June 5, 2012 at 6:00 am by David Lee under Atlanta Braves, Draft
The Braves selected Brookwood High School right-hander Lucas Sims with the 21st overall pick in the draft. Sims wasn’t even on my first-round list, but that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t have been considered. It means I’m wrong for having overlooked him. He’s a good pick for the Braves, a pick that reminds me of past drafts.
Sims stands at 6’2, 185 pounds, and appears thin but athletic. ESPN’s report calls a concern about velocity dips late in games due to his build, which is likely to be the case until he’s given a chance to develop further. Most reports indicate a lack of projection, but considering how athletic he is now, it shouldn’t call for much worry.
Sims’ fastball sits 90-94 and has received various speeds on the touch category, from 96 to 98. Either way, his fastball has good life and is a commanding pitch. His curveball is above average with the potential to be a plus pitch as he develops command. His changeup has decent speed differential but relies especially on his arm speed and deception to succeed as more than a junk pitch. I’ve seen some label Sims as a potential reliever down the line, but reports indicate his changeup is good enough to be a reliable third offering.
The knock I see on Sims through watching video is the same I discovered when reading his report on ESPN: “He has a loose arm and a smooth arm action, but his elbow gets higher than you like to see in the back of his arm stroke, he takes a short stride and will fly open at times. When you combine a thin physique, inconsistent velocity, an arm-heavy delivery that he has some trouble repeating and a quick arm that doesn’t have an ideal path, there are some concerns about how his arm might develop but the talent is undeniable.”
This basically tells the story I was going to tell from the video I watched. This doesn’t necessarily mean he’s an injury risk, but perhaps it could mean inconsistent command or durability concerns.
But every pitcher comes with his share of concerns regardless of where he’s taken in the draft. Sims has great stuff and shows good strikeout ability. He’s a local kid who grew up a Braves fan and is said to have great makeup. And he succeeded in every event he participated in while showcasing in high school. Sims is a first-round arm, and the Braves are fortunate to pick him at 21.
Braves.com: Braves stick with local strategy for first pick
AJC: Brookwood’s Sims “ecstatic” to be drafted by Braves in first round
Baseball America: Braves Take Luke Sims
ESPN HS page
ESPN Insider draft page