With their first selection in the 2021 draft, at 19 overall, the Toronto Blue Jays selected Ole Miss pitcher Gunnar Hoglund.
Hoglund’s not going to be seen for a while as he’s already recovering from Tommy John surgery. He was a first-round pick by the Pirates (36th-overall) in 2018 but couldn’t agree on a deal and went to Mississippi and likely would have been a top-10 pick until he blew out his elbow.
In 2019 at Ole Miss, Hoglung threw 68 innings and had a 5.29 ERA and 1.34 WHIP in 68 innings, striking out 53 batters and walking 14. He only threw 23 1/3 innings in COVID-shortened 2020, posting a huge improvement with a 1.16 ERA and 0.94 WHIP, striking out 37 and walking four. He pitched 62 2/3 innings in 2021 before his injury, putting up a 2.87 ERA with a 0.91 ERA and 96 strikeouts and only 17 walks.
Clearly, Hoglund figured something out and Baseball America praised his command as a high schooler in Hudson, Florida and noted that he’s a “relatively safe starting pitcher with plus command who has the ability to throw three pitches for strikes no matter what the count.” BA notes that his stuff was improved, sitting 92-94 with the ability to touch 95 mph while his slider was sharper and he was generally able to hit his spots with his fastball. BA also praises his “low-80s, above-average changeup,” and despite the injury, the BA scouts like his “consistent, easy delivery.”
MLB writers like the “upside play” that the Blue Jays made and made a comparison to Walker Buehler and notes that Buehler’s stuff improved after the rehab process.
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