockies will draft Riley Pint
Most of the current mock drafts and reports about the Rockies' selection seem to focus on the team selecting either Pint or Mickey Moniak, the outfielder from California. The Rockies did bring Groome in for an interview as well so he may still be in play, but it's not hard to imagine that the Rockies have Pint as the top pitching prospect on their board, and maybe even the top prospect overall.
The Rockies have been valuing upside in their recent drafts and targeted prep players almost exclusively last year in Jeff Bridich's first draft. Pint may have the highest upside of any player in the draft, and if the Rockies feel they can fix the delivery, Pint is a decent bet for the Rockies assuming he isn't available, especially if either the Phillies or the Braves pick Moniak.
Why the Rockies won't draft Riley Pint
Like any of these top draft prospects, the biggest obstacle to the Rockies drafting a player will be whether or not they are available. While there haven't been many connections between Pint and the Phillies or the Reds, weird things happen in the draft and Pint's ceiling may entice either of those team. The Braves, on the other hand, are the bigger obstacle. The Braves have been connected to all of the prep arms and though many feel they should draft a bat to supplement their pitching heavy system, smart teams rarely draft on need.
Pint's control issues and mechanics may also be a big reason the Rockies pass on him, assuming they don't feel that they're correctable. I doubt that's the case, but it is possible.
Review our other mock draft profiles (from least to most likely) and check back often as we release more:
May 25 - A.J. Puk , LHP, Florida
May 26 - Dakota Hudson, RHP, Mississippi State
May 27 - Kyle Lewis, OF, Mercer
May 31- Blake Rutherford, OF, Chaminade Prep
June 1 - Delvin Perez, SS, Puerto Rico
June 3 - Corey Ray, OF, Louisville
June 6 - Jason Groome, LHP, Barnegat High School